Seven Lives

After several hundred million years later, I finally visited the famous Seven Lives located in Kensington Market (aka foodies’ paradise). This joint proves to be an ultimate fan-favourite with its bangin’ tacos that will surely satisfy your taste buds in every possible way.

I got there half an hour before closing but the lineup was surprisingly short. The space inside is quite small with only one table for sitting and another for standing. Most people take it to go and take advantage of the short-lived summer weather in Toronto.

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*Note: Opened Wednesdays to Sundays from 12-7pm and cash only*

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Top: Blackened Mahi Mahi – $5   Bottom: The Gobernador – $5

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Blackened Mahi Mahi: The mahi mahi was grilled with a dry rub of spices topped with a generous amount of guac and salsa. It tasted both sweet and sour which I absolutely loved and the fillet was large enough to fill the whole double-tortilla. I was quite sad when the taco was finished.

The Gobernador: This magical taco was filled to the brim with different flavours layering to the top. There were so many garnishments on the taco that I couldn’t distinguish them all but it had shrimp, smoked tuna, pickled onions and cheese oozing at the bottom. I loved the combination of spicy and sour, and this taco was the epitome of deliciousness.

Seven Lives is more than worth the hype and I will definitely be revisiting to try their other tacos. Taco ’bout the beginning of an addiction ha ha. Also if you’re an avid spicy-eater like me, be sure to try their hot salsa!

Food: 9.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 7/10
Seven Lives on Urbanspoon

Wilbur Mexicana

To be honest, I have never been a huge fan of Mexican food until after moving to downtown where my desire to taste test Mexican cuisine has greatly increased. Toronto houses a handful of restaurants specializing in turning people into taco-and-guac-lovers. You’ve got Seven Lives and El Trompo Taco Bar by the hippie district of Kensington Market, and La Carnita and Grand Electric in the East End.

I decided to pop in to Wilbur Mexicana with a friend for lunch but it got very busy very fast as people were trying satisfy their stomachs after a cup of morning joe.

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Ever since taking this blog a teensy bit more seriously, I’ve taken more notice of the inside decor and ambiance of restaurants. Wilbur Mexicana gives off a modern but comfortable vibe with its large open space, high ceiling, wooden tables and white subway tiles. I would classify this place as half-way between traditional seated-dining and fast food restaurants.

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All the hot sauces you need!

Their menu is not too extensive but complex enough to make you want everything. Since I was trying to save room for my 11-course dinner at a Zomato Meetup, I only ordered one taco and shared a plate of guac and chips.

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Chips and guac – $4.50

Their guacamole was fresh and delicious! The creamy texture of avocado paired well with the crispiness of the tortilla chips. I had to stop myself from getting full solely off of these darn guac and chips.

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I got the Chicken Tinga ($3.75) which had pulled chicken, fresh guacamole and cotija cheese all in a crispy tortilla shell. The chicken could’ve been spicier but flavourful regardless. I’ve definitely had better tacos in my lifetime but Wilbur did not disappoint with its freshly-made guacamole and salsa bar with over half a dozen to choose from. My personal favourite was the pineapple salsa which was packed full of sweet and tangy flavours. I’ll have to come back next time to try the Bulgogi taco, Baja fish and Mexican Street corn.

Food: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 9/10

Wilbur Mexicana on Urbanspoon

Pizzeria Libretto

In the heart of the Financial District lies Pizzeria Libretto, the third location of the popular Italian chain. The new Libretto serves the same simple and delicious food as the chain’s Ossington and Danforth locations.

Libretto’s lunch special makes it a popular eatery among officer workers and businessmen who flock in to enjoy its $15 three-course meals. The weekday prix-fixe lunch menu includes a salad, personal pizza and dessert – a serious bang for your buck! Using only local natural ingredients, its Neopolitan pizzas are baked in extreme high heat for 90 seconds to achieve that charred and blistered crust that everyone knows and loves.

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The inside decor is modern and relatively minimal with rich leathers, wooden tables, white subway tiles and fun lighting fixtures. The restaurant’s high ceiling allows for lots of natural light to shine through, giving it a nice and informal ambiance. The sleek dining room features a pair of domed pizza ovens that are custom-designed by a famous Italian craftsman named Stefano Ferrara.

We decided to share an appetizer and ordered a pizza each based on recommendations from our waiter and Yelp.

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Buttermilk Fried Calamari – $12

The Buttermilk Fried Calamari consisted of a mountain of crunchy and golden rings that piled over a base of red pepper almond romesco sauce and herb oil. When it comes to Italian food, I truly believe that the sauce can make or break a dish. This was one of the best calamari I’ve tried and the sauce had everything to do with it. The crispy texture of fried octopus contrasted nicely with savory flavor of the red sauce.

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Margherita D.O.P – $14

I decided to try its most simple Neapolitan pizza first with the Margherita D.O.P. It had the basic ingredients of tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese. The pizza tasted great and I particularly enjoyed the freshness of the tomato sauce. I’m also a crust-girl so eating the outer ring is one of my favourite parts. My only concern was that towards the center of the pizza, the dough became quite soggy and droopy (for the lack of better words).

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Ontario Prosciutto – $16

The Ontario Prosciutto had tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese and generously topped with slices of prosciutto. The meat added a salty kick to the overall flavor of the pizza.

Libretto did not disappoint with its delicious food and comfortable atmosphere. It’s a good destination for lunches, after-work drinks & appies and date nights. The chefs there definitely know how to cook up an Italian storm! Also, shout out to my Australian waiter who was quite entertaining all night!

Food: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Pizzeria Libretto on Urbanspoon

FOB (Fresh Off the Boat)

A celebratory meal is mandatory on the last day of an internship and so here I am, ready to chow down on some delicious seafood. I happen to also be on a see-food diet (ha ha). The sun finally managed to peek its way through the clouds which added a nice touch.

Tucked away on the street of Queen St. West, Fresh Off the Boat is a small hipster joint that serves asian-inspired seafood sandwiches. They are best known for their Soft Shell crab sandwich and popular F.O.B (aka asianified po-boy).

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One of my biggest pet peeves is when restaurants have a gazillion options on their menus. Fresh Off the Boat, however, made theirs short and sweet. The inside decor is quite funky with a giant sriracha wall next to the kitchen. Their eating space isn’t large so most customers choose to buy takeout.

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 (drum roll please…)

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Lobster Roll – $13.95

Ta da!

I ordered the Lobster Roll which consisted of a folded slice of buttery bread topped with lobster claw meat, fresh cut fries & broccoli coleslaw. The flavor of the lobster was somewhat overpowered by the mayo but it still had a nice subtle seafood aftertaste. Although I am not a fan of coleslaw, I really enjoyed the broccoli house slaw as it had a refreshing lemon zing to it. The fries were a bit soggy for my liking but it did come hot and fresh. Needless to say I smothered it with sriracha.

Although the price of their food is slightly higher than the average, it was worth it overall! The staff there were consistently upbeat and friendly to every incoming customer. I will definitely be visiting again to try their Softshell Crab sandwich!

Food: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 7/10

Fresh Off the Boat on Urbanspoon

To-ne Sushi

Queen St West is known as the cool cat’s corner of downtown Toronto where trendy meets hipster. Vogue has named this street the second-hippest district in the world. Where else would you find cuisines from around the world, vintage stores, indie patisseries, condom stores and the MuchMusic HQ all on the same street?

My internship workplace happens to be nearby which only means that lunchtime equates to delicious foodventures. You’ve got choices such as Banh Mi Boys, Burger’s Priest and Let’s Be Frank to satisfy your cravings. I was itching for some Japanese food and came across To-ne Sushi. Their menu consists of the typical Japanese dishes as well as lunch specials.

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Hwe Dup Bap – $10.50

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I ordered the Hwe Dup Bap which consists of assorted sashimi and vegetables on rice served with Korean hot sauce. The dish also came with complimentary miso soup and small noodle soup. I was quite impressed with their presentation style. Mine was very colorful and my friend’s sushi plate came with flower arrangements. The combined taste of fresh sashimi, raw vegetables, seasweed and hot sauce was quite delicious and enjoyable. I’m honestly a sucker for anything spicy (hello srircha) ♡

From the outside, the restaurant doesn’t look like much but compared to nearby Japanese places, To-ne Sushi wins it in my books! I shall be back for actual sushi next time.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 7/10
To-ne Sushi on Urbanspoon

Goodfella’s Pizza

Ever since taking a course on La Cucina Italiana (Italian Kitchen) last semester, I’ve been craving some authentic Italian-style pizzas. I’m not usually a big fan of pizzas but the countless rave reviews of this pizzeria was quite attracting.

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Named after the notorious mob thriller GoodFellas starring Robert De Niro, Goodfella’s Pizza specializes in authentic neapolitan-style wood oven pizza, salad and Italian inspired dishes. Their recipes are created with a “rustic Italian ‘backyard’ flavour only found south of Rome.” I was transported back to old Italy the minute I stepped inside the restaurant. The brick walls, hung-up cured meats and large wheels of cheese displays all add to the warm and cozy ambiance of this place.

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Arancini Siciliani – $15

Besides pizzas, Goodfella’s serves various appetizers that you would find in most Italian eateries. Since none of us could read Italian, we ordered whichever descriptions that sounded the most mouth-watering. Arancini Siciliani is dish consisting of arborio rice balls, stuffed with ground veal, green peas, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and topped off with fresh basil. The delicious combination of all the ingredients made us give this appy two thumbs up!

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Prosciutto e Arugula – $21

We decided to share three pizzas as all of us were quite famished. The Prosciutto e Arugula had mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, fresh arugula, shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese and drizzled extra-virgin olive oil. Although the pizza was somewhat divided, our server gave us a pair of scissors to cut it (which I thought was quite interesting). The refreshing taste of arugula balanced nicely with the saltiness of the cheese and prosciutto. So far so good!

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Marinaio – $24

The Marinaio pizza had marinara sauce, mussels, tiger shrimp, calamari, grilled octopus, fresh garlic, fresh parsley and topped off with extra-virgin olive oil. We were surprised at the generous portion of seafood on the plate, and it complimented quite nicely with the the marinara sauce. This bad boy was hands down the star player of the meal as voted by the whole group!

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Quattro Stagioni – $18

The Quattro Stagioni had san marzano sauce, mozzarella, red bell peppers, prosciutto,  artichoke hearts, sauteed mushrooms, dried oregano, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil. Mistakenly, we thought all the ingredients would be spread out evenly on the pizza so it was a bit disappointing when the pizza was sectioned off into 4. Personally I wasn’t a huge fan of this pizza since I detest mushrooms and ain’t a big fan of artichokes either. Yuck :(

Overall the dining experience was very enjoyable with their impeccable service and impressive decor. The food here gave me a whole meaning to good ol’ pizzas as the authenticity of their recipes and flavours had me wanting more. Delizioso indeed!

Food: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Goodfellas Wood Oven Pizza on Urbanspoon