Saturday, February 9, 2013


What I thought was a clever title for this post is probably not.. For those of you who don't get it, santoulka = Santouka + Toula.

These were the two restaurants I tried out earlier this week with my mom and sister.
(Get ready for a long food post...)

We had Winterlicious reservations for 6:30pm but since my mom picked me up from work around 5pm, we had nothing to do while waiting for my sister. We realized we were both starving so we popped by Santouka Ramen, a cozy little noodle place on Dundas and one of my sister's favourites. The restaurant originated from Japan, and the Dundas location is the one of the two in Canada. Usually it is packed with a line out the door, but we were lucky to find a table as it was an odd time of the day for a meal (which I think is completely irrelevant because for me, anytime is foodtime :) )

Here's what we ordered - 

Shio Ramen (pork broth seasoned with salt)

Miso Ramen (pork broth seasoned with miso)

To be honest, right after my first slurp I already knew I didn't understand what the buzz about this place was. It wasn't anything special and I found the noodles a little too hard for my liking. I think Ajisen Ramen still stands as my favourite place!

They did have bag holders though (really just magazine racks) which was really convenient as the restaurant was really tiny and there wasn't much room for bag storage behind your chair. 

Santouka Ramen on Urbanspoon

After ramen, we decided to visit my sister at her school, where she stayed for a bit longer then packed up to go home where she could get ready for dinner.

We finally made our way to the Westin Harbour Castle hotel, which is where my fourth and final Winterlicious 2013 reservation was taking place. We found our way up to Toula on the 38th floor, a restaurant with spectacular views over the city, and each major landmark outlined on various spots of the glass walls.

Toula's Winterlicious menu was one that offered the most options out of all the restaurants I had looked at. We mainly picked this restaurant because of that, as well as the fact that my mom really wanted to eat lamb.

Here's what we started with  - 

East Coast Giant Scallops "Lido"
seared with thyme & chardonnay essence, topped w/ warm eggplant and fresh herb mousse

in house hickory smoked salmon w/e caramelized red onion, pantelleria capers
& drizzled w/ lemon & extra virgin olive oil emulsion
Jumbo Black Tiger Shrimp "Laguna"
wrapped with prosciutto di Parma DOP, drizzled w/ 10 yr balsamic vinegar reduction
on a bed of aromatic arugula salad

Of the three, the scallops were the best (but that's not saying a lot). The smoked salmon (what I ordered) was alright but my mom's shrimps were terribly overcooked.

Some sillyness ensued while waiting for our next course...

They're probably going to kill me for putting these up, but oh well :)

Next we had our entrees - 

Certified AAA Beef Tenderloin Filet
w/ a medley of sauteed wild mushroom in amarone red wine reduction served w/
black truffle fontina cheese & mashed potatoes

Veal Tenderloin Medallions Saltimbocca
topped w/ dop prosciutto & pinot grigio sage sauce, served w/ seasonal vegetables & black truffle mashed potatoes

Fresh Herb Encrusted Australian Rack of Lamb
w/ a Henessey XO cognac pink peppercorn sauce, served w/ white asparagus & truffle mashed potatoes

My favourite part about my main dish was the black truffle mashed potatoes. There was just something about it that tasted soo good. The truffle in it (as little as it may be) added a unique flavour to every bite.

And as always, last but definitely not least, dessert -

Toula Classic Tiramisu

Dark Chocolate Bavarese

The tiramisu was quite soggy and quite frankly after having the real deal in Italy, I don't think anything I have here will top what I had over there. Guess I'll be having to make a trip to Italy if I want the real thing!

It was a great time spending time with my mom and sister, but food wise, the day was a slight disappointment. Guess you win some, you lose some!

Toula Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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