winterlicious

Winterlicious – Toula

Its Friday Night, a long day of work is behind me and all I can look forward to is the second Winterlicious dinner I have planned with some of my favorite ladies of all time!

Off we were to Toula Restaurant located on the 38th floor of the Westin Harbour Castle hotel. This is probably one of the best views of the city because you have Lake Ontario on one side and the beautiful skyline on the other. Just perfect and breathtaking – reminds me of how beautiful this city can be at times. We were lucky to get one of the tables with a great view. The ambience otherwise gives the aura of fine dining with dim lighting, a large bar at the back and plush, inviting seating areas.
Toula is actually part of an Italian chain of restaurants under the Italian Toula Group which had its beginnings in Treviso, Italy near Venice in 1961. Needless to say one can expect some delicious and authentic fare in a beautiful setting. I was really excited for this meal because I had been to Toula a few years back for a Summerlicious lunch and it was by far one of the best meals I had not just due to the selection and choice but the food was so fresh and flavourful. We got to the restaurant to find that they were actually behind schedule so we ended up waiting for about 5-10 minutes which wasn’t a big deal because they have a nice little lobby area by the elevators where you can sit.

Upon getting seated and getting our drinks we decided on our meals and tried our best to sample everything on the menu given that there were 6 entree choices – very rare for a Winterlicious menu.

On the menu:

Appetizers:
Jumbo Black Tiger Shrimp wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma, drizzle of Aged Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Insalata Tricolore Caprese – Vine Ripped tomatoes, Fresh Imported Mozzarella di Buffala Cheese and Sliced Fresh Avocado, Finished With a light drizzle of Tuscan Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mains:
Toula Classic AAA Rib Eye Steak with a Medley of Wild and Porcini Mushrooms in a Amarone Red Wine Reduction Served with Herbed Roasted Parisian Potatoes

Hand Made Tagliolini with Fresh P.E.I Lobster Meat Lightly Spiced Tomatoes Sauce topped with a Fresh P.E.I Lobster Tail

Oven Backed Chilean Sea Bass Fillet with “San Gimigniano” Saffron and Dill Cream Sauce Served on a bed of Lemon & Chive Carnaroli Risotto

Free Range Stone Pressed Oven Baked Cornish Hen “Alla Diavola” Topped with a Rosemary Pinot Grigio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sauce. Served with Sauteed Spniach Alla Milanese with raisins & Toasted Pine Nuts

Dessert:
Famous Toula Homemade Fresh Tiramisu

Homemade Fresh Apple Strudel on “Callebaut Belgium” Chocolate Fondue

Homemade Fresh Cappuccino Cheese Cake served with Fresh Marinated Blueberries

The appetizers were nothing special and we all clearly opted for more of the safer options.  I had the Caprese salad thinking that it would be a light, fresh way to start the meal but after having the Buffala Mozzarella at Origin, I don’t think anything will ever compare.  The salad itself felt as if it had been stored in a fridge for far too long which makes me believe that they mass produced them for Winterlicious.  


Next came our main meals which consisted of the steak, lobster pasta, sea bass and chicken.  All the food in my opinion sounded alot better than it tasted.  Most of it was was very luke warm which again makes me believe that it was mass produced and sitting around for a while and nothing was as delicious as how it was described in the menu.  I had the Lobster Tagliolini and it had a fishy smell to it which was not very appetizing and the pasta seemed undercooked.  The steak was tender from the small amount that I tasted and the chicken was dry.  The risotto which accompanied the sea bass wasn’t bad.  This was also the point which we nicknamed our waiter “Zippy” because it was as if he we was trying to speed us through our dinner as quickly as possibly.  Before we could even finish our list of things we needed he was gone returning only to have us finish our requests (ie salt, hot sauce, spoons).
  

There’s a reason I love dessert.  In this case it was the saving grace of the entire experience.  Each dessert we had was SO good.  Perfect portions, delicious and and decadent all at the same time.  If it hadn’t been for the dessert this meal would have been an absolute disaster.  I had the apple strudel and if this had come with a side of vanilla ice cream I would have actually been in heaven!

Overall definitely disappointed with the service and the meal itself.  I can’t say that I wouldn’t go again but maybe on a regular night instead of Winterlicious.

Address: 1 Harbour Square (Westin Harbour Castle)
Parking:  Parking to the left of the hotel in a small alley or underground
Price:  $35 Winterlicious Dinner, $$$ – regular menu
Service – 6/10
Food – 6/10
Ambiance: 8/10

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