Saturday, February 19, 2011


TOCA's Fancy Fish & Chips
Just having opened its doors on Wednesday, The Ritz-Carlton already is the talk of the town in the City. Situated in the Financial District at Wellington x John right beside the storied CBC Building, this latest extension of world-renowned Hotel Chain is Toronto's newest hope for a coveted Five Star rating. We'll have to wait a year though to see whether or not it meets that stringent criteria.

Two of my BFFs and I decided to venture out to Chef Tom Brodi's TOCA today, securing a 12:00 PM Brunch slot.   Right from the point we pulled into the decadent Hotel's Driveway, we were offered  friendly Valet service by Staff who insisted we greet them back by first name.  At $15, the service actually is quite reasonable considering there is no time limit for the day on how long you can park. That rate though is available only to patrons of TOCA. TOCA: Toronto, Canada. Ahhh....

With a neatly-trimmed and succinct Menu, most Entrée options are in-and-around the $20-$25 price point; v. reasonable considering all items are Farm-to-Table fresh. The most prominent item on their list of offerings is Lobster. The LBLT (a Lobster BLT), The Pie (A Lobster and Turkey Pot Pie), Fancy Fish & Chips (Chunks of Lobster coated in Mill Street Brewery Beer Batter and Fries). A Burger and a Liver (dressed with Peameal Bacon and Mashed Potatoes) options also looked enticing.  Many Appetizers are available in two sizes, the larger plated as an Entrée.  The love of Lobster did not only stop there as whole Lobsters and Crab Legs chilled on ice were put on display proudly at the Hotel's Bar, situated at its entrance.

Our Server was extremely studious, giving us a thorough tour of the facilities including their Kitchen, Cheese and Wine Cellars.  Its space is split into two sections: the Front which is an open concept space and the Back, more dimly-lit and intimate.  Lighting fixtures were exquisite and edgy, while wooden floors, tables and  walls give TOCA a homey, cabin-like and dare I say, distinctly Canadian feel. With over 500-plus choices offered on their Wine List, there definitely is no shortage of pairings for your Meal, conscious of varying budgets and tastes. Their most expensive bottle of Wine from Château Petrus is priced at $5000; of course sold only by-the-bottle.

Mimosas were priced fairly at $11, Complimentary freshly-baked Multigrain Bread is served with Unsalted Butter which you can flavour with a scoop of Sea Salt yourself.  Coffee at $4 was boldly-flavoured and plentiful, served in a large gloved Flask which you can pour for yourself as needed.  And let me tell you, the Fancy Fish & Chips at $25.00 was phenomenal, recommended twice-over to us by both our Host and Server. Generously portioned Lobster pieces were not overly-battered nor were they greasy. Delicious Chips however, were a little meager in portion, while a mildly spicy Tartar Sauce complemented both perfectly. Definitely worth a return visit.  I was too full for Dessert.

TOCA definitely is a heavy-hitter and has what it takes to compete with Bullies in the neighbourhood like Canoe.  Although The Ritz-Carlton has been a little slow to update their website, you can learn more about their facilities and TOCA here.  

With the face of the Toronto International Film Festival, Cameron Bailey, having alluded to its partnering with the Hotel this September, expect the Stars to be out in full-force.  And where they are, so am I.

See more Photos below:

(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)

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