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London Ontario Restaurant


Madge
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Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted to this thread!

First of all, my father and I did go to Massey's Fine Indian Cuisine, and we really enjoyed it.  So Massey's is now on our list of regular dining spots whenever I come out for a visit - particularly where dinner is concerned (the dinner menu is distinctly better than the weekday lunch buffet).

I was wondering, has anyone here tried the Dragonfly Bistro - specifically the Rijsttafel that they offer every Monday from 5:30 - 9:00 pm?  Used to go to that location (715 Richmond) back when it was the Village Cafe, but I haven't tried it since it changed its name and menu. On the other hand, their Indonesian/Dutch evening sounds interesting!

I'd also really like a recommendation for a Korean restaurant - any ideas?  (BTW I'm looking for a selection of good Korean food, rather than Japanese food; I'm not looking for sushi.) The only places I've turned up by searching are Asiana Restaurant, Seoul Garden, and Take Sushi (!). Anyone know them?

I'm happy to hear you like Massey's;)

Unfortunately, Dragonfly is very weak. Sad excuse for a rijsttafel. There were only maybe 4 disappointing dishes on one plate, so it was more of an Indonesian combo plate, when any other rijstafels I have experienced have usually involved 10-12 dishes.

For Korean food, I like Manna Grill on Wharncliffe. Nice people running the place & quite an extensive menu- I've been meaning to return to try their fried chicken that the server recommended on my last visit.

There's an Ichiban Sushi owned by Koreans on Wellington that has quite several non-sushi Korean dishes on the menu, but their galbi was cold and regrettable. I think the galbi might be cooked in advance, then microwaved before serving. Not recommended for galbi!

I've only tried the sushi at Take and Asiana in the past 10-15 years, and I haven't heard anything good or bad about their other dishes.

Asiana was formerly known as Bul Go Gee House, and they used to win awards at the London Rib Fest for their ribs in the 80s and 90s (maybe more recently) I do remember Bul Go Gee's ribs at the Rib Fest being delicious, but that was probably 20 years ago. Not sure if Asiana is still owned by the same people, or if their current ribs are as good as Bul Go Gee's award winning ribs.

I was impressed by my last visit to La Casa on King a couple weeks ago- would recommend it as the best Italian option in London right now.

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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Just got back from my first meal at The Only on King. Very impressed.

The Only focuses on local ingredients, and the dishes served seem to be contemporary Canadian in terms of a theme, much like what one finds at JKWB, Mildred's Temple Kitchen or Globe Bistro in Toronto.

Tried the chicken leg confit on fennel salad, followed by the potato ravioli with wild arugula and basil pesto. Tried a bite of my friend's winter vegetable salad (with roasted parsnip, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli in a lemony dressing), as well as a very tender breaded veal chop.

Rich and creamy housemade trio of cinnamon, nutella and chocolate ice cream for dessert. The chocolate nemesis cake was a decadent semisweet flourless chocolate cake.

Next time, I'll try the tasting menu.

Pleasant service and fresh flavours in a casual but beautiful atmosphere. This is the most innovative food I have seen in London in a long time. Tonight, on a Monday night, the crowd was mostly 30/40 somethings.

This was the best meal I've had in London in a very long time. The prices are roughly $9-$14 for starters, $14-$20 for what they call intermediates (sardines, risotto, upscale poutine, ravioli, gnocchi), $22-$35 for mains, $ 8 for desserts, and $10.50 for the cheese plate. A little less expensive than Volker's, David's or Aroma. Roughly the same price as Crave, but the food at the Only is much, much better.

Highly recommended if you are in London.

It's open for dinner Mon- Sat.

http://www.theonlyonking.ca/

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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Thank you, Phoenikia! I really appreciate your detailed reply.

Can I ask, was the objection to Dragonfly primarily (1) the quality of the food, or (2) the lack of variety of dishes? I don't mind if there isn't a huge spread, but I do care if the food they do offer isn't that good...

I've heard positive things about Manna Grill before. Which of their Korean dishes would you personally recommend?

Thanks also for your other recommendations. I will suggest them to my father when I next visit.

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Thank you, Phoenikia! I really appreciate your detailed reply.

Can I ask, was the objection to Dragonfly primarily (1) the quality of the food, or (2) the lack of variety of dishes? I don't mind if there isn't a huge spread, but I do care if the food they do offer isn't that good...

I've heard positive things about Manna Grill before. Which of their Korean dishes would you personally recommend?

Thanks also for your other recommendations. I will suggest them to my father when I next visit.

At Dragonfly, I mostly was disappointed by the quality of the food when I ordered the rijstafel special on a Monday night. The beef was tough, like stew meat that had been cooked over a high temperature rather than braised, and the flavours did not taste distinctly Indonesian. The spicing was very mild (not sure if that was intentional to cater to London, or the way his cooking is), and I found the food quite bland. I understand he changes the dishes each Monday. I have only been once, but it's possible that I visited on an offnight and it's worth another try. I recently heard that Dragonfly Bistro is a friend's friend's favourite restaurant in London right now, so it sounds as if at least a few dishes on the menu are worth trying;) But I don't know what her taste is, or what she likes to order when she dines there.

I haven't ordered off Dragonfly's regular menu, which is mostly Continental cuisine, but includes a couple Indonesian chicken dishes. Perhaps the dishes on the regular menu are more practiced, and are a better bet than the Monday night rijstafel. Here's a link to the menu:

http://www.dragonflybistro.ca/menu.html

At Manna, I've ordered the dinner for 2, which includes a selection of different dishes, including bulgogi, mando, shrimp, maybe chapchae? Most recently I ordered the mandu and a spicy seafood tofu stew. The seafood is the very tiny, prefrozen variety (which I expected since the pricepoint is less than $15), but includes the tiniest octopus, shrimp, mussels, clams, maybe squid. I'm new to Korean stews- it was interesting, but I think I'll probably order the fried chicken the waitress suggested, or the galbi, chapchae or bulgogi on future visits.

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Need some help finding a good place to take my in-laws next week .... they live just outside of London & we planned to take them to London for dinner but we live near Toronto so don't know the London scene.

My father-in-law will want pretty "traditional" fare -- specifically, nothing resembling ethnic (with the possible exception of Italian) and no seafood of any sort. My hubby & I want to enjoy the dinner too -- and we love ethnic, especially seafoods! (we are a little bit "foodies")

So where will we find something with food that is (a) fresh, (b) will please both foodie and non-foodie palates alike? Am I asking too much?

Help! and soon!

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Need some help finding a good place to take my in-laws next week .... they live just outside of London & we planned to take them to London for dinner but we live near Toronto so don't know the London scene. 

My father-in-law will want pretty "traditional" fare -- specifically, nothing resembling ethnic (with the possible exception of Italian) and no seafood of any sort.  My hubby & I want to enjoy the dinner too -- and we love ethnic, especially seafoods! (we are a little bit "foodies")

So where will we find something with food that is (a) fresh, (b) will please both foodie and non-foodie palates alike?  Am I asking too much?

Help! and soon!

The Only on King (gastropub with local ingredients and innovative dishes, but usually a couple 'safe' dishes as well) or JJ's Bistro in Byron (somewhat limited menu, usually around 5 starters and 5 mains, with fairly traditional dishes, but well-executed) would be my top 2 picks, followed by La Casa (Italian, seafood, steak). All 3 restaurants serve fresh food, and please my foodie palate, but still have options for more conservative diners.

David's Bistro on Richmond serves some traditional options like steak frites, roast chicken, etc. David's had some consistency problems a couple years ago, but my last visit was quite enjoyable- seems things are back on track.

For upscale, traditional food, Michael's on the Thames serves steak, seafood, duck, etc. High quality food that appeals to Londoners' conservative palates.

the Only:

http://www.theonlyonking.ca/

JJ's Bistro

http://www.4u2go.ca/ontario/London/122/JJs.../OrderMenu.aspx

(menu might not be current)

La Casa:

http://lacasaristorante.com/contact.shtml

David's:

http://www.davidsbistro.ca/

Michael's on the Thames:

http://www.michaelsonthethames.com/

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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trying to decide between The Only and TRU in London or FINE in Grand Bend for our 6th wedding anniversary tomorrow.

Opinions?

My order of preference would be

1. The Only -the most innovative & I liked everything I tried. It's the most casual atmosphere of these 3- polished but laid-back.

2. Fine- the most upscale of the bunch, and the most limited menu, I like the pickerel

3. Tru- has the most choices on the menu. I've only been there for lunch, and it was fine, but I've liked my meals at Fine & the Only more!

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trying to decide between The Only and TRU in London or FINE in Grand Bend for our 6th wedding anniversary tomorrow.

Opinions?

My order of preference would be

1. The Only -the most innovative & I liked everything I tried. It's the most casual atmosphere of these 3- polished but laid-back.

2. Fine- the most upscale of the bunch, and the most limited menu, I like the pickerel

3. Tru- has the most choices on the menu. I've only been there for lunch, and it was fine, but I've liked my meals at Fine & the Only more!

We went to The Only and it was excellent. The best restaurant I've been to in London. I had the lobster salad and my spouse had the soft shell crab. For mains we shared the roast chicken/creamed spinach/morel mushrooms for two. They also gave us a side of roast fingerling potatoes. We loved the chicken, it was cooked perfectly. I'm a white meat person, spouse is dark so perfect for us. The dish was pretty rich though. The chicken is boned and carved and it was just so good.

I'll add some pics later.

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  • 1 month later...

Just got back from a few days in London.

Tried to check out the Mexican place in Wortley village and it's now a Cuban joint. Si Senor appears to also be gone. Apart from Under the Volcano, are there any Mexican places in town now?

As an aside I came across something saying Leamington on a Saturday night is the place to go for authentic Mexican. Anybody been?

cheers,

Geoff

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Just got back from a few days in London.

Tried to check out the Mexican place in Wortley village and it's now a Cuban joint. Si Senor appears to also be gone. Apart from Under the Volcano, are there any Mexican places in town now?

As an aside I came across something saying Leamington on a Saturday night is the place to go for authentic Mexican. Anybody been?

cheers,

Geoff

Thanks for the heads up re: the new Cuban place in Wortley Village. The Mexican place seemed to have gone downhill on my last couple visits, so I'm guessing you didn't miss out on much.

Didn't realize Si Senor had closed- too bad. I liked my meal there.

The people who owned El Ranchito had opened a larger place closer to the Keg at the tracks, but I tried to visit about a month ago, and the place had already gone out of business. Tough times for restaurant owners in London, ON.

Don't know of any other Mexican places in London right now.

Haven't been to Leamington for Mexican yet:)

In other London food news, Raja Indian Cuisine is now operating in the old Mario's space on Clarence. I haven't been yet, but I've heard good things re: the food, the service and the atmosphere. I'm looking forward to trying it soon. It's owned by the same people that own the Raja Indian Cuisine resto in Stratford.

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  • 4 months later...

Just thought I'd mention a restaurant in London that opened recently. Abruzzi Restaurant ((519) 675-9995) opened at 119 King Street, next door to La Casa.

I've had one nice lunch there so far, and will be returning for dinner later this month. Warm bread on the table, an interesting chestnut and chickpea soup, and tasty orechiette with arugula. Light limoncello cheesecake.

The only slight negative is that the place is quite noisy- no carpetting in the place, and lots of hard edges, so the sound seems to bounce around. Friendly service.

www.abruzzi.ca

I've also been lucky with 2 recent lunches at On the Fork. On the Fork recently changed their menu, to include a rabbit stuffed housemade ravioli (primi sized- not really enough for a main), as well as a quail filo pie. Interesting desserts, although the house-made donut was miniscule- smaller than a timbit. Friendly service.

http://onthefork.com/

I'd say Abruzzi and On the Fork are my favourite places to lunch in London right now.

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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We went to On the Fork for dinner back on October. It was very good.

I found the menu to be more of a tasting menu than a traditional Appetizer and Main style menu. I think the Husband and I shared 5 dishes and 2 desserts and were not overly stuffed. And it was fairly reasonably priced.

I will have to try Abruzzi, they were featured in the latest, (I think) issue of that free southwest ontario dining magazine. Looked good, glad to hear that it tastes good too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just thought I'd mention there's a new restaurant in London called Braise, that has opened on Dundas Street across from Kingsmill's, in the old Pier 1, then Gielen Design space. It looks like you might be able to enter from Dundas or from the market side.

It looks quite nice. Haven't had a chance to try it yet.

Here is the website: http://braise.ca/

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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(Sorry - brain f**t. This place is in Oshawa - would delete the post but I don't know how...)

Though it is probably a chain, we traveled through Ontario last May, on a Sunday, and found Avanti Trattoria open for lunch. We each had an individual sized pizza. They were the most Italian-like pizzas we have had outside of Italy.

Edited by GRoston (log)
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  • 4 months later...

Finally had a chance to try Braise this week, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The space is beautiful, and the servers were friendly and courteous. Braise is charging Toronto prices at dinner (Mains cost as much as $39, and the 7 course tasting menu costs $75, which is a lot for a London, ON restaurant). The lunch items are all under $18. Braise menu: http://braise.ca/food/menu/fall_pm_main_menu.pdf'>http://braise.ca/food/menu/fall_pm_main_menu.pdf

Really enjoyed the smoked trout with frisee and horseradish vinegrette. I didn't like my main of spaghettini with walnut pesto and arugula, but will be back to try other items on the menu.

Most people at our table enjoyed what they ordered, although both soups (one white bean/bacon, and one French Onion) were described as too salty. Which is interesting, since the soups I've ordered at the nearby Abruzzi have generally been undersalted.

Heard very good things about their hamburger, as well as the fresh donuts (4 flavours on one plate).

Braise also has sitting areas with couches and coffee tables, so it's possible to just go there for drinks, if you aren't in the mood for lunch or dinner.

Looking forward to trying other dishes at Braise.

http://braise.ca/

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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