In her opinion:
My husband had a lot to do with this meal...he had simply asked why we were doing only two Summerlicious events. He was right! Why only two? We had had a beautiful dinner at Bent and then the perfect anniversary dinner at Canoe, why not go for a third?
After checking to see what was still available on such short notice, I was lucky enough to book a table for three (we brought our non-foodie child with us) at Chiado on a Friday afternoon for lunch on Sunday, the last day of Summerlicious! We have had many good meals here and Portuguese food is still my favourite, so why not indulge at a fraction of the price!
When we arrived at Chiado, we were shown to our table in the Senhor Antonio section of the restaurant. We got a table near the bar. This section of the restaurant wasn't too full and that was actually nice as we felt we got great service from our waiter, Stanislav.
Stanislav filled our water glasses right away, while another waiter brought us Portuguese corn and white bread, beautiful black olives and filled our tiny side bowls with excellent olive oil. They also brought out some butter for our picky eater. Stanislav then took our drink orders, I started with a glass of Alandra White. This was a lovely wine full of fruit and floral aromas. It tasted clean, fresh and well balanced. It was perfect for my seafood heavy meal.
For my appetizer, I ordered the "Grilled Sardines with lemon, garlic, extra virgin olive oil."
This was just so good. I love bbq sardines as any good Portuguese person would and these did not disappoint. I received two beautiful, de-boned sardines on a lovely lemony salad of fennel. I really enjoyed this appetizer which was a refined version of something that can be quite homey!
For my main, I ordered the "Filet of Seabream" (dourada) with a warm salad of green beans"
This was half a seabream, filleted and beheaded which was perfectly cooked. It was seasoned just right. The warm salad had green beans and gorgeous beets in a light vinaigrette. I really enjoyed this component of the dish. Beets are quite underrated and actually when prepared correctly can make any dish magic, much like they did on this plate.
For dessert, I picked the "White chocolate Flan". It was served to us by the Executive Sous Chef at Chiado, Sergio Abrunho. A young chef from Madeira who we follow on Twitter. Sergio also brought out a lovely plate of cookies (Ethan appreciated this gesture very much and grabbed one before the camera could even capture it). The flan was served with lovely berries and a berry coulis. This was a delectable light dessert. I thought it was the perfect ending to our meal.
Overall, I would say that this was an excellent lunch. The service was excellent, the food was delicious and the overall experience was very good. I wouldn't hesitate to return to Chiado.
In his opinion:
For those of you unfamiliar with Chiado, (there shouldn't be any of you) this restaurant has been a staple in the fine dining scene in Toronto for many years. It is my favourite Portuguese restaurant in Canada but not only because the ratings say so. It consistently delivers great food, amazing ambiance and service that is unparalleled in this city.
I admit that I struggle to contain any bias I may have when I describe this restaurant but considering that in most of my experiences at Chiado happen with me surrounded by non-Portuguese, then somehow any feelings of patriotism that may come through are dissipated by the authenticity of the food.
The restaurant, properly divided into 2 main rooms is elegant without being stuffy, some might even describe it as having an "Old World Ambiance". Throw away the pretentiousness and the desperate need to be hip, found in most TO restaurants and you'll find Chiado, a lovely dining room with timeless elegance that is so uncool that it is actually pretty cool.
I started off with a glass of red wine while feeling torn between choosing what item of the menu I wanted as appetizer and the idea that I could not sample it all as I so deeply wanted. Everything sounded amazing and my choice became arduous. I finally had to chose one, so I did, the "Tartar of Salmon" served with avocado mousse and fresh apple.
This had to be some of the best Salmon tartar that I have ever had, if not the best. The salmon tasted unbelievably fresh, fluffy, cut into perfectly cubed pieces with a faint hint of citrus and involving tiny pieces of fresh apple. The avocado mousse was a perfect contrast to the faintly salt and peppered pieces of fish. Truly delicious and leaving me wanting more.
For my entree, I ordered the "Pan Seared Skate Fish" on lemon coriander risotto. This restaurant is mostly known for its fish, seafood and great wine selections but that doesn't mean that they can't make some outstanding meat dishes. Nevertheless, fish becomes my choice nearly every time I dine here just because it is that fresh and good...and I love it obviously.
The skate was tender, flaky and moist on the inside but with a slightly crispy skin on top. Great contrast of flavour and texture even before you bite into the coriander risotto that was perfectly cooked. This combination is a winning one in my books and a perfect display of amazing risotto in a non-Italian restaurant.
For dessert, I ordered the "Pecan Tart". It was simple, sweet and served with fresh berries. Not as exciting as the rest of the meal but a definite winner.
The Good: Perfectly cooked fish, amazing service and a hard to find way to keep Portuguese dishes traditional but with a "haute" touch.
The Bad: It is a special occasion restaurant after all and not wallet friendly for everyday visits, but well worth it.
The Verdict: What can we say that hasn't already been said? Elegance, poise, serving the best fish/seafood in town and making it look effortlessly. The service is legendary and ranks up there with the best in town as well. We were even quite impressed by our waiters knowledge of Portuguese cuisine, especially not being Portuguese himself. Try the octopus and the scabbard fish which are legendary at this venue.
I give it 4 out of 5 Olives as rating