Thanks Phoenikia and Googs for pointing me to some great suggestions (and on the other thread as well). Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time or space in our stomachs to sample what the “county” had to offer. We’ll have to return another time to sample your other recommendations! Here’s my take on the places we visited.
Breakfast: we were spoilt by Wilfrid Boutique Farmhouse’s “brunches”… and we tried as best as we could to leave room for lunch… but failed miserably. I’d recommend checking out their Instagram to get an idea of the breakfast courses they prepare. I’m not much of a photographer but their photos are pretty true of what you’ll get. One thing we noticed was there was a lot of imported ingredients in PEC restaurants in general. e.g. oysters, seafood, and even the meat. This was very different from our experience in the Niagara peninsular where they try to focus on local sourcing. The Wilfrid had these imports too… like caviar and blue fin tuna for breakfast. But who’s gonna complain right? However, they get high marks compared to their peers for local sourcing as well. Eggs from their own chickens? Check. Honey from their own bees? Check. Herbs and vegetables from their garden? Check. Wine from their own vineyard? Check. Their brunches alone were worth the price of the stay (apparently one of the owners is a trained chef and sommelier so you know you’re in good hands). They seemed to have designed a very unique experience there. Anyway, I blame them for making us skip some of your recommended lunch places.
Lunch: La Condesa was the only place we managed to squeeze in. Again, a lot of imported ingredients. The tortillas were on par with Toronto’s best and they were made-to-order. We thought they played it safe with the ingredients for their tostadas and tacos… and opting for savoury and milder tastes. We prefer brighter and spicier flavours. But above average compared to similar Toronto joints.
Bocado came highly recommended by the chef at Wilfrid. And it didn’t disappoint. It felt like it was Cava at it’s peak when both Chris and Doug were there. Maybe that’s why Alo’s bartender decided to move here. On point tapas. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try the paella. This was our favourite dinner of the trip.
I was uncertain about Flame + Smith, but with Goog’s approval, I booked the reservation. We had a 10 course tasting there. Here are two tips with this place: the chef has his own vegetable garden and some of his best dishes are the vegetables (maybe because it was just harvested the same day)! If you want the dry-aged beef, which the place is known for, be sure to book an early reservation because the smaller cuts are sold out fast. We overheard our neighbouring diners asking about the dry aged beef and and ones remaining were 38 oz and above… so be prepared to have a party to share if you come late. Our flame cooked steak (bavette I think) was from Australia and was perfectly rare. In all, a pretty good dinner but did not reach our previous benchmark for open-flame cooking. Also, they couldn’t handle a Friday night crowd and service was really slow.
In all, a very enjoyable trip culinary-wise. We were surprised on the amount of imported ingredients here but I guess PEC doesn’t have the resources Niagara has. Also, the prices here were on par and more likely above Toronto’s prices. I’m not sure why that is though. Another tip is to make sure you make your reservations early. Popular restaurants book up really fast.