Upscale burgers at Oliver & Bonacini

Oliver & Bonacini has a few restaurants spread around the metro Toronto area that range from casual affordable to super fine dining where celebrities have been spotted. The restaurants are the creation of celebrity chefs, Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini. I had lunch at Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill in Oakville but they have other locations in Bayview Village, Blue Mountain, Waterloo and downtown Toronto as well.

Fresh fruit juice cider

This Café was located at the entrance to a high end mall, and appeared very sleek yet casual. There was a definite business crowd, along with a few older shoppers who seem to enjoy fine dining during the week. The décor was contemporary with gray and white metallic furniture. We were seated promptly and my 3-year old nephew was attended to with a high chair right away.

The lunch menu consisted of simple everyday dishes with a refined twist. They offered freshly made juice cocktails – an apple beet cider served warm and an orange mango pineapple concoction. I ordered the grilled chicken burger with sweet potato fries. The ground chicken patty was moist and well cooked, served with a chipotle mayo, while the fries were crisped to perfection.

We also tried the vegetarian Portobello burger which had roasted red pepper, roasted tomato, goat cheese and basil almond pesto on a giant roasted Portobello. It was a treat whether you were a vegetarian, or not. The beer batter haddock served with fries and coleslaw seemed a big hit with both young and old. My nephew ate it all without a fuss!

For dessert, I had to have the gelato combination – I really liked the pistachio (despite the little chunks of ice) but the milk cream was ok. Overall, Chef Zuzana Harsaghy did an excellent job in keeping the food real, appetizing, yet upscale.

Their dinner menu seems more adventurous, with many fusion influences. The butter chicken caught my eye and I will have to come back next time for it.

More on where to dine in Toronto

A break at the Krepesz Café

Krepesz Café is a charming little café located in the eclectic Kensington market in Toronto. Whether you want to grab a bite before setting out for a shopping spree or take a coffee break during your finds, this Hungarian themed coffee shop will not disappoint you.

The interior feels like a lounge with interesting murals, cozy chairs as well as tables for larger groups. There is also some seating outside for when the Canadian weather is cooperative.

I was pleasantly surprised by the artfulness in the presentation. Each cup of latte we ordered had a different design created on top. It made the coffee-drinking experience very pleasant.

For the very first time, I had a Chimney Cake. The menu said “Chimney Cake is a Hungarian sweet pastry. It’s made with yeast-raised dough rolled on a wooden cylinder and baked in a rotisserie oven. Sugar caramelizes on the outside creating a sweet, crispy crust, but inside it stays soft!” To me, it was a simple sugary dough cake that paired well with afternoon tea or coffee. You can watch a video of how they make it.

The crepe menu also looked intriguing. They had savory (chicken paprika, spinach and feta) and sweet (apple cinnamon, walnut apricot jam) amongst others. Next time you are in the area, make sure you give Krepesz Café a definite try for breakfast, lunch or coffee.

More on where to dine in Toronto