Jun 6, 2011

O&B Canteen

Meet my latest casual dining crush – the O&B Canteen at the Bell Lightbox. Not only the location is near-perfect, but the food holds up to the highest Oliver & Bonacini standards.

The Canteen is relatively inexpensive compared to the other O&B restaurants and the usual suspects in the King West line-up. A light dinner for two, with wine, will leave you satisfied and will only cost you around $60. The menu is a whimsical whirlwind of French, Italian, and traditional diner foods. It is a little confusing at first, but the once you familiarize yourself with the choices, there is something to satisfy almost any craving, be it mac and cheese or mussels. The wine list is somewhat limited, but affordable. The drinks are served in no-nonsense stemless glasses, quintessential in creating the relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere that makes you want to linger after your meal is finished. The service is friendly and honest the type which deserves great tips and a sincere ’thank you’ once dinner is over.

There are a few items on the menu that deserve special mention. The Chicken Liver Parfait ($8) is lighter than most traditional liver dishes. It is feathery, lightweight yet creamy and served with a baguette and cornichons on a wooden board. The dish was beautifully arranged with flower petals and a little dish of Cumberland sauce.

The French Canadian Onion soup ($7) came in a tiny casserole with melted Gruyère pouring over the sides. The serving was smaller than the usual bowl and left enough room for the crisp and tangy Tomato Watermelon salad ($8), served with crumbled feta cheese and mint. The unusual combination won over my heart and taste buds and the salad will be a staple light meal this summer.

Just before we were done, the Canteens’ executive chef Jason Bangerter offered us the restaurant’s signature desert – a Root Beer Float with vanilla ice cream ($7). It looked delicious, served in a wine glass garnished with a fresh flower, but I was just too full to truly appreciate this diner staple.

Between its great location, price, and menu the Canteen is right up there with the best downtown Toronto can offer. Great for lunch, weekday dinner, or a weekend get together with friends!



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