5 Foods to Avoid at Restaurants

When we go for a dinner out we expect a fine meal. The truth is we should be getting exactly that. But, are we? Are the foods we eat at restaurants and dining facilities so ideal and perfect? Is organic food really organic? Is meat really nutritious? Are veggies really germ-free? Here is a list of the 5 foods-offenders to avoid at restaurants, to save yourself from food poisoning, outrageous markup, or germ minefields.

1. Top-Sellers

20100723-in-n-out-03-frozenThe majority of us believe that a fast-food restaurant’s best-selling items have high turnover. Having served the fast-food sector for many years, I know that fast-food restaurants pre-make their top-sellers to keep up with the demand. This means that employees wrap and bag foods way before they are ordered, which gives food-borne illnesses a good chance to develop. Of course, pre-making and packaging food is not only a fast-food restaurant’s characteristic. Anyway, according to CEO of Restaurant Expert Witness, Howard Cannon, it’s best to order food that are more likely to be prepared to order, such as the less popular options. The less an item sits in holding (usually covered with sauce or mayonnaise), the better.

2. Iceberg Lettuce

3.MLKIceberg-bluecheese-bacon3One of the biggest rip-offs in the industry is the iceberg wedge salad. We all know that iceberg lettuce consists mainly of water (98%) and is marked up 20 times, at least. That aside, it provides a welcoming environment for germs, with all these cracks, edges, and corners, where they can hide. Such salads are simply filthy. You may say that restaurants usually do wash their greens. You may be right, but the lettuce is often served soggy. If this is not an enormous red flag, then what is? Lukewarm mayonnaise-based dressing and standing water is a killer combination, whose effects could be very unpleasant for us.

3. Meat (with the Bone in)

img_22131Chicken breast, bone-in pork and other small cuts of meat are more difficult to cook thoroughly because their outside can easily scorch and char. What does this mean to you that order it? Crispy meat on the outside, and, most likely, raw on the inside. At this point, you may say that there are many people that like their food undercooked, so why not have meat with the bone in served that way as well? The answer is that undercooked beef, for example, such as a steak tartare or a rare burger, do not cause food-borne illnesses. On the contrary, chicken and pork do, which makes them highly dangerous when undercooked. And this is not just us talking from the top of our heads. This is a piece of information coming from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention itself. That aside, when you order bone-in meat, you end up eating significantly less portions of meat.

Note: Speaking of chicken, here is something to consider, next time you want to order one. If you are ordering outside the box, chicken is just a chicken. Nothing unique in terms of preparation that can be that worthy of your attention on the menu. Plus, it is a cheap meat that is substantially marked up. So why not be bolder than that?

4. Meatloaf

slowcooker-meatloaf-ftrTo begin with, meatloaf cannot be considered meat. It is more filler than anything else. However, restaurants have developed this concept that if they drown the dish on seasoning and sauce, they can pass it on to you as meat. How could you not notice? If for anything else, your belly will start complaining that you didn’t get enough food! And, to make things even worse (and sell meatloaf further) many menus use such insulting descriptive words, like “home-cooked”, “homemade”, “|Mom’s”, “Home-style”. Come on. It is an offense to our mom, after all! Give yourself more credit and just order a steak or burger, instead.

5. Gourmet Food

Nov_Truffle_Oil_700x400Don’t get me wrong here. Gourmet food is great. The objection is to the restaurants that cheat customers into believing that they are getting highbrow fare for a considerably low price, just because these restaurants are working in one expensive ingredient, like fois gras or truffle oil. They claim to work on that ingredient in small batches, which is the reason for the overpriced dishes. But, you should know this: Most commercial truffle oils are nothing more than a mix of lab-produced chemical with olive oil. An interesting survey held by Esquire magazine has shown that truffle oil is one of the 8 most overrated fine dining ingredients, according to chefs that shared their experiences regarding botched US dining.

Food for Thought

Truths about:

  • Tap Water

2c88b092b019264058258ec43da47d35If you are seated in a table that is already set with a carafe of water, you are probably risking health hazards. Water can be one of the most dangerous items in a restaurant. Any item sitting between 40-140 degrees for a while has increased potential to develop bacteria. So ask the waiter for nothing less than ice-cold water to be handed to you after you order.

  • Specials with Sauce

Albondigas_Mexican_Style_Meatball_Soup_600x600Restaurants tend to order more food than they really need, mainly to avoid running out of ingredients. This means that any surplus from one day (that has not expired) is easily turned into the next day’s special. How? With sauce. You should be wary of meat that has been cut and used in a soup, stew, or pasta dish, or any other item that is used in a way that is reducing its flavor.

  • Free Bar Snacks

NutsA whole lot has been said and written about consuming free bar snacks but turning your attention to them once more can only do good. You may not have thought about it, but munchies, pretzels, and nuts are free of charge, which means that the bars and restaurants offering them won’t throw the remaining ones away after a customer has finished their drink or meal. Instead, they use what is left to serve the new customer. And, at the end of the day, the just dump them back into a container, to serve them the following day. So, bottom line, you never get a fresh serving. If only you could imagine all those hands touching the nuts you are served for free and the germs they carry, you’d be blown away.

Taking into consideration all the above, be very picky when on a dinner date. And, if you want some amazing romantic restaurants to take your other half and enjoy excellent cuisine, check out the Top 10 most Romantic Restaurants in Toronto! Now, if you want a real taste of excellent gastronomy, the Mediterranean cuisine is unquestionably an excellent option. Here is a list of the most popular Greek dishes that will give you a mouthful of taste, healthy eating, and fresh, locally grown ingredients, to please your palate and tick all the boxes!

Is Organic Food Really Organic?

featuredIn the course of a healthier lifestyle, many of us prefer organic products. But, do we really know what we are getting when we buy products with a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) organic label? In 2008, the USDA announced that 15 out of 30 organic certifiers were put on probation and had 12 months to make the required corrections or end up losing their accreditation. At that time, Chinese imports had an atrocious year making headlines for pet food and certified ginger being contaminated with dangerous pesticide that caused headaches, nausea, and blurred vision, among others. The levels of the unacceptable pesticide, namely aldcard, were way beyond what is allowed even for conventional ginger. Yet, these imported foods with the dangerous ginger were sold at Whole Foods Market under the 365 label! Of course, Whole Foods instantly pulled the product from its shelves, but that raises a serious question: Is the organic food we eat, really organic?

According to the national director of the Organic Consumers Association, most organic farmers comply with organic standards and play by the rules. However, with the Congress’ insufficient funding for enforcement, it is easy for players to cheat.

Why Organic Food in NOT always organic?

Admittedly, the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) does not give personal inspections to farms that produce USDA-certified organic food. You see, NOP is just a small agency within the USDA, which is already underfunded, with a handful of employees. They rely on other agencies, the so-called ACAs (Accredited Certifying Agencies) to inspect, evaluate, and ensure that these farms that bear the organic labels meet are well-worth the certification. That aside, the Chinese government forbids all foreigners to inspect their farms, so it takes additional steps to oversight the organic foods imported from Chinese farms. But, the issue with fraudulent Chinese organics is just the tip of an enormous iceberg. The larger problem is that ethical and sustainable eating is about relationships and cannot fit into the global mold of the rest of our food system. Take Cornucopia, for example. The watchdog agency reports to Aurora (private label milk supplier to Costco, Safeway, and Wal-Mart) and Horizon that have organic factory farms and milk thousands of cows annually. In 2008, the USDA decided to penalize Aurora for violations in regards organic standards.

What is Organic Food? The General Rule

organic-infographicOrganic food must adhere to particular standards as specified and regulated by the USDA. Crops are generally grown without irradiation (a method to kill bacteria with a form of radiation), synthetic pesticides, biotechnology, or artificial fertilizers. As for the animals that eat organically grown foods, they are raised without synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics and aren’t confined 100% of the time, unlike many animals on conventional farms.

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The Problem with Defining Organic

In the United States, the term organic is not an official term. Instead, organics that comply with the USDA organic standards are certified organic, and you may hear them referred to as USDA certified organic. When dealing with organic products, there are some exceptions.

To begin with, the term organic is not always well-defined. You see, in the majority of dictionaries organic means “Relating to, or derived from living organisms”. In the USA though, organic means various things. Currently, the term describes different sustainable and agricultural foods, cosmetics, body care products, furniture, textiles, bath care, mattresses, toys, and many more. In addition, organic is also used as an action. For instance, we hear people say “I prefer organic farming to conventional” or “I want to live organically.”

There are many cases that the term is inappropriately used. A perfect example is organic body care products. You will see many shampoos, for example, called organic, while containing chemicals that are not only harmful but also forbidden in organic agriculture.

Also, there are farmers that use sustainable growing methods, but don’t want to get certified because they sell organic products whose annual worth is less than $5,000 per year. Just because these farmers exempt from certification does not mean they don’t sell products that are really organic. This is a tricky exception because you will have to be aware of sustainable growing methods to spot organic foods. That said, it doesn’t mean a farmer isn’t really growing organically. It simply means that us, as consumers will probably have a harder time understanding whether a product is actually organic or not. So, in such cases, the better we are informed of the organic growing methods and the more questions we ask the grower about the methods they use, will help us determine organic integrity.

p32_86541117Another exception is that there are products that are not certified correctly. This is even more tricky because the USDA along with other accredited certifying agents have come under fire for baptizing products that don’t always follow the USDA organic certification standards are organic.

For example, an Inspector General report in 2010, found that the federal laws that govern organic are enforced in an extremely shocking way. The rather poor standards for certification confuse because if we can’t trust the certifying agents, the integrity of organic producers and growers fails miserably. And, unquestionably, we do need to be able to have full faith in the one’s doing such an important job for us.

Generally speaking, an product is considered organic in the USA when it:

  • Has the USDA Organic Seal.
  • Has been certified organic.
  • Contains more than 95% organic ingredients (see image below for more detailed info)

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So, what do we Do?

The best way to ensure you get high-quality organics is to get them directly from the farmer. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), which are arrangements that allow consumers to buy a share in a farm and get their weekly grocery, as well as farmers markets, are superb ways to make sure you do get organic food. Even if making the trip all the way to the farm is somewhat challenging for you, a farmers market sets regulations as per what is allowed and what is not permitted in the market, and a market manager visits every farm to make sure farmers adhere to the policies.

organic-foo-dimportant-for-babies-350x281If you can afford it, buying local and organic is the best option. You will find reasonably priced locally grown organic products in the farmers’ markets. You can find the farmers’ market in your are here. Now, if you can’t afford to buy organic all the time (make sense), try to stay away from the fragile veggies and fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, spinach, pears, cherries, lettuce, strawberries, apples, celery, sweet peppers, potatoes, and imported grapes because they often require more pesticides to fight off bugs, as opposed to harder produce, such as broccoli. If you want to know more about the produce in relation to pesticide contamination, here is a list you can download.

Finally, always look for the USDA seal when shopping for organic foods and packaged food. This will ensure that the dairy and meat products you buy are hormone- and antibiotic-free. If you are buying produce or meat that is not packaged, either ask the store clerk or look for the relevant sign.

Top 10 restaurants in Toronto with the most Stupendous Views/Locations

Toronto is the city of endless options. No matter what you have a sudden “appetite” for, you will certainly find it there, from winter sports, fishing, and relaxing hikes to bike tours and music festivals. When it comes to dining though, Toronto holds the reigns with the best facilities where you not only satisfy your finest culinary quests at warm and inviting environments, but also enjoy a stunning view.

So, for your next dinner out, here are the top 10 restaurants we suggest that blend radiant sunsets, exquisite vistas, sailboats dotting the peaceful lake, or the twinkling lights of the busy city (or a combination of more than one!); everything that will make any meal feel beyond superb!

1. Pappas Grill (Website)

1. pappas grillLocated in the lovely Greektown center on the Danforth, Pappas Grill enchants with its beautiful award-winning décor and the relaxed, sophisticated atmosphere. You can taste inspired Mediterranean cuisine around a cozy, wood-burning fireplace or the garden patio (depending on the weather) and enjoy a wonderful view of the Danforth, at the same time, especially during The Taste of Danforth festival! As for the menu, there is a wide range of grilled foods, as well as brunch delicacies and lunch and dinner offerings, featuring pastas, sandwiches, and soups prepared with the freshest of ingredients; all at very competitive prices.

Location: 440 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

2. 360 Restaurant at the CN Tower (Website)

CN-Tower-Restaurants-360Toronto’s most famous landmark, the CN Tower, has a gem waiting to impress you with amazing views, an excellent wine collection (the highest wine cellar in the world), and inventive, seasonal menu (locally sourced). Dining is an unforgettable experience as you get to see the city from all the different angles existing from more than 350 meters above the ground, from this revolving restaurant. The menu has something for every taste, from seafood options to vegetarian dishes (both a la carte and Prix fine offerings).

And, when you say things can’t go better, you are offered an incredible bonus after purchasing your meal. Take the elevator and access the Glass Floor and LookOut levels of the CT Tower and feel your heart stopping after you gaze at the stunning city view. Perfect for a business lunch, romantic date, family outing, or anniversary dinner!

Location: 301 Front Street West, Toronto

3. Park Hyatt Roof Lounge (Website)

3. Park HyattThe fashionable Yorkville has a favorite go-to spot where all celebs rush to, organise their parties or relax by the fireplace and let their mind stray. The cosmopolitan Park Hyatt has dedicated its entire 18th floor to make dining an art, taking your entire experience to another level. Expect a mix of breath-taking panoramas of the Toronto skyline, a wide selection of the finest wines, cocktails, and Martinis, and warmly designed chic interiors which are more than enough to make you feel welcomed and valued. During the summer months, you can take your glass of fine wine onto the terrace and let your mind wander around the city, as it is seen from way up above.

Location: 4 Avenue Road

4. Luma (Website)

4. LumaIn a trendy atmosphere, where you can see the entire west-end entertainment district of Toronto, Luma boasts panoramic views of the trendiest area of Toronto. Although not as spectacular as the views from the Roof Lounge, Luma will show you the world from a different angle. Watch the passers-by on King Street while enjoying Winterlicious dishes and sandwiches and pleasing your taste buds with signature delicacies (e.g. truffle ravioli), cocktails, mouth-watering local cheeses, and desserts (the Luma Chocolate Bar is to die for). Ideal for business meals and special occasions.

Location: 350 King Street West

5. Canoe (Website)

7.canoeIt seems that Oliver & Bonacini have found the recipe for success. Their other child (besides Luma), Canoe, is a superb dining spot much-preferred by the local members of the elite and visitors from around the world. Conveniently located on the 54th floor of the famous TD Bank Tower, it provides unsurpassed panoramas of the downtown core of Toronto and its picturesque harbor. Expect to have your culinary instincts treated with extreme care when locally-themed dishes, such as the Montreal State Spiced Venison Loin and the Northern Woods Mushroom Soup, among others melt in your mouth creating a gustatory explosion. Combined with the marvellous scenery, your overall experience is worth to the last penny!

Location: 66 Wellington Street West

6. The One Eighty (Website)

6. the one eightySpeaking of restaurants in Toronto with the most stupendous views, the One Eighty could not have been omitted. Atop the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre in the sophisticated Bloor-Yorkville district, The One Eighty is home to 2 of the highest patios in Canada. Offering views of both the south and north of Toronto, dining in the open air is made a memorable experience. Unquestionably, the stunning backdrop improves any occasion, from midweek pints to special events, and the ambrosial menu combines seasonal mains and desserts, alongside tapas-style appetizers to please every taste. Don’t forget to check the extensive list of martinis, cocktails, beers, and wines. You won’t be disappointed!

Open: April-October

Location: 55 Bloor Street West

7. Against the Grain Urban Tavern- Corus Quay (Website)

7. againstSometimes, the simplest of things hold the essence of happiness. Against the Grain is within walking distance to downtown yet so amazingly close to the Sugar Beach. The convenient waterfront location is perfect for long hours of relaxing and enjoying the splendid view of the Toronto Island and Lake Ontario, during lazy summer days. As for the tastes you can treat yourself with, the Pulled Pork (braised in molasses and dark beer), the Maple Chipotle Wings, and the Stone Bakes Pizzas comprise a great way to get started. Soak up the summer sun while indulging in pub grub, sipping a pint, and watching the visual illusions created by the shimmering water.

Location: 25 Dockside Dr. Toronto, ON

8. Toulà Restaurant & Bar (Website)

8. toulaIf being close to the water rejuvenates you and makes dining a remarkable experience, the Westin Harbour Castle is the place you want to be. Sitting almost atop Lake Ontario, the 38th floor of the Castle will take you to Toulà, the place where Venetian-inspired cooking and amazing scenery combine and create a work of art. Whether your table faces the lake or downtown Toronto, you’ll get scenic views for sure!

Location: The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto.

9. Scaramouche (Website)

9.scaramoucheWho can beat the longevity of Scaramouche? If it has survived for more than 3 decades, then there is something definitely done oh-so-right there! Be it the chef’s inexhaustible desire for perfection, the incomparable view, the modern architecture, or the serenity infused in the room, Scaramouche is still leading the game. Try the filet mignon, coconut cream pie or the truffled gnocchi and complete with pecan bread next to a breath-taking sea-level view and marvel at Toronto’s shimmering lights for a one-of-a-kind dining experience!

Location: 1 Benvenuto Pl, Toronto.

10. Arriba Restaurant (Website)

10.arribaFrom its fantastic position in the Rogers Centre, Arriba promises a dining experience like never before. The particularity of this restaurant offering dynamic dining lies in its view. No, you won’t be seeing any Toronto skyline, the downtown area, the Toronto Island or any other of the great poles of attractions scattered all over Hogtown! On the contrary, expect to be seated and dine with an incredible vantage into the Blue Jays baseball stadium! Just ask for the window on the game meal and enjoy a baseball game!

Location: 1 Blue Jays Way, Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel, Toronto

10 Romantic Restaurants in Toronto

Whether longing to celebrate a long-time relationship or impress a new flame, the restaurant you choose might make the difference between a memorable time or not. Of course, we don’t all share the same idea of romantic dining –some prefer luxury and serenity while others opt for spaces buzzing with energy. With that in mind, this article rounds up 6 of Toronto’s most romantic restaurants that can please even the most sophisticated tastes!

 

 

1. SCARAMOUCHE

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Perfect for toasting very special occasions, this long-standing hushed room on Avenue Road does not only provide an attentive, fast, and polished service, and delicious tastes from the hands of Keith Froggett, but also one of the city’s most breath-taking, romantic, dining views. The food is sublime and has been receiving raves for three decades now while the tables, masterly placed next to floor-to-ceiling windows, comprise an impressive commodity. As a first course, expect to surprise your palate with seasonal, yet extravagant, ingredients, such as Truffled Gnocchi Parisienne or nicely washing down oysters, followed by tempting subsequent courses. As for the wine list, it will certainly not disappoint you. You are also free to bring your own wine with a corkage of $35 per bottle!

2. SPLENDIDO

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If you want to spend a few hours getting spoiled and pampered, this stylish Harbord Street restaurant is the one for you. It is a place that fulfils every request and works perfectly with two starry eyes lovers that are celebrating a special moment, rekindling passion over splendid food. Although it is hard to tell what to expect to caress your taste buds with, given that the menu changes every day, one thing is for sure: you will experience heavenly indulgence! From butter poached lobster to magnificent pasta dishes with black truffles, you will fulfil your lust for Canada’s prime produce! Although it’s a dining facility that will shed a few pounds of weight from your wallet, the depth of flavour and the extravagant amuse-bouche served in shot glasses for an even more intense flavour experience, will make it worth your while.

3. F’AMELIA

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This warm and cozy trattoria, spread out in 3 rooms on Amelia Street, steals impressions with its amiable entrance that reminds a lot of a Tuscan farmhouse, tucked on a corner of a busy neighbourhood, with a lovely Italian-style pizza oven. However, this is only the beginning. You instantly feel like home as waiters and owners learn your name within a glance and take you to your table to please your taste with hearty, blistered pizza crusts and Northern Italian dinner. One of the specialties is the rosemary braised rabbit with pappardelle that you can accompany with an affordable option from the wine list. Before lingering over wine, you may also want to savour their signature pies made with San Marzano tomatoes.

4. CANOE

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Nicely situated just above the TD bank, right in the heart of the entertainment district, Canoe is an impressive splurge of a restaurant. From the menu by chef John Horne, full of dishes made from local ingredients, to the artful handling of the food in the perfectly clean open kitchen, and the spectacular view, everything screams you are about to have a top dining experience. Each dish is a surprise; the garnished fois gras and short ribs are exquisite. Every detail is well attended and you can expect to be well taken care of, which makes Canoe a must see restaurant and an ideal spot to relish life, from 54 floors above ground!

5. GEORGE

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In quiet Queen Street, George dining room offers divine, inventive tastes and excellent, fast service that won’t leave your wine glass empty for long. You can celebrate in absolute style with a beautifully presented five-to-ten-course menu (vegetarian option provided) for up to $140 that inspires awe.
George is the kind of restaurant that is becoming less and less scarce nowadays, with the food almost requiring formal attire as chef Lorenzo demonstrates his flair and passion for cooking through the full of local and seasonal produce menus. The wine list is excellent and although most menus are blind, you can expect George to cater to your preferences, in case you have extreme dislikes or allergies to specific ingredients. As for the made private romantic, garden patio, decorated with lovely lights, it is the perfect dining during the summer.

6. TRATTORIA SOTTO SOTTO


This Italian village-like, classy, private oasis in the elegant neighborhood of Yorkshire, is a pleasant, cozy restaurant located in the basement of a multi-storied building that attracts A-lists and celebs by tens and tens during the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). Year round, Sotto Sotto is fitted with business associates and romantic couples that want to get a taste of a perfectly made bolognese sauce and Osso Bucco with fresh ingredients that melts in the mouth sending gustatory shocks that amaze. Definitely a must-visit dining with superb dishes made with love that shows.

To complement your list, here are other great restaurants that you and your other half can enjoy a romantic dinner:

7. ICI BISTRO

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The 24-seat dining room and the delicious food make Ici Bistro an appealing place for those longing for a refined and laid-back place to enjoy food and be a bit spoiled over dinner. Expect to be treated with modern French fare and a warm and fast service. However, it should be best to make sure you get a reservation as it is packed every day of the year!

8. PAPPAS GRILL

10 Romantic REstayrants in TorontoLocated in the romantic central Greektown location on the Danforth, Pappas Grill comprises a superb dining facility that has stolen people’s hearts, not only because of the delicious, well-cooked and served dishes, but also for its enchanting, award-winning design. The lovely patio overlooking at the Danforth area, offers relaxing moments. You can have your drink there, when the weather permits, and let your mind go as the fresh breeze rejuvenates your senses and the beautiful flowers allow your eyes to wander in places of serenity and peace.

9. CORNER HOUSE

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A rustic, quaint cottage on Davenport that serves Continental fare and makes you feel at home thanks to the remarkably friendly owners, chef-owner Herbert Barnsteiner and his wife, Michelle. Ideal if you are looking for a special and cozy place to treat your spouse!

10. GLAS WINE BAR

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Beautifully placed in Leslieville, Glas Wine Bar offers a Michelin-starred experienced and steals your heart from the first moment you step foot in it. Its modern status and the open kitchen make it all the cozier and you can enjoy a lovely romantic dinner with your significant other in a completely casual and unrushed tenor. However, the only one relishing a laid-back, slow-paced dining experience will be you and not the service as the owner and chef, Danny Pantano won’t let your glass unfilled not even for a bit!

If you want more romantic dating ideas, feel free to check out our article 10 Most Romantic Dates in Toronto  or the 10 Low Budget Romantic Things to Do in Toronto!

Top 10 Most Popular Greek Dishes

http://news.gtp.gr/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Greek_food.jpgBesides magnificent blue waters and a bright warm sun, Greece is also renowned for its wider Mediterranean cooking culture, distinguished by the simplicity and diversity of the dishes infused with Greek philosophy regarding well-being, the gourmet tastes, and the colors and nutritional value of its ingredients. Virgin olive oil supplements the vast majority of dishes while the Greek countryside provides an abundance of herbs and vegetables that add to the perfection of everything placed on a table. As for the dairy products, such as Greek yoghurt and feta cheese, the wood stove baked bread, the local livestock (e.g. free range goat and sheep), and the fresh fish, they have rightfully earned Greece a special place in the hearts of everyone experiencing hospitality in the land of sun and the Gods!
Food means much more than a nutritional need to the Greeks, which is why you will find dishes made with excessive love and attention, following meticulously cooked starters, called mezedes, and distilled local wine (also retsina, ouzo, and tsipouro), allowing a group of friends or family members have fun and share vivid moments while living the ultimate Greek culinary experience. To help you decide which dishes to try when visiting Greece, here is a top 10 list!

1. MOUSAKA

https://www.epicureselections.com/images/recipes/recipeimages/250.jpgWith aubergines, minced meat, potatoes, and béchamel as its main ingredients, Mousaka is every Greek’s favorite and a very popular dish among fans of excellent cuisine! It is a casserole made famous by legendary chef Nicholas Tselemendes, and is all about layering the ingredients, topping them off with the creamy béchamel sauce, and baking to golden-brown perfection! You can find it in many variations (with any vegetable you like, instead of eggplant, e.g. zucchini). No matter the combination, the result remains delightful to the last bite.

2. LACHANODOLMADES

An intricate taste that enchants almost all your senses, from the smell, to taste, to sight! Cabbage leaf rolls are stuffed with rice and all-natural, local lamb (minced), and topped with a light lemon sauce called “avgolemono” (meaning egg and lemon), made by mixing 2 eggs and the juice of a lemon, or more, if you prefer more acid tastes. Some may add a few tablespoons of corn flour in the sauce to make it thicker and fuller in your mouth. Definitely a winter, hearty meal you just have to try!
Tip: You may also find this dish with grape leaves instead of cabbage, and only rice (no meat). In this case, the dish is called dolmathakia and is a great appetizer, served either warm or cold.

3. LAMB FRICASSEE

http://www.ultimate-guide-to-greek-food.com/images/lamb-fricassee.jpgIt used to be a dish served on the first Monday of the Orthodox Easter and was very popular mainly across South Greece. Made of prime lamb cuts (you may also hear of variations with chicken or kid goat substituting lamb, offering a low-fat meal), lettuce that you cut into small pieces with your hands, chopped onions, plenty of dill (some may also use mint), and avgolemono sauce (meaning sauce with egg and lemon). The result is a soupy dish with tastes and smells from all over Greece!

 4. GEMISTA

Indeed, a delicate summer Greek dish cooked in every household more than once a month, or once a fortnight! The classic recipe has green peppers and tomatoes, stuffed with rice, minced meat (many omit the meat and make it perfect for vegetarians and a dish eaten during fasting periods), a plethora of spices and herbs, such as parsley, dill, mint, and pepper, and chopped onions. It is accompanied by potatoes and, of course, olive oil.

5. FASOLATHA

https://dianadishes.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/fasolada.jpgWhat is a traditional Greek household without fasolatha on the menu at least once a week, in winter? White bean soup like you have never tasted before. It is a simple, nutritious, delicious, and definitely hearty recipe; a staple of any Greek dinner table. You may also have it embellished with fresh vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes while the addition of extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomato juice, and parsley (and sometimes celery) will satisfy your taste buds for sure.

6. LAMB KLEFTIKO

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/sites/bbcgoodfood.com/files/recipe_images/kleftiko.jpgΤhere are many stories regarding the origins of this dish. Some say it was first cooked in the mountainous regions of Greece, others say it is a dish of the northerners. Regardless of origin, lamb kleftiko is simply irresistible. Tender and juicy, melt-in-the-mouth lamb cooked with fluffy potatoes and white (or red) wine, wrapped in parchment paper until the aromas of sweet onions, garlic, juicy tomatoes, roast peppers, and bay leaves inundate the place to the point you can’t restrain yourself anymore!

7. SHRIMP SAGANAKI

http://cookinginplaingreek.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Shrimp-Saganaki-DSC04548.jpgOne of the most delicious appetizers you could taste in Greece is shrimp saganaki served in every seaside fish tavern around the country. Saganaki is a term used to refer to various local appetizers, prepared in a small, heavy-bottomed (two-handled) frying pan. In shrimp saganaki, medium-to-large-sized prawns are sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and deglazed with ouzo (famous traditional Greek drink), before they are added to spicy tomato sauce and finished off with feta cheese (saulty) and fresh herbs.
Tip: You can find many other foods in Greece cooked in a saganaki pan, such as mussels and cheese.

8. TZATZIKI

https://fruitandcake.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/a6.jpgWho hasn’t heard of tzatziki and has not associated it with Greece, summer fun days, laid-back fish tavernas, friends and families around a table by the sea, with a glass of ouzo or retsina (local drinks) by the hand, toasting for good health! Made of the world renowned Greek yogurt, sliced cucumber, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar, tzatziki makes an excellent creamy appetizer that can accompany both fish and meat excellently. It is customary to add some olive oil (Greeks have been cultivating olives for centuries!) and place an olive in the middle, when served!

9. GRILLED MEAT (GYROS)

https://cbspittsburgh.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/greekfood_gyros.jpgSpit-roasted and charcoal-drilled meats are a specialty of the Greeks. Traditional souvlaki is Greece’s most loved fast food and has 2 yummy versions: with skewered meat (kid goat or local free-range pork or lamb) or gyros, wrapped in pitta bread, with potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and as much tzatziki as you can take! An enticing explosion of tastes right inside your mouth!

  10. FRESH FISH

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qz7dFb1i538/Ud_C4PaZyxI/AAAAAAAAOa0/JUnCh9Ad0vY/s640/kalamaria+tiganita.jpgSurrounded by blue seas, Greece offers a plethora of different dishes of fresh fish. Ever since ancient times, Greeks would sit at a seaside tavern and eat fresh squid (calamari in Greek) or any other fish they had caught from the Aegean or the Mediterranean Sea. Cooked with minimum fuss, fresh fish are not only tasty, but also healthy and nutritious. You can have them grilled or lightly fried (for smaller fish, such as whitebait) and drizzled with a lemon-olive oil dressing (ladolemono). Absolutely divine!

Kali Oreksi!

10 Low Budget Romantic Things to do in Toronto

Toronto can be pricey during winter, but, still, there are so many low-budget romantic things you can do with your other half! Here is a compact guide that will help you save your money for a hot chocolate and a Canada goose jacket to stay warm and enjoy the some of the best fun things lovely Toronto has in stack for you!

1. Dinner at Pappas Grill and Stroll by the Lake

http://www.pappasgrill.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/1-Pappas-Grill-Greek-Restaurant-Toronto.jpgStart an interesting and laid back evening with dinner at Pappas Grill and then head down to the beautiful Ashbridge Bay Park. The garden-y patio-like décor at Pappas is totally luring and you can get an eclectic mix of good traditional Greek and Italian food, as well as North American fare for under $10 per person, before you take a short ride down to the Ashbridge Bay Park just before sunset, when it is absolutely amazing. See the sun go down leaving its place to the hours where lovers make dreams and hold hands, visualising a wonderful tomorrow for you and your significant other, without losing the moment. Then, you can walk by the lake at Clark Beach Park. This little gem will cast its magic spell on you, as you stroll by other couples in love!

2. Have a Cocktail at the One Eighty & Watch a Movie

Sitting on the 51st floor of the swanky Manulife Centre, in Yorkville neighbourhood, former Panorama Lounge reopening around mid-March will offer you a magnificent view of the city in a renovated spacious, marbled, comfortable and cosy interior. Have a coffee or a cocktail and enjoy romantic times with your sweetheart without costing more than $15. Don’t hear people say you pay for the view. You can skip dinner there (is a bit pricey), but you can certainly enjoy having a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. The Cineplex Odeon Varsity and VIP Cinemas is an excellent next stop, where you can have a drink from the bar or a cheesecake to go with the movie and enjoy a flick next to your honey!

3. Go for a Bike Ride & Picnic

Toronto Island is perfect for a romantic bike ride after work. Just grab your other half and get on your bikes. You can meet by the ferry docks for a sunset ride on the beautiful Toronto Island and get a refreshing escape from the busy downtown. Make sure you pack a light picnic, find a nice grassy knoll, and smooch as the sun takes a nap for the day. Sharing precious, quality moments with someone you care and love is priceless and it doesn’t always have to cost a fortune to worth it.

4. Visit the Toronto Zoo

A Toronto stunner like the Toronto Zoo is an excellent outing for families and couples alike. Enjoy a day off in the wild nature and plan a BBQ where you can have fun or relish a lovely picnic with your significant other. Bring your hiking boots along and arm yourself with your greatest mood and you will definitely have lots of long, romantic walks, plenty to talk about on the way, and a plethora of memorable experiences to share!

 

5. Tree Planting

In the super fast-paced lives we all live, finding some time to share with your other half and the people that mean the world to you is definitely appreciated. Who needs to spend a million to prove that he cares, anyway? Besides the annual planting events held in spring (this year’s tree planting activity will involve the L’Amoreaux North Park in Scarborough and the Humber Arboretum in Etobicoke Toronto, on April), the Urban Forestry Services plants trees all across city-owned streets and needs volunteers. Joining in will not only allow you to add your stepping stone to making this city a better place, but also engage into something productive and significant with your sweetheart. How romantic is that?

6. Stroll through Philosopher’s Walk

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A relaxing evening stroll through Philosopher’s Walk is simply magical. There is nothing better after a long, tiring day, than enjoying warm, loving moments with your significant other after work with a romantic musical background from the students rehearsing at the Royal Conservatory; a cello scale is absolutely heavenly. Continue meandering all the way up to King College Circle, pick a spot on the grass (if the weather permits) and with a cup of herbal tea keeping you warm and relaxed, look up at the stars. A moment worth like a million dollars.

7. Walk to Yonge and Lawrence

The city of Toronto is full is places that can take you away from the city’s hustle and bustle in a heartbeat. So, head north to sedated Lawrence and Yonge, allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the amazing mazes of roses spreading their enchanting aromas in the air and get lost in the secret paths of the well-groomed Alexander Muir Gardens. There are so many hidden nooks that can shelter your need for romance and let you have a few moments in privacy, before you follow the trail all the way to the picturesque Sherwood Park, where you can celebrate your love without anyone watching.

8. Go Skating

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With plenty of public skates and ice rinks, Toronto offers another great option to spend some romantic time with your other half without costing you much. You can go for the classics, Harbourfront and Nathan Phillips Square, or check out the public skating rinks that are near where you are (or will be with your sweetheart at a particular, convenient for both of you, time). Most rinks are usually free, but you may need to spend as much as $3 per person, depending on the ice rink you choose. This is definitely a stellar winter choice that includes lots of fun and make the perfect places to wile away a romantic couple of hours. It is also a great activity to sandwich between other pursuits downtown.

9. The Waterfront

Toronto has an incredible waterfront that is a standalone pole of attraction and option to have a romantic date. So, whether you attend the numerous food fests at Harbourfront during summer time for some tasty and affordable grub or prefer to just sit calmly on a bench and gaze at ships or walk and feel the light breeze, one thing is for sure: you got yourself an excellent change from the bustling downtown and have your moment with your honey.

10. Visit the Niagara Falls

Not far from Toronto, you can reach this gem and wonder of nature for less than $20, if you hop on Megabus. It is the best and cost-effective weekend getaway you could have with your significant other and still be in the province. You can choose to stay at one of the many cheap motels in the city, such as the Cadillac and the Advance Inn. Better stay away from the attractions though, unless you are visiting for the first time, as they can be crowded. Instead, hit up the Butterfly Conservatory and allow yourselves to fall in love with the Falls, and perhaps one another all over again!

 

You may also want to check out our article about the 10 Most Romantic Date Ideas in Toronto, for even more magical nights and days with your other half!

Top 10 Romantic Dates in Toronto

Spending time with that special someone is priceless and we, sometimes, get so much carried away by our lives moving so fast forward in the city that we forget how it’s like to share some romance. It doesn’t take much to spark the fire and keep it flaming, and, luckily, Toronto is full of options that can allow you to strengthen your bond and spend some relaxing, romantic time together with your significant other. To give you an idea, here is a list of the 10 most romantic date ideas in Toronto!

1. Go Skating

The ice rink at Nathan Phillips Square is a quintessential Toronto experience and a great place to start a romantic date and have loads of fun. It will help you loosen up, let off some steam, and be more relaxed as you skate mitten to mitten. And, if you feel up to a quick getaway, the Drake Hotel is always charming and inviting and only minutes away. You can have some serious fun there and stay in quaint romantic rooms that have nothing to be jealous of modern suites!

2. Star Watching

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The David Dunlap Observatory, sitting on a large estate north of Toronto (North York), hosts star gazing events from time to time, as well as info sessions if you are into astronomy. It is a unique place to fall farther in love as you watch a falling star, especially at times when we have left our romantic moods aside for the sake of the demanding day-to-day life. Don’t forget to make a wish…for eternal love…for the moment to last…for many more moments like that…for anything you feel worth wishing for.

3. Movie Night

Cliché or not, a movie date choice is something you should definitely try because going to the movies has an entirely different meaning in Toronto and can make for a splendit, memorable evening. You can line-up for a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and watch star-stunned movies and the series currently shown at Bell Lightbox. During the summer months, you can catch outdoor screenings of classics, and all that without spending an arm and a leg.

4. Painting

Painting is cathartic while it also releases your creativity and allows it to express on canvas. Painting side-by-side can be a truly amazing experience and a way of exploring one another’s artistic souls. Paintlounge offers this pretty sensual experience (do we need to remind you of the famous scene from the Titanic?) for $20 if you want to go freestyle painting. Gab over coffee and dare to express yourself on a shared canvas and see what happens. If nothing else, fun is guaranteed!
There are also interesting social painting events hosted at Pappas Grill a couple of times a month that you could also check out!

5. Couples’ Massage

Get pampered and seriously spoiled with Urban Nirvana’s couples’ massage. Take a break from the daily grind and treat yourself and your date to a foot soak and massage, a sensual Thai massage, alongside fruit and tea. You can have all the fun you want during the massage, but we suggest you let yourself go and allow the positive effects of massaging get to you. You’ll certainly leave relaxed and feeling fully energized, ready for whatever the nights holds for the two of you.

6. Dinner

Yeap, another cliché dating option. Toronto is known for it’s multicultural variety of cuisines and romantic restaurants that will WOW your significant other. We suggest going to Pappas Grill as it is a go-to-romantic spot that takes romantic dating to a higher level, and probably back to the good old times. Their cosy wood fireplace and the authentic Greek ambiance and music will travel your mind and soul to faraway lands showered by sun, and feel like soaking your feet in crystal clear waters and letting the light summer breeze caress your skin. Romance at its most over fine dining in this award winning restaurant and its rustic Greek inspired design. After that, you can take the subway and stroll along the Danforth, Greektown, do good shopping, or just have a peaceful walk in the afternoon in a lively and fun place.

7. Dinner Cruise

Ignite your relationship as you witness the lovely city skyline, hand-in-hand, while on a dinner cruise departing from the Harbourfront. Very few things can beat that in the romance-o-meter. Dine by moonlight and rediscover the beautiful city from a new perspective as the DJ gets your shoes tapping under the stars! Indicatively, Mariposa Cruises charge a dinner cruise for $73 per person (tax excluded).

Alternatively, you may want to try the elegant Rooftop Lounge at the Park Hyatt, in Yorkville neighborhood, instead, and grab a stunning view of the city from the hotel’s 18th floor with the inviting heated patio, and cosy fireplace.

8. Yoga (Partner)

Balance (and flexibility!) are vital for any relationship and working up a sweat with your sweetheart at a partner yoga session will help both of you with those. What is more, partner yoga is an excellent way to build trust and connection with your date. No matter how one sees it, it is a win-win situation and a great date option, promising ultimately romantic moments after each session.

9. Play Trivia/Game at Board Game Bar/Café

This one is a top recommendation for first dates as trivia nights help bond and have fun with your new sweetheart. It is also fantastic for long-time love birds, as nothing feels as close to real love than simultaneously spitting out lyrics and lines of favorite songs and movies! There are several board café cafes all over the city where you can enjoy yourselves while playing Snakes and Latters or Snakes and Lagers and have the time of your life!

10. Have a Picnic

Toronto Islands are superb places to have a picnic. They offer you a mini-getaway from the city for something less than $10 (for the ferry), if you bring your own food along. Pick a lovely, warm day and enjoy an outdoor date option that guarantees lots of relaxing, intimate moments with your other half, under the loving and embracing rays of the sun. An excellent date option, especially if you are on a tight budget.

 

Now, if you are looking for cost-effective date ideas, you can check out our 10 Low Budget Romantic Things to Do in Toronto!

Why Is Greek Yogurt Better Than the Rest

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Much is said and many more is written about the health benefits of Greek yogurt and whether Greek yogurt is indeed superior to other regular ones. In between conflicting viewpoints, there lies the truth; the bare facts. Facts that you only get from an insider, who can back up everything coming out of their mouth or the tips of their hands with substantial evidence and undeniable facts. Without further ado, here we go!

PROCESS OF MAKING GREEK YOGURT

Just like any yogurt, milk is first heated, then cooled to a fermentation temperature between 41°C and 46°C before the maker adds bacterial cultures. Then, the mixture is left to ferment, so the bacteria can grow and produce gels and lactic acid. And, voila, you have yogurt! However, in Greek yogurt making, yogurt is strained to the point where all lactose and liquid whey are completely removed, which leaves you with a thinker-textured product. And, THAT is only part of the secret that lies behind the Greek yogurt having an undeniable edge.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF GREEK YOGURT

Since Greek yogurt contains less water, compared to regular varieties, it does not only have a thicker consistency and tangier flavour, but also fewer calories and more protein per serving, among others. In detail:

1. Protein

Greek yogurt contains 15-20 grams of protein per typical 6-ounce serving. This equals the amount of 2-3 ounces of lean meat. That does not only help promote fullness but also makes yogurt an especially appealing product to vegetarians that long to get enough of nutrient.
The same amount of regular yogurt will provide you with 9 grams of protein, which means it won’t be long before you feel hungry and start looking in your cupboards to see what’s next to eat.

2. Carbohydrates

Those into low-carb diets will find going Greek a superb choice as Greek yogurt contains 5-8 grams of carbs, which is approximately half the carbs you will get from a regular kind (13-17 grams). Moreover, as the process of making Greek yogurt involves the removal of some of the milk sugar, it is much less likely you will get any undesired incidences related to lactose intolerance. What is more, those with a sensitivity to carbs or following a low-carb diet, such as people with diabetes, Greek yogurt is your ticket.

Important Notice:

greek-yogurt-At this point, it should be noted that opting for sweetened yogurts, either with a sweetening agent or sugar, means you get more carbs, so it is best you choose yogurt with the least added sugar available.
Also, you should pay attention to nutrition labels and stick to fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt to avoid unnecessary intake of saturated fats that are present in every type of yogurt.

 

3. Sodium

Everybody knows that too much salt does nothing but harm to our health. It can boost blood pressure, which in turn, increases the risk of heart failure significantly. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, Americans are urged to consume up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day (for older than 50 or those with diabetes/hypertension, chronic kidney disease, the sodium intake is 1,500 milligrams). You will find 50 milligrams of sodium in a Greek yogurt serving (though you can find brands with lower sodium versions) while most brands of regular yogurt have about twice that amount.

OTHER BENEFITS OF GREEK YOGURT

1. Excellent Versatility

Many use Greek yogurt to substitute sour cream and milk, because of its rich taste and thick texture. Others even use it for baking. You can make a healthy cake for the kids to take to school with yogurt instead of milk and you’ve got a healthy dessert. Also, Greek yogurt is the main ingredient of many delicious dishes and appetizers, such as the famous tzatziki. You can eat great Greek tzatziki at Greek restaurants like Pappas Grill or you can easily make it at home by adding Greek yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of vinegar and salt and there you go! A tasty, healthy, traditional Greek food!

2. Probiotics

Greek yogurt contains live microorganisms called probiotics which are known for their beneficial effects on the immune system and digestive function. Probiotics are also believed to help limit the effects related to antibiotic treatment.

3. Is one of the 6 best foods you could eat!

According to director of nutrition for WebMD, Kathleen M. Zelman, one of the 6 best foods most people are not eating is plain, fat-free Greek yogurt. From the many yogurts available on the market, Greek is a standout. Why? Because although all yogurts are excellent sources of protein, potassium, calcium, and vitamins B and B12, Greek yogurt is tastier, has twice the protein content of other regular yogurts, which is great for weight control, is lower in lactose, and contains probiotic cultures with all the aforementioned benefits. Now, if you pair Greek yogurt with your favourite whole grain cereal and fresh fruit, you have just made yourself (and your family) a nutrition-packed meal with enhanced health effects.

FINAL NOTES

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Harvard, found that yogurt can help you control your age-related weight better than any other food. It is estimated, that if you add a daily serving of yogurt in your diet, you’ll lose up to 1 pound every 4 years, mainly because of the effect the bacteria have on your intestines.
If you decide to go Greek, mix it with seasonings (e.g. parsley, dill, garlic) and create delicious dips for cucumber slices, celery sticks, or carrots. You can also make your tacos with Greek yogurt and avoid sour cream. Additionally, you may want to substitute oil and eggs in baked foods with Greek yogurt. Finally, you can easily skip all the fatty ingredients (e.g. butter, mayonnaise, and cream cheese) as the Greek yogurt’s thick texture makes it an excellent swap in dishes like egg salad, potato salad, and coleslaw, as well as sandwiches, among other comfort foods.

Coming from a Greek in heart and origin, Greek yogurt has won people’s hearts for all the things mentioned herein, but it all begins with the pure and profound love farmers have for their cows, sheep, and goats (their animals are their family, so those that have taken it seriously are careful of what they eat and how they live). The commitment family-brands have for sticking to traditional recipes as passed on by their ancestors. The dedication of small dairy companies to provide their children (and the children of the world) with something healthy to eat; something prepared with love and respect, for the environment, for people.

Who can beat that?

SOURCES:

1. Hiatt, Kurtis and Haupt, Angela (2011). “Greek Yogurt Vs. Regular Yogurt: Which Is More Healthful?”. US. NEWS: HEALTH.
2. Schwader, Ashley (2013). “Benefits of Greek Yogurt”. LiveStrong.
3. California Dairy Research Foundation. “USProbiotics Home”.
4. Brody, Jane (2011). “Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated”. The New York Times.
5. Zelman, Cathleen (2011). “6 Best Foods You’re Not Eating”. WebMD.

How to Choose a Romantic Restaurant for a Date

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Looking to take out that special someone in your life for a date? Want to make the date a memorable one? And have you been hopping around town to find the perfect romantic restaurant? If you’ve answered yes to all of them than you’re in luck as we will be discussing the things you need to look for in a restaurant for your romantic date. This will help you to make your date a memorable one (for all the right reasons of course).So just sit back, relax and let this guide serve your purpose.

Location

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The first and foremost thing that you need to do is choose a suitable location. It is important that you choose a location that is convenient for both you and your date. Make sure your date does not have to travel a million miles to reach the restaurant. A romantic rendezvous is a serene event so make sure you choose a peaceful neighborhoodthat is near your date so that you don’t have to spend too long of a time driving there, especially if it is the first date or one of the first few dates. Driving for too long can create awkward moments and can hurt the date, unless you are comfortable with your date. If you are comfortable with your date a longer drive can actually have a positive effect as it can create suspense and mystery. just make sure your date doesn’t fall asleep : )

Noise level

noisy-restaurantMake sure the noise level in the restaurant isn’t too quiet or too loud. It is important that you are able to communicate easily with your date with some soft music setting the mood. It is unacceptable to speak loudly on a romantic date so make sure the music isn’t too loud. Choose a restaurant that has soft music as it will heighten the romance in the air. If you are worried that there will be too many awkward moments of silence on your romantic date, you may want to go to a bar beforehand and have a drink or two to loosen up a bit while playing pool, then go to a restaurant on your romantic dinner. This will make the whole experience more fun and you won’t worry as much.

Food

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It is important to find out what food and drinks your want the restaurant to serve. Plus take your date’s food preferences into consideration before choosing a restaurant and avoid messy foods. Make sure that the restaurant has a diverse menu. Good food and excellent cuisine are offered by most romantic restaurants. Mediterranean (Greek cuisine) or Italian cuisine would be a good choice for a date. Avoid foods such as black squid rice that is available in some Mediterranean restaurants. It tends to make your teeth look black and you will look silly! Also avoid drinking too much red wine because it will make your lips look red (a problem with males mostly) and it will stain your teeth as well making them look dark and dirty.

Lighting

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The role of lighting on a romantic date is often under rated. The perfect light set up can set the perfect mood of a date. Choose a restaurant where the lighting isn’t too bright; dim and mellow will do the trick. Notice how romantic the dim candle light is in the photo above. This helps to make your romantic date intimate. A restaurant with a lot of candles should be your ideal choice. If you’re not a big fan of candles and find it too gloomy for your liking then choose a restaurant that has cozy lighting, and try to take your date out for dinner instead of breakfast, brunch or lunch. Dinner just spells romance!

Price

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While all of the things mentioned above are important for the success of your date, your primary concern should be to know the cost you will incur. It is recommended that you find out about the prices beforehand to save yourself from unnecessary pressure and embarrassment, especially in todays economy where almost everything is over-priced. These two things could well spoil your romantic date. Finding out about prices beforehand would help you choose a restaurant that fits you budget or work out ways to pay for your date. Remember, the point is to be yourself, so if you are just starting out with a new job and you do not have too much extra money to spend, don’t try and act like a Rockefeller. Sooner or later your date will find out that you are not loaded and will be turned off. Always be yourself and do your best with what you have.

There are likely to be countless restaurants in and around your neighbourhood, the points mentioned above will help you to narrow down your choices and choose the perfect romantic restaurant for your date.

Top 5 Restaurant Designs in Canada

The first thing that the catches the eye in a restaurant is its design; everything else seems to be secondary. The design of a restaurant either prompts a passer-by to enter or to shy away from it. When it comes to choosing a restaurant, we Canadians are choosy people. It takes something special to convince us, in which appearances play a key role.

The food of a restaurant plays a major role in making or breaking its reputation but design ensures patrons keep coming back. The ambiance could well be the difference between an enjoyable dining experience and a forgettable one. Let’s look at top five restaurant designs that are attracting diners for their visual appeal.

1.    L’ABATTOIR

labattoirLocated in Vancouver, British Columbia the L’Abattoir is set in a renovated building made from bricks and beam. It has been designed by complementing industrial fixtures with classic French tile work. The elevated dining room, an atrium soaked in sunlight and lounge settings are key features of this extraordinaire restaurant.

2.    Chives Canadian Bistro

Chives-Canadian-BistroLocated in the historic downtown of Halifax, Nova Scotia the chives Canadian bistro has a chic interior. Chives is an urban café that combines banquet seating, chalkboard menus and painted walls with features that mimic traditional French bistros. The key elements of Canadian landscape like sand, rock, wood and water are captured within the design.

3.    Hawks Worth Restaurant

hawks-worth-restaurantOne of the finest restaurants in Canada, Hawks Worth is situated in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Hawks Worth restaurant houses four distinct rooms. Elegant pearl banquets and a fine chandelier make up the pearl room. A custom installation by renowned artist Rodney graham is found in the art room while, 1920’s heritage, arc windows and modern technology make the York room inspirational.

4.    Pappas Grill Greek Restaurant

pappas-grill-greek-restaurantThis Greek restaurant in Toronto, Ontario has earned an award winning timeless design. Often ranked among the best Greek restaurants in Toronto, Pappas Grill provides you with a relaxed, simple, open veranda urban atmosphere. The design has been created by Hishberg Designs. Constructed around a wood burning fireplace in winters and lush garden outdoor space in summers, Pappas Grill provides you with a serene atmosphere you have been looking for to spice up your dining experience. It is ideal for romantic dates, hanging out with friends or going on business dinners and other group occasions.

5.    RAYMONDS

raymondsSporting a heavy name and design, RAYMONDS is located in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. A prime example of classic Newfoundland and Labrador architecture, RAYMONDS was built in 1915 and overlooks St. John’s harbor. Key features of the design include the French roof and the dormer windows. The pediments over the windows add to its allure. The dining hall is spacious with a stunning view and the hanging chandeliers add to its design and aura.

The design of a restaurant is as important as the food while choosing a restaurant regardless whether it is a romantic date, a friends or family get together or an office luncheon. An eye catching ambiance or design coupled with great food can make your dining experience a memorable one. The above mentioned restaurants boast both and are thus worth a visit.