Alo was voted as the number 1 restaurant of 2017 in Canada by various writers, chefs and other restaurateurs and after months of trying and finally getting a reservation, my expectation levels were extremely high to say the least.
I can safely say that after eating there twice within a month, not only is this my favourite restaurant in Toronto but the food and service invoke the elegance and the creativity of a Michelin starred restaurant.
When you go through the door at street level, you are met by a receptionist and guided into an elevator. As you step out of the elevator on the 3rd floor, you are greeted by a modern and chic bar and lounge.
Further inside is a luxurious dining room shrouded in blue-ish and grey-ish colours which seats less than 40 diners (eleven tables). What follows is a delicious 10 (plus canapés) course dinner accompanied with excellent service.
The service is simply top-notch. From the waiters who present the plates simultaneously to all diners to the sommelier who has extensive knowledge on the wines when being served during the pairings make for an eventful and fabulous dinner.
However, what made the service exceptional was the extra details such as giving the option of two different coloured dinner linen napkins. The service is comparable to Michelin starred restaurants and deserves to be lauded as one of, if not Toronto’s best.
The food is of similar quality. The dishes use the freshest of ingredients and range across different cuisines from French foie gras to Japanese scallops to scarpinocc and it remains immaculate and flawless.
All the dishes were brilliant. They were creatively plated yet there was a simplicity to it and of course, were delicious. However, there were some highlights throughout the night. The canapés and the amuse-bouche were both exceptional.
The amuse-bouche consisted of 3 different small plates. Never have I had broccoli like this before. It was essentially a broccoli cream and provided for a strong, flavourful and addictive taste. The venison tartare and the daikon shrimp counter balanced the broccoli bavarois with a more subtle flavour.
The two main dishes of pork belly and beef rib-eye were the winners of the night. The pork belly was crispy and well seasoned at the top which complimented the softer meat underneath. I hate to use the term addictive again to describe the taste, but there really isn’t another way I can describe it. It really is that good.
The beef ribeye came with 3 different types of sauces and gem lettuce. It was well cooked but what made it exceptional was the combination of the bread and butter with it. The bread was a course that came especially with the beef and the slightly salty, soft and warm bread complimented the beef perfectly. The gem lettuce was another surprise. I expected to be bland and distracting but rather, it tasted quite nice which I’m guessing was because of the capers.
The dinner was topped off with 3 refreshing desserts at the end. The third one consisting of coconut, caramelized white chocolate and yogurt was an excellent mixture of warm and cold dessert to end an incredible dinner experience that was well worth the wait of several months.