Ahhh… I’m terrible and it’s true… I’ve completely fallen under on getting these Winterlicious reviews in this time around. Although it is now a little late, and I’m incredibly behind, I would still like to continue my writings and photos to document all the restaurants for future reference! I promise that all 8 restaurants will be talked about, even if they come in slowly. I have all the notes on them still so I won’t forget how the food was! I hope that you do enjoy them still even if the hype is far in the past :)
So heading a little out of downtown core I’ve chosen Five Doors North as my next restaurant. This is my first time doing Winterlicious here, but NOT my first time eating here. And the reason why I picked this place was because when I ate here for a regular meal before, I remember them making for me the best and perfectly cooked salmon I’ve ever had from a western restaurant. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll know how picky I am with my fish and how every western dining place seems to overcook fish somehow. So my goal here was to have the perfectly cooked salmon I’ve had once before, as it was conveniently also on their Winterlicious menu! Needless to say, I was excited for this dish and wanted to see how they handled it under pressure with the busy event, and whether they were consistent with their food. Nonetheless, I knew they had good food to offer, and for the cheap price they were going at, it seemed like a must-go!
The restaurant itself has a very cozy family-run kind of feeling to it. They source all the goods locally and even list that they get their meats from the local butcher store! Mmmm it’s always nice when restaurants market for Ontario freshness! Though they list themselves as an Italian restaurant, I feel their range is much more than that and they fall into almost a general western cuisine type of category. Even though it is a smaller restaurant, I was quite surprised at how quickly their reservations filled up for being out of the city and not a celebrity chef restaurant. Guess people in the area really do know where the good eats are and they’ve made a good name for themselves! Shall we go ahead now and review the place and their food?
You may miss the place as a restaurant in the line of similar storefronts and restaurants along Yonge street, but you can’t miss these GIANT COLOURFUL DOORS!
Since they don’t provide bread, we decided to make this order from their regular menu because we’ve had it before and avocado guacamole is always always so delicious. Which this definitely was just as delicious as we had last time!
With the low lighting for dinner, I apologize for the quality of the food pics, but that chunk there is the pork belly. Had a super crispy skin layer, mixed with the soft pork belly meat and fatness. Just makes me want to roll around like a piggy. Cooked beautifully with a delicious sweet sauce and soft mash to go with it. Would’ve gone great as an entree too if they portioned everything larger!
Meh, it’s beets and I don’t like that thing. I think there’s still only one place that has made a beet dish that I have thoroughly enjoyed and that was the first time I went to North 44 (reviewed here). So yea, it was pretty normal, beets were sliced pretty thinly so that’s nice.
That 1cm layer on top – all goat cheese. The thing holding it up is the polenta. Totally not what I was expecting because I’ve only had polenta in the fried form usually cut into smaller pieces! Did not know that polenta itself is just this soft mushy substance… like babyfood but with cornmeal! I’m not a big cheese fan, which you’d also know if you follow me, so that chunk of goat cheese was really a bit too much for me! But I did eat them together and try to have as much as possible since it was my order. It was omg waaaayyyy tooooo filling for me! It’s a good and interesting dish but I can’t say I was in love with it. It was definitely a huge portion and I think maybe the cheese fans would like it better =P
THE DEAL OF THE NIGHT. THE REASON WHY I CAME TO THIS RESTAURANT. And the verdict…… I’m so sorry and a little sad inside… but they overcooked it this night. It wasn’t horribadly overcooked for such a thick and large piece of salmon, but they definitely did not meet the standards that was served the last time when I had it perfect :'( . I still thoroughly enjoyed the meal since they have this great pumpkin seed crusting on it and they just work the flavours in right into their food! That pile of mango salad it sat on top was also the star of the night. The mango sliced were wonderfully sweet and soft, just the way I like, and the salad dressing worked well with the fish dish overall. Love their food, just wish it was perfect ALL THE TIME >___<
Not such a great pic, but that dark mass below all the crisps is definitely the steak. They really know how to pick their local meats, because the steak was cooked medium rare and very tender. The sauces were strong but not overpowering and went well with everything. The avocado mousse was interesting! I had it on its own as it would get covered up in flavour by the heavier black bean sauces, but they all played very nicely with each other. Probably my favourite entree of this night!
Another huge portioned dish of pork loin. Very nice cut and had a good meaty pork flavour to it. It was quite thick, but surprisingly still cooked properly throughout. Because it was so large though, it ended up being a little dryer than I would’ve liked in terms of texture. And when you’re eating a dish with that much pork, it really starts tasting the same and becoming too dry if you don’t mix it in with other stuff, which the dish didn’t have too much else to offer. This was probably the most simple and exactly what you’d expect it to taste like kinda dish of the night. Still a tasty chunk of meat though~
A lot of restaurant do a bread pudding sort of dessert for winterlicious events that I’ve noticed throughout the years. And so far they all do it quite differently most of the time. This one was more bready than pudding if anything. It was almost like eating a banananna chocolate bread muffin, much more dry than you’d expect a bread pudding to be like. The Bourbon Creme Anglaise sauce they used was very light and went well with it as a proper bread pudding dessert sauce though!
Creme Brulee was nothing special as a dessert in particular, but they had a nice thick layer of torched sugar that was fun to crack through and broke apart nicely to make this a beautifully tasting creme brulee. Very flavourful and creamy with the right denseness!
Don’t think I’ve had much flourless cakes before, so it was interesting to see that this was similar in texture and consistency to a cheesecake. But in the mouth it’s not as dense and had the solid-like features of a regular cake. I thought this cake was going to be one of those overly chocolate-full cakes by the looks of it, but to my surprise it was actually quite well balanced in terms of its density and chocolate flavouring. It was also not too sweet nor too bitter, even though it was closer to a darker chocolate side, so the fruits and sauce complemented it nicely without making any part of your tastebuds scream that it was too much of something. Much better than I expected!
Very down to earth cozy style of restaurant. Don’t need to look fancy even if the food tastes fantastic and the presentation is excellent! Just wear whatever you like!
Even though the dish that I came for wasn’t up to my expectations, I do have to say that this restaurant serves wonderfully tasting food with very fresh ingredients. I would definitely come back to this restaurant and give the salmon another try on a regular night when they’re not so busy to see if they can do it perfectly for me again. And even so, all their food has been sauced and flavored nicely. And for the price that they go at for Winterlicious??? Totally worth it, such a cheap steal for such excellent high quality food! We definitely think that if they were located in the downtown core, they would surely be able to have their prices at a higher range than what they were listed for. I say this place is a must try for deliciousness at a cheap price! And you don’t have to be all formal to have nice foods with someone :) Definitely a perfect family restaurant!
Thanks for joining!
Restaurant: Five Doors North
Winterlicious: $25 Dinner
Reservations: It is a small restaurant so weekends fill up right away. Weekdays should be easier as it is located further north, but I would highly advise to reserve earlier on.