Alo Restaurant

Alo Restaurant prides itself on hospitality and classically prepared French cuisine. Sure enough, the service was so good that it felt like we were in an American restaurant. What they offer for dinner is a five course tasting menu where you choose four of eight savoury dishes. If you dine with a partner who is not picky, you can just request one of everything.

The restaurant was not designed with food bloggers in mind, which is not necessarily a bad thing since low lighting creates a more intimate atmosphere. However, it meant that not every dish was sufficiently photogenic to be featured below. So, let me highlight the Pinenuts, Celery Root, and Delice de Bourgogne savory dish, and the Sunchoke, Honey and Vanilla dessert – both were unbelievably complex, featuring a nutty flavour.

I loved the menu’s emphasis on contrasting textures, and multi-layered flavours. However, the complexity of every dish made me regret only being able to have a couple of bites of each; I became overwhelmed by the flavours, and found it hard to concentrate during the limited opportunity I had to taste them. Also, the various components of each dish tended to be spread out on the plate so that I could not be sure in what portion each element should have been balanced for delivery into my mouth.

I apologize for not giving more detail about each dish, but I was overwhelmed, and I was not taking notes. Let’s just say everything was delicious, and I can see why Alo Restaurant was named one of the best Toronto restaurants in 2015.

In the featured photo above: Aged Beef Ribeye, Bone Marrow, Watercress, Shallots – An unbelievable amount of flavour in such a thin slice of beef. The contrast of tender and crunchy made every bite exciting.

Quebec Foie Gras, Beets, Pear, Greek Yogurt – It’s hard to go wrong with foie gras. In this case, it didn’t taste greasy. However, it was not our favourite dish of the evening.

Burgundy Snails, Parsley, Black Garlic, Pearl Onion – The snails were buttery soft.

Kampachi, Rice Pearls, Fennel, Cured Egg Yolk – The fish itself was fantastic; fresh to the point of being buttery.

Nova Scotia Lobster, Squash, Turnip, Savoy Cabbage – We thought the lobster was a bit overcooked, but the sauce was delicious.

Muscovy Duck, Tradivo, Rutabaga, Prune – The duck was very tender, plus the sauce and Rutabaga complemented it perfectly.

Sea Buckthorn, Earl Grey Tea, Bergamot – Tasted fresh and fruity.

Carrot, Clementine, Lemon Balm – This is the best carrot cake I have ever had. It was subtle, with only a hint of the carrot flavour as its base, then launching into complementary flavours from there.

Alo Restaurant, 163 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON

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