The dining scene is one which is ever evolving, continually growing and always changing. Food and service trends come and go and recent years have seen restaurateurs in Toronto and other big cities turn their backs on fine dining instead embracing a more laid-back, informal vibe. White glove service has become archaic and stuffy and not at the top of the list for the more budget conscious diner. Nowadays you’re far more likely to find yourself indulging over a family style meal with lots of reaching and passing plates with the help of a server who favours denim and plaid over starched shirts and a Windsor knot.
Now that’s not to say that fine dining is totally obsolete, there are still those who require a tad more attention when it comes to their night out. Old school practices such as tableside service are still used in some establishments mostly to highlight a particular dish through tableside construction. If you’re a sucker for attention-to-detail, head to one of these joints for a memorable tableside moment…
Jacobs and Co. Steakhouse: Tableside Caesar Salad, $17 (Add Spanish white anchovies for $4)
The old steakhouse tradition lives on with preparation of this tasty classic happening right before your eyes. A quick glance at online reviews will confirm that the taste rivals the presentation and will certainly not disappoint.
Volos: Saganaki, $12
The Greek tradition of lighting this tasty cheese at the table is one that is sure to impress your date and gives you the perfect excuse to shout in Greek at the top of your voice. “OPA!”
El Catrin: Guacamole En La Masa, Grande $14 (Add crab for $9)
There’s nothing better than freshly mashed guac and it doesn’t get fresher than here at El Catrin where they prepare it for you at your table surrounded by stunning décor and ambiance. Simple, fresh, delicious and pretty healthy to boot… just don’t eat the whole bowl yourself.
The Grove: Parsley Root Soup with Snails and Horseradish, 1 of 3 courses for $45
Who the hell gets their soup poured into their bowl from a ceramic jug? Royals, that’s who. May I pass you a fresh napkin, Your Majesty…
Benihana at Fairmount Royal York Hotel
It doesn’t get any more tableside than this! Here you will enjoy more than just your meal as your ‘personal’ chef chops, slices and sears while you watch from your VIP seat. Your specialized chef cooks at the hibachi grill which is located smack bang in the middle of your table. There’ll be fancy chopping, juggling and whimsical shenanigans to encourage oohs and ahs from the crowd before you get to chow down on your Teppanyaki meal which won’t even have a chance to cool down before it hits your placemat.