Last evening my committee was meeting here in Toronto. We normally meet for a short while in the evening and then go out for a late dinner. There are so many dining options in Toronto that it gets complicated! I needed something close to the office because they would be walking, I needed something close to the hotel they stay in, I couldn't select anything too outrageously expensive, and finally I needed something that would please all palates from timid to adventurous. ARGH! A difficult bill to fill.
I selected a restaurant near the office called One Up. It is in Dundas Street between Bay and University. Centrally located, it is close to both the University and the Yonge subway lines. The web site for the restaurant was modern looking, and the photos looked inviting and hip. I checked out the menus and there seemed an interesting mix of foods there with a nice focus on Italian. Even better the menu was varied enough to appeal to the disparate tastes of the various committee members.
It has modern flare, but encompasses a welcoming atmosphere. The decor was warm and inviting. A number of the group commented on the fact that there were beautiful arrangements of fresh flowers on all of the tables. The tables were large and invited conversation, laughter, and a jovial atmosphere.
The restaurant has a variety of rooms - some for eating and some for drinking. They can accommodate both large and small parties. I read that the chef will create special menus for large groups upon request.
In the center of the main room they have a large table for eight around which they can encircle with a gauzy curtain. This would provide a unique level of privacy but not separate the group totally from the bustle of the restaurant.
We started off with martinis from their list of about 50 cocktails. I know, for the purists, we weren't drinking 'real martinis' but they were excellent!
I ordered a salad to start: the grilled vegetable tower. There were a variety of vegetables carefully grilled, arranged in a tower (duh). The vegetables with interspersed with fresh bococinni. The tower was drizzled with a wonderfully fresh tasting pesto drizzle. It was a great way to start the meal.
For my main course I ordered a wild mushroom risotto. I don't normally order risotto in restaurants because I often get a bowl of 'glump'. This risotto was well prepared; studded with mushrooms and drizzled with white truffle oil. The chef had also added an interesting contrast by mixing in a small quantity of arugula pesto. YUM
Other members of the committee enjoyed steaks which they declared perfectly prepared, or seafood which they enjoyed as well. The portions were large and the food perfectly presented.
All in all, I would return to this restaurant.
The bill for 7 with cocktails, appetizers, mains, and wine was $ 358.