Chic Bites: Dining Around Bayview Village
Bayview Village is not a shopping mall. It's a shopper’s D-R-E-A-M. This luxury retail center brings together the very best designers, lifestyle brands and shops to the prestigious area of Bayview and Sheppard.
Over an expanse of 440,000 square foot, BVShops is home to over 110 luxury retailers, carrying the latest fashions, décor, and one-of-a-kind designs.
Offering a "boutique hotel-inspired experience," this haute destination welcomes dogs and offers chic touches such as personal shopping, valet parking, and a concierge that will attend to everything from finding shoes to match your dress to making reservations at one of their restaurants.
Getting a great outfit for an upcoming event is easy when you've got designers Brian Bailey, Pink Tartan, Vivian Shyu and Brooks Brothers at your feet. Need something for home? Teatro Verde and Restoration Hardware have everything from garden accessories to champagne buckets. Get your hair and nails done at Blo Dry Bar or have a spa treatment at Aveda. Pick up a gift at Belle de Provence or Neat.
But all that shopping is going to make you hungry. So stop and grab a bite. For something quick, you can count on Bakery Garden, Aroma Espresso Bar, Lettieri Espresso Bar & Cafe, South St. Burger Co. and Thai Express Elite. For something sweet, there's Laura Secord to tempt you.
Should you wish for finer dining, there are a number of chic choices. I dined at five Bayview Village to restaurants to experience the food and atmosphere. Here are my findings:
With its white walls and tablecloths, Pearl Bayview's Chinese food is a big upgrade from your usual take out order. The stylish spot offers everything from dim sum to duck, lobster to vegetarian fare.
House speciality Rainbow Chopped in Crystal Fold ($18.50) is an elegant dish that is done tableside. A serverbrings out four cold, crisp lettuce leaves and lightly dots them with black bean sauce. Hearty spoonfuls of a mixture of sautéed finely chopped pork, Chinese sausage, mushrooms, water chestnuts, celery and carrots are placed inside the lettuce wraps.
Eating with your hands is fun and interactive and once you try it, no doubt it will be a must-have dish each time you visit. Served with green tea, it's a light, yet satisfying choice.
EDO distinguishes itself by doing authentic Japanese cuisine. A wide variety of dishes including sushi are availabel for both lunch and dinner.
The BV Fashionista Roll ($18) was designed for, and is only available at, Bayview Village. Don’t let this jam-packed maki’s density fool you though – you will taste every bit of salmon, tuna, cucumber, tempura bits and dynamite sauce wrapped in soy paper and topped with slices of tiger shrimp and avocado with a touch of masago and tobiko. The mélange of textures and flavours, colourful presentation and assortment of ingredients make it quite the celebratory meal. And those edible flowers on top? So pretty, you'll wish you could wear them home.
This Il Fornello underwent a massive renovation recently, resulting in a modern look with warm lighting and an open feel.
With a variety of appetizers, wood-oven baked pizzas, house-made pastas, entrées, and desserts to choose from, I went with the classics: Margherita Pizza ($13.95), baked in a traditional wood-burning oven imported from Italy, with a glass of Montepulicano '13 Farnese ($$8.50) from Farneto Valley, Italia.
The thin crisp crust gives way to a nicely balanced chew. Topped with a robust tomato sauce made with imported Italian tomatoes, fior di latte made daily by a local supplier, and finished with fresh, fragrant basil leaves, its simplicity is also what makes it so delectable. The pizza is so appetizing, the diners at my neighbouring table keep eyeing it, so we share. And the wine is well-balanced, with red fruit notes and a slight vanilla essence, making it a great accompaniment to the pie.
For a sweeter option, the Il Fornello's Pizza Fichi ($16.95), a pizza bianco with mascarpone, prosciutto, figs, shaved grano padano, honey and arugula, is boxed up to take home.
Claudio Aprile's second outpost is impressive. With over 12,000-square-feet and seating for up to 400 (including the patio), the large two-storey restaurant’s modern décor and open layout is a breath of fresh air compared to the cramped restaurants of downtown. Described as a "high energy global food bar that celebrates the diverse cuisines of the world," expect something a little different.
Chef Aprile brings over ingredients and like a mad scientist, a cloud of smoke bubbles rises. In fact, it's liquid nitrogen rising. It might make for a dramatic presentation, but no doubt you’ll remember the taste of Chef's Chocolate Crunch Bar + Sorbet ($10) more than the 'ice' show. The rich dessert gets its crunch from cereal and richness from Valrhona chocolate. Served with sorbet and carefully placed wild blueberries, and a cappuccino to sip on, it’s the perfect reward after a long day of hitting boutiques and trying out spring outfits.
Before heading out, you’ll want to stop by Pusateri’s to get a few things to take home. Fresh muffins ($2.50) and juices mean that breakfast-on-the-go and/or afternoon slumps are taken care of. Watermelon Strawberry Mojito ($5.99) and Abundan-C ($4.99) are not only fantastic healthy pick-me-ups, they are divine mocktails that will make you feel celebratory, without the drawback hangover.
Should you wish for something a little stronger, stop by the LCBO to pick up a bottle of wine or Veuve Cliquot before leaving. After all, the night’s still young and you have all these new clothes to wear…
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