Toroli is a tiny gem of a restaurant in the plateau area of Montreal.
The restaurant sits on a tiny side street 1 block in from Avenue du Mont-Royal E,
and the façade is whimsically painted like the black and white spots of a Jersey cow.
The interior is a single small room that seats only about 12-16 people.
The atmosphere is sparse and functional, but very cozy.
The view of the street from the front windows was actually mesmerizing,
as a wide variety of quirky neighborhood passersby on foot or bicycles suddenly came into view from stage right, and then just as quickly exited, stage left, or vice verse.
The tiny kitchen is separated from the dining area by a half wall,
atop which a few origami swans are playfully perched.
Diners can partly see into the kitchen where the skillful and imaginative Chef Taka creates delicious and artfully-presented dishes inspired by Japanese and French cuisines.
A sweet and pretty, young Asian woman (who speaks English better than French) explains the menu and serves all the food and the beverages from the nice selection of wine and sake.
The menu is short, but very varied, and we were so intrigued by the options we had trouble choosing. This would be a great place to come with some friends who like to taste and share different dishes.
My husband decided to order from the prix fixe tasting menu ($48) which included the house seaweed salad (much better than it sounded, at least to me – see our photo), a generous bowl of delicious miso soup with mushrooms, an appetizer choice, and entrée choice, a dessert choice, and hot green tea.
Because I wasn't sure I wanted all those courses, I only chose an appetizer and an entrée, but they thoughtfully served me a small portion of salad, soup and ice cream for dessert anyway, for no additional charge.
We loved every bite, and here are the details to go with our photos:
House salad – delicious, served with a light sesame vinaigrette.
Miso soup – very flavorful miso broth with plenty of delicious mushrooms.
Tuna Tataki –seared tuna in a creamy sesame sauce with a hint of truffle oil - fantastic!
Tasting menu special appetizer – delicious fish served with crispy rice vermicelli and caviar.
Braised Lamb “Nippon” – tender and savory leg of lamb slow-cooked in sake-infused soy sauce, served with miso sauce and barley risotto.
Tuna Saltimbocca – pan-seared tuna topped with prosciutto and Japanese basil pesto, served with steamed barley and nice vegetables.
Black sesame ice cream – LOVED this sweet and savory treat! Who knew? Now I have to get a recipe!
Green tea ice cream – refreshing and interesting.
The bill, including a bottle of sake and 2 bottles of sparkling water, came to about $150, which we considered more than reasonable for the quality and quantity of food.
In sum, I highly recommend Toroli, and I wish I could go back to try more of their dishes. If you are a foodie, you should not miss the opportunity to taste Chef Taka’s delightful dinner concoctions.
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