Restaurant Highlight: Volos, Fine Greek Cuisine

Volos

GlutenFreedom Week is coming in just a couple weeks (May 25-31st)! Today I’m happy to be featuring the fine Greek dining establishment, Volos.

Volos is named after the port city in Greece. Beyond pleasing guests with great food and service, Volos “strives to educate guests about the exotic and unique wines from one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions.” From food to wine to decor, the restaurant creates an authentic, creative and beautiful Greek dining experience.

Modern twists on traditional Greek dishes and Greek twists on local Canadian ingredients create a contemporary culinary experience rooted in authenticity. The restaurant sources the highest quality local produce, superior quality cuts of meat and the best fish, delivered daily.

For those diners with dietary restrictions (yup that’s you!) – as soon as a guest informs their server of their needs, one single chef is assigned your order so that he can prepare and oversee the preparation of your meal from beginning to end to ensure proper and safe food handling throughout the process. So as always, be sure to make your server clearly aware of your needs before placing your order. (Interestingly, in addition to its gluten-free offerings, Volos is also a 100% pork-free restaurant.)

During GlutenFreedom Week, Volos will be serving a special three-course gluten-free prix fixe menu for $45:

Appetizer
Dolmades (Grape Leaves, Metaxa-soaked Golden Raisins, Pine Nuts, Arborio Rice and Tzatziki)

Main
Black Sesame Crusted Wild Pacific Salmon (Spanakorizo, Shaved Feta, Lemon and Herb Sauce)

Dessert
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Mint and orange compote

Visit Volos during GlutenFreedom Week May 25-31 at
133 Richmond St W
416-861-1211
http://volos.ca

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Restaurant Highlight: Yours Truly

yourstruly

If you haven’t heard yet – tonight is the big gluten-free night! I’m excited to be hosting the GlutenFreedom Week Twitter party at 8p.m. EST! Come join GFW founder, Rachael Hunt and myself as we share helpful tips and chat about the challenges and joys of going gluten-free. I’ll be giving away 3 copies of my book, Where Do I Start? to participating tweeters, so be sure to join in!

In celebration of GlutenFreedom Week, I’ve been profiling a number of participating restaurants. Today I’m presenting Toronto’s Yours Truly, located at Ossington and Dundas West. This restaurant’s eclectic and ever changing menu can only be described as “simply Canadian,” according to owner Aleem.

Chef Lachlan Culjak and his kitchen team is made of up young and creative cooks from across the globe who have spent years traveling and cooking in respected kitchens. Their inspirations “change as quickly as the seasons” and centre around preparing Ontario’s best ingredients in creative ways.

What’s most unique, however, about this restaurant is their tasting menu format. For those of you who are like me that are never quite satisfied with only a single main dish – this format is definitely for you. The standard Yours Truly tasting menu (5 plates + 5 amuses for $55) has a single focal ingredient for each dish. The diner has two options per course,  vegetarian or omnivore.

For the very adventurous diner, the restaurant offers a limited number of seats per evening for their Carte Blanche menu ($95), which is a blind tasting menu, where the kitchen selects 20 courses based on the diner’s meat or vegetarian preference.

Both menu formats include a series of amuse and tasting courses from the kitchen which can be customized to accommodate dietary restrictions. Gluten-free dishes are prepared with the same care as peanut or shellfish allergies, and the kitchen follows strict procedures to ensure cross-contamination is never an issue for diners. (As always, it is the diner’s responsibility to communicate their dietary needs to the kitchen!)

Yours Truly has not yet released their GlutenFreedom Week menu, but no doubt it will be delightfully adventurous!

Visit Yours Truly during GlutenFreedom Week May 25-31
229 Ossington Avenue
416-533-2243 (reservations recommended)
http://yours-truly.ca/

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Restaurant highlight: Hapa Izakaya

Izakaya

From fine Italian cuisine to homely local vegetarian dining, I’ve had the pleasure of featuring a wide variety of restaurants that will be participating at this year’s first Gluten Freedom Week. Today I’m so happy to be featuring Hapa Izakaya – a unique Japanese restaurant that offers so much more than just sushi.

Izakaya is essentially a Japanese pub or tapas style of dining where guests can order several dishes to share and enjoy a wide variety of foods and flavours. The restaurant strives to challenge what usually pops into diners’ minds when it comes to Japanese food (i.e. sushi and raw fish) by swaying from staunchly traditional cuisine and incorporating unique fusion flares. Their flare and quirky staff have not only won the hearts of their diners but also earned them numerous industry, magazine and reader’s choice awards. While Hapa Izakaya started in Vancouver, the Toronto location derives its inspiration from locally and seasonally available ingredients, and sources sustainably harvested OceanWise fish.

One of the reasons I’m so excited about Hapa Izakaya’s participation in Gluten Freedom Week is because Japanese food can contain a number of gluten ingredients – from tempura battered vegetables and shrimp to soy sauce to flour dusted meats. Hapa Izakaya does take a number of precautions to accommodate gluten-free guests, including frequent cleanings, a dedicated gluten-free section in their fridge and (top) shelves, clear gluten labeling, the use of squeeze bottles (to reduce falling materials), and the use of metal cooking utensils.

(Important editor’s note: As always, when dining out, be sure you take the time to clearly explain your food sensitivities to your server, and request to speak the manager if you feel it necessary. Be courteous and firm… and do this BEFORE you order.)

During Gluten Freedom Week, May 15-31, Hapa Izakaya will be serving a mouth watering gluten-free five-course prix-fixe meal for only $35.

First Course
Miso Soup w/ tofu, green onion & dried seaweed

Second Course
Kimchi Daikon Salad w/ radish

Third Course
Ebi Oshizushi: prawn, sushi rice, shisho & white miso mayo sauce

Fourth Course
Buta Lettuce Wraps w/ pork belly, green lettuce, pickled red onion & apple jam

Fifth Course
Kinoko Ishiyaki Rice Bowl w/shitake , king oyster + enoki mushroom, sake, mirin, gluten-free soy, nori paste & sesame oil

Visit Hapa Izakaya at 602 College Street
647-748-4272
http://www.hapaizakaya.com

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