The premise of the column is simple; work with restaurants of all kinds to explore what they have to offer and what makes them unique. In a city like Toronto, the choices are sometimes daunting and the food reviews and critics can be snotty and too complicated for their own good. So why not keep this easy? Drinks. Appetizer. Main Course. Dessert. All along with a bit of information about what makes them my choice for Daniel’s Dish and why you should try them right away!
Every time I sit down to write a Daniel’s Dish visit, I think that it’s been forever since I wrote the last one. What started off as a column added to FASHIONIGHTS has now become one of my favourite parts of the site. That being said, these columns are also the most intricate and time consuming of all. Add in a full time day job, events, a husband-to-be, daily content and a calendar for posts booking well in to July and you’ve got one tired Daniel…but I made a promise to myself today as I sat down to another dinner; that I need to refocus on the column that helped build our brand in the beginning. Daniel’s Dish is going to be bigger & better with the plans I’m making!
Tonight’s inspiring moment of food took place in the newly branded The One Eighty, located on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood. Those of you out that think the address sounds familiar, you aren’t wrong. Previously known as Panorama, the space recently underwent a brand evolution and is ready to take the Toronto food scene by storm with a rejuvenated energy. I hesitate to use the term rebrand because in my mind it comes with such a negative connotation. I like to think that The One Eighty, with age & experience, evolved their brand to meet the needs of the new Toronto and its food lovers.
“We are introducing a new culinary experience unlike any other in Canada, and bringing the dining experience to a whole new level, with The One Eighty” said Sebastien Centner, President and CEO of Eatertainment. “Guests will love The One Eighty’s new contemporary and luxurious décor, highlighting the incredible views of the city, but our real focus is on creating an outstanding menu that pushes the boundaries of innovation while remaining highly accessible.”
Contrasting the dark lounge setting of its previous incarnation, the neq space seems to glow with the sentiment of a modern steak house. Subway tiled arched ceiling adorned with gold brushed art deco light fixtures draw the eye to the height of the room. On either side of the main dinning area, full length windows allow natural light to flood in while emphasizing the shop-stopping view of the Toronto skyline. Dark wooden tables and black leather chairs ground the airy feeling of the room while maintaining a balance which frames a dramatic bar. I immediately felt comfortable sitting and talking with friends.
Not to toot my own horn but I wrote something tonight that, in my opinion, captures the feeling of the room and the restaurant itself. “The skyline of Toronto is the art hanging on the proverbial walls of @the51stfloor. As the sun sets, it comes alive and I fall in love all over again.”
The One Eighty is both a destination and an experience. Come summer time when the balcony is adorned with outdoor seating, you’ll know where to find the #DoTheDaniel team!
Those who follow DoTheDaniel.com on Instagram (@DoTheDaniel in case you aren’t.) you’d have seen this photo when I received the invitation to tonight’s event. A unique way to give me a taste of the night to come in more ways than one! What I didn’t realize about the bottled cocktail was that this is a signature of The One Eighty available to guests. SHAKEN + STIRRED options are pre-bottled cocktails that reminded me of an adult version of glass bottled Coca Cola. A strange analogy, I can admit, but one you’ll understand when you order one of these signature drinks.
My personal favourite would be the Citronade which combines Vodka citron, limoncello, lemonade, blue curacao & lemon zest. Refreshing and just sweet enough to keep the cocktail playful. I don’t opt for a fruity cocktail to start my night, but in this case I couldn’t resist. The options range in intensity and flavour profiles and you can bet that this year I will challenge myself to try them all.
Before I tell you about my favourite appetizer of the night, I have to mention a very interesting option. The “On The Cart” section of the menu takes cues from a dim sum concept. “A sampling of our chef’s daily small plate creations” quite literally makes it way around the dining room for your culinary enjoyment. Simply ask your server to bring by the cart and enjoy some tantalizing items.
Some of you know that sharing is caring in my books and it’s always strange when I enjoy a meal with someone who doesn’t share. Meals are meant to be passed around on forkfulls and plates so that everyone around you can enjoy your meal with you. The START + SHARE section of the menu offers great options for my fellow sharers out there. From the lot, my favourite was the Halibut Tacos. Red cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, salty breaded halibut and sriracha sour cream… It’s a one way ticket to flavour town. Refreshing and with a side of hot sauce to heat things up to your liking, it was nice to see such a playful item on the menu.
Honourable mention does have to go to the Beef Carpaccio, which sometimes can be tasteless or swimming in oil. This version is earthy with black pepper, fresh haricots, frisée & chive oil. It’s a hearty dish and I loved it. One of the top 10 I’ve eaten in Toronto for sure.
From Beef Tenderloion to Cornish Hen, Gnocchi Primavera to Pork Tenderloin Porchetta. There is something for all food lovers. From the items we had the choice of; I’d highly recommend the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles. Combining moist chicken battered in a spicy coating, crispy jalapenos & cherry chutney atop sweet and fluffy waffles, the dish is one that offers the flavour trifecta: sweet, salty & spicy. Not only is the portion substantial but the dish satisfies my craving for a unique experience that yet again showcases a playful menu. Diners be warned, it’s not for those who do not enjoy spice because it packs a punch.
The next four words speak for themselves: Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart. I’ve had a lot of desserts in many restaurants in Toronto but this might be my favourite of 2015. Combining candied peanut bark with dark chocolate ganache, the dish is sinfully seductive from the moment you read it on the menu to the first bite of heavenly delight. If I could throw in a few more adjectives to describe this dish, I would. But I’ll spare you and simply say you cannot leave The One Eighty without trying this dessert.
Secret You Should Know:
Still my favourite part of Daniel’s Dish, the secrets I get access to always spark such intrigue. After a beautiful evening & delicious food, The One Eighty didn’t disappoint when it came to giving you all a behind the scenes fact that no one else knows. General Manager, Jay Thomas shared that back home in South Wales, he was quite literally born in a pub. His parents both ran a pub and when his mother went into labour, while his father tended to the customers in the pub, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy upstairs. You could say that the staff of The One Eighty were quite literally born to do what they do. That shows a passion for an industry I once called home and I’ll always remember the handsome Jay sharing this part of his restaurant and life with me and you all.
To inspire your next visit to The One Eighty, make sure to follow @The51stFloor in Twitter and Instagram. Use the #TheOneEighty hashtag to join in on the social media conversation and show us what your favourite part of your experience is. Be it the iconic view, the playful cocktails, the diverse menu or the beautiful people you share your experience with… we want to see it all!
For more behind the scenes of this and other Daniel’s Dish visits, follow my #DoTheDaniel Instagram account.
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.