I met up with a friend on the warmest November day we have had in a very long time in Toronto and we decided to go for lunch. We had an event to go to in the evening but had lot's of time to linger over a nice lunch so I suggested going to the Newly opened Cactus Club Cafe restaurant. The restaurant created by Vancouver well known Chef Rob Feenie brings the West Coast to the East Coast.
It's located at 77 Adelaide Street West at the First Canadian Place. A great destination for the business crowd and in an area that is dominated by Path food courts and not very impressive restaurants this restaurant really stands out. There are so many things that really rise above most of the restaurants in the area including the entrance from Adelaide Street. Upon walking toward the restaurant we were immediately drawn to the Yellow Umbrellas on the Patio and the Fire bank leading toward the entrance. It's a spectacular patio and huge sign you can't miss on the front of the restaurant that says check me out I am big and beautiful.
When you step inside you are greeted by some very attractive women dressed in professional but very pretty blue dresses. Very friendly but I think they are still getting used to how things work but it's new so that's ok. We were seated at a high top table just in front of the entrance and in front of an elevator so we asked if we could move and they were able to move us to the dining room upstairs a few minutes later. I am so glad we were able to move. The downstairs area is more of a bar like environment while the upstairs is a very glamourous dining room. We were seated at a table for 4 but we were really happy about that because we ordered a lot of food that wouldn't have been able to fit on a 2 top table.
You know a restaurant is destined for success when you look around the room and there is a prominent Gossip columnist and a well respected Chef and media personality with their people at different tables and both catered to by Chef Rob Feenie. The well known Chef was even given a tour of the restaurant by Chef Feenie. Hey Chef, bloggers here want a tour too. Don't get me wrong we received excellent service but I would have loved to check out the kitchen too. I had a peek when I went to the washroom which was also spectacular. There was a full length mirror with a selfie tag on it so that you could take a selfie in there and post your pic with the tag. So of course we did that.
The Food was really unexpected as well. We were expecting tiny portions for the prices of what we ordered because that's generally the case in restaurants with Chef's of his calibre. We decided to share everything and ordered the Tuna stack which I heard Rob Feenie talk about being one of their signature dishes. It was stacked with chunks of avocado and citrus pieces and dotted with sesame seeds and with a mild dressing. It was served with light chips. This was a standout for me. I am already a sucker for tuna dishes but this one was so light and just the greatest balance of creamy, rich and citrus flavourings. It was a great size for a lunch dish for 1 with maybe something on the side but also great for sharing.
We decided to order the fish tacos, an order comes with 2 tacos and we were expecting a couple bite tacos but these things were humungous. The fish deep fried perfectly with a light batter coating. It was topped with white cabbage and pickled red onions and came with a tomato salsa and chipotle mayo. I didn't like the salsa that much and skipped the mayo. I would have preferred a lime crema I think on top. The next huge dish was the deep fried calamari. Also battered in a light and crunchy batter it was mixed with deep fried jalapeno slices and red pepper slices. It was easily a great sharing plate for 3 or 4 people. It came with a tzatziki and another sauce.
We also thought the ceviche we ordered would come in a small dish but was plated on a platter. It was pretty heavy on the lime citrus and it came with tortilla chips. It was good but wasn't as good as the Tuna stack. We didn't order any drinks or dessert and the bill was about $30 each. We ate everything but took home what was like a full order of the calamari.
Bring your appetite and lot's of friends. It's a gorgeous space to either have a date, a business lunch or a great lunch or dinner with friends.
What I really loved about the place was the decor though. Other than the fact that the lighting wasn't very food photo friendly but it was people flattering. The lighting fixtures were spectacular and the artwork around the room was colourful and super modern and interesting.
What a great space and the food and service are what you would expect from a Chef like Rob Feenie with a solid reputation for producing a quality restaurant.
I really loved every bit of it and highly recommend checking it out. This might bite me later in not being able to get a table in the dining room but hopefully someone will read this post and find a spot for me. I would love to see more restaurants outside of the typical King, Queen and Dundas Street West areas around town. This one is right in the heart of downtown. It makes me happy and I wish I was still working in the area.
Thanks Chef Feenie for bringing some light to the East Coast.
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