Neighbourhoods are the backbone of life in Toronto. The neighbourhoods around Dundas and Dovercourt are rich in history and culture. Countless immigrants have come from around the world and made this part of Toronto their home. As is the case in our multi-cultural city many of these people came here in search of something, and all were hoping to start a new life in a new place.
Julie Llewellyn owned and ran a grocery store while living in the back room. That store became Julie's Cuban Restaur
ant, now run by Julie's daughter Silvia and her partner Jesus Baute. Julie's serves authentic Cuban cuisine and there really is nothing like it in Toronto. Even National Geographic has featured Julie's in an article.
We started with a cocktail and Avrum had a Mojito Cubano. This drink is made in front of you using Havana Club rum, fresh mint, lime and soda. Any worries you have seemed to disappear. Silvia is out front working her charm while Jesus, a wizard in the kitchen, whips up fine Cuban fare. The tapas here are small plates of aromatic delicious food. I wanted to try everything. We started with Ceviche de Camarones -- shrimp in a tomato and corn salsa. The Frituras de Mais are peppery corn fritters served with sour cream. I ate them so fast I forgot about the other people at the table. Tostones Rellenos are green plantain cups filled with avocado, shrimp, or picadillo.
The main course is like a breath of fresh Havana air. Picadillo de Mamito is a dish of beef and pork hash mixed with Cuban spices and herbs, served with plantains. This dish is Cuban cuisine at its best. Next we sampled the Ropa Vieja which they say is a very traditional dish of Cuba. Shredded beef in a tomato sauce seasoned to perfection, the taste was as enchanting as a Cuban sunset.
What Silvia and Jesus have done is created a home away from home. They have brought us Cuba, with all its history and excitement. Each dish you taste, will tempt you into trying another. Silvia is the type of person who sits down with you. And when she does, at that moment, you are no longer a stranger, you are family. Come experience the taste of Cuba and feel the warmth without leaving Toronto for a second.
FIVE STARS: (Extraordinary) A one-of-a-kind, world-class experience.
FOUR STARS: (Excellent) Superior. Memorable, high-quality menus and/or savvy service.
THREE STARS: (Good) Solid places that beckon with generally appealing cooking.
TWO STAR: (Fair) Just OK. A place not worth rushing back to. But, it might have something worth recommending.
ONE STAR: (Poor) Below-average restaurant.
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