163 Spadina Ave.
ON M5V 2L6
Baby sis to Alo, this downstairs diner is the cool sibling — the more approachable one you want to be friends with (and actually stand a chance with). Walls are clad in sleek wood panelling, servers look jaunty in bow ties, and the food is comforting but never sloppy. The menu isn’t so much greasy spoon but more international: yes, there’s a burger, but there’s also roasted octopus studded with chorizo. A favoured spot for business-y bites come noon, the elevated diner is now offering a prix fixe lunch. Two courses ring in at $25, three for $30. Portions are downsized, allowing guests to enjoy more variety. The gabbed-about wedge salad — avocado, Parm and puffed wild rice laced with chive cream — shrinks down to a more manageable mound. Mains may include the sea trout or steak frites, and a mini apple pie sundae is somehow more fun to eat than the big one. But it’s not only lunch that’s spirited. Rather than shutter between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m. (as most eateries that offer lunch and dinner do), the diner has optioned to lure in an early evening crowd. Dubbed Aloette Hour, the stretched hour involves $10 glasses of wine and house cocktails. Swoon.
JUDGE STEVE GONZALEZ,
BARO & PETTY CASH
"The food is delicious and the portion sizes are great. We even had room for dessert, so we had them all."