503 College Street
Toronto, ON M6G 1A5
DaiLo is a high end Chinese fusion restaurant that incorporates a lot of Cantonese dishes but with a bit of a Western Flair. Chef Nick Liu grew up with Hakka parents (much like myself), so a lot of the flavors are familiar to me. It is a highly renowned restaurant that has been on Top restaurant listings and is one of Canada's Top 100 Restaurants of 2017.
Located on the outskirts of Little Italy by Dundas and Bathurst, this restaurant may look tiny from the outside, but is massive inside and is gorgeous. The decor borders on hipster to modern high end (with the prices to boot). We ordered a number of dishes, recommended to us by our friendly server. Dishes included the octopus taco, beef carpaccio, truffle fried rice, and the Peking Duck.
We started with the Crispy Octopus Tacos, which was easily my favorite dish of the night. They are jicama shells (like radishes), that house crispy fried octopus pieces, braised pork belly, and sambal. The jicama shell sounds so weird and I wasn't sure how I would like it. I loved it. It had a great crunch to it, while the octopus and the pork belly melded so well together. Slightly spicy and so much flavor with every bite. I could easily crush 100 of these.
The Beef Carpaccio was a wonderful dish on its own as well. The flavors are very familiar as it tastes similar to a Vietnamese beef salad. The beef was paper thin sliced, which was great for soaking in that sauce, but didn't give it great beefy flavor. Portion was small, but flavor was big. The salad that accompanies it was just as nice.
The Truffle Fried Rice was another nice dish. I am not the biggest fan of truffles (I know...i know...), as I do find the aroma and the taste to overwhelm more than complement other flavors. The same holds true for this fried rice dish as it overwhelms most of any other taste. The rice was done fine, though a bit stale for my liking.
The Peking Duck is quite a sight to behold. The presentation is beautiful as a half duck is layed out a top a nice cucumber and scallion salad. The hoisin vinaigrette is drizzled atop nice slices of duck breast with the leg quarters at each bookend. The duck is supposedly sous vide cooked and then deep fried. I thought the duck was OK. The texture was surprisingly a bit dry, while the skin was way too wet. Much of the fat never rendered off completely, so it did leave our duck tasting a bit fatty in a gelatinous way. The aroma and the flavor was good though, but the duck needed better texture throughout.
The experience as whole was great. The service was fantastic and the ambiance was great. The food was OK. The flavors were impressive at times throughout the night, but execution on some of the dishes were lacking, while the prices are rather high for the portion sizes. The quality of the food was apparent and I would still come back to sample some of the other interesting dishes that eluded our dinner.
P.S. There is also a bar atop the restaurant, LoPan, that serves some decent drinks and some unusual dishes of their own...
Ambience: A | Service: A- | Price: B- | Food: B