Casa Madera in Toronto

The recent opening of Casa Madera restaurant has created quite a buzz in Toronto. This city does love it’s food especially if it’s good. Brought to us from hospitality group Noble 33, who owns restaurants in Los Angeles and London and soon to be Arizona, Los Vegas, Miami and New York. I jumped on the excitement bandwagon and took my sister there for her birthday.

On arrival, we greeted at the front desk and walked to our seats. As it was a 6pm seating, it wasn’t too busy but you could feel the energy of the place. I think they were going for a nature feel because there is lots of wood and greenery accents throughout but it still feels spacious.

Solstice (left): blanco tequila, passion fruit, tri-pepper juice, lemon, grand marnier
Casa Sangrita (non-alcoholic): mango, habernero sangrita, seedlip grove, agave, basil

We started with cocktails of course. They have a great menu that is divided into 4 sections: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They can also be considered part of the entertainment. I ordered wine as well. As this early stage, it’s an okay list.

Solstice Cocktail

Heirloom Tomato $27
watermelon, red onion, cilantro pesto, balsamic, black truffle burrata

You can’t go wrong with this dish. Fresh heirloom tomatoes paired with burrata is one of my favourite things to eat and could never go out of style. Simple and very tasty. Casa Madera also caters to vegan/vegetarian and gluten free palates as some dishes can be adjusted. They also have a raw bar that includes caviar.

Arrachera $25
wagyu skirt steak, caribbean jerk marinade, cilantro, pineapple,
red onion, avocado crema, cotija

Next, I wanted to try something from their taquiera section. I chose these steak tacos because I love jerk marinade. Well….I believe it is a crime to ever cook wagyu until it is well done as this was. This was dry, dry dry. No bueno.

Pacifico Stripped Bass $68
fennel citrus salad, salsa trio served with corn tortillas

Now on to the the fire roasted Pacifico Striped Sea bass which was cooked perfectly! This is a sharable dish or a large meal for one person. It is served with corn tortillas and 3 different salsas.

Fire Grilled Ribeye $138
10oz wagyu ribeye, parsnip puree, roasted garlic, potato pave,
red wine jus, bone marrow

Our final dish was the wagyu grilled ribeye. This dish was excellent! I loved how they included bone marrow as well. The presentation impressed me and I would include in my list of standout dishes. I may have a weakness for wagyu since this is the my second dish with this type of steak that I ordered here but thankfully it was cooked correctly – tender and flavourful. Also, it was my first time having potato pave, which was quite a treat. (I’m going to teach myself to make this). There is also a 32oz wagyu tomahawk steak on the menu but I would only consider ordering that with a bunch of people. I’m sure it’s a show stopper (at $295).

Now for dessert! I would like to say I had dessert but sadly no. Shortly after our dinner plates were cleared, a manger came by to say we had 20 minutes left on our table. (We were reminded of the time limitation two other times during our visit). Then our server, whom we loved, came by with the dessert menu. We mentioned this limitation and she kindly asked management to extend our stay. I have to say at that point I was rather turned off. I understand that restaurants run their business based on the number of seatings per night but as a diner who enjoys the full dining experience, I don’t like to be rushed. I did peruse the dessert menu and it ranges from $20-$125 but I wasn’t willing to eat under pressure. We decided to pass on dessert but continued to soak up the atmosphere while finishing our drinks and then we left.

So what’s the atmosphere here? It’s a fun vibe. They have a DJ and musicians that walk around to entertain. I have to say that I really enjoyed the food here. But would I come back to Casa Madera? Yes! But only for the drinks.

4 Comments

  1. I love the concept they seem to be going for, it’s unfortunate that the customer experience was ruined. Your eye and taste for food is devine so if you would only return for drinks, I trust your review.

  2. Good commentary. I, too, love to linger and talk. Any constant time reminders are inhospitable to me. I don’t care if the food is the best in the world, if I can’t spend my time the way I want, why would I go? Unless they loosen up a bit, I’m not likely to go. Dining out is more than just eating.

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