I was scouting out THE special restaurant for Y’s birthday when a colleague recommended Marisol Restaurante. She recalled her marvelous meal on Mother’s day at Marisol, and did not hesitate to declare it as her favourite restaurant in town. My initial reaction to this declaration? Utterly embarrassed! Having pride myself as the almost-know-it-all for KW restaurants, I was mortified to learn that I had absolutely no knowledge of this amazing Marisol place! Tsk tsk tsk.
Marisol Restaurante is not hard to locate. Housed on Ontario street, right between King and Charles, it has the prime Downtown spot. I was full of anticipation as reservations were made for Y’s big day. They were made online but the response rate is prompt. Chef Jeff Ward (or someone else) probably replies with a smart phone (I assume), so no worries if a last minute reservation is required.
Truthfully, I did not appreciate the exterior colours and thought it looked a little out of place. Y was also doubtful as we headed toward Marisol – I had told him to dress up. Both of us were wondering if this was really the beautiful restaurant my colleague raved about?
From the minute we stepped into the restaurant, I felt detached from the busy noisy Downtown. Dim lighting, dark furniture, and soft music. I loved the mysterious classic decor.
Numerous art pieces on display by Helena Pravda.
We were offered a quiet little corner at the back of the restaurant. Definitely an ideal spot for a date.
I appreciated the calming ambiance.
On the Table for Maple:
- Appetizer – Charred Octopus with fingerling potatoes, olives and chili
- Main #1 -Roasted rack of lamb with polenta crouton, tomato and herb salad
- Main #2 – Whole grilled market fish with braised fennel and artichokes
- Dessert – White chocolate gelato (special)
*** No prices are listed on their website. Since I lost the receipt, no prices have been included above. Sometimes, I get annoyed with restaurants excluding prices from their sites – it is crucial information!
I did my research. Every review said this octopus is a must try, my colleague highly recommended it as well. Despite high praises for it, I felt the octopus was overcooked, resulting in a rubbery texture. On the other hand, the deep charred flavour was highly enjoyable. Would have liked more colours on the plate.
Mains were from both land & sea, since Y is a meat lover while I am the fish lover. Surprisingly, we preferred the opposite dish from our usual after sampling both.
Due to miscommunication, the kitchen mistook my medium rare order as rare. I thought it was a beautiful mistake, and a pleasant surprise as it was my first experience having a rare rack of lamb. Y was slightly bothered by the overly raw center, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Would have liked more vegetables on the side.
I was impressed that the I-love-meat dude preferred the fish to the lamb! This was a delightful dish, extremely well seasoned. Would like to have more vegetables AND colours on the plate though.
Chef Jeff’s skillful plates added interesting twists to classic dishes. The flavour is undeniable. However, Mediterranean food sparks images of celebration, joy, and bright contrasting colours. I felt that Marisol fell short in portray that image through their food, although their decor oozes personality. Definitely excited to return for more colours on the plates.
Dessert was the daily special, not on the menu (yet..?). The white chocolate gelato was sweet, but not as sweeeeeet as Marisol’s birthday gesture. I wonder if each order comes with three scoops – or was that special?
Classy casual fine dining. If you are price-conscious but would like to try Marisol, they offer brown bag lunches! A great deal.
On Friday from 11:30 until they’re gone you can pick up a bag lunch to go. Grab a delicious sandwich and a Bottle of San Pellegrino for $7.
1) $$$ – Pricey, but you get what you paid for
2) Interior is NOTHING like what you see from the outside!
3) Personable, Chef seem to show up in the dining room a lot
4) Love the flavours, but would like to see improvements with presentation