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21 August 2006

Review: Chiado

To celebrate our anniversary last week, Dave and I decided to eat some seafood at the upscale and popular Portuguese eatery Chiado (864 College Street). I had heard raves about this spot and I thought, what better way to celebrate love than with delicious fish?

When we arrived for our reservation, we were escorted to a secluded table on the bar side of the resturant. The decor and art surrounding us was modern, but not so much that it felt forced and cold -- quite the opposite, actually. The room was also dimly lit, giving it a romatic vibe. We ordered a couple of cold Portuguese beers to start and dived into the fresh bread, olive oil, and black olives that had been brought to our table. The bread was perfectly dense and chewy, and the olive oil was fruity and delicious. What a great start to our meal.

Soon after, our very attentive waiter came by with a platter of fresh fish to show us the daily specials. It was weird to "meet" our dinner like that, but extremely helpful and informative. Based on the waiter's recommendations, I ordered a Portuguese fish called Black Scabbard and Dave ordered stingray (skate) for our mains. To begin, we decided to share some piri-piri shrimp and an octopus, shrimp, and lobster salad.

Before our appetizers arrived, we were brought a small amuse bouche of mild Portuguese cheese with rosemary-infused honey and a balsamic vinegar reduction. The cheese was incredibly delicate and had the texture of soft tofu. It paired perfectly with the honey and balsamic reduction, and I was left wanting more once I had finished. It was a good thing our first course came shortly thereafter.

The piri-piri shrimp were acually two of the largest shrimp I have ever seen, served with some lightly roasted vegetables and a delicious red piri-piri sauce. The sauce was light and delivered just enough kick to tingle the mouth a little bit. It was fantastic. The octopus, shrimp, and lobster salad was tossed with a gentle citrus tarragon aioli and served as a tower atop a red beet, potato, and apple base. The octopus had a meaty texture and was not rubbery at all, and the mild seafood flavours combined beautifully with the aioli. Delicious.

Next to come were our main dishes. My black scabbard was served on top of a risotto flavoured with saffron, sugar snap peas, and fresh tomato, and was finished with a pineapple and fresh herb salsa. The fish was soft and delicate, with a few crispy pieces under the skin that added a delicious, savoury, and unusual flavour -- almost chicken-like. Paired with the delectable salsa, this fish was amazing. The risotto was cooked perfectly, and the freshness of the peas and tomatos cut the richness of the rice nicely. All in all, this was probably one of the best fish dishes I had ever tasted.

Dave similarly enjoyed his skate, which was grilled to perfection: firm yet moist, with a hearty texture. It was served with a summery fresh herb and spinach risotto, and a fresh fruit salsa that contained what appeared to be mandarin orange sections. The few bites I stole from Dave's plate were divine.

We were fairly stuffed after our main courses, so we elected to share a creme brulée for dessert. It was accompanied by a light sour cherry sauce and sugar cookies, and had a nice crisp burnt-sugar top. The custard was just sweet enough, and was complimented nicely by the tartness of the cherries. We were completely sated.

Although the prices at Chiado keep it from being an everyday kind of restaurant (our bill came to $215 with tax and tip), it is fantastic for special occasions (or if someone else is buying). Dave and I definitely had a memorable anniversary meal and I would return to Chiado in a heartbeat.

10 seahorses out of 10



Blogger Karen said...

God how I wish I liked fish...this sounds delightful! And that dessert! Not just your typical creme brule but with cherrys and sugar cookies? Dear god, I'm in heaven.

Happy anniversary!

9:08 AM

Blogger Alana said...

Thanks, Karen!

9:11 AM


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