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Restaurants

Leao D'ouro

Posted by Staff / Listed on November 28, 2005 / review policy

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It's not easy to get seafood right. Either the freshness is compromised or the seasoning doesn't work or it's overcooked or undercooked. But the coastal Portuguese know their seafood, and while some may not always get it right, Leao D'ouro hasn't missed with me so far.

The restaurant is warm and inviting. The staff is friendly. The food is delicious. I will personally go out on a limb here and say that Leao D'ouro rivals the very critically favoured Chiado just down the street on College Street. While Leao D'ouro is not inexpensive, it's not as pricey as Chiado, either.

I go to Leao D'ouro hoping that their unforgettable cataplana is available as a special. Nope. Waa. I suggest enthusiastically that it should be added as a permanent item. When it is available, their cataplana is overflowing with fresh fish and shellfish flavoured with full-bodied tomatoes and herbs. But not on this day. No cataplana, but they do have "a very nice" halibut served on a bed of risotto as a special.

Is it me or do almost all servers describe specials and specialty dishes as "very nice"? In this case, however, the server understates it: the dish is very fantastic.

But I get ahead of myself. The three of us start off by sharing the grilled calamari appetizer. It's not the best I've had, but it is grilled well. Not too chewy, nor too tough, but it is a touch under-seasoned. Nothing a little dash of salt doesn't take care of. Or maybe it's just me with this issue because the calamari disappears off the plate in mere moments.
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Leao D'ouro has great non-seafood dishes, but all of us decide on seafood. One grilled salmon and two halibuts. The salmon dish is beautiful- literally. It's as though a food stylist has put it together. Accompanied by tender grilled vegetables, chick peas and red cabbage, the salmon is grilled to perfection and tastes even better than it looks.

The halibut may not be so pretty, but it sure got it right in the favour department. The bolder, but not overpowering, tomato risotto lends itself perfectly to the milder flavoured and very generous portion of halibut - again, grilled perfectly. As I said before, very fantastic.

The portions are HUGE. My appetite is pretty healthy, but I think I can forego the appetizer and eating too much from the bread basket might be something to reconsider, too.

To top off the meal, I satisfy my sweet tooth with a pudim flan. I liken it to be a lighter, not-as-sweet tiramisu, minus the lady fingers. I guess a bit of a cross between a tiramisu and a zabaglione. Anyway I try to describe it, it is a must-have.

Leao D'ouro serves up food worthy of cravings. Oh how you allude me, wonderous cataplana...
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Leao D'ouro
356 College St.
416-926-9899

Discussion

5 Comments

kate / November 29, 2005 at 10:05 am
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sounds delicious - what's the price range?
mio / November 29, 2005 at 03:01 pm
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The calamari appetizer is $11.50 and the salmon is $18.50. I think the halibut is $21.

On the meat side, they have an excellent beef shishkabob ($19.95) and the oven roasted stuffed chicken breast is $17.
Bibi / August 10, 2008 at 12:22 pm
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This place was great. Unfortunately, it closed down about a year or two ago ... or maybe it moved? If it moved, maybe someone could post the new address. Otherwise, this would be another great restaurant that's gone.
sheneie replying to a comment from Bibi / July 29, 2009 at 11:47 pm
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It's in Mississaug on Dundas (at Tomken)
Natalia / November 3, 2014 at 06:47 pm
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My family has been to Leao D’Ouro a few times now because the food is very good for the value, so we decided to go there with the rest of the family before the grandparents left for Portugal. It was a Saturday night and there were 18 of us and we all left with the same thought; the food was mostly good but the service was horrible.
We made 3 separate orders of wine before we chose one that was in stock. The restaurant should think of updating their wine list, or inform the waiters which bottles are out of stock.
When pouring the wine, the waiter would spill droplets all over the table and on us. He either didn’t notice or didn’t care enough to apologize. I wasn’t having wine that evening and I now have a red wine stain on my blouse.
The waiter never came around to ask us if we were ok with our drinks, wanted another or if we were enjoying our meals. The manager was also nowhere to be found. Typically managers of a restaurant will come around to check on a table, especially large parties. I guess they don’t care if you’re enjoying your evening or not.
When it came time to ordering dessert it all went further downhill…
The majority of the table ordered the chocolate mousse. The waiter began serving our dessert orders, distributing only 2 orders of mousse, returned to inform the rest of the table that they were out. The children who ordered the mousse and were not able to have it were upset at the 2 people at the table that were served the mousse. They were also upset to see the table beside us receive orders of chocolate mousse later. The waiter should have either informed us beforehand that they were out, or he should have let us know that there were only 2 orders of mousse left and so that we could decide who would have it.
The other dessert item that we ordered was the Natas Do Ceu. Luckily they had enough to fill our order, unfortunately 3 of them were were raw and runny and had to be sent back. I’ve had the Natas Do Ceu there before, I know how it should taste and what the texture should be like. We replaced them with 2 orders of chocolate cake and cheesecake. I realized there was Crème Brule on the menu, and asked the waiter to change the order, and he rolled his eyes at me! He returned with chocolate cake and told me there was no more Crème Brule.
To top it all off, HE CHARGED US for the three Natas Do Ceu that we sent back.
I don’t understand why our table was treated this way, the meal went on one bill we didn’t complain nor gave him a difficult time for the quality of the service which he provided us with. We were looking forward to that evening and it’s unfortunate that our expectations were not met. I would not recommend having a large party at this restaurant.

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