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Restaurants

Lisa Marie

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on April 19, 2013 / review policy

Lisa Marie TorontoLisa Marie is the newly opened Queen West restaurant from Toronto's pop-up king, Matt Basile. The new restaurant does double duty as a permanent address to find his always inventive dishes and operating as a production kitchen for his food truck, Priscilla.

I remember seeing Basile present a spaghetti sandwich at his first Toronto Underground Market sample day (he didn't make the cut his first attempt btw). I thought the carb-loaded concoction sounded ridiculous... now less than two years later he's the one laughing. He's seen plenty of success with a string of pop-ups, a food truck, TV series and now this new restaurant.

Lisa Marie TorontoInside it's bright, airy and appropriately rock n roll themed. In the back there's a butcher's display case full of marinated raw meats for takeaway and a wall of homespun canned goods. Upfront, an oversized Elvis looks over the dining room full of industrial furnishings and high-top tables.

Keeping true to the street food style that Basile's triumphed all along, the new resto features a Cicchetti menu stocked with tapas-like snacks that are anything but delicate.

Lisa Marie TorontoDeep Fried Pizza ($7) topped with smoked duck, chicharron, hoisin and slaws evokes oohs and ahs as it arrives at the table. I make a mess trying to eat one, but the combo of bold flavours, succulent meat and crunchy fried textures are worth it.

Lisa Marie TorontoFollowing that, the Pork Belly Cheese Thang ($5) is served on a soft havarti frico and topped with cilantro tomato salsa and chili basil aioli. It's not unlike the Captain Belly sandwich I've tried from the truck, but without the bread, the sweet braised pork belly takes the centre stage it deserves.

The Turkey Wing (1 for $6 or 2 for $10) is a massive meaty wing that falls off the bone with little effort. Served with a choice of hoisin chili sauce or buffalo style that each benefits from the extra surface area of crisped turkey skin slathered with sauce.

Lisa Marie TorontoThe Smoked Board (market price) is offered Tuesday, Friday and Sunday only. It's a chance to sample an ever-changing array of house smoked meats, which on this visit includes, tequila cured salmon, lambs neck, Cornish hen, beef heart and sliced chicken. I could use some sort of mustard or condiment, but without I'm left to rely on the accompanying mixed pickles to brighten up all that meat.

Lisa Marie TorontoThe best thing about this new bricks and mortar destination? The bar! Finally these fun plates can make friends with cocktails like the Aperol Spritz ($11) or Malocchio Sour ($12).

Lisa Marie is currently open for dinner and drinks with a daytime menu similar to the food truck offerings is set to launch in the near future.

Lisa Marie TorontoLisa Marie TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

31 Comments

Yousuck / April 19, 2013 at 06:35 pm
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Oh look Liora and her friends are all pissy because people with class and who actually know something about the restaurant industry are calling her on her shit.
I know you want to be a food and I use the term loosely "writer"
sweetheart, and that's super! but honestly do yourself a favour and read a good review then look at yours. exactly..
ihate-edandandy / April 19, 2013 at 06:35 pm
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I didn't even read the article but I hate you ed.. you as well andy. I hope you have a terrible night and an even worse saturday morning.
Yousuck replying to a comment from Yousuck / April 19, 2013 at 07:11 pm
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Yousuck,

Speaking of damp panties, your Mom left hers in my woodshed last night.

Not to worry...I'll keep them safe until she comes back for them.
Mike / April 20, 2013 at 03:22 am
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Wow these are the comments I read when I scroll down this profile? Get a life, Toronto.
banquet hall essex / April 20, 2013 at 06:45 am
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This is quite an impressive restaurant thanks for sharing the reviews i would love to make a visit out here.
Al / April 20, 2013 at 09:51 pm
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Toronto people are just pathetic. They can never compare to New York City and their food
evan / April 21, 2013 at 01:44 am
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Went on Friday, couldn't have been more pleased. Comfy room, wicked beer, surprisingly good value, and awesome food. It reminds me of snack bar minus the tiny packed room, the service (or lack thereof), and the loud/way too cool for school vibe. I'll be back to lisa marie. After working in the area and always having to trek away to find a comfy spot for a bite and drink, I'm more than thrilled to have these guys in the hood. Best dining experience I've had in a long while.
evan / April 21, 2013 at 01:46 am
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Correction though, turkey is 1/7 2/12, and worth it.
Mike / April 21, 2013 at 03:44 pm
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Checked in for a pint and a quick snack post-work on Friday. Definitely a cool spot with a good vibe. Food was good and the staff were clearly eager to please. I'll be back in a week or two for sure.
mondayjane / April 22, 2013 at 09:10 am
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It looks great. Love the concept, the decor and name is fun. Will definitely check it out - thanks BlogTO.
vanessa / April 22, 2013 at 10:11 am
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We came here for dinner on Sunday and definitely left full and happy. The steak sharing plate was one of the best I've had with the chef/owner presenting us the raw steak for "approval". The servers were very pleasant and looked like they genuinely loved being there.

I would come back! :)
Kirk replying to a comment from Yousuck / April 24, 2013 at 02:11 pm
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You need to get a life, dude.
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Andie / April 25, 2013 at 01:48 pm
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Went there for dinner and drinks this week and loved it. Great tasting food and great drink menu.

We spent some time talking with the owner and his love of food was so refreshing you could tell this is his passion. Also bought some of the soup they sell out of the market at the back of the restaurant and this too, tasted amazing.

Definitely plan to go back!
Kiko / April 30, 2013 at 02:29 pm
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Went on Friday night! Going again tonight and I am so sure to be back again soon (BRUNCH). When your food and customer service are that great and paralleled, you have a place for anyone to come and enjoy. Food and drink price are amazing for the area. The owners have come a long way to this and this is a great addition to Queen West. Plus they have a market in the back. If you loved it, go to the back and buy it and take it home! Congrats to Matt and Kyla for their place, just Awesome!
Tasha / May 4, 2013 at 11:54 am
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This place looks awesome! It looks like a unique spot with a cool, relaxed atmosphere - definitely hitting up this spot the next time I'm in the Queen West area
cc / May 5, 2013 at 09:58 pm
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Went to Lisa Marie on a Saturday night with little expectation. It was loud with sound echoing off of the corrugated walls. The restaurant was 3/4 full a hodge podge of tourists, party goers, dates, families across ages. The menu looked promising with cocktails leading the way. The Bronx - the only bourbon drink on the menu arrived flat and unexciting. The food followed suit. short ribs on polenta, the alabama tailgaters and the smoke board - all good, but not great. Competition in the city is pretty fierce. These guys need to up their game if they're going to continue playing.
susie / May 21, 2013 at 11:45 pm
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i thought the food was original and delicious... the turkey wing is a MUST TRY! (crispy goodness with a lip-smacking hoisin sauce!). the service isn't super warm, but it's genuine. and the restaurant has a cool, laid-back vibe. try to get a seat by the window so you can people watch.
russman / May 31, 2013 at 02:33 pm
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Finally tried the place today and very disappointed in the choice between a burger and two sandwiches.
Burger was mediocre (you should see the line ups outside Gangster Burger!) and Pad Thai fries were simply tossed in Srirachi and very soggy.
The waiter was better suited to a sports bar rather than a restaurant.
We gave up trying to talk because of the loud music.
Definitely not a place for 'dining'!
Jessica / June 2, 2013 at 05:30 pm
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Hugely disappointed. Visited Lisa Marie this past Saturday afternoon expecting to enjoy some cicchetti. Even though the restaurant was half empty, no server came to greet us or give us a menu. Two patrons next to us read the menu and left immediately. We picked up their menu and discovered that all they offered during lunch hour were subpar brunch items. Needless to say, we left as well.
AVC / July 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm
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Not coming back there again. My friend and I had reservations for two on a Friday night and when we got there we were told that a group of six people showed up and they gave our table to them. Also, the music was too loud.
ST / July 25, 2013 at 10:21 am
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Went there last night to sample their new menu - awesome!!! Great vibe, staff and food.

Just one reco... put more food on the plate for the cicchetti items!! Otherwise, awesome!

Good luck guys!
Scott / July 27, 2013 at 09:02 pm
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Loved their food at Beerfest. Can't wait to check out their restaurant!
A&L / July 28, 2013 at 01:11 pm
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Two of us went on Saturday. Told the server we were hungry and wanted to share. He said everything is meant to be shared. PERFECT! We ordered 4 items from the cicchetti menu. They came out as small single items. 8 bucks for a single small taco and I have to cut it in half to share? Wut? The foods good but we spent almost $100 on a couple mouthfulls of food.

Make the food shareable and be more clear with your menus.

c / November 1, 2013 at 02:39 pm
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A@L

You hit the nail on the head; Archive wine bar does a similar, albeit less fancy, cicchetti menu and for $5 you get 3. It's not a bad place for a snack and a drink, but i really cant see myself eating dinner here. As it seemed the only substantial thing on the menu, we ordered the smoked plate. It was tasty, but everything tasted exactly the same.
Jason / January 18, 2014 at 11:28 am
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We have only been here for brunch and both times the food has been amazing the pad Thai fries are amazing and so are the burgers
Mikey / January 25, 2014 at 10:27 am
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Went on a Fri night, they sort of screwed up a few reservations, but we were still seated promptly.

Food tasted great: poutine, rib, tailgaters, crab pogos were all tasty. Dinner for 2, 2 beers each was $90. Laid back staff, nice vibe. I'd go back.
smash / March 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm
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Meh.

Came here for brunch expecting a "hip" queen west experience. The menu was limited an unimpressive. Basically a list of forms of pork served on bad white bread with a single egg on top.
HOPE YA LIKE PORK.

Portion sizes were nothing to rave about, and bad bread and a poorly cooked egg surrounding either pulled pork, slabbed pork, or ground pork? Yawn*

That said, the Pad Thai fries were insane.
Michelle / April 22, 2014 at 04:05 pm
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In my opinion, overrated and nothing special. Just another pretentious hispter eatery. I prefer Electric Mud.
Adrian B / May 26, 2014 at 01:44 pm
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Came here a week ago, and was mortified with the service. The waittress mentioned that there were new additions to the menu, told us we had ordered all wrong, and when the food came out only half of her recommendations were decent. Lisa Marie has a great environment, if you can get over this particular waittress yelling into your ear. Honestly, what the fuck?! Why should I pay for this type of shitty service.
En Sabah Nur / July 29, 2014 at 10:34 am
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I agree with the comments on poor service. Went for brunch twice at Lisa Marie. On the first visit, they complelety dropped two orders from our party who ended up only getting their meals when everyone else was finished theirs (of course we tried waiting for them). Even when we asked about the status of the dropped orders, we were told by the waitress that the kitchen doesn't even acknowledge her so we were left in limbo.

On the second visit, same issue. Our orders were somehow dropped and then when we got up to leave, they magically appeared. We were running late for an appointment as we already advised the wait staff who then gave us a hard time for not paying of the meals they didn't even serve us on time.

TL:DR, hire wait staff who can actually communicate with your kitchen.


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