Californiasia Rolls at Bite Noodles and Rice on College Street in Toronto
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Bite Noodles and Rice

Bite Noodles and Rice is a cute little Asian fusion (though mostly Vietnamese) resto that's easy enough to miss along the busy Little Italy stretch of College Street. Walking by, I realize I've never even noticed it and perhaps am not alone in that -- the place is empty at 7pm on a weeknight.

A closer look at the menu reveals some pretty amazing selection though, so I figure it's got to be worth a shot.

Exploring the menu (available in PDF form on Bite's website ), the noodle selection is really tempting. Vietnamese, Thai, Singaporean, Japanese and Chinese influences all make an appearance.

20090203-bite-bun.jpg

Knowing I've got to head to work afterward, I decide to skip on the curries and sauces and go for something light (and safe) this time: a traditional Vietnamese Bun dish. I order the Bun with Tofu Steaks ($7.50) and add a veggie spring roll ($1.50).

The portion is huge, ingredients fresh, and the seared tofu steaks (four thick slabs) are really nice on their own. Together with the bun, they're a bit of a dry companion. I'd recommend going for the juicier chicken or beef in order to mix some more flavour onto the bare noodles. To Bite's credit though, I did get a decently sized bowl of lime fish sauce for the bun.

Satay Rice Bowl with Pineapple, Tofu & Vegetables

My partner, usually a big meat eater, is totally drawn in by the long list of veggie options and winds up ordering Satay Pineapple Rice Bowl with Tofu & Vegetables ($8.50). I'm offered a thumbs up as she digs into a huge pile of colourful fresh veggies. Snagging a little of the bowl myself, I agree, this is a tasty, healthy choice, but the sauce kind of strikes me as a pretty run-of-the-mill satay.

Fried Tofu

On the side we get an order of Bite's "Californiasia Rolls" ($4.50) along with some complimentary fried tofu. Yes, I said Californiasia. Yes, that's entirely why we ordered it. I'll admit it.

Pictured at the very top, you get chopped rice rolls containing some of the classic ingredients of their sushi cousin, California Rolls. Chunks of avocado and imitation crab wrapped with julienne carrots, lettuce and rice paper. It's a cute idea and it was executed well. At $4.50, I'd definitely order these again.

So then, after all that food, have I figured out why Bite is not packed full of College Street crowds looking for cheap eats before a screening at the Royal or a hop at the Mod Club ? Nope. All I know is that they're offering great value, variety and some pretty good food that won't weigh you down before a night out. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other dishes soon.

Bite Noodles and Rice

Food photographs by Tanja-Tiziana.


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