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The Spice Route - Toronto, ON

Disappointing, Dreadful, a Don’t Go


Restaurant Category : Asian (Fusion), Sushi

The Spice Route – Toronto, ON: Located at King St. W., Toronto, Spice Route is a Toronto restaurant that aims to serve the best Asian cuisine. We had heard of the Spice Route from a few different people and were told it is a must visit when in Toronto. We were in town to review Toronto restaurants so were made reservations to dine there and find out for ourselves.

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We headed down King Street in search of a parking spot, which at 7PM on a weekend seemed almost impossible to find. Finally we found a spot four blocks away and made our way back to where Spice Route should be. There wasn’t a sign out front, but just some torches that marked the entrance and a huge wooden door. I wished the restaurant had told us this in advance because we spent a good amount of time trying to find it. Somehow we concluded that the torches must be the entrance to Spice Route. (How torches signify Asian fusion is beyond me!)

The restaurant itself had an Asian flair to it, naturally, but with modern touches that enhanced its ambience. The interior of the place had subdued lighting, with low couches and stools making a lounge area on one end and restaurant seating on the other side with a funky bar set in the middle. From the looks of the patrons, it was definitely a place that people wanting to be seen hung out. The place was not as packed as it probably would on a weekend. I have a sneaky suspicion that on the weekends Spice Route is packed.

Once seated, we ordered cocktails, Red Dragon Martinis (made with a mix of vodka, red alize, yuzu, ruby red grapefruit juice and fresh lime juice) and a bottle of water to sip on while we browsed the Spice Route menu. The menu consisted of about a dozen sharing plates, a handful of soups, salads and noodle dishes, a wide variety of chicken, duck and meat dishes and even a plethora of vegetarian dishes.

It took forever for our cocktails and water to be delivered, and on top of that, the water was lukewarm. Our Red Dragon Martinis were average. We were not off to a good start.

We placed our order, concentrating on sushi and sashimi:
Sashimi Platter – A plate of assorted sashimi
Volcano Roll – Spicy salmon, white tuna, avocado, asparagus, tobiko and chili mayo
Red Hot – Tempura shrimp, spicy salmon, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber and tobiko
BBQ Eel Sushi – A unique take on traditional eel sushi

Once again, it took forever for our order to arrive. And, we had asked for it to be staggered (to let us enjoy the sashimi first and then bring the rolls and other items) but lo and behold, everything came at once. Our tiny table overflowed to the table next to us. Our white wine we ordered to go with our dinner? You guessed it… room temperature warm! (Was that strike two or strike three? We were losing count of their failures!)

The food itself was below average, at best. The fish was definitely not fresh and the rolls were drowning in sauce. The unagi, which we typically LOVE was borderline horrid!

To top it all off, service was horrendous. It seemed that the Gods conspired to mess up every part of our night. Other than a nice vibe, the Spice Route in Toronto had no redeeming qualities that we could see.

Overall, we give the Spice Route a Not Bombastic rating. Everything was just a huge let down. Who we go back? No. Would we recommend you checking it out? Hardly!

What I liked: Upscale ambience

What I didn’t like: The service, the food, the service, the food, the service, the food (get what we’re saying?)

Rating: Not Bombastic

Address and Telephone Number:
Spice Route
499 King St. W.
Toronto M5K 1K4
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