When a restaurant is owned by a company whose vision mainly addresses sports and entertainment, you do not always associate it with refined food. This was the case for E11even which belongs to MLSE: Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the owners of Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, Real Sports Bar & Grill, and many others.
However, after learning more, I realized a handful of my favorite chefs including Matthew Sullivan, their Executive Chef and my favorite contestant on Top Chef Canada, have joined to change the food game at MLSE. With that in mind, I decided to try E11even with an open-mind and give them the benefit of the doubt.
E11even is conveniently located within walking distance of Union Station and the Scotia Bank Arena with a more sophisticated dining room and ambiance compared to Real Sports Bar & Grill right behind it. With that said, you can be rest assured that you will not be underdressed here. I have visited the restaurant on three separate occasions with different dressing attires, and I was always treated equally as other Bay Street bankers 🙂
This time around, my friend and I came to e11even on a Wednesday night for their new weekly DJ night – Grooves in the Square featuring DJ ESP (I highly suggest you guys to check out the flyer below for their other events! #e11evenbetter).
For a DJ night, the ambiance was surprisingly not too loud and you still can talk comfortably without shouting at each other. The atmosphere was still classy and I’m so glad the DJ wasn’t playing the normal top 50 radio musics (lol).
If you are a wine lover, there is an extensive wine list with a gorgeous wine feature wall inside the restaurant. To start, we ordered the crab cake ($26) appetizer which was quite delicious. The cake was packed with fresh crab and not too much filler or binder, and paired perfectly with a mustard remoulade sauce.
For the mains, my friend opted for the Atlantic Salmon ($36) – where the fish had a perfectly crispy skin and the flesh was tender and flaked easily with a fork. While I loved the rye berry & beet salad, I thought the horseradish yogurt was a bit too rich for the salmon. Since the fish was lightly seasoned, a touch of lime or olive oil would pair better to bring out the freshness of the salmon.
I also had their nonna’s meatball ($24) which is a mammoth sized sphere of meat & pork freshly ground on site and deep fried, finished in a blend of tomatoes and chicken stock. The meat is tender and flavorful, served with a side of bread to soak up all that delicious tomato sauce.
To end the night, I opted for their Baked Alaska ($20) instead of their famous Sticky Toffee Pudding that I had previously. The baked alaska was not as sweet as I expected (which is a good thing) and surprisingly not as rich as their toffee pudding. So if you are looking for a lighter and shareable dessert, I recommend getting this.
Overall, dinner at e11even was satisfying with a lively atmosphere. Though the price is definitely on a higher end, it is one of the better options around the Scotia Bank Arena if you are looking for a more upscale dining experience.