Yum Yum: Lamesa

With such a diverse and international population,  it follows that Toronto’s restaurant scene is equally as varied. Expanding our palate through discovering a new type of ethnic cuisine is one of our favourite flavour pursuits. We’d never tried Filipino food before and, perhaps more embarrassingly, knew even less about what it entailed. When we’d spied Lamesa taking over the old Rosebud space, just down the street from our office (at 669 Queen St. W.), we figured it was a sign to explore new culinary territory!


Exterior on Queen St. W.



Lamesa’s menu changes daily, reflecting food available locally and seasonally, and combines traditional Filipino dishes with French cooking techniques for a dynamic and unusual dining experience. The menu is available a la carte, but our server explained the 5-course prix fixe was the best bang for your buck. At only $35, the prix fixe was a done deal; particularly as we wanted to try as many things as possible. 


We’re obsessed with Lamesa’s custom mural. 



Filipino cuisine is a mash-up of many culinary techniques, including Chinese, Malaysian and Spanish. We started with an amuse bouche of a risotto-like one bite hit of delicious. First course was the Halo Halo Sisig, a blend of beef, pork and chicken mixed with ginger and chiles, topped with a fried egg and Filipino pico de gallo. Our server suggested cutting up the egg and mixing it all together, so we did. We also tried their soup of the day, a creamy mung bean soup topped with pulled duck confit and apples. Would be hard pressed deciding between the two starters, so were glad our dining buddy was willing to share.


Halo Halo Sisig makes an excellent case for eggs for dinner. 
For our mains we had the Pritong Manok, crispy, battered chicken drizzled with an Adobo gastrique/reduction, and the Short Rib Nilaga, braised beef served over cabbage and a bone marrow, potato puree. While we tend to love anything fried, we were partial to the tenderness of the braised beef. The French braising technique, combined with the South Asian flavouring, was an unexpected delight.

So much fried chicken-y goodness.

The pre-dessert (oh, you read that right) was delicate house-made dark and white chocolate bites, with caramel drizzled on the plate. We completed our dinner with two desserts, including a Ginataan with sweet taro chips which is a sweet, coconut milk traditional dessert. The desserts were not the highlight of the meal, but were the most unfamiliar dishes of the night. 

We were impressed by the staff’s attentiveness and knowledge. They were happy to explain any questions about our meal and were able to provide knowledgeable answers in regards to anything cuisine-specific. We loved the prix fixe, both for its value and the range of food items it allows you to try. If you’re curious about Filipino food, this place is a must-try.

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