Riz: a pan asian cuisine restaurant, located on 1677 Bayview Ave, Toronto. The decor is very lovely, white table cloths, funky wallpaper and a combination of booths and tables. The staff are very busy greeting the constant flow of customers, but are able to balance taking orders and serving tables. The menu is very extensive with a lot to offer, but what’s great is that they have a whole separate gluten free menu. The gluten free menu is not just a 1 page, 10 item list; it is as vast as the regular menu, with 4-5 pages of an assortment of options. The gluten free menu and “regular” menu are very similar, however there are certain dishes that have been revamped into a gluten free friendly alternative.
For appetizers we started off with fried calamari and chicken noodle soup (gluten free of course). The calamari was probably battered in a rice flour, but according to my sister tasted just like wheat battered calamari. It was crunchy and had the perfect ratio of batter to calamari. The calamari wasn’t over cooked, and was the perfect consistency.
The chicken noodle soup had a very asian twist to it. The noodles were rice noodles, the chicken was poached and the vegetables consisted of bok choy and mushrooms. The broth was very tasty, with a hint of garlic, lemongrass, and cilantro. It was very warming and tasted much like a comfort food. The one downside to the dish was the size, it would have been much better if it came in a larger bowl.
The fresh salad mango rolls (rice paper rolls) were light and refreshing. They were the perfect size and the dipping sauce added a nice zing to the bite. However, the mangos were not ripe enough, and with the cucumber being the accompaniment, it did not add much flavour to the roll.
For the main course I had sweet and sour chicken! I could not believe I was eating a gluten free meal. The chicken was again, probably battered in rice flour (like the calamari) and deep fried, then tossed in a sweet and sour sauce, which they call tamarind. The pieces of chicken were bite sized and had the perfect crunch. I could taste the sweetness in the sauce, but I also had a slight sour taste in my mouth. I just loved this course. The dish came with red and green bell peppers and onions. It would have been nice to have a side of rice, but I didn’t realize that a side of rice cost extra. This is definitely a dish to be shared, as there is a lot of chicken that comes on the plate.
It was so much fun eating out at a certified gluten free restaurant where my family could also enjoy non-gluten free items. It felt very normal to have such a selection to order from and where I actually had to think hard to decide what I was going to order. Riz is the first Thai-Vietnamese-Asian restaurant in Toronto, and it also was featured in a Globe and Mail article regarding Celiac disease. The menu is very reasonably priced, with dishes averaging around $12-15 each. Some of the appetizers are around $3-8 and there are a few dishes, like the lobster dinner that are a little more pricier. There is also an “all you can taste (eat)” menu, for $35.99/adult, which seems a bit expensive, but I would say is totally worth it for the quality and quantity of food. I will definitely go back to Riz, it is way too delicious to pass up!
Have you ever been to Riz? What did you think about it? Would you ever go back?