We love food. Everything about it. We love learning about it, cooking it and, especially, eating it. Join us at our “Table For Two” as we review our experience at restaurants across the globe and offer our suggestions of where we don’t think you should miss the chance to grab a bite to eat.

tuna avocado salad kobori

Best Japanese Food in Thailand – Kobori Japanese Restaurant

Those who know us well, know we have a penchant for Japanese cuisine. Good Japanese food tends to be marked by fresh ingredients, tantalizing combinations of flavor and a chef’s passion for the process. We haven’t had much sushi since we left Toronto so we decided to try to find the best Japanese food in Thailand. We found what we were looking for and more at Kobori Japanese Restaurant in Koh Samui, Thailand and for us, the bar has been raised.

Kobori japanese restaurant koh samui thailand - has some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

 

kobori japanese restaurant koh samui

Our Journey To Find The Best Japanese Food In Thailand Ends Where It Begins

When we arrived at the restaurant, along the Mae Nam walking street, we were greeted immediately by the restaurant’s namesake, Chef Koji O Kobori, wearing full traditional Japanese clothing and a warm smile. He led us through the narrow restaurant to a table near the back of the comfortably lit, authentically decorated dining area.

Kobori Japanese Restaurant

Chef Kobori Brings Japan to Koh Samui and Takes His Kimonos With Him

In talking to Kobori we learned that the restaurant was only 9 months old, opening in February 2014, and while he did not go to culinary school for formal training, Kobori learned to cook in various establishments in Japan before working there as a chef for around 5 years.  His friendly demeanor and obvious love for Japanese cuisine and hosting guests made us immediately feel welcome and even more excited to try the food.

Kobori Japanese Restaurant Koh Samui

We requested that Kobori provide suggestions on our meal and drinks, which he did, starting first with a tasting of Japanese plum liqueur and some sake, both of which were a great way to start our meal. The sake was smooth and light and the liqueur was sweet and fruity and left our palate cleansed and ready for the food to come.

tuna avocado salad kobori - some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

We started with a tuna avocado salad made with fresh, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of tuna sashimi, chunks of avocado, slices of tomato, cucumber, onion and carrot on a bed of lettuce and served with a homemade wasabi dressing. The components contrasted well and provided a mix of textures while the slight kick to the dressing was a complement to the mild flavor of the tuna and the balsamic flavor blended well with the stronger hints of cucumber and tomato.

ice macha tea, thai iced tea

To enjoy with the rest of our meal, we had iced matcha green tea and a Thai iced tea. The green tea was bold and strong in flavor while the Thai iced tea was lighter and refreshing. We could have drank several glasses of both but stuck to just one.

fried fish skewers - some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

Our next dish was the Samui fish fry plate. Six beautifully and lightly fried, crispy pieces of skewered white fish were served with a katsu sauce on the side. The fish were neither greasy nor strong in taste and we were told that the type of fish used are chosen from whatever is fresh at the market that day. On our particular plate, we had three different kinds of white, flaky fish. Whatever they had caught in Samui that day, it was absolutely perfect for this fish fry.

salmon sushi rolls

What Japanese meal would be complete without some sashimi, sushi or a maki roll? Our Salmon-tataki roll was beautifully plated and served just as we were finishing our fried fish skewers. The freshness of the ingredients were evident as the flavor burst and blended in a perfect mix of salmon, rice, Japanese mayo and vegetables.  The salmon on the outside was nicely seared without being cooked through and matched the fish and vegetables on the inside of the roll.

By this point we were both starting to get pretty full but when Kobori mentioned his miso soup made from fresh miso paste, which he makes each day, we couldn’t resist. We must’ve been eating instant miso base all this time because the flavour was unlike any other miso soup we had tried back home. The soup had vibrant flavours that were strong and not watered down. Even the tofu held the flavour and was present in the soup in thick chunks rather than the small tiny cubes one usually sees when ordering a miso soup.

Kobori cooking some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

Kobori followed up the miso soup with some beef teppanyaki which he brought out on a hot steel plate and cooked himself on a service cart in front of us. Colourful vegetables combined with the thinly sliced New Zealand beef and emitted a wonderful aroma while being cooked with the sauces Kobori had also made and brought out with the rest. Fresh and flavourful we thoroughly enjoyed this dish, served with rice, and its unique presentation.

coconut pana cotta, macha green tea ice cream - some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

By this point of the meal we were quite full but the photos of dessert on the wall, and the Japanese sword Kobori kept strapped to his side, made it hard to resist ordering something. We decided on the homemade matcha green tea ice cream, especially since the iced tea was so good, and the homemade coconut milk pana cotta. Afterall, Kobori said that Koh Samui is nicknamed coconut island, so it only made sense to try at least something involving one of the island’s main crops.

The ice cream had a strong and creamy matcha taste while the pana cotta was light in texture and flavour. The drizzle of strawberry sauce on top was a perfect touch. We don’t know too much about pana cotta other than it’s delicious and can be tricky to make but when we asked Kobori where he learned to make it, he told us he taught himself and that “it’s easy”. If we hadn’t already decided that he was a talented chef, we would’ve been convinced in that moment.

Just as we were winding down to the last few bites of our dessert, a plate of ‘the fruit of the day’ was brought out. Served to all guests at the completion of their meal, the plate of fruit is to cleanse the palate after eating and the day we went was composed of lychee and watermelon.

 

 

Needless to say, by the end of the meal we were completely satiated and incredibly impressed by the quality and presentation of the food we had just consumed. Kobori then took time to help the both of us dress in traditional Japanese clothing and take photos with him.

Kobori Koh Samui, Kobori Thailand, Best japanese restaurant thailand, best japanese restaurant koh samui, sushi koh samui, sushi thailand, best restaurants Koh Samui

Donning some interesting, and pretty humourous, headwear we all took various shots alone and together and it was a great way to round out the evening and an example of what makes Kobori Japanese Restaurant and Kobori himself so special. Here, you receive individual attention, an amazing meal and a funny and attentive host.

japanese hat kobori

Open everday from 5:30pm-11pm we highly suggest you find your way to Mae Nam and Kobori Japanese Restaurant for some incredible and authentic Japanese cuisine and a chance to unwind, dress-up and enjoy. We definitely won’t be forgetting the meal or the evening anytime soon.

Kobori Japanese Restaurant

Moo 5, Mae Nam,

Ko Samui District, Surat Thani

84330, Thailand

 

Comment below and let us know which cuisine you’d look for after being away from home for a couple months!! We can’t decide between Japanese or Dim Sum!

 

 

The Lancaster Smokehouse

This past winter, after taking a web coding course, we both felt a hankering for Southern BBQ.  Luckily enough, we were a town over from a restaurant we had heard of which supposedly had amazing Southern fried chicken and, something we always wanted to try, hog tails. The Lancaster Smokehouse, in Kitchener Ontario, is deceivingly bare on the outside, so much so that we almost passed it completely, but since we never judge a restaurant by it’s storefront, we weren’t concerned in the least.

smoke house outside

The inside of the restaurant took us straight to the South with wood from floor to ceiling and the smell of BBQ permeating the air. The casual, rustic dining space was larger than we expected and featured a fairly centrally located bar. We arrived close to 5 and it was already starting to fill up. By 5:30 the place was pretty packed and we were glad we had already ordered our meal.

smoke house bar area

 

Since they don’t accept reservations on Fridays or Saturdays, we would suggest getting there early if you plan on having dinner on either of those days.  As incentive for braving the crowds, there is usually live Blues music on these days which most certainly would intensify the Southern soulful, and soul food, vibe.

smoke house food

The menu offered a vast assortment of Southern, often Cajun, meals and sides. We opted for ordering what we had been craving all along, Southern fried chicken as our one dish and thought we’d try the beef brisket as our second. Since hog tails seemed to be a theme of the restaurant, it only seemed right to get a hog tail to try.  We found the sauce on the hog tail to be a little over sweet for the meat and was a little overpowering but we’d like to give it a second shot as we weren’t sure what to expect our first time tasting it.

smoke house brisket

Texas Beef Brisket with molasses baked beans, Waterloo County potato salad and sweet honey cornbread – $18.00 CDN

The beef brisket was tender and while neither of us found the sauce to be our favourite, it was still a good pairing to the 12 hour smoked meat. The potato salad was the highlight of this dish, neither too salty nor too bland, and a perfect blend of flavours. The baked beans were also good and all together, the trio worked well.

smoke house fried chicken

The General’s Southern Fried Chicken with fries, braised collard greens and sweet honey cornbread – $17.00 CDN

The fried chicken we were craving on the way to the restaurant was, in our minds, crispy, juicy, and seasoned to perfection. What we got met those cravings exactly. Crunchy and seasoned well on the outside, moist on the inside, the fried chicken is definitely a recommended dish. The collard greens were good, if a bit bland, the fries were delicious and the sweet honey cornbread tasted fresh and home baked.

If you are looking for a Southern, bluesy restaurant to satisfy your Cajun and fried chicken cravings, this is a great restaurant. Even though it was crowded and noisy by the time we finished our meal, we found the fried chicken more than made up for it. A word of advice: choose your sides wisely as the perfect combination can greatly enhance the meal, while the wrong ones can detract from the overall experience.

The Lancaster Smokehouse

574 Lancaster St W

Kitchener, ON

N2K 1M3

519-743-4331

Breakfast in Montreal – L’Avenue Restaurant

It was early, we were tired and we were very hungry. We were in Montreal and looking for a place to eat breakfast. We searched online for “the best place to eat breakfast in Montreal” and decided on L’Avenue.  The reviews warned us about long lines and advised us to get there before opening and although it was already 9am, we were now set on trying this restaurant.

Breakfast in MOntreal - Lavenue Restaurant Front

It wasn’t hard to find the restaurant’s location since we could see the lineup as we turned onto the street.  (At the point when the picture above was taken, we were still by the light post on the left-hand side of the photo.) By the one hour mark, we contemplated leaving but by then, we were committed. If you do happen to try this restaurant we, like the rest of the reviews, recommend you get there as early as possible but if you don’t, we recommend you stick around and wait – It’ll be worth it.

Lavenue Front of Restaurant

A Meal At One of the Best Places to Eat Breakfast in Montreal

Approximately an hour and a half after we first stepped in line we were ushered into a completely packed, narrow dining area. The décor was colourful and fun, the menus and waiters were predominantly French, and the smells emanating from the kitchen were tantalizing. We were waited on fairly quickly and although it was early, it was the weekend and the bar was open and drinks seemed to be flowing. We managed to get by on the minimal French we know and as per usual, ordered two different meals: pancakes and French toast.

Lavenue Bacon and Cheese Pancakes breakfast in Montreal

Crepes Bacon et Cheddar: Pancakes with bacon, cheddar cheese, sautéed apples and maple syrup – $12.89 CDN

At first we were conflicted. Bacon, cheese and apples on pancakes sounded both brilliant and crazy at the same time.  When we tried it, we found that it was a great blend of sweet and savoury. We would never have thought to put those ingredients together but they worked wonderfully. The syrup may have made it a little too sweet by the end, but it was delicious overall.

Lavenue Peach and Granola French Toast

Pain Grillé Français, Peches et Granola: French Toast with peaches, granola and a peach reduction syrup – $13.98 CDN

We were a little more confident with this choice and it turned out to be just as good as the pancakes. The different textures of the peaches and granola were a perfect contrast and while there was little  that was savoury about this dish, the sweetness was not overpowering, even with the syrup.

Somehow, the combinations of ingredients in both dishes created explosions of perfectly blended flavours that left us both wanting more long after we had demolished our breakfasts. The meal left us satiated and we were glad we had waited in line.

Lavenue Dining Room

If you are not sitting in a booth, the tables themselves are only inches apart and while this may lead to some people feeling crowded, we happened to strike up a pleasant conversation with the couple next to us and were glad for the chance to meet new people and discuss their experiences as Montreal residents.

We had an amazing overall experience and would highly recommend eating here at least once for breakfast/brunch. We would love to try dishes from the rest of the menu, for lunch or dinner, and have added this to our list of places to try again should we have the opportunity.

We also found out L’Avenue was featured on at least one TV show, and if you know us, we always enjoy learning about and hunting down restaurants on shows like “You Gotta Eat Here” or “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” and determining for ourselves just how good they are! We’ve already stopped by Stoney’s Bread Company in Oakville, Ontario and 11th Street Diner in Miami so we can add L’Avenue to this list and keep on the hunt for more!

Have you been to L’Avenue or any other “As Seen on TV” restaurant? If so, comment below and tell us about your experience!

 

You Can Do It Too

Looking for a great place to eat breakfast in Montreal? Here’s all the info you’ll need to find amazing food to satisfy your morning cravings:

 

L’Avenue

922 Avenue du Mont Royal Est

Montreal, QC

H2J 1X1

514-523-8780

 

Table For Two – 11th Street Diner

On our drive back from our trip to the Keys we decided to stop for dinner in Miami. It was already past dinner time, we were hungry and tired, and we figured anything would taste good but we really wanted to have an enjoyable meal.  We had read quite a few reviews about 11th Street Diner and thought it would be a good option. After finding parking in a lot not too far away, we walked to 11th Street and Washington Ave where we spotted the Airstream looking dining car that housed the restaurant.

The interior of the restaurant was modern, clean and inviting and on this particular day, very busy.  Since the main dining area was full we were seated at the only available table in the bar area. This area was even cozier and decorated with a beautiful large mural beside the bar. A waiter was at our table almost immediately.

There is a lot to choose from off of their “All Day” menu which is inspired by traditional American fare.  With everything from all day breakfast to turkey dinner and corn fritters to fresh Mahi, the menu is packed with delicious sounding meals and we had a tough time choosing. What narrowed it down for us were the asterisks beside certain items indicating that they were featured on the Food Network (we looked it up and they were visited by Guy Fieri in an episode of Diner’s, Drive-Ins, and Dives). We chose two dishes from the show: pork chops and the Argentinian skirt steak.

11th street diner maimi, pork chops

Pork Chops with apples and raisins and a side of rice and beans with veggies – $14.95 USD

The pork was tender and bursting with flavour from seasonings and the combination of apples and raisins. The rice and beans were a perfect compliment and tasty on their own. Altogether the dish flowed perfectly from one element to the next. The only thing wrong with it was that there was no way to stop eating until the plate was empty.

11th Street Diner argintinian steak

Argentinian skirt steak with tomato garlic relish and homemade mashed potatoes – $14.95 USD

The steak was melt in your mouth and the relish was so good we could have eaten it on it’s own, but with the meat it added incredibly sophisticated flavours to each delicious bite. The homemade mashed potatoes actually tasted homemade and put with the rest, it helped make this meal one of the most memorable ever.

This restaurant in one word? Unforgettable. If you are in the area, dining here is a must. And don’t worry if you can’t make it until late – this restaurant is open 24 hours!!

Have you dined in Miami before? Comment below and let us know your favourite restaurant!

 

11th Street Diner

1065 Washington Ave

Miami Beach, Fl

305-534-6373

 

Table for Two – Stoney’s Bread Company

 

Since one of our hobbies as a couple is trying different restaurants, we like to keep our ears open for any reviews on local establishments. We had heard from quite a few people that Stoney’s Bread Company in Oakville, Ontario offered some pretty good food.  When we finally saw it on an episode of “You Gotta Eat Here”, we knew it was time to try it.

The restaurant itself is cozy and while it definitely gives that effect of an intimate night out, it is contrasted with a casual, relaxed feel as you order and pay at the counter and take a number to the seat of your choice. The restaurant boasts a menu of home-made pastas, sandwiches, pizzas and breads and even offers a daily breakfast menu. Their Sunday Brunch menu from 9am to 3pm adds additional mouth watering items to an already impressive looking list.

On our visit, we opted for a sandwich and a pizza and as we waited we started to doubt whether we made the right choice since all the dishes passing by looked so good. We most certainly were not disappointed though.

 

stoneys flat iron steak sammy

The Flat Iron Steak Sandwich with goat cheese, caramelized onions, fried mushrooms, spinach, and sundried tomato aioli on ciabatta – $16.00 CDN

This place knows its bread. The bun was fresh and soft on the inside but lightly crunchy on the outside. The steak was cooked to perfection and the mix of flavours of the garnishes were a delightful addition without being overpowering. It’s a good thing they give you a knife and fork for this sandwich but while it may not be the easiest sandwich to devour, it may just be one of the best.

stoneys pizza

Giuseppe’s Pizza – pepperoni, calabrese, capicola, bacon and mozzarella with fire roasted tomato sauce – $15.00 CDN

As we stated, this place knows their bread. The crust was thin and crunchy, but soft on the inside – just how we like our pizza crust.  There was plenty of toppings to have each bite packed with delicious meaty-flavour and the fire roasted tomato sauce blended well. The pizza was large enough that we had to take a to-go box for what was left.

This was one of the few restaurants we have tried after hearing much acclaim and actually agreed it was deserving of such high reviews.  This restaurant definitely provides a satisfying experience and is worth a second visit. Since this visit, we’ve tried a few other restaurants we’ve seen on television programs and, while not all were at the calibre we expected, there were two incredible restaurants that were. Click to read our reviews of 11th Street Diner & L’Avenue.

 

Have you ever tried a restaurant you’ve seen on TV? Comment below and tell us about your experience!

 

Looking to visit Stoney’s Bread Company?

Stoney’s Bread Company

325 Kerr Street

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

905-849-3627