Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eating at the AGO

We spend alot of time at the Art Gallery of Ontario now that we're members and have tried the various dining or snacking experiences that they have to offer.

 The espresso bar on the 5th floor (Contemporary Art) is a great place for a quick coffee and muffin.  If you snag a seat by the floor to ceiling windows, you get a beautiful view of Grange Park.  Their muffins are wonderfully moist and flavourful.  I especially like the pumpkin orange with the crunchy pumpkin seeds on top. 

 For a relatively brief but more substantial fare, the AGO cafeteria in the basement does the trick.  There are always hot hearty soups ($5) such as carrot ginger, potato truffle fennel, sausage chili.  A full serving can just about serve as a meal on its own, or can be purchased as a side along with a salad or sandwich for $2 more.  Currently they are serving Russian inspired soups in honour of the Chagall and Russian Avante Garde exhibit so we had tomato based soup with ground beef, barley and vegetables.  We also had Russian baked pirishke pastries filled with beef and veal or mushroom herb, as well as a rice krispie treat shaped like a pumpkin for Halloween (not Russian!?!).  This is a great place to rest your feet, fill your stomach while viewing art that is available for sale or possibly short term rental.

Finally if you have the time and the money for a fancier meal, there is the Frank restaurant on the main floor.  We've only been there for lunch so far, so we still have not experienced the full potential of their menu.  However I did have one of my favourite appetizers there that I've been searching for ever since.  It was a deep fried mushroom risotto croquette served with wild mushrooms in a truffled herb sauce.  It was so good I decided I was going to come back and get two orders for this alone as my lunch, but alas, I have not seen it on the menu since.

I also had a Jerusalem artichoke salad and a chocolate pecan tart with bourbon pecan ice cream for dessert.  These were both really good but pale in my memory compared to my mushroom croquette.  Hopefully one day we meet again!

As members we get 10% off food at all the dining locations, which is a nice perk.  We also have the opportunity to eat at the Members only lounge in the Grange, connected to the AGO.  However you seem to get similar food at a premium price so we're happy just to eat in the regular locations.

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