I think this is a very clever choice for a location. A block or two away from OEB, and across the street from Diner Deluxe can only mean one thing: all the frustrated overflow traffic from those two breakfast places just saunter over to Carino, which happens to be mostly empty!

And that is exactly what I did this morning. I had just picked up my family from the airport, and we were starving. Not wanting to wait for our food, we decided to give Carino a try. 

Carino is where AKA Winebar used to be. As we walked in, it struck me how similar it looked to AKA. They had not done much in the way of making it look different, and had left most of the decor exactly the same. Upon surveying the menu, I recognized a few brunch menu items which were the same as AKA as well. Had they decided to carry over those items into the new menu because they were popular? That is what I can assume.

One thing that bothered me before I even ordered was the strong smell that hit me as soon as I walked into the restaurant. I have a strong sense of smell, so that may be why it was so unnerving for me, but it took a lot of effort for me to look past it. But it was snowing outside and we were already seated with menus in our hands, so I decided to trudge through it. 

I ordered an Eggs Benedict with salmon gravlax, while the other parties at the table ordered the Arigato Omlette, and Fried Chicken and waffles (a menu item that was carried over from AKA Winebar). We were served coffee promptly, and it was good coffee too. 

The food arrived, after a slightly long wait. The quantities didnt look plentiful, but the presentation was pretty. My Eggs Benedict was cooked PERFECTLY. The yolks were soft and runny, and the hollandaise sauce just the right amount. 

The Arigato Omlette was interesting.. a thin omlette over some rice, bean sprouts and japanese sauce. Very tasty and filling! 

The chicken and waffles seemed to be the lesser loved of all the items. 

The price was pretty average. About $69 plus tip for all four of us.

Verdict: Would I be back? Maybe. The menu was small, but the items were well-prepared. If OEB and Diner Deluxe both had a lineups out the door, I’d happily come back to Carino. 

Note: Next time I will also take pictures! 

Carino Japanese Bistro + Wine on Urbanspoon