Peridot Resto Lounge
Until recently, 81 Bloor Street East was the location of Ithaca, a Greek restaurant that, for all its immense space, was filled with incredibly tacky furniture that you would expect… at a Greek restaurant. The food was acceptable, but boring; basically the same thing you could find at any other restaurant along the Danforth. Realizing the potential of such an immense space right at Yonge and Bloor, the owners decided to completely redo their look and their flavour. First, the television show Restaurant Makeover swooped in and started the transformation. Second, the previous owners teamed up with Ted Ntoulis and Franco Mattoscio (the Bar Doctor) to bring some industry power to their venture and to complete the renovations.
Simon, the original owner and still current chef, was shown by the Restaurant Makeover team that he had to evolve or expire. His food was alright, they said, but wasn’t amazing. His presentation had to be perfected. The partners also wanted to come up with something that was new and appealing, but they didn’t want to completely ignore their roots or that of the restaurant.
The transformation into Peridot therefore, became an attempt to bring together the old and the new. The newly renovated space is very modern, slick, yet has hints of Mediterranean quality to it. The theme is sparse and minimal. The entire place is awash in white (even the Victorian chairs), stainless steel and a grayish colour called “muskrat.” The floors are a faux-wood, but it looks convincing, as it even has the grain. There is even an entire second floor that is unfinished (which will increase the already large restaurant into a massive one).
Peridot also features a medium-sized balcony with a perfect view of Bloor Street – which has already had reservations filling up the tables for the upcoming Pride parade that will waltz by in full view. However, it is one of those balconies– the tables and chairs are simple plastic and there is little or not embellishments aside from the pergola and large vase. A lot can be done here to keep the reservations coming for the parade, but with so much left undone, it could be some time before a makeover could be done.
The menu has not altogether abandoned its Greekness but has adopted other Mediterranean elements as well. Peridot is pushing the concept that Mediterranean cuisine as one of the healthiest in the world. Doing some research into this strange claim, I found they seem to be right. The journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association has published an article saying that people are 70% less likely to suffer heart attacks eating a Mediterranean diet than a Western one.