Daisies and flowers, candles, soft cushions, bright and crisp whites, pinks, and greens, and a feeling of total bliss and relaxation – nope, we’re not at the spa, we’re wining and dining on the patio at Wish Cafe and Restaurant! Located on Charles St. just east of Yonge, Wish serves lunch and dinner from Tuesday-Saturday and a weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. I first discovered Wish last year while I was walking around the Yorkville area and exploring Church Street a bit. When I reached Charles St., I looked down the road and thought, “hmm, I’ve never been around here before, let’s see what’s around!” and that is when I found Wish and breathed a silent, “wow…” when I saw their patio. And after browsing their menu online, it was then and there that I decided that I had to come back and enjoy a great meal in a beautiful setting.
Wish is one of the prettiest spots I have ever dined at. I know if you look at Wish from across the street it doesn’t look particularly gorgeouys, but it’s the patio and the cafe’s interior that really have the beauty and character. There are flowers on every table, everything looks bright and fresh, there are beautiful wooden shutters for that comforting, rustic vibe, and there’s a tinkling fountain by the front entrance and that makes everything feel and sound extra soothing. Ladies and gents, if you want to take a special someone out for a nice meal and/or date, this is PERFECT. It’s fancy without being pretentious. It’s pretty and sweet without being frou-frou. And the prices? Incredibly reasonable considering how nice it is and how it’s located within the Yorkville neighbourhood!
Although the prices might not suit those who are on a tight budget, you can definitely enjoy a fabulous, special meal for $10-$15, and most certainly for under $20. There are a few items on their menu that are over $20, but let’s face it: if you enjoy dining in the city at establishments that are not fast food, coffee shops, and bakery cafes, you know you’re looking at a bill that will most likely total $20 when it’s all said and done but at Wish, you can feasibly have a wonderful meal for $10-$15. Obviously, I’m not taking into account alcohol, but I’m the type of person that only orders water most of the time because I’d rather spend my moolah on food!
Prices aside, Wish is top-notch. The menu exudes freshness and simplicity while at the same time offering dishes that are unique and different with ingredients that aren’t necessarily conventional at other dining spots: blue crab cakes, warm salmon salad with bok choy and zucchini and orange balsamic, warm lentil salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and hazelnuts, fish and chips with beet root slaw and saffron tartar sauce, and shaved eggplant baguette sandwiches with tomato fondue just to name a bunch! I wanted to try so many of these dishes at the same time, but I wanted to go with the most summery menu item so I chose their trio of fish tacos!
Let me preface the following by saying that what I imagined in my head was completely different from what I actually got – in the best way possible. When my fish tacos ($12) were brought to my table, I gasped. The presentation was beautiful, colourful, scrumptious, and absolutely screaming summer! The soft flour tortillas were placed on a cute little dish on their own while the fish and toppings were presented on an adorable wooden cutting board so I could have a ball and assemble everything together myself. SO DARLING!
There were little metal cups holding my cabbage, pickled cabbage and onions, diced mango and tomato salsa, and creamy guacamole and my 6 pieces of halibut fish (which weren’t in chunks or slices but instead in chubby fingers like jumbo fish fries!), were breaded and crispy and so moist and soft on the inside. I felt like I was dining at a summery seaside resto with this meal! It was fun, relaxing, and oh-so-delicious.
Wish also offers a number of sides on their menu that complement their mains and as had my mum along with me for the ride, we shared and split an order of rapini and chickpeas ($5) and OH.MY.GOD was the dish ever amazing! This dish could honestly pass for a meal all on its own! The dish was BIG and so full of flavour. The rapini and chickpeas were such a terrific complement to each other because the chickpeas toned down the inherent bitterness of the rapini and gave the whole dish the most mouthwatering, buttery texture and flavour!
Oh my goodness, I just wanted to eat those chickpeas for the entire day because they were so good. I’m almost positive the rapini and chickpeas were tossed with a buttery dressing and vinaigrette and it elevated the flavour over the moon. The rapini was cooked just right, not too raw and bitter but also not soggy and overcooked. This is a great dish to order to bump up the veggie intake and to take advantage of a bright and fresh dish.
I had so much fun eating here and I’m so happy I finally got the chance to try their food. After this experience, Wish Cafe shot straight to my Top 5 favourite spots in the city and I’m really glad I took my mum along with me because she almost never gets to dine at fancier places that are still reasonably priced; heck, she doesn’t dine at fancier places at all! Wish Cafe will do that to you. It’ll draw you in, make you fall in love, and have you coming back for more. It is an absolute gem in the city and if you get the opportunity to eat out on their patio, do it! It’ll be one very special and delicious meal!
Wish Cafe and Restaurant is located at 3 Charles Street East at the corner of Charles and Yonge Street in downtown Toronto. They offer lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch, and their patio is currently available for spring and summer wining and dining! They are open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays). Hours of operation are 11am-11pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sundays. View their official website and menus HERE.