Notable Restaurant Review: Woods, Two Ways

Bruce Woods, Executive Chef of the newly opened and aptly named “Woods,” warmly greeted every patron that walked through his door on a Friday evening. “We are really trying to target the business lunch professional crowd,” he told us. This didn’t take away from the striking evening atmosphere or deter the crowds from joining him for dinner.  While a Canadian theme is evident, he explained to us that he would not let that be limiting. A farm-to-table menu reigns, but Woods is not adverse to adding other flavours that you just can’t get in Canada.  

The visuals are front and centre, modern style steeped in Canadian tradition. Your gaze will initially be captured by the $5500 electric green tree branch chandelier at the front dining table. The presentation of cocktails, appetizers and entrees is refined and patriotic.

The straws are printed to look like tree bark, the coasters pieces of tree branch. To match, service is polite and relaxed. An abundantly patient staff adds to the general luxury surrounding you in the gorgeous dining room. 

The cocktail list: Canadian Manhattan. Rye Alexandria. French Cognac Martini…just to highlight a few. The Canuck spirits are flowing sweetly – it helps that they are often infused with maple syrup.

From appetizer through dessert, Woods is offering a step up for young professionals looking to impress. For him, a Quebec-seared foie gras started the meal with a rich, tender bang. Bacon and confit provide a satisfying crunch on top of purple potato puree and Saskatchewan compote. The marriage of sweetness and salt opens the door for the rich, fatty foie gras to ultimately satisfy. To follow, he chose the dry-aged prime ribeye – a perfect piece of meat. The dish speaks for itself and Chef Woods allows it to do what it does best: simply be quality Canadian beef.


For her, venison carpaggio kicks off the meal and she can’t contain her smile as the plate hits table. Venison is a sweeter meat, and when paired with the aromatic flavours served at Woods, it’s a knockout. The roasted Muscovy duck breast was second. Cooked to “melt in your mouth” quality and served atop tatsoi, shallots, crispy confit and dried cherries, the dish left nothing to be desired. A duck egg béarnaise glazes the dish. Perfection.

Woods proudly announces quality and sophistication with everything it does. With a professional, lavish atmosphere (including a private dining room), here is a place that showcases the refined side of Canadian identity.

His rating
For a Business Meeting – 10/10. Impressive, delicious, Canadian. Bring your out-of-town clients to show them what we’re about, or local colleagues to reward a job well done. This is a no brainer on company dime. 

With a Group – 7/10. For the most special of occasions, Woods is a great option – maybe even consider the private dining room. But for a general night out with friends, I would check out a younger, more cost-efficient venue.

On a Date – 8/10. I usually prefer something more casual and fun to get to know a date, but Woods is sure to impress. Again, I would save this one for marked celebration in a well established relationship.

Her rating
For a Business Meeting – 10/10. I second the perfect score. The location is optimal (sitting right outside the financial hub), the atmosphere polished and the food is first class. 

With a Group – 8/10. This is a great place to take your parents, tourists or those out-of-towners who don’t appreciate the west-end grit. Perhaps a place to dine before the theatre or a concert.

On a Date – 7/10.  This is a first-rate dining experience – it’s hard to top, but also not appropriate for all phases of the relationship. 


His last word
Impressive and fancy, yet with local Canuck flavour. Go and enjoy, especially if you can get someone else to foot the bill.

Her last word
Woods does everything right. Ernest, polished, and an eminent example of Toronto talent. Keep it top of mind when planning your next celebration that requires an injection of class.