In no particular order, here are my top picks for noteworthy restaurants openings in Toronto in August 2014.
The two-floor eatery on College opened to much fanfare this month, with Chinese dragons and drummers making appearances at the grand opening. The menu displays chef/owner Nick Liu’s brand of east-meets-west hybrid cusine through playful dishes like the Big Mac bao and roast duck and scallion tacos.
Hailing from Montreal, this poutinerie entered the Toronto marketplace with inventive, build-your-own variations of the Quebecois classic. Their version of the perennial low-brow favourite pairs supremely delicious frites and cheese curds before being upgraded with delicious extras – say, filet mignon – and matched with a rich, complementary gravy.
Replacing Scarpetta at the base of the Thompson Hotel, this bistro and cafe offers an airy modern Parisian-style setting, perfect for indulging with French classics like veal tartare and foie gras three ways. With the same group as the Chase Fish & Oyster responsible for this latest haute spot, expect seafood-centric features like chilled shellfish towers, lobster vichyssoise and whole-fish preparations.
This month, he paper was finally lifted from the windows of this Ossington spot, which has been in the works for the last couple years. The charming new Greek taverna makes family style eating the focal point, with mezze and grilled items available to share around the table.
Handheld pies in Toronto have become a booming business, and this latest entrant into the market at Bloor and Sherbourne thinks it’s got the formula for success just right. Savoury pies are available in both vegetarian and meat varieties, stuffed with hearty fillings like spinach and lentil or a saucy pulled pork – and then there’s indulgent desserts like the chocolate banana or apple crisp. Better still, each pie is priced under $5, and combos with two pies and a drink come in at under $10.
An expansion of Queen West’s Iranian restaurant Banu landed on Dundas West this month. The casual new cafe aims to accommodate locals with quick service and takeaway sandwich options, plus a menu that covers staples found in Persian households, like Tachin (saffron-coloured rice cake) and Ghormeh sabzi (herb stew).
Taking over the Queen West site that was formerly A-OK Foods, this newly opened bar is making a name on imaginative cocktails like The Troublemaker, with peanut butter-infused Wild Turkey bourbon and chocolate stout. On the menu, you’ll find equally inventive foods like foie gras risotto and Catalan fried chicken.
The specialty at this newly opened fish and chip shop on St. Clair is crispy, battered fried fish filets and golden fries sparkling with sea salt. The always-fresh daily catch features classic fryer fish like haddock and halibut along with less-traditional options like pickerel, Atlantic char or Pacific cod.
After debuting earlier this summer with foie gras pop tarts at the Toronto Underground Market, this multi-storey restaurant and bar finally opened its doors on Richmond Street. On the first floor you’ll find a party vibe with DJs spinning tunes and a menu of bar snacks to go along with carefully crafted cocktails. Upstairs, in the dining room, the focus is large-format feasting featuring seafood dinners and roasts.
Toronto continued to attract international star power in its kitchens this month with the opening of this joint venture from Ivan Reitman and Jonathan Waxman. While reactions to the decor were hit and miss, the food managed to impress with ingredients plucked straight from the fields on Ontario and menus derived from New York’s famed Barbuto.
By: Liora Ipsum