If you don’t mind venturing to the west end, in the Junction area of Toronto, you will be in for a treat. We dined there when they were still in their soft opening, but it was already clear that Atai Bistro is a chic, stylish spot at 3047 Dundas Street West.
Designed in soft greys and blues, the forty-seat dining room features a large picture window in the front, white-painted brick walls and dark walnut floors with contemporary rugs thrown here and there. The tables are blonde wood with interesting carved bases and accented throw pillows. The back has the bar, a small open kitchen, and an area that would be great to host a cocktail party. Cool music played on the sound system while we admired the interesting light fixtures, and touches of greenery.
Or if you prefer, there is an outdoor patio that seats 36.
“Atai” means, “moments”, and our dinner had some memorable ones. The food is contemporary Moroccan with French cooking techniques. The chef de cuisine is Meaghan Foster and restaurant is the same team that is behind the Peruvian restaurant, Mira, a review I did a few years ago.
The emphasis is on sharing and the menu features mezzos platters, a very spicy flatbread, dips, brochettes, etc. For the most part, things were good. I would work on the hummus which was too thin and the heirloom carrots were undercooked. The branzino brochettes was a good choice and we loved the taste and presentation of the orange salad.
The cocktails were very appealing and delicious. There is a brief list of French wines, local and international beers, and a lot of tea choices. At brunch, they have a nice selection of everything from bourbon to tequila as well as mimosas.
There is a small pantry where you can purchase and take home items like zataar, and chili oil, etc. They will be opening a second location much closer to me on Yonge in the Summerhill area.
It was a welcoming and relaxing experience.