I may be away from Toronto this winter, but I am still keeping tabs on new restaurants. Look forward to you letting me know what you think about these about these as well as anything I should try on my return!
There has been much hype about the opening this fall of the new, slick Bisha Hotel and residential condominium at 80 Blue Jays Way in downtown Toronto. Charles Kabouth is one of the principles and he is known in Toronto as a restaurant entrepreneur.
Zen Restaurant in Toronto aims to preserve the culture of Japanese cuisine, providing excellent service and beautifully prepared dishes using fresh, unique ingredients. It exceeded our expectations and lit up my umami sensors.
Estia is Toronto's new "it" restaurant of the moment. The emphasis is on fresh, simple, uncomplicated dishes, that are cooked well. And really, isn’t this just what people are looking for?
The restaurant is chic, and sophisticated with a hip vibe.
The views are wonderful and the music is chill – relax in a cabana or a day bed, and order bottle service. If you don't travel or have a cottage, this is a nice little refuge from the maddening crowd, and it is right in the city.
Doug Penfold's new Toronto restaurant, Atlas, features dishes inspired by the his travels to Morocco and the Atlas Mountains. The cuisine presents a rich tapestry of spices and herbs, textures and tastes.
Peruvian cuisine is among the most varied and best in the world. Each region has its own local culinary treasures depending on the climate and landscape, including influences from the indigenous population including the Incas as well as cuisines brought from Europe including Spain, Italy, and Germany. There can also be influences from Asia and West Africa as well.
Shoushin Restaurant in Toronto only uses the best, purest and most authentic ingredients. The chef's methods are very exacting and you can taste the difference, with wild caught fish and handmade wasabi.
J&J BBQ in Toronto is dishing up some pretty amazing barbecue. Because of them, I might become a convert to this style of cooking, or even an addict! Their meats have light rubs, minimal sauce and lots of wood smoke flavour.
People's Eatery in Toronto is fun, trendy and delicious! A great place to come with a few people so you can order lots of dishes. They are doing a bang up job with their diverse eclectic menu by Dustin Gallagher (a former Top Chef contestant).
Consider Barnsteiner's in Toronto if you are in the mood for some home cooked food, but you don't feel like cooking. People who are intimidated by trendy restaurants, or menus where they can't find anything that they would dare try, this is your place.
Leña in Toronto is a recent venture by the O&B Group. Located in the new Saks 5th Ave, it's quite striking and sophisticated for a restaurant within a department store. They have many restaurants from Canoe, Auberge de Pommier, Jump, Luma, to the O&B Canteen.
Leslieville is a really cute area of Toronto, reminiscent of the West Village in New York. Once a seedy part of town, now interesting restaurants and stores are popping up everywhere. Another new addition to this area is Greta Solomon's.
Daits Bar is a new, truly unique food experience in Toronto. The dates are not only attractive looking, but feature a dynamic variety of notable flavour combinations. Treat yourself or someone special.
Chabrol Restaurant in Toronto really feels like you are in a small Parisian bistro or wine bar. I am so happy to have the addition of this new place in the Yorkville area. They are packing them in and reservations are hard to come by, so book early.
The first cold day in Toronto I immediately ran to Kinton Ramen on 396 Church Street. They have about 5-6 locations throughout Toronto and are part of the Guu and Kinka Family of restaurants. My favourite place is Ja Bistro.
Toronto's Noorden is the perfect spot for a light snack and drinks, or a full on dinner. The pop up will be closing when their lease comes up in mid 2018, but maybe we can convince them to move to another location.
Diwan in the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto has an elegant interior with floor to ceiling windows that fill the restaurant with natural light and look out onto a lovely patio and garden. The place was full on a Saturday lunch, so I suggest reservations on a weekend.
The food is never boring – it's truly unforgettable. When people ask me, what is my favourite restaurant in Toronto, Buca Yorkville is always on the top of my list. I am seriously impressed with the level of food, the knowledgeable and friendly staff, the high-end crowd and the remarkable creativity of the menu. Rob's food is a modern approach to dining without being gimmicky. Long live the king.
The main thing is there is an astounding array of sweet retro treats that makes me nostalgic. Now I have a reason to drive north of Bloor so I can get me a fix and add some comfort as well. They take sweets to the next level.
I am always seeking out new restaurant spots and I forget to revisit some of my favourites. I am embarrassed to say that is has been years since I have been back to Carisma, but you would never know it from the warm greeting we received from owners, Margi and Michael Pagliaro..
The Candy Bar is one of the best sources of candy and chocolate in Toronto. They offer unique treats you won't find elsewhere. They offer a wide range of sugary delights, and you don't have to be a kid to love these sweet thrills and yummy goodness. It is overwhelming but I guarantee the shop will delight.
The crowd is mostly young and hip, and there is a boisterous and energetic feel to it. The night I dined there, actress Jodie Foster was in the house too. I had been a couple of times when it first opened but I admit I hadn't been back in quite a while. I have to say even though I enjoyed it then, I think the kitchen has improved even more.
James Beard nominated journalist turned baker, Amy Rosen, spent months on end testing and perfecting the perfect cinnamon bun. Unsurprisingly, she's created a truly excellent product. The spirals of sticky, yet light and fluffy brioche pastry dough have the perfect crust on the bottom and are topped with a light glaze. I had mine right out of the oven, and Amy was there personally glazing my order.
Foxley Bistro remains as busy and beloved as ever because of the spot on execution of the dishes and the prices are moderate yet the food is so interesting. So even with all the competition on Ossington, Foxley's is here to stay.
The restaurant offers a classic French cuisine like onion soup, bouillabaisse, mussels, steak tartare, duck confit, coquilles Saint-Jacques and herb crusted lamb. We were pleasantly surprised to have such a nice neighborhood spot that was so deliciously satisfying.
L'Express in Montreal is charming, lively, and, I think, the closest I've found to a true Parisian-style bistro in North America. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, the cuisine is well-crafted – based on creating rich flavours using simple ingredients. It's a great option for a bite after shopping on Rue Saint-Denis.
Pi Co. is Yorkville's new grab-and-go place in the Bay and Bloor area at 1200 Bay Street. The verdict? Not bad. I think they will do very well at this spot and I predict this will be the first of many locations.
D Liche doesn't cut corners and it shows, they have really hit a home run with their product. The triple chocolate was off the charts delicious. It was moist, dense, intense in flavour and incredibly rich. It was not your average cupcake, surpassing the many previous versions I have tried. The cupcake "bar" has been raised.
Montreal has a rich food culture which we have enjoyed exploring on our short trip there. One of the toughest reservations to snag was at the iconic restaurant Joe Beef at 2491 Notre-Dame West. We actually had to use connections to get in. It didn't help that it was voted the #4 best restaurant in Canada in 2016.
All the food is well-seasoned and they are not afraid to add some spice to some dishes, which I find refreshing. The staff was super friendly, engaging and helpful. The lines move quite fast, and the pacing of the buffet style service was pretty sound. I predict it will be a mainstay of the area and service hungry Torontonians.
Planta in Toronto is a great option for vegetarians and healthy eaters, but it doesn't cater to this group exclusively. I don't fall in those categories and I enjoy eating there. It is just an amazing alternative with tasty food, in a pleasant setting in a great Yorkville-area location.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Art is one of the most impressive museums in North America. I especially enjoyed the modern art, sculpture garden, and Canadian art sections. Worth a visit when visiting Montreal.
On September 12th internationally renowned artist and philanthropist Peter Tunney opened his first exhibit in Toronto. He brought 55 new pieces and also created live art right on the streets of Toronto in support of Artists for Peace and Justice.
Dandylion Restaurant in Toronto has consistently been on top lists of places to dine in Toronto. The approach to the contemporary, yet eclectic menu seems simple, but there is a complexity to each dish. The food is truly thoughtful and creative.
Seven Lives Tacos Y Mariscos in Toronto serves Tijuana style tacos. I like the blackened mahi-mahi the best. Sean Riehl, a former San Diegan, opened this humble shop, and I can tell you business is going gangbusters.
If you are tired of large group, canned itinerary trips, and instead seek a smaller group with a more attentive host, and a slower pace where you can savour local tastes – this may be just the thing for you.
Everything we tried was a home run at newly opened Ufficio Restaurant in Toronto. It was fresh, tasty, and seasonal. The cooking was quite sophisticated and well-executed. You have got to try their grilled homemade focaccia bread!
The candies are quite unique. Try the champagne gummy bears made with Dom Perignon, and single malt cordials. The packaging and presentation is beautiful. I love their customized bento boxes, where you can choose the selection. They also make great personal or private gifts, and party favours.
Bar Reyna – the new project of the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of View the Vibe, Nicki Laborie – is located at 158 Cumberland St. in Toronto's trendy Yorkville area. The best dish of the night was the falafel bowl. I liked the crispness of the falafel.
The show explores the 5,000-year-old world of tattoos, inked by some of the most respected tattoo artists in the contemporary world. The show features photos, artifacts, documentary films, demonstrations and silicone reproduction of body parts that have been commissioned by some of the world's most renowned artists.
The 7-month exhibition features some of his most impressive pieces, providing an opportunity to see and explore the full range of his artistic achievements by immersing visitors in the beautiful environments created through his extraordinary vision and talent. This show is not to be missed.
Archimallows appeal to kids as well as the sugar addicted adult in all of us. His flavours and designs are ever changing and come in a myriad of shapes and sizes.
We are lucky that he is Canada's candy man.
Bar Begonia is located at 252 Dupont in Toronto. The space was sitting empty for quite some time, and then I saw renovations taking place and a cute, smiley emoji sign going up, but with no name facing the street. Of course, this piqued my curiosity and I had to check it out. It's a Parisian style restaurant with a special focus on cocktails, that serves lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
The Chef is Japanese but classically trained in French cooking. He worked with Jamie Kennedy as a sous chef at Crush Wine Bar, and you can tell when you eat the twice-fried French fries. This neighbourhood bistro is a French restaurant with a modern flair and some global influences.
Sourced from 8 different countries for their style, craftsmanship and quality – if you are a passionate chef, a skilled cook or just demand the best equipment in your kitchen then you owe it to yourself to check out Hacher and Krain knives in Toronto.
When I return I want to try some wood fired pizza, but it did look a little too charred for my taste. Our neighbours seemed to be enjoying their veal parmesan. There is even a cheeseburger on the menu and I presume that it must be good as well.
Sip, taste and laugh the day or night away – Toronto needs more unique places like Bar Raval! The intimate space can hold about 40 persons. It's tight, crowded and fun. You eat with your hands or toothpicks. The dishes are small so you can try a lot of things, and the menu is weighted heavily on seafood. We tried a lot of delicious dishes including the canned scallops, razor clams and serrano ham with manchego cheese. Things were fresh, flavourful and well seasoned.
Nathalie Diamantis of Bulgari, flew in from New York to oversee the evening. Champagne was flowing and chef Victor Barry of PIANO PIANO was there to greet guests and supervise the wonderful hors d'oeuvres being passed around.
I am always reluctant to try a "chain" restaurant, but Toronto Life Magazine named Cactus Club Cafe in their top new 20 restaurant issue. I have to say I don't agree with all their top choices either, but we decided to give it a try.
I would say the food is fusion with comfort food thrown in. I love you Susur and Drake, but for me the food fell short and didn't live up to all my expectations. I decided to go on a Sunday night when things were more relaxed. But you know, the place got rather busy even on a Sunday night.
Stubbe's create some of Toronto's best chocolates by pairing good chocolate with traditional and non traditional flavours. You can taste the quality and craftsmanship in every bite. Indulge or buy someone a gift, you'll thank me later.
The space was quaint and homey, and bright and airy with a vintage feel to it. The pastry shop really is adorable and there are tables to eat in or you can take out. In their well-stocked display cases they offer things like, French macarons, the prettiest buttercream cupcakes, pastries, scones, cookies, tarts, and birthday cakes. You can wash these down with coffee, pressed espresso, teas and use their free wifi.
For two years now my nose has led me into Baker and Scone at 693 St. Clair Avenue West. The fresh baked aromas wafting out of this pretty little shop are unbelievable. In fact, I think this bakery is the best thing to happen to this area of St. Clair (I know some will say it is the Stockyard Restaurant).
This is what people want – superfood ingredients, vibrant dressings, chicken that is locally-sourced and cooked well in an efficient amount of time. Presto, Cory Vitello has a hit on his hands with more locations to come.
It's one of the better places in the entertainment district, but it was underwhelming and fell a bit short for me. I would still go back and I would try it for brunch as well. It has the potential to get much better and I hope it does. And it doesn't seem to detract from customers – the place was buzzing on a weeknight.
I decided to write a review of an oldie but a goodie. Scaramouche has been a consistently good restaurant for over 3 decades. It is one of the truly classic iconic restaurants of Toronto. When you have a special occasion to celebrate there are not a lot of restaurants that come to mind.
Zucca Trattoria located at 2150 Yonge St. across from the former Art Shop, has been around forever. Well at least since 1996. We used to go all the time but we have neglected it, always wanting to try new places. But we tried it again tonight and I have to say, Andrew Milne has some of the best Italian food in the city.
A 30 minute ride to Etobicoke to a little strip plaza to visit a gastronomic temple of Japanese delights was a highlight of summer dining thus far for 2015. Sushi Kaji is by far the best Japanese meal I have had in Toronto. However I have not dined at the Japanese cultural Center yet.
We tried a new restaurant in the Yonge and Davisville area called Little Sister. It is an Indonesian/ Dutch inspired restaurant. I am no expert on Indonesian food but everything we ordered was delicious, the restaurant gets high marks for rich and complex flavours.
We finally made it to Richmond Station after a few years. The chef Carl Heinrich was the winner of season two on Canada's Top Chef. He took his winnings and opened Richmond Station at 1 West Richmond Street.
Yonge and Summerhill is full of cute little neighbourhood restaurants. A favourite of mine is Quanto Basta. It is a small narrow room with a tiny kitchen and bar as part of the action. The owner and servers are friendly and make you feel like you are eating in their home.