Weekly Restaurant Recap: Aft, Hitch, The Loose Moose, Ursa, The Federal, La Carnita, Pilot Coffee Roasters


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Basara's yellow curry with soft-shell crab (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Weekly Restaurant Recap rounds up the week’s Toronto restaurant news. In this edition: three new restaurants for Riverside, a new bar from the owner of a popular indie coffee shop, a Mexican brunch on College Street and more.

Opening soon

  • According to the Riverside District BIA, three new restaurants are making their way to the neighbourhood. We already knew about Tabülè, but the two others, Appetite and Aft, are welcome news to our ears. Opening in February, Appetite will focus on sandwiches and soups, with a selection of preserves and sauces. Aft (as in the rear of a ship), will use locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to prepare barbecue and other comfort foods inspired by the Deep South. The interior will also be designed by the Brothers Dressler. [Riverside District BIA]
  • More than just a clever name, The Happy Hooker is an upcoming fish sandwich and taco shop from chef Attilio Pugliese. It will serve up sustainable products sourced from local markets whenever possible. And based on its bright blue paint and chuckle-under-your-breath title, it should be the talk of Dundas when it opens later this month. [Read our post here]
  • The long-awaited Bar Buca at 75 Portland Street is set to open soon. We’re told that it’s scheduled to open this spring (sometime in April or May), and that the Italian-style bar will be open from 7 a.m. to the late evening, providing breakfast, lunch and light dinner options from chef Rob Gentile. [Twitter]

Newly opened

  • Taking over Goed Eten’s former space on Ossington is Bazara, a new pan-Asian restaurant from chef and co-owner Sammy Yang. Making the most of Yang’s 17-years of experience in the industry, Bazara’s menu will feature a fusion of Japanese, Thai and Chinese dishes. The best part: the interior was designed by King Kong (yes, that’s really his name). [Read our post here]
  • Douglas Tiller, owner Leslieville’s Mercury Espresso Bar, has taken on a new venture with Hitch, a new bar at 1216 Queen Street East that’s currently in a soft-opening phase. The cozy, 600-square-foot bar seats 40, and it serves a tapas-style menu alongside craft beers and other beverages. [Twitter]

Change-ups

  • The Loose Moose is having a grand opening on Feb. 7 after a few weeks of renovations. Among the details: a new peninsula bar, a giant shuffleboard, all-new seats and a new menu by chef Matt Rosen. And although the iconic beer bottle chandelier has been taken down, The Loose Moose has expanded its draught selection, with 54 in total now on offer (it’s the largest draught beer selection in downtown Toronto, according to a press release). 
  • Ursa is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Saturday by launching a new late-night menu (available Friday to Monday). The menu will change frequently, but for this Saturday, feature dishes include lamb ($9) with fermented turnip tartare, roses and spiced ras el hanout, as well as cured trout ($8) infused with cedar and mixed with quinoa and burdock.
  • Formerly a brunch-centric spot, Dundas West’s The Federal will now be serving alcohol and bar snacks from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., Tuesday to Sunday. [Toronto Life]
  • Starting Feb. 10, La Carnita will open up its doors for Sunday brunch. The menu is a mix of Mexican and “gringo” inspired dishes, such as the crispy chicken torta with habanero honey, along with an egg taco with lime-marinated avocado and chives. [The Grid]
  • Oliver & Bonacini’s Jump will undergo renovations starting March 15, with a tentative reopening date of April 15. We’re told that after 20-some years on Wellington, the place simply needs a bit of a facelift.
  • Te Aro Coffee Roasters has changed its name to Pilot Coffee Roasters. What does this mean for the coffee? Nothing really, except the logo on the front of the bags will be slightly different. [Pilot Coffee Roasters]
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