July 30, 2014
Eat

January 2013

First Look: Nejibee, Toronto’s newest izakaya and teppanyaki bar

02/22/13

First Look: Nejibee, Toronto’s newest izakaya and teppanyaki bar

It seems that Toronto’s izakaya fever is as sizzling as ever. The latest entrant, Nejibee Izakaya, hails from Tokyo, where it has more than 30 locations (plus more in Thailand and China). This is its first foray into North America.

Posted at 02:12 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Bazara, a new pan-Asian restaurant on the Ossington strip

01/31/13

First Look: Bazara, a new pan-Asian restaurant on the Ossington strip

Last weekend, after a three-month build, Bazara Asian Cuisine opened on the ever-growing Ossington strip. Owned by chef Sammy Yang and his wife Suzanne, the new restaurant takes over the space previously occupied by Goed Eten. It’s a dramatic change from the previous diner.

Posted at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

Anthony Bourdain is coming back to Toronto

01/30/13

Anthony Bourdain is coming back to Toronto

It seems Anthony Bourdain can’t get enough of Toronto. After (finally) stopping by our city last summer for an episode of The Layover, he’ll be returning for a live show at the Sony Centre on May 4 with renowned chef Eric Ripert of NYC’s Le Bernardin. 

Posted at 01:34 PM | Permalink | Comments

Coming soon to Dundas West: The Happy Hooker, a fish sandwich shop from the man behind Tavolino

01/30/13

Coming soon to Dundas West: The Happy Hooker, a fish sandwich shop from the man behind Tavolino

Chef Attilio Pugliese is no stranger to the restaurant business, having previously worked at Queen Margherita Pizza and later opening King West’s erstwhile Tavolino. But while Tavolino received great reviews, by Pugliese’s own admission, “It was a bit overpriced.” For his new venture, The Happy Hooker, Pugliese plans to serve fish sandwiches and fish tacos at affordable prices, which means nothing over $10, taxes in.

Posted at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments

Drink This: the smoked apple cocktail at the Trump Tower’s Suits Lobby Lounge

01/30/13

Drink This: the smoked apple cocktail at the Trump Tower’s Suits Lobby Lounge

Tucked into a corner of the Trump Tower, Suits Lobby Lounge is decked out with tufted banquettes, gold Louis XVI chairs and an extravagant crystal chandelier. Playing to the Bay Street crowd, this just-opened bar — which has large picture windows perfect for spying on work arch-nemeses puttering about — is all about the brown spirits, focusing on heavy-hitters such as Ardbeg scotch.

Posted at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Porzia, Parkdale’s long-awaited Italian restaurant from chef Basilio Pesce

01/29/13

First Look: Porzia, Parkdale’s long-awaited Italian restaurant from chef Basilio Pesce

For years, Basilio Pesce worked at some of the city’s biggest restaurants: Canoe, Bymark, Biff’s Bistro, North 44. Now, the chef has opted to step away from the heavyweights, opening up his first restaurant, Porzia, with his business partner Marco Petrucci. Serving Pesce’s take on Southern Italian cuisine, the 68–seat eatery is in good company, sharing a Parkdale block with Grand Electric and Chantecler.

Posted at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: beef brisket and eggs on multigrain from Origin Liberty

01/29/13

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: beef brisket and eggs on multigrain from Origin Liberty

The western outpost of Claudio Aprile’s successful Origin restaurant has been drawing lunchtime crowds since last summer. Outfitted by Stroudfoot, the subterranean space provides hungered patrons with a feast for both the mouth and the eyes: a fuchsia accent wall keeps the atmosphere upbeat, while original works of art pay tribute to the building’s gun factory roots. The pièce de résistance? A three-part chandelier composed of gun replicas, sitting pretty in the centre of the space. 

Meanwhile, the lunch crowd can avoid repetition thanks to a daily sandwich pick ($9). When we stopped by, a beef brisket number was trumpeted on the sandwich board...

Posted at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: Pho Phuong’s bánh xèo

01/28/13

Cheap Eat of the Week: Pho Phuong’s bánh xèo

Upon my return from a recent epic food adventure in Vietnam, it didn’t take long for the beautiful memories of homemade cabbage soup, beef pho and bánh xèo pancakes to begin to wear off. It’s times like these when I begin to search high and low across the city for anything that just might keep the flavour memories alive.

Posted at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments

Friday Restaurant Recap: Porzia, The Red Bench, Bellwoods Brewery, Ryoji Izakaya, The Burger’s Priest

01/25/13

Friday Restaurant Recap: Porzia, The Red Bench, Bellwoods Brewery, Ryoji Izakaya, The Burger’s Priest

Friday Restaurant Recap rounds up the week’s Toronto restaurant news. In this edition: a long-awaited Italian restaurant finally opens, a frozen yogurt shop opens in January, an old brunch favourite returns to Dundas West and more.

Posted at 05:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Kingyo Toronto, a new izakaya in Cabbagetown

01/25/13

First Look: Kingyo Toronto, a new izakaya in Cabbagetown

As patrons drift into Kingyo Toronto, each party is greeted with an enthusiastic chorus of "Irashaimase!" The latest addition to Cabbagetown’s culinary landscape, Kingyo is, in fact, a transplant from Vancouver. Out west, the eatery has been dishing out elegant Japanese pub fare for some seven years; this rendition is the first to make its way eastward.

Posted at 04:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Chili Cult, a new chili-centric takeout spot on Eglinton West

01/24/13

First Look: Chili Cult, a new chili-centric takeout spot on Eglinton West

Amanda Bittar and Anton Lifchits have a passion for chili. And when they noticed that Toronto lacked a similar passion, they decided to do something about it. Joining the ranks of other restaurateurs who aspire to do one thing really well, the longtime friends opened Chili Cult on Eglinton West in late December. Bittar, a former resident of the area, wanted to inject some variety into the ’hood.

Posted at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

Drink This: Museum Tavern’s Mumbai Special

01/23/13

Drink This: Museum Tavern’s Mumbai Special

Museum Tavern’s head bartender, Moses McIntee, has a thing for staying ahead of the curve. After pouring drinks at various boozy locales around town — Lucid, The Ritz-Carton — McIntee is now at this nostalgic space, located across the street from the ROM. The well-stocked bar acts as a backdrop as McIntee crafts his roster of drinks, which will soon include some new ones from an upcoming winter menu.

Posted at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Cafuné, a Brazilian café in Cabbagetown

01/22/13

First Look: Cafuné, a Brazilian café in Cabbagetown

For the 26 years that Cafuné owner Vicente Gannam has lived in Canada, he’s wanted to bring the real foods of his Brazilian culture to Toronto. “I love food,” he says. “Cafuné is about the love of food and the desire to show it to people.”

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: a western omelette stacked on toast at Bellwood Bar & Grill

01/22/13

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: a western omelette stacked on toast at Bellwood Bar & Grill

Not many businesses can say they’ve been around since 1972 — especially those in the food industry. Bellwood Bar & Grill, however, can claim such longevity. Perched on a busy strip just east of Trinity Bellwoods park, this divey bar is the perfect place to sneak off to when the thought of making small talk with local hipsters brings on a sudden bout of the flu.

Posted at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments

The Hoof’s brunch is back

01/21/13

The Hoof’s brunch is back

Mornings suck. Always have, always will. But now they suck a little bit less, especially if you live near Dundas West and happen to have an affinity for blood sausage. The Hoof has brought back brunch.

Posted at 04:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Happy Child, a new late-night snack bar on Queen West

01/21/13

First Look: Happy Child, a new late-night snack bar on Queen West

Shortly after new owners took over the former Double Deuce Saloon space, a sign appeared in the window as a hint of things to come. It read, mysteriously, “The Draconsfield.” Irony: totally befitting of Queen West. And so is the new venue, which opened up a few weeks ago. It’s actually called Happy Child, and it’s an interesting take on the snack bar concept.

Posted at 03:20 PM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: the Jamaican beef patties from Fahmee Bakery

01/21/13

Cheap Eat of the Week: the Jamaican beef patties from Fahmee Bakery

Nearly every day, for seven years, I waited just outside the Scarborough strip mall at Brimley Road and Alexmuir Boulevard for the good ’ol Brimley 21 bus to go to school. And nearly every morning, I’d get hit with the waft of freshly baked Jamaican beef patties, cocoa bread and sticky buns from Fahmee Bakery & Jamaican Foods. If I couldn’t see the bus coming, I’d usually have no choice but to run in to grab a fresh, piping hot patty.  

Posted at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments

Friday Restaurant Recap: Buster’s Sea Cove, Chili Cult, Namaste Nepal, Grand Electric, Rowe Farms

01/18/13

Friday Restaurant Recap: Buster’s Sea Cove, Chili Cult, Namaste Nepal, Grand Electric, Rowe Farms

Friday Restaurant Recap rounds up the week’s Toronto restaurant news. In this edition: seafood sandwiches make their way to the Path, a new bakery for King West, a new restaurant for chili lovers and more.

Posted at 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: a perfect preprandial sipper from Spain

01/18/13

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: a perfect preprandial sipper from Spain

The best wine to stimulate your appetite is a glass of dry sherry. Not far from the region where they produce sherry is the region of Montilla-Moriles, where they make wines in the same style as sherry but they’re cheaper. This fortified wine is crisply dry with flavours of camomile and green nuts. Served chilled it’s the perfect aperitif to make you feel hungry.

Posted at 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Draught: a barley wine from Shipyard Brewing

01/17/13

First Draught: a barley wine from Shipyard Brewing

By featuring Shipyard Brewing in the fall of 2012, the LCBO gave customers another snapshot view into how advanced the craft beer scene is south of the border. The Pugsley’s Signature Series Barley Wine stands out as one of the more memorable beers from the lineup.

Posted at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto chef wants to help feed the homeless, to the chagrin of some

01/16/13

Toronto chef wants to help feed the homeless, to the chagrin of some

Chef Rodney Bowers wants to help feed some of Toronto’s underprivileged residents by implementing a meal token program that has seen some success in Vancouver, The Star reports, but not everyone is enamoured with the concept.

Posted at 05:05 PM | Permalink | Comments

Aravind to be replaced with a Nepalese-Indian restaurant

01/16/13

Aravind to be replaced with a Nepalese-Indian restaurant

Greektown’s Aravind restaurant opened just over two years ago to a decent amount of critical acclaim, but the venue is apparently going to be replaced with a new concept. We weren’t immediately able to get in touch with Aravind’s owners, but new signs on the storefront indicate that Namaste Nepal, an Indian and Nepalese restaurant, is opening soon in Aravind’s spot. The space appears to be undergoing renovations.

Posted at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

Drink This: Playa Cabana Cantina’s Pink Carnation

01/16/13

Drink This: Playa Cabana Cantina’s Pink Carnation

The Junction’s Playa Cabana Cantina has only been open for about a month, but already it’s quite clear that local residents have a thing for tacos — and tequila. With prohibition in the area essentially straddling an entire century, the formerly dry ’hood is now embracing its newfound status as a sundown destination.

Posted at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments

Grand Electric’s planned expansion has been suspended

01/15/13

Grand Electric’s planned expansion has been suspended

Looks like that Parkdale moratorium isn’t only affecting new businesses. When Grand Electric started expanding into the second floor of its building last year, the last thing anyone expected was for the plans to come to a crashing halt. Now, thanks to the moratorium, the 40-seat expansion has been suspended.

Posted at 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: a pork-tastic offering from Porchetta & Co.

01/15/13

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: a pork-tastic offering from Porchetta & Co.

Arguably Hogtown’s premier purveyor of pork, Porchetta & Co. just celebrated its second birthday. Owned and run by Nick auf der Mauer, this tiny spot on Dundas West is fit with a quintet of stools, and on busy days, pig aficionados will gladly line up on the sidewalk as they await their porky fix.

Posted at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Red Fish

01/14/13

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Red Fish

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. Where is Dr. Seuss when we need him? I have a feeling he would have been happy with Red Fish on College Street because Seuss clearly had such a strong sense of justice and fairness. He was always on the side of the underdog, and right now many species of fish are the underdog. Overfishing is killing the Atlantic cod and the Chilean sea bass and the butterfish. Fish farming is playing havoc with the wild B.C. salmon. And yet we continue to consume them.

Posted at 04:34 PM | Permalink

Chef Daniel Boulud launches his own whisky; Toronto probably won’t get to try it any time soon

01/14/13

Chef Daniel Boulud launches his own whisky; Toronto probably won’t get to try it any time soon

Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, the man behind Café Boulud in Yorkville’s Four Seasons hotel, is releasing his very own single malt Scotch whisky in collaboration with The Dalmore. The beverage marks the first time a “bespoke” single malt Scotch whisky has been created with a Michelin-starred chef.

Posted at 04:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: a giant buttermilk biscuit from The Stockyards

01/14/13

Cheap Eat of the Week: a giant buttermilk biscuit from The Stockyards

Ever wake up on Saturday morning feeling peckish? It’s quickly become a proven fact in our household that the antidote is almost always The Stockyards. Just try saying no to a plate of biscuits with scrambled eggs, sage country sausage and gravy ($11), or fried chicken and Belgian-style waffles with a chili-maple glaze ($13) or the Stockyard breakfast sandwich ($7): a deep-fried, perfectly poached egg with bacon or sausage and aged cheddar.

Posted at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Comments

Friday Restaurant Recap: Bite Bar, The Hogtown Cure, Ben & Izzy’s Deli, Sagra, The Antler Room

01/11/13

Friday Restaurant Recap: Bite Bar, The Hogtown Cure, Ben & Izzy’s Deli, Sagra, The Antler Room

Friday Restaurant Recap rounds up the week’s Toronto restaurant news. In this edition: pinball and beer steins unite, a new dessert bar for downtown, a new kosher deli on Bathurst Street and more.

Posted at 04:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Junction Craft Brewing, a new west-end brewery, tasting bar and retail space

01/11/13

First Look: Junction Craft Brewing, a new west-end brewery, tasting bar and retail space

After existing as a dry neighbourhood for decades, the Junction now has two craft breweries: Indie Alehouse and Junction Craft Brewing, the latter of which recently opened a new tasting bar, retail outlet and brewery space on Cawthra Avenue. That’s a lot of craft breweries, given that all of Toronto has fewer than a dozen.

Posted at 03:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: a succulent red from California’s Paso Robles region

01/11/13

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: a succulent red from California’s Paso Robles region

This fruit-driven red from the little-known Paso Robles region is dense purple in colour with a smoky blackcurrant and vanilla oak nose. The fruit is sweet and succulent, full on the palate with a rich blackcurrant flavour and soft tannins. Its muscular nature calls for a hearty meat dish.

Posted at 10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Draught: Nickel Brook’s barrel-aged imperial stout

01/10/13

First Draught: Nickel Brook’s barrel-aged imperial stout

Bourbon is everywhere these days, including in the barrels that Ryan Morrow, Nickel Brook’s head brewer, uses for some of the entries in his quickly expanding barrel-aged beer catalogue. A notable example is the Old Kentucky Bastard, which sees the popular Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout aged for more than a year in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. 

Posted at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Thomas Lavers Cannery and Delicatessen, Kensington Market’s new purveyor of preserves

01/09/13

First Look: Thomas Lavers Cannery and Delicatessen, Kensington Market’s new purveyor of preserves

Having been open for just under a month, Thomas Lavers Cannery and Delicatessen has already been embraced with open arms. Hopscotching in after Sanagan’s big move and the arrival of Hooked, this latest addition to Baldwin Street’s inspiring row is the work of long-time friends Brian Lavers and Tye Thomas.

Posted at 03:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

Drink This: the Detoxifier, a hangover’s worst enemy

01/09/13

Drink This: the Detoxifier, a hangover’s worst enemy

By now, the holidays are but a distant memory, much to everyone’s despair. The effects, however, may not be. Fresh has been blending up healthful cocktails of vitamins, minerals and raw enzymes since ’99. We’re told that following New Year’s, the most popular selection is the so-called Detoxifier ($5.50), for obvious reasons.

Posted at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Dyne, Yorkville’s new Iberian-Asian restaurant

01/08/13

First Look: Dyne, Yorkville’s new Iberian-Asian restaurant

Taking over the space recently vacated by Maléna is Dyne, a new restaurant that offers up a unique blend of Iberian and Asian cuisines, or more specifially, a mix of Filipino, Portugese and Spanish-inspired dishes. Still, don’t call it fusion.

Posted at 02:45 PM | Permalink | Comments

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: a bun stuffed with bacon, cheddar and egg from Locomotive

01/08/13

Toronto’s Best Sandwiches: a bun stuffed with bacon, cheddar and egg from Locomotive

Locomotive is something of a well-kept secret. A Junction fave, this sandwich-slinging joint has been open for just over a year, and it’s a popular destination any day of the week. Affable owner Vito Carnovale can be spotted joking around with customers as he calls out to regulars by name, checking in that the food is going over well. Having been in the food biz all his life, Carnovale knows exactly what people want in a sandwich.

Posted at 09:33 AM | Permalink | Comments

NoNo’s Pastaria is out, and The Guild is in

01/07/13

NoNo’s Pastaria is out, and The Guild is in

Since early last year, we had been anticipating the opening of NoNo’s Pastaria at 1442 Dundas West. A project from chef-owner Mani Binelli, the concept was supposed to be a cozy hole-in-the-wall with a rotating selection of pastas and other Italian fare. But in the process of working on the space, Binelli decided he wanted to switch things up a bit.

Posted at 03:34 PM | Permalink | Comments

Kates: for lineup-free tacos — and the best tres leches in town — Rebozos is where it’s at

01/07/13

Kates: for lineup-free tacos — and the best tres leches in town — Rebozos is where it’s at

Toronto’s taco-philia knows no bounds. Taquerias are springing up everywhere, and no, not one if them comes close to Grand Electric for flavour thrills… Or lineups… Or noise… Or cramped quarters and backless benches. For a less stressful taco moment, Rebozos College Street (scion of Rebozos Rogers Road) is delightful. The tacos are built on very fresh corn tortillas with enough coriander, onion and heat for fun.

Posted at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments

Cheap Eat of the Week: the rice-wrapped dough fritters from King’s Noodle Restaurant

01/07/13

Cheap Eat of the Week: the rice-wrapped dough fritters from King’s Noodle Restaurant

Stroll through Chinatown and you can’t miss the tourists snapping photos of restaurants like King’s Noodle, with neon-orange squid, crispy roasted pork, soy sauce chicken and fatty roasted duck displayed in the window front.

Posted at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

Friday Restaurant Recap: Buonanotte, Touro Churrascaria, Melt Grilled Cheese, Dyne, Zakkushi

01/04/13

Friday Restaurant Recap: Buonanotte, Touro Churrascaria, Melt Grilled Cheese, Dyne, Zakkushi

Friday Restaurant Recap rounds up the week’s Toronto restaurant news. In this edition: a Brazilian steakhouse for Richmond Hill, an Iberian-Asian restaurant opens on Avenue Road and a classic U.S. diner prepares to open its first downtown Toronto location.

Posted at 03:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: a vibrant, lively white from Burgundy

01/04/13

Tony Aspler’s Weekly Wine Pick: a vibrant, lively white from Burgundy

Of all white wines, Chablis is perhaps the most versatile when it comes to matching with food because of its vibrant acidity. Straw coloured with a nose of white flowers and green apples, this one is fresh and lively on the palate; medium-bodied, with a lemony, minerally, green apple flavour and good mid-palate fruit.

Posted at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

New entries to the Kates 100

01/04/13

New entries to the Kates 100

Renowned food critic Joanne Kates has made some changes to her top 100 restaurants list in light of recent closures, menu changes and chef switch-ups. This isn’t a new top 100, just an update to keep the list current. Two new entries have been added: Edulis and Hoof Raw Bar, and the listings for Acadia, Splendido, Morton’s and Yours Truly have been updated. Stay tuned for Kates’ 2013 list, which will be revealed in May.

Posted at 09:44 AM | Permalink | Comments

The entertainment district is about to get even cheesier

01/03/13

The entertainment district is about to get even cheesier

Melt Grilled Cheese is set to make its downtown debut near John and Richmond next month. The franchise — which bills itself as “grilled cheese with a twist” — has two other locations, one in Etobicoke and another in Oakville. Melt prides itself on keeping its meals under $10, which means club-goers can load up on cheese without lightening up their wallets. The new spot is slated for a mid-February opening.

Posted at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Draught: a flavourful winter ale from Granville Island Brewing

01/03/13

First Draught: a flavourful winter ale from Granville Island Brewing

What distinguishes a craft beer from a large-scale beer? As the market share slides toward newer, smaller brewers, and the older, behemoth competitors find new ways to keep customers, that question becomes more relevant. Big beer companies are resorting to a number of tactics to stay in the game, including starting their own microbreweries or buying existing ones.

Posted at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Momofuku Shōtō

01/02/13

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Momofuku Shōtō

Shōtō is as big a deal as this town makes of a dinner. You can only reserve online, and not more than two weeks in advance. When you reserve, you get a snippy email: “If you cancel this reservation less than 24 hours in advance of your seating time or do not attend this reservation, you will be charged $150.00 per person [the cost of dinner] ... If you are more than 15 minutes late without notice, your seats will be forfeited.”

Posted at 02:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: Karelia Kitchen, a new Scandinavian café and smokehouse in Bloordale

01/02/13

First Look: Karelia Kitchen, a new Scandinavian café and smokehouse in Bloordale

“We are a smokehouse!” exclaims Donna Ashley. “We’re other things too — but primarily, we’re a smokehouse.” Ashley, along with husband Leif Kravis, owns and operates Karelia Kitchen, Bloordale’s latest culinary destination. Armed with some shared 59 years in the food biz, they have opted to take on one of the city’s most underrepresented cuisines: Scandinavian.

Posted at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments