January 2013

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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