Restaurant Update: Brandon Olsen’s new chocolate shop opens, and chef Ben Heaton heads up La Société


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A seafood tower from La Société

It’s cottage season, but there’s lots of new stuff to explore in the city if you’re stuck here.

Just Opened

  • Chef Brandon Olsen (formerly of The Black Hoof and Bar Isabel) has opened his much-anticipated chocolate shop, Chocolates x Brandon Olsen, at 1132 College St. His chocolates come in flavours such as salted caramel and cherry vanilla.   
  • Taking over the former P. F. Chang’s space at the Shops at Don Mills is Taylors Landing, a new restaurant from the team that brought us Hunters Landing and Williams Landing. Menu options include Mexican-style grilled corn, a Korean cheese steak sandwich and a half-pound hamburger.
  • Superstar food personality Jamie Oliver has opened a second GTA location of Jamie’s Italian. This latest one is at Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre. 
  • The team behind Boxcar Social has opened The Slip, a new outdoor bar at the Harbourfront Centre.

Coming Soon

  • The owners of Queen West’s popular Lamesa Filipino Kitchen are opening Lasa, a new restaurant at 634 St. Clair Ave. W., this August. The menu will feature made-to-order Filipino classics such as chicken adobo, lumpia (spring rolls), meat skewers and kare-kare (a peanut stew).
  • Longtime Richmond Hill residents Ray Nicolini and Dave De Ciantis are set to open a new craft brewery, Lake Wilcox Brewing Co., in Vaughan later this summer. The 8,000-square-foot space will feature retail space and a tasting room where patrons can sip on Lake Wilcox standards (such as Mad Quacker lager, currently available at The Beer Store) along with a rotation of seasonal offerings. Brewmaster Aaron Martin hails from Oast House Brewers in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
  • Anne Sorrenti, the former chef of Morgan’s on the Danforth, has taken over a space on Oakwood, near Rogers Rd., that she plans to open as a restaurant this summer. The menu will feature elevated restaurant/pub fare and will be built around product from local suppliers as much as possible. Sorrenti plans to call it Oakwood Hardware (in honour of a long-gone occupant of the address) and is in the process of renovating it to have a rustic design for the interior and a 60-seat patio.
  • Latin American street food restaurant Valdez is reopening as Baro at 485 King St. W. It will see chef Steve Gonzalez continuing his exploration of Latin American cuisine. 
  • Popular Middle Eastern restaurant Tabülè is set to open two new locations in the coming months. The first, which will open later this summer, will be at 494 Front St. E., and the second, set to open by the end of the year, will be at Bayview Village. 

Restaurant Coverage

  • Post City’s Jason Finestone heads into Ardo, a new Sicilian restaurant from chef/owner Roberto Marotta at 243 King St. E.
  • Food critic Joanne Kates checks out Anthony Rose’s Bar Begonia, a new addition to a quickly expanding restaurant empire.
  • Food curmudgeon Jon Sufrin takes umbrage with the over-sauced excessiveness of seafood-in-a-bag restaurants like The Captain’s Boil.
  • Here’s our First Look at Little Piggy’s, a new Korean barbecue restaurant on Bloor and one of the few that are east of Bathurst.

Changes and Other News

  • Ben Heaton continues his role as one of the INK/Icon Legacy group’s go-to chefs with a new gig as corporate executive chef at La Société. Heaton's kitchen team, which includes chef de cuisine Andrew Wilson and senior pastry chef Michaela Hapak, has redone the menu to give a modernized slant to French classics. Highlights include customizable seafood towers, burrata with sweet peas served on grilled bread and a wild mushroom pithivier with leek and black truffle.
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