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Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Review: La Banane is Ossington’s dishy new bistro

Take a restaurant dream team, add a pinch of hipster, a soupçon of cream and a healthy dollop of impeccable seafood, season it à la française, and what have you got? The dishiest new resto to hit Toronto in a year!
March 08, 2017

Restaurant Review: Chef Steve Gonzalez is back with his gigantic new King West eatery

Cherry-picking the menu works really well. Some of the fusion items, where East meets Latin, are really fun. Chef’s suite of ceviches are superbly entertaining: we’re captivated by the variegated flavours of tiraditos, raw tuna napped in passion fruit and lulo sauce, with black and white sesame seeds, chili-studded purée of butternut squash and baby greens.
February 16, 2017

Restaurant Review: Why I ordered a $140 steak at Branca, the hottest table in town

It’s an Argentinian grill: the Argentinian tradition is to cook over a live fire of hardwood and Argentinian lump charcoal, which imparts a bit of a smoke undertone to the meat along with a charred crust that’s kissin’ cousin to crispy. Rather splendid.
December 01, 2016

Restaurant Review: Parkdale gets a not so Guu’d izakaya

Hence my excitement when Guu, the Vancouver mothership, opened a branch in Parkdale. Guu has been fooling around with the Toronto market for a few years. They first opened a fabulous Guu on Church Street and a second one on Bloor West.
November 03, 2016

Restaurant Review: A pedigreed chef dishes out dull and confusing Canadiana at Montgomery’s

I want to adore this restaurant. Guy Rawlings’ pedigree is sterling. Most recently he was operations manager at the esteemed Bar Isabel and Bar Raval, and long before that he was sous chef at Il Mulino on Eglinton, when it was great, and pastry chef at Celestin when it was great.
October 20, 2016

Restaurant Review: New lobster hot spot lbs is good enough — barely

It’s a great concept. Who doesn’t love lobster and hate paying for it? Lbs. has picked a price point of $22, for which they sell four (!!) mains only: a 1.25 lb. lobster, a warm lobster roll, a brisket burger and a lobster salad. All but the salad come with fries. Sweet and simple.
October 06, 2016

Restaurant Review: The new Chantecler shines in spots, underwhelms in others

Chantecler 2.0 has nothing to do with the Asian fusion lettucy thingies of chef Poon, but the room is unchanged — still a small and incredibly sweet bistro with thick wooden tables, some high-top, some regulation height, white tile floors a la française and a cheerful atmosphere with friendly service.
September 20, 2016

Restaurant Review: Slice of Motor City at Descendant Pizza is a lesson in deliciousness

This new (to us) form of pizza is called Detroit-style and is on offer in an unassuming 22-seat hole-in-the-wall in Leslieville.
September 13, 2016

Restaurant Review: Uptown Kwan does decent — but unexciting — dim sum

This peak eating moment has made the good stuff less exciting. And the Kwan dim sum isn’t. Exciting. All the regulars are here and done pretty nicely.
August 23, 2016

Restaurant Review: Honest Weight is a 20-seat heartthrob in the Junction

John Bil, the owner, pours shots of skull vodka for a couple of regulars and says he never wanted to open a restaurant that a lot of people made a fuss over. He only ever wanted a neighbourhood place, which is why, he says, “It’s only 20 seats.”
August 09, 2016

Restaurant Review: Superstar chef’s El Rey Mezcal Bar lacks magic touch

I’m guessing they like El Rey for its cocktail extravaganzas and Mexican munchies. After all, this is Kensington. People need munchies. Which don’t have to taste great.
July 11, 2016

Restaurant Review: Anthony Rose continues his delicious takeover of Toronto with Bar Begonia

The King of Dupont, Mr. Anthony Rose, has done it again.
June 22, 2016

Restaurant Review: Hitting all the right notes at Piano Piano

The slowing down part is why he named the new place Piano Piano (which means “go slow” in Italian). The family part is why his two-year-old daughter’s art is on the walls and the place is informal, family-friendly and inexpensive. Lotsa pizza ’n’ pasta.
June 06, 2016

Restaurant Review: Queen West’s Rickshaw Bar looks low key, but the food is dazzling

What does it mean when someone pursues a career against their parents’ expressed wishes? And sticks with it? It means you’re a person of enormous grit and passion. This is chef Noureen Feerasta and Rickshaw Bar is her dream come true. She is not about to screw this up, which is why the lovely little bistro receives 110 per cent of her passion.
April 20, 2016

Restaurant Review: Chabrol, Yorkville’s new 19-seat boîte, is as French as it gets

Doug Penfold and Niall McCotter bought the fabulous Cava from Chris McDonald and now they’ve opened a tiny French bistro, Chabrol. It is as French as it gets, the ultimate bistro.
April 04, 2016

Restaurant Review: Small bites, huge flavours at Markham’s Tapagria

Being of the superficial persuasion, I was quick to cast premature judgment on Markham’s new Spanish restaurant, Tapagria. Here is a place with a bad name, I thought; a place that is lamely tagging along with Toronto’s Spanish food trend. Here is a place that has put a lot of effort into appearing downtown-esque, with its wood, exposed brick and Edison bulbs; a place, I thought, that would probably be a style-over-substance affair.
March 01, 2016

Restaurant Review: Miku Toronto is great — if you like accessible, unchallenging sushi

If I were orchestrating a Big Night Out, let’s say a date with somebody I wanted to impress, and that somebody was not a sushi lover … and money wasn’t really an object, hands down I’d take them to Miku.
February 24, 2016

Restaurant Review: Hemant Bhagwani gets his groove back with Indian Street Food Co.

Hemant Bhagwani's new Indian Street Food Co. is a dream come true.
February 03, 2016

Restaurant Review: Fring’s, Susur Lee’s King West collaboration with Drake, is about as bad as you’d expect

I’m still trying to figure out why one of the best chefs in the world (yes, the world!) opens a restaurant called Fring’s in collaboration with a rapper. Susur Lee’s name is on the menu as chef and owner; his partner is Drake, and it’s tough to get a reservation at Fring’s.
January 27, 2016

Restaurant Review: The food at Parcae impresses but squirrelled-away location is hard to find

The conundrum here is that I love the food at Parcae, the service is charming, and it deserves to survive. What, says the waiter, you don’t like the risotto? I’ll take it off your bill. Okay, now we know who we’re dealing with. These people are beyond nice.
January 21, 2016