Dolly’s is the latest venture from Dave Sidhu, known for his mini Playa Cabana empire. Inside, red booths hearken back to the space’s diner days, while new touches like a giant mural and some noodly light fixtures help imbue it with artsy charms.
Like any good celebration, food is involved. At Diwan, the Aga Khan Museum’s restaurant led by Top Chef Mark McEwan, the menu boasts many Iranian-inspired items to feast upon, giving nod to the 13-day event.
Much like Parkdale, Gerrard and Jones has a bit of an unsavoury history. Pre-reno, the Maple Leaf Tavern was the mother of all dive bars. Not exactly what one wants as the keystone to a neighbourhood. But its recent reno (which took a cool three years) has helped energize the area, transforming it from rough-around-the-edges to foodie magnet and helping to act as bait for those looking for a place to set up roots.
Brandon Olsen is a man obsessed with process. Prior to opening of his French restaurant on Ossington, La Banane, the chef spent hours in the kitchen breaking down every element of his menu in progress.
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.
Blink and you’ll miss Museum Tavern. Squirreled upstairs and across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum sits the suitably named brasserie. The charming space has been satiating museum goers since it opened back in 2012.
Hemant Bhagwani, one of Toronto’s leading restaurateurs and the man who has taken Indian cuisine in several directions, has opened his newest project, Leela Indian Food Bar, in the Junction. It took over the former Avec Panache spot.
At Jack and Lil’s, brunch is truly a family affair. Stepping inside the Dundas West space, it feels as though you’ve entered your mom’s kitchen. South African tchotchkes and memorabilia spill from all corners, creating a cheery visual tapestry, while classical music provides auditory ambience.
Chris White and Jon Nicolau have been working on developing the idea for Brothers — in the end, it needed to be "casual and graceful and nice and in the centre of the city” — almost from the time they met.