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First Look

First Look: Farmer’s Daughter Eatery, a new restaurant from Farmhouse Tavern

Sibling restaurants are all the rage in Toronto these days — see Buca and Bar Buca, F’Amelia and Extended F’Amelia, The Harbord Room and THR & Co. — but restaurateur Darcy MacDonell didn’t have that in mind when he opened Farmer’s Daughter Eatery last week. Simply looking to open a new business in the city, MacDonell happened to find a great location just down the street from his first restaurant, Farmhouse Tavern.
May 01, 2014

First Look: Fat Pasha, a new Jewish-inspired restaurant from chef Anthony Rose

It was only around two years ago when Anthony Rose, fresh off his stint as chef at The Drake Hotel, announced an ambitious — some would say crazy — plan to open three new restaurants in Toronto.
April 24, 2014

First Look: Luckee, a new high-end dim sum restaurant from chef Susur Lee

While dim sum will always be a part of Toronto’s collective unconscious, it seems to be having a bit of a moment these days. High-end chefs are getting into it, including the inimitable Susur Lee, who opened his highly anticipated Luckee at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel earlier this month.
April 17, 2014

First Look: Byblos, a new Mediterranean restaurant in Toronto’s club district

In continuing their steady takeover of Toronto’s dining scene — following the openings of the hugely successful Weslodge Saloon and Patria — restaurateurs-du-jour Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth had originally planned to open a seafood restaurant as their latest venture. Then, Harji took a business trip to the Middle East, where he experienced food that he knew he had to bring to Toronto.
April 10, 2014

First Look: Cleo, a contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant near Yonge and Lawrence

Samir Girgis is quick to clarify that he came up with the concept for his new Middle Eastern restaurant, Cleo, about a year ago. This is an important detail to highlight, because it seems like every new restaurant that opens in Toronto these days — such as Rose City Kitchen, Byblos, S. Lefkowitz and chef Anthony Rose’s soon-to-open Fat Pasha — has a solid Middle Eastern bent.
April 03, 2014

First Look: The County Cocktail & Snack Bar, a versatile new hangout spot on Queen East

When Carlo Catallo parted ways with Splendido at the end of 2013 — he had co-owned the place with Victor Barry, and helped build it into the legendary success it is now — his plan was to focus on his other business, The County General, and expand its brand across the city. Earlier this month, he took on the east end with his latest venture, The County Cocktail & Snack Bar.
March 26, 2014

First Look: East Thirty-Six, a new cocktail bar and restaurant on Wellington St.

With the opening of East Thirty-Six last week, the St. Lawrence neighbourhood now has another upscale watering hole for after-work drinks. One of the owners, Julien Salomone, describes it as an "Old New York cocktail bar that mixes 1920s style with a bit of modern decor."
March 20, 2014

First Look: Yakitori Kintori, a new venture from the team behind Guu

In a small second-storey space above Kinton Ramen in Koreatown, cooks fan the embers at a binchotan grill, sending a geyser of bright orange sparks into the air. Aside from the greeters at the front — who shout “mushi-mushi” to each new guest — the spectacle is likely the first thing customers will notice at Yakitori Kintori, the latest restaurant from Guu owner James Kim.
March 12, 2014

First Look: Grasshopper, a new meat-free restaurant near Kensington Market

Roy Qian is 23 years old, and he’s fresh out of college. He has never owned a business before, and he has never been a chef. But he’s not letting his lack of experience stop him from becoming a restaurateur.
March 06, 2014

First Look: La Croisée, a new bistro that’s bringing a taste of Burgundy to Bayview

For years, chef Adrien Bailleux and his partner, Andy Yang, knew that they wanted to open a restaurant together. They found a restaurant space in Leaside, where barbecue mecca Highway 61 once stood. After giving the place a complete makeover, they opened their new 24-seat spot, La Croisée, near the end of 2013.
February 27, 2014

First Look: Burger Bass, a new hamburger shop on Queen West

When Zeinab Omar was faced with the prospect of putting her four children through university, she did what any loving mother would do: she opened up a burger joint.
February 20, 2014

First Look: John & Sons Fish and Chip Shop, a new side-restaurant for a popular midtown oyster house

John Belknap has wanted to make better use of a storage room at his midtown oyster house, John & Sons, for a long time now. But what would best suit the neighbourhood?
February 14, 2014

First Look: 420 Smokehouse, a new destination for barbecue in Cabbagetown

When Virginia Ray decided to open up her own restaurant, she knew for certain that she wanted a smoked meat sandwich to anchor the menu. Toronto, she felt, was lacking in the smoked meat department. So, she found a chef, hooked him up with the best smoker she could find (a custom-built Southern Pride from Tennessee) and let him do his thing.
February 05, 2014

First Look: Ramen Isshin, a College Street noodle house from the Kingyo team

Koji Zenimaru may be a relative latecomer to Toronto’s ramen scene, but what he lacks in timeliness he makes up for in dedication. In researching noodles for Ramen Isshin, his new restaurant on College Street, Zenimaru spent six months tasting different varieties — around 900, in total — before finally settling on two. That’s right, 900 types of noodles.
January 30, 2014

First Look: Sip Wine Bar, a Neapolitan pizzeria at Yonge and Eg

Carmine Costantino has been in the service industry for years. He founded Zaza Espresso Bar in Yorkville, and he’s owned a slew of restaurants across the city. So when he decided to open his own Neapolitan pizzeria, he got serious. He placed a job ad in a Naples newspaper and landed three chefs from the motherland, including pizza maestro Pasquale Ponticiello.
January 22, 2014

First Look: Harvest Kitchen, the latest addition to Harbord Street’s thriving restaurant scene

Harbord Street continues to be a top-notch culinary destination in Toronto. It’s home to the legendary Splendido, and also to The Harbord Room and its sister restaurant, THR & Co. The Food Dudes chose the neighbourhood for their upcoming venture, Tabula Rasa, and about a month ago Harvest Kitchen opened up in the space previously occupied by Tati Bistro.
January 15, 2014

First Look: Agave y Aguacate, the highly anticipated restaurant from chef Francisco Alejandri

The strangest thing about Kensington Market’s now-defunct Agave y Aguacate may have been the owner and operator himself, Francisco Alejandri. The classically trained chef has worked at high-end restaurants such as Scaramouche and Chiado, so he seemed a tad out of place cooking at a schleppy food court. Well, that’s no longer the case, because he finally has a full-fledged restaurant of his own.
January 10, 2014

First Look: Roast, a full-service butcher shop on St. Clair West

Build a streetcar right-of-way, and the condos will quickly follow. From there it's just a short jump to excellent restaurants and full-service butcher shops. Such is the course of events that helped bring Ben Latchford's Roast Fine Foods to Hillcrest Village.
January 07, 2014

First Look: Kinton Ramen 2, a new location for a popular noodle house

Fans of Baldwin Village’s Kinton Ramen know that it’s a pork lover’s spot. There, thick pork bone broth comes with heaps of pork belly or pork shoulder, and customers can request how much pork fat they want added to their soup (“rich” means a lot, “light” means less).
January 03, 2014

First Look: Duke’s Refresher, a new watering hole at Yonge and Gerrard’s Aura tower

By next year, close to 2,000 people will be living inside Yonge and Gerrard’s Aura, Canada’s tallest residential tower. And they’ll have no shortage of places to eat nearby thanks to SIR Corp, which is responsible for several new restaurants on the ground floor: Reds Midtown Tavern, the soon-to-open Scaddabush and, opened earlier this month, Duke’s Refresher + Bar.
December 19, 2013