Restaurant roundup: hot new openings for September

A noodle hotspot comes to the Annex and the Food Dudes are at it again


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Mollejas (sweetbreads) at Quetzal (IMAGE: AJ Fernando)

BIG OPENS

Wood-fired Mexican spices up little Italy at QUETZAL (419 College St.). Superstar chefs Grant van Gameren, Kate Chomyshyn, Julio Guajardo and mixologist Owen Walker joined forces for this innovative concept that’s been years in the making. The menu highlights regional Mexican cuisine prepared on the open kitchen’s 26-foot wood-fired gill. 

One thing is for sure about Jen Agg: she doesn’t sit still. Hot on the heels of the closure of the famous Black Hoof comes her incarnation of French diner LE ​SWAN, (892 Queen St. W.). Set to open this month, the Queen S​treet classic has been revamped and lovingly renovated with that special Jen Agg touch. 

Still trying desperately to get a reservation at Alo? Why not instead snag a seat at Yorkville’s newest swanky cocktail joint ALO BAR, (162 Cumberland St.) courtesy of chef Patrick Kriss.

FOODIE FINDS

Live that crunchy granola Vancouver life in downtown T.O. with a big rice bowl from TRACTOR FOODS (151 Yonge St.) brimming with watermelon radish, cannelloni beans, kimchi, pickled carrots and more. Plus there are a lot of healthy grab ’n’ go options (like the roasted turkey thigh sandwich) that get bonus points not only for being healthy, but also for tasting pretty darn good.


Butternut squash soup at Tractor Foods (IMAGE: Kayla Rocca) 
 

The Annex gets a noodle hotspot with SANTOUKA RAMEN's (515 Bloor St W.) latest location on Bloor Street. It boasts all the same dishes as the Dundas Street location, as well as a few additions, such as a veggie ramen made with white miso.

The Rogers Centre just got a new restaurant. From the folks at Sportsnet comes upscale game day fare served overlooking the field. The menu at SPORTSNET GRILL (1 Blue Jays Way) includes crowd-pleasers like tacos and smoky sweet BBQ wings, plus home runs like the Strongbow pork back ribs and the 10-ounce baseball steak, a juicy 35 day–aged top sirloin. Make sure to wash everything down with lots of cold beer.

Sake is really having a moment in T.O.: it’s becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in fancy cocktails, and now we’ve got KOI KOI (170 Baldwin St.), a bar devoted to the rice liquor. Sip sake collected from regions all over Japan, or try a cold Japanese beer. It all goes down easy with some very tasty snacks perfectly engineered to go with drinking— such as salmon aburi, yakitori and mushroom inari.  


Koi Koi's Onna Yokai with yokaichi shochu and rose syrup 
 

COMING SOON

Bloordale’s new ALMA (1194 Bloor St. W.) is the creation of Anna Chen (formerly of Figo). A clean, modern esthetic lets the food step to the fore, with creative dishes such as fried pig ears and grilled mozzarella wrapped in grape leaves, made entirely from scratch.

Inspired by a recent trip to Japan, the Food Dudes are opening SARA (98 Portland St.), a sister resto to Rasa (Sara, Rasa, see what they did there?) on busy Harbord Street. An enticing menu of small plates, snacks, dumplings and robata is planned. 

Bayview Village Shopping Centre is quickly becoming a dining destination with recent additions Parcheggio and Beauty BBQ. Hermant Bhagwani’s new venture, GOA (2901 Bayview Ave.), is slated to open this fall. Now trendy Indian fare will be on the menu for shoppers and residents of the rapidly growing ’hood. 

Word on the street is that popular spot for grabbing a pint or two, BELLWOODS BREWERY (124 Ossington Ave.), has plans to expand into the space next door. This  busy spot could definitely use more tables!

SAD TO SEE YOU GO

The nearly two-decades-old location of HY’S STEAKHOUSE on Adelaide is closing at the end of the year when the lease wraps up. But the owners aren’t finished serving up their fancy steaks. They plan to reopen at 365 Bay St. by summer 2019.

BRANCA has closed after four short years.

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