At the risk of getting lynched by the Canadian weather police, it’s been a rough winter. Yes, I am fully aware that we live in Canada but this year Old Man Winter has been particularly harsh and I speak as one who actually enjoys the winter months. I love cozy nights in during a snowstorm, but of course if I have to venture out during said storm then my enthusiasm wains.
At this time of year my enjoyment of food increases tenfold thanks to hearty stews, thick sauces, and rich cuts of meat – perfect when served with a bold red and the right company. And although finding the energy to leave the comfortable confines of your heated home can be a struggle thanks to wind chills and snow squalls, we have rounded up a list of Toronto restaurants that provide the perfect cozy atmosphere. Pull on your galoshes and head to one of these fab spots where you can treat yourself to some much deserved winter therapy in the form of good eats and warming sippers that will keep you safe against the cold on the cab ride home. You know… because hibernating is for bears…
Devouring a grilled cheese sandwich in the wintertime is like being enveloped in a bear-hug from your favourite uncle – warm, familiar and soul-pleasing. With 9 offerings, all themed around different cities, Cheesewerks will fill you with gooey goodness and offer you a craft beer to help wash it all down. For those ‘chilled-to-the-bone’ days, tag on a cup of house-made roasted tomato cream soup.
Ascari Enoteca 26
Superb handmade pasta and a good glass of Italian wine in an intimate setting where you can watch the snow fall through the large windows… If that doesn’t shake the winter chills, I don’t know what will.
416 Snack Bar
Get there early to take advantage of dimmed lighting and a real laidback vibe as you watch the winter wail from the comfort of your bar stool. After 6pm you will have no problem warming up as the place fills with locals eager to stuff their bellies with steamed buns and rotating specials such as stuffed Yorkshire pudding.
Darwin Bistro Bar
Be warned, once you plant your lil’ tuckus in this College Street nook you will likely not notice that whole hours have passed when you merely meant to stop in for a quick nibble and tipple. The contemporary French cuisine is sure to warm your cockles, featuring winners like duck confit and the classic steak frites. Oh, and don’t even get us started on their brunch… Croque Madame me, please!
If you’re looking for comfort food on a blistery day, you can’t go wrong with a good ‘za. And these guys are widely believed to provide one of the very best in the city and for good reason. Using methods and ingredients inspired by the birthplace of the modern pizza, their Neapolitan crust bakes in less than 90 seconds in a wood burning oven. Pair that with a quartino of Gragnano (a lightly sparkling red served chilled, apparently the most authentic Neapolitan pizza pairing) and for a precious moment you’ll be transported to the sun-drenched streets of Italy. Canada who?
This gorgeous osteria provides the perfect refuge for a warming lunch, after work cocktail or a tummy filling dinner. Prepare your soul to be fully satisfied as you devour Italian cooking at its finest. I’m talking Osso buco, ravioli stuffed with butternut squash, 60 day dry-aged striploin… need I go on? Serve with a large glass of ripasso and maybe a cheese plate for dessert… ain’t no weatherman snowing on your parade.
What’s your go-to winter restaurant? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.