Stop being lame this April and get out of your typical restaurant rut. Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on the best new Toronto opening in April 2015.
April’s list of Toronto openings are no joke, with a few highly-anticipated arrivals rounding out the list (like the first Canadian outpost from a certain Michelin rated chef (and his MasterChef-winning sidekick) and serial Japanese restauranteurs from the West Coast saving North York from their pretty dismal dining options. Coupled with the promise of warmer temps, perhaps those long line ups outside won’t be so cumbersome.
March welcomed some fancy wieners (Let’s be Frank, Fancy Franks’ third location on Queen West), import specialty bakeries (Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake), deep-fried proteins (from Mr. Tonkatsu), as well as new leases (and looks) for Peter Pan. Throw in the fact that La Carnita‘s invaded Leslieville, North of Brooklyn‘s taken over Get Well’s kitchen (let’s hope people remember napkins before taking on Operation Wolf), and restaurant relic Far Niente has re-opened after a burst pipe with a new menu to go with their revamped look, and there’s good reason to get out and eat this month.
Hanmoto is now open in the Dundas West hood, with owner Leemo Han (Oddseoul) and Chef de cuisine Joe Kim (formerly of Electric Mud & Momofuku) creating izakaya-style bar snacks in a space befitting of them — this hotspot attempts to blend in with no formal signage. Fancy Franks on the other hand, has a splashy red sign to welcome you to their latest outpost on Queen by Spadina. The One Eighty got a facelift (as you do in Yorkville) and is in process of reopening with a new look and menu, thankfully same view.
And if meat pies from New Zealand are your thing, Wiseys Pies has opened a second location in Roncy. While they also sell other baked goods, the meat pies are the real deal, with not only kiwi style pies, but UK steak and kidney options too.
Carls Jr Queen West
The second location of the burger giant opens this month, taking over the old HMV house on Queen West, which underwent a huge overhaul to house the new burger joint. The first location opened recently up at St. Clair and Yonge — right across from hometown hero Holy Chuck, and now the second franchise is competing against Burger’s Priest, P&L Burger, and Gangster Burger….Anyone else sensing a US invasion?
Busters Sea Cove – Bremner
From market to food truck to franchising, Buster’s been busy. About to open their first (second if you’re counting Market Street Catch) bricks and mortar restaurant this month near Union Station on Bremner, you can expect to see more than a few commuters juggling their tempting lobster rolls on their commute home, or Jay’s fans getting stuffed to their gills pre-game.
GUU North York
Joining their East Coast cousins Guu SakaBar on Bloor and Guu Izakaya on Church, Guu North York is putting the finishing touches on their third Toronto location, making it their eighth restaurant (they also have Kintori Yakitori, JaBistro, and Kinton Ramen under their umbrella) for the Guu gang. Guu North York will feature a side street patio flanking the new Hullmark Centre, just a pinch south of the new Whole Foods.
Rose City Kitchen – Adelaide
Rose City Kitchen is expanding — this time honing in on Adelaide near Yonge, tapping into the soaring office towers with hopes of drawing those busy bees out for lunch with their Middle Eastern menu offerings. Opening April 13, this location features a slightly tweaked concept; nestled in a food court it’s more of a grab and go affair than their Queen Street sister.
Oats and Ivy
From modest mobile food cart to their new digs in Liberty Village, Oats and Ivy has been serving their health-conscious meals and vitamin-soaked cold-pressed juices to the time-compressed since last year, narrowing in on the south corridor in and around the financial district (which obviously was a successful market to tap considering their rapid growth). With well-thought out and carefully-constructed sandwiches and sides, owner Marina doles out tasty organic take-away food that won’t cripple your diet or leave you with a sudden case of the meat sweats.
Rebel and Demon (R&D) Restaurant
MasterChef fanboys and Michelin star-gazing gourmands should take note: Rebel and Demon, a joint venture from the winner of season one of MasterChef Canada, Eric Chong, and his blue haired mentor, Alvin Leung, is set to open early April taking over the former home of Strada 241 (which, despite solid reviews, lasted just under two years at the massive almost 4,000 square foot space on Spadina in the heart of Chinatown). After traveling around China together for six months, the duo hedged out a concept for R&D, combining their culinary backgrounds as much as their engineering degrees- expect big things from this ambitious (and unlikely) team.
Track & Field Bar
In what will surely be a first for Toronto, Track & Field Bar is set to open later this month at College and Ossington, occupying a 5,000 square foot basement that will house retiree fave games like bocce ball and shuffleboard, in addition to some sit down rec room fixtures like crokinole for those preferring to sit down (perhaps after coming from Bar Raval down the street).Owners are seasoned vets by way of Montauk, so you can expect the same quirky cocktails (on tap) to go with their restrained list of beers and wines.
The sky high condos and office towers share a vertical vision with Via Vai, who competes with the towering structures by way of their brag worthy 30 to 40 foot ceilings and art gallery-like atmosphere. Chef Joe Friday (from Alimento and Nobu Waikiki) helms the kitchen with Johnny O’Callaghan (Beverly Hotel) as sous-chef. Expect upscale Italian, with a focus on charcuterie, homemade pasta, and pizzas and a deep wine list for pairings.
Stay tuned next month for news on Jamie Oliver’s new spot in Yorkdale, The Craft Brasserie and Grill in Liberty Village (and their 100 taps), and a look at Alo, the latest from Chef Patrick Kriss (Splendido, Acadia), which is set to open at Spadina and Queen with a focus on tasting menus with wine pairings from Amanda Bradley. Also keep an eye out as we follow the opening of Kasamoto, which used to be Remy’s and, Montage….
Which of these New Toronto of April 2015 are you dying to try? Let Vv Magazine know your thoughts on “New Toronto Restaurants: April Edition” in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewTheVibe.