Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on Toronto’s best new restaurants, those opening in August 2015 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
August can be a bit of a sleeper month in Toronto, with a steady flock of us heading up to cottage country to escape the haze of the big smoke. If you find yourself stuck in the 6ix, then fear not. With marquee events like Caribana, Kultura Filipino Arts Festival, OVO Fest (or VELD for you wannabe ravers), the Parapan Am Games and The CNE, you’ll certainly find a cause to celebrate the (cue weeping) last weeks of summer. Commiseration and cocktails go hand in hand, so why not expand your horizon and drown your sorrows at the same time?
Read on for the latest in new Toronto restaurants.
July hit a sweet note with the opening of Manhattan bakery Maman, injecting a much needed dose of Parisian flair to the pastry scene. Their madeleines, croissants and chouquettes are next level, but lunch options are just as delectable with quiches, salads and sandwiches making First Canadian Place folks well-sated for those back-to-back to back meetings.
AG Macarons, the second shop from Anet and Michael Gesualdi is about a week into their soft opening on Dupont St. by Christie. Stop by for their many macs, including the unique Jelly Donut mac.
The Addisons Residence
Curious types and recent California ex-pats will want to stop by The Addisons Residence, a relaunch of C Lounge, which is now open on Wellington- but don’t look for a sign announcing the place. Instead, this not-so-humble abode blends right in (if it were in fact in Beverly Hills) with the surroundings. Inside, the spacious mansion is home to rec room faves like bubble hockey and foosball. The food menu, mostly snacky stuff, comes by way of The Food Dudes. The backyard area is still under construction, and is sure to be a crowd pleaser once open formally. Is it too early to peg this as the place to be for Halloween?
The third Smoke’s Weinerie is now open on Spadina, and they’re branching out from poutines by serving tube steaks covered in, well, poutine. Other menu options include the PBJ and Bacon, Pizza, or the Big Porker with Smoke’s chipotle pulled pork.
A little further south on Spadina is the new fine dining, tasting menu-focused, super impressive space that is ALO, run by Patrick Kriss and Amanda Bradley. Setting up shop on the third floor, this bold venture with Splendido (Kriss) and George (Bradley) pedigree sees an evolution of the stuffy and unforgiving tasting menu, with diners treated to (gasp!) choices between the various courses.
Rose and Sons Swan
Rose and Sons Swan has officially opened on Queen, taking over (and keeping the signage) from the other Swan that held court on Queen for decades. The restaurant is now open for breakfast, too, keeping the tradition of the previous tenant who was known for their bennys and boozy brunches.
90 Second Pizzeria
If a gluttonous amount of toppings and limited cook times impress you, then 90 Second Pizzeria, at Queen West near St Patrick is your new fave hangout. Cooking pies in 90 seconds at 900°F results in a bubbly crust and perfectly cooked ingredients, well, theoretically anyways, three layers of bacon may not factor well into that equation.
The Grow-Op juice bar is looking ready to squeeze some new life, and presumably lemons, on Ossington Ave. near Dundas. Undergoing weeks of renovations after the previous tenant, a fish market/grocer vacated, the cheekily named Grow–Op will serve healthy juices, snacks, and a pretty decent playlist by way of Soundcloud.
Further west, The Commodore is set to launch later this month in Parkdale. The 35 seat restaurant/bar will feature a mostly nautical look – early stages of the space are replete with wood, reminiscent of the inside of a sailboat. The menu channels that vibe as well, with a serious focus on seafood. Drinks are curated by Jason Romanoff (Nota Bene) with food from Jon Vettraino (F’Amelia).
Maple Leaf Tavern
The long awaited Maple Leaf Tavern is inching closer to opening on Gerrard Street, near Pape. Owner Todd Morgan has brought together a dream team for the rebirth of this storied bar, which has been a historic part of the city since 1910. The 6,000 sq ft space will be a boon for the neighbourhood, which has been gentrifying and becoming more sought after with families and couples in the past decade. Expect food to be approachable and local and for those that can’t wait, one quick jaunt east on the 401 to Todd’s other restaurant, Port, in Pickering, will give food gawkers an early sample of Chef Eric Wood’s offerings.
Miku, the highly anticipated sushi restaurant import from out West is opening this month at 10 Bay Street, with similar food offerings as their sister restaurant in Vancouver. Looks like they’re keeping a water-based backdrop to echo their West Coast roots.
Jamie Oliver’s long awaited project at Yorkdale Mall is nearing completion, with a firmed up October opening. The first Canadian venture for jolly JO will see the former TD Bank at the north end of the mall (facing the 401) become home to his clever cocktails and nifty noshings. Brilliant!
Queen Margherita Pizza
If Yorkdale is the north pole for you, then take solace in knowing that a new Queen Margherita Pizza is coming to Richmond St. by York, with their website listing the generic ‘fall’ as their opening date.
Città is growing as well, with a second location under construction on Adelaide, right near Montecito. Look for their doors to open later this fall as well.
Kupfert + Kim
The sustainable (as well as wheatless and meatless) duo Kupfert + Kim will also be debuting their latest space on Spadina in September. Remember your reusable containers to score some serious (vegan) brownie points (and a tidy discount).
Café Boulud, we hardly knew you, but are very eager to see you regroup, rebrand and revamp your space inside the Four Seasons Hotel. Look for Daniel’s new look in September, hopefully in time for TIFF.
Front Street Foods
Front Street Foods, the cheerful marketplace at Union Station, has been extended for another month and will now be wrapping up September 27th.
Ossington Avenue gains one and loses one, as Fishbar got the hook after not paying the bills after four years in operation. Happily, it looks like one of my fave dive bars will see a new lease on life, with the space that was Levack Block looking nearly open again, this time with what looks like a restaurant/bar with rumblings of a hotel operating out of the upstairs as well.
Did we miss any new Toronto restaurants? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.