Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on Toronto’s best new restaurants, those opening in December 2016 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
No matter what you’re celebrating this December, the Toronto social scene promises to be nothing but lit! From Christmas markets to festivus frolics, there’s a little something for everyone, naughty or nice, scrooge or saint. Bar Buca falls safely into the saint category, with a sleigh full of rotating weekly chefs adopting the Italian recipe of schiacciata (like a flatbread) and putting their own spin on it. Chefs featured include Matty Matheson, Shant Mardirosian, Basilio Pesce and Hans Vogels.
Alleviate pre-party anxiety with a meditative yoga class and an Ayurvedic breakfast after. Bombay Street Food is hosting this morning yoga session on December 3rd.
If you’re in the hunt for a real tree this Christmas, kill two birds with one boozy stone and check out Brassaii on December 6th. Bacardi is setting up shop, doling out free cocktails while you peruse the green goods, trees are going for $10-20, but drinks are on the house.
Meanwhile, Miss Thing’s on Queen will be hosting a ‘Rum Social’, an evening of rum, rum, and more rum. Bar manager extraordinaire Robin James Wynne will lead you through a tasting of rums while Chef Jasper Wu will create a four-course dinner around the libation. Grab your tickets early for this December 7th event.
If wine is more your tipple of choice, then check out iYellow Wine Club’s annual Holiday Wine Jam on December 14th at The Great Hall. Reds, whites, bubbles and rosés will all be up for tasting, with a chance for a champagne sabering too.
If you’re looking beyond Netflix and Chill this NYE, then venture out of clubland and check out the ROM’s culture rich offerings. Drinking, dancing, and all the related shenanigans feel somehow less shameful with the ROM’s fabulous educational offerings, and let’s face it, after a few drinks, Chihuly will really look impressive. Get more information about the ROM’s crazy New Year’s Eve party here.
After a massive fire gutted the legendaryPusateri’s uptown at Avenue and Lawrence last year, the gourmet goods purveyor finally swung open its doors last month, just in time for grab and go meals and fancy finger foods for the holidays. While the renovated building has opened up the second floor to the public, the footprint remains the same, ditto for the parking lot, where double parked luxury SUV’s are as ubiquitous as the black and gold bags that are carried out.
Pretty Ugly and Harry’s Char Broil and Dining Lounge
Queen Street soon to be hotspot Pretty Ugly has just opened its doors, hot on the heels of co-owner Grant Van Gameren’s Harry’s Char Broil and Dining Lounge, which just opened in October. For those counting, that’s the third opening for 2016, making GvG a busy lad indeed. Pretty Ugly functions as a tiny cantina, replete with Mexican rugs and décor (also up for sale). Drinks are boozy concoctions, carefully created by co-owner Robin Goodfellow.
Queen West also welcomedBasil Box, a popular food takeaway at Queen and Spadina, in the old Hero Burger spot. This location is the chain’s third, honing in on Toronto’s insatiable hunger for quick Southeast Asian eats.
College Street will see Peruvian eats (via Montreal) injecting some spice into the little Italy corridor when Mochica, a ceviche and pisco bar opens early this month. Known in Montreal for their authentic Peruvian menu, Toronto can expect the little sibling to follow in those footsteps, with Chef Martin Oré executing modern takes on classic dishes like Lomo Saltado, here made with Angus beef.
Almost directly across the street on College, Hotmess Tex-Mex is set to open across from Mochica. Look for tacos and tallboys when their doors open in early December.
Top Chef champ and chef of Valdez Steve Gonzalez has confirmed that Baro, his new multi-floor mega restaurant on King West will open on December 7th. Expect a similar format to Valdez, but amped up. Gonzalez promises that Baro will shake up the neighbourbood. Still no word on a secret password, though.
OMG Baked Goodness
Vegans will rejoice when OMG Baked Goodness reopens later this month. OMG underwent a little facelift at their Dundas and Dufferin digs, keeping their newish Lisgar location during their renovation.
Lloyd’s on Queen
Taking their name from the barman in The Shining, Lloyd’s on Queen will open this month. Located in Leslieville on Queen East, Lloyd’s will be offering craft beers, cocktails, and a snack style bar menu.
Foodie favourite The Wren on the Danforth is growing, Chef Robbie Hojilla announced via Instagram that a new concept will be opening on Gerrard Street dubbed Lake Inez. Look for loads of Ontario craft beers to wash down ‘modern Asian’ eats.
Rolltation is set to roll out a new location, this time up at Yonge and Eglinton. Known for their sushi burritos, Rolltation serves up sushi or poke style proteins, in a fast casual setting. Look for them to open in December.
Chef Nathan Isberg, owner of the infamous pay-what-you-can (now shuttered)The Atlantic restaurant is ready to unleash Awai, a vegan restaurant at Bloor and Runnymede. The term Awai refers to the gentle and delicateness of shojin cooking. Look for spot to open any minute now.
LaPalma, a sister (and neighbour) restaurant to Campagnolo, is almost ready to launch. Set across the street, LaPalma will be the second restaurant under Chef Craig Harding’s watchful eyes.
Appalachia Smokehouse BBQ
West end meatheads are excited to welcome a second Appalachia Smokehouse BBQ to the ‘hood. The smoky BBQ joint is known for their briskets, ribs, and sausages. The second location will be opening very soon.
A café focused on fresh and healthy food will be opening later this month in the Junction in the Dundas and Keele area.
In what seems like a restaurant retelling of WWII, The Bristol, a British pub on Queen West has shuttered for a German Beer Hall, a second wave from Otto’s Berlin Doner, this one dubbed Otto’s Bierhalle. Expect schnitzel, spätzle and giant boot shaped beer glasses to usher in the new era.
Buster’s Sea Cove
Aiming to open in late December, Yonge and Scollard will snap up the latest Buster’s Sea Cove restaurant. This location will be similar to other outposts, a fast grab and go format for fried fish tacos, calamari, and salmon salads.
Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery
January will see Liberty Village welcome Liberty Commons. With the kitchen helmed by the O&B overlords, you can expect better than your average pub grub paired with perfect pints.
Thai power couple Chef Nuit and Jeff Regular are branching out beyond their Northern Thai roots to bring you Kiin, their latest restaurant, which focuses on delicacies found throughout Thailand. Look for Kiin to set up shop in the old Khao San Road location on Adelaide West in the New Year.
Bayview Village is set to welcome a new eatery when Tabule wraps up renovating in the mall. Look for falafels, BYOB wines and much more when they open, we hope, in January.
Did we miss any restaurants opening this month? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.