Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills you in on the best new restaurants opening in Toronto this December.
While November saw a flurry of activity in restaurant openings, December is nothing to scoff at, with some interesting prospects to check out in between holiday parties, shopping and panicking about the two combined. With heavyweights like Wahlburgers and Kinton Ramen (North York) opening their second and fourth locations in November, others like Ovest Cucina e Vineria and Mr. Flamingo are bringing a wealth of talent from previous postings (Ex-Buca and Terroni and Black Hoof respectively) breathing a fresh of breath air into the Toronto food scene with their newly opened restaurants.
Other new Toronto restaurants opening in November included the gasp worthy artful creation that is NAO, the new steakhouse from Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth. Nothing done by these two is filed under typical, and their latest is dressed to impress with a Mad Man-esque marbled up interior befitting of their luxurious cuts of meat. The bar area on the main floor is equally stunning, as will be the patio come spring.
Parlor Foods Co also opened their doors in November, with their Canadian-inspired menu of comfort foods brought to new heights by the chefs, Brett Howson and Jason D’Anna. Cocktails and drinks are just as tempting as the seasonally-inspired menu, almost guaranteeing that something new will be on the menu in between visits.
Now that November is safely behind us, spend the last few days of 2014 gorging at these new Toronto restaurants before your credit card and waist line call it quits.
La Cubana- Ossington
After Delux shut their doors earlier this year, it felt like there was a hole smack in the middle of Ossington’s hipster heart. Being one of the first places to gentrify the area, owner Corinna Mozo decided to retool Delux into a second location of her hugely popular La Cubana restaurant in Roncesvalles. While the date isn’t totally firmed up yet, when they do open expect a similar menu featuring faves like her Grilled Fish Sandwich, Yuca Frita, and queue worthy brunches.
CC Lounge & Supper Club
A new whiskey lounge opens the first week of December offering Torontonians North America’s first whiskey tasting tunnel along with a menu pairing perfectly with the robust potion. Inspired by popular prohibition-era bar The Cotton Club, CC Lounge is located in the historical Beardmore building on Front Street. Guests can expect stiff cocktails and rich comfort foods created by Executive Chef Brent Richardson (formerly of Beer Bistro and La Carnita). Opened Monday through Saturday for dinner and late night spectacles, they plan to open for lunch in 2015.
From power restauranter Hanif Harji, this new Italian eatery on Fort York is rumoured to be Toronto’s next best Italian restaurant. At the helm of the kitchen is Ben Heaton (The Grove) who brings eclectic twists to traditional Italian cuisine and apparently a brunch that Harji swears will be the best Toronto’s ever seen. Mark your calendar for December 12th when this eatery will open.
The Winter Chef Series
While not a restaurant per se, this almost month long food event with rotating top chefs brought together by The Food Dudes and Dan Ganum (from Osteria Dei Ganzi) is not one to miss. Hosted at the Monk Kitchen at Templar Hotel, get your tickets now to mow down on some of Canada’s finest foods from chefs across the country as they prepare a eight course tasting menu (plus snacks) for $89. Wine flights are available for an extra $49.00.
Junked Food Co.
Living up to its straight-forward name, Junked Food is set to open on Dundas Street West giving last-callers a chance to soak up some of their stomach contents before the pilgrimage back to sanity town. While crazy concoctions like Doritos Pulled Pork Nachos, Spaghetti Stuffed Meatballs, and Double Stuffed Pizza Waffles are 2am meal-thinking at its finest, Junked Food Co.’s approach to locally-sourced meats and product should ease the shame spiral. Looks like mostly standing-room only, and it’s open for lunch and dinner as well.
Local Public Eatery
The latest in west coast chains to blow east, Local Public Eatery is expanding after their successful launch in Liberty Village earlier this year, this time to Lansdowne. Set to open their doors December 4, you can expect the same no-brainer pub food that their matriarch (Joey’s restaurants) has been known for.
Located at Yonge and St. Clair, 180 Secondi is set to open in early December with a licensed pizzeria in which you choose the toppings and have your pie cooked in a stone hearth oven in 3 minutes flat (hence the name). Wine and craft beers (both on tap) will be the beverage of choice here. Look for pizza sidekicks like wings and salads to round things out.
Civil Liberties Bar
Bloor and Ossington just got a spankin’ new speakeasy, Civil Liberties Bar, from trio who brought us Salt Wine Bar (Nick Kennedy, David Huynhand Cole Stanford)! This bar promises to bring patrons a super chill, laid-back atmosphere with easy bites like charcuterie and beautiful bevvies to please all.
Fresh Burger has been open for a little over a year now up in Richmond Hill, so the timing was ripe for owner Jacques Kavafian to take the urban sprawl south and inject some fresh and never frozen burgers into the now defunct Acme Burger at Church and Wellesley. Replacing burgers with burgers is crazy, you say? Well, surely 61 Yelp reviews can’t be wrong. While some things seem shamelessly borrowed from the 416 Burger Gods (a secret menu for California Fries, an Aloha Burger, and a Bacon Mushroom Melt) they do say that imitation is the kindest form of flattery..
Jelly Modern Doughnuts (Brookfield Place)
The latest outpost of the decadent doughnut chain is set to open to busy Bay Street-ers and those seeking refuge in the underground PATH system. Renovations are nearly complete with a date set for December 15 for their grand opening. Look for their creative hand-filled and hand-dipped diet destroyers to earn you some serious brownie points at your next bored (I mean board) meeting.
Paying homage to Canada’s cuisine pre-confederation, Borealia (derived from the Latin word meaning ‘northern’, it was also one of the proposed names for Canada during the confederation) is the newest restaurant to grace the Ossington strip. The menu and restaurant draws inspiration from the cuisine of Canada’s early settlers and the immigrants who settled in what we now call Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. You can be sure that their dishes will create a cultural explosion of flavours, spices and unique ingredients.
Which of these new Toronto restaurants will we be seeing you at? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.