Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on the best new Toronto restaurants, those opening in December 2015 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
Toronto will be buzzing this December, and Vv Magazine has your best bets for this festive season. Sandwiched in between endless holiday parties and bowing out with a bang on the 31st, December should give you equal doses of naughty and nice, if you play your cards right. Start things off with a seasonal favourite, the always scenic Toronto Christmas Market at Distillery District offers shopping, eating and drinking all in one festive package, until December 20th. If the crowds prove unruly, you can head over to Nathan Phillips Square for the annual Cavalcade of Lights, including free concerts and of course, picturesque ice skating. If hanging out in sub-zero temps aren’t your idea of a good time then perhaps a luxe evening at the TOCA cheese cave will be more your speed. Kicking off the first of a series of events, TOCA has curated some of the best cheeses for their December 5th class (with more events to come in the New Year). Tickets run $45 each (with wine pairings), or you could just win some here. If you’re still trying to wrap up your Christmas shopping then head to the One of a Kind Show for unique and unusual gift finds, or just hang out and watch crafty people shop while you sip some wine in the (thankfully) licenced venue.
Amateur hour, or New Year’s Eve, as it’s more commonly referred to, will no doubt flood your Instagram and other social feeds, so consider filling yours with the finale dinner service of Chef Victor Barry’s Splendido.
Tosto Quickfire has opened their second location on Bayview near Eglinton. The pizza chain has seen a steady flow of customers to their first location on Bay and jumped on the Bayview location after a Tim Horton’s abruptly changed their minds on the space. Their take on Romano style pizzas are the big draw here, but pastas, salads and other hearty Italian sandwiches offer some other solid options.
FIGO has officially opened on Adelaide, the latest offering from club kings Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth. Expect modern takes on Italian cuisine from Chef Anna Chen with wood-fired pizzas and in house made cheeses are highlights of their approachably priced menu.
Spiceman Mexicana is now open on College Street. Dubbed a fast casual Mexican restaurant, look for tacos (naturally), sandwiches and chilli’s to round out their spicy menu.
Yorkville’s 70 Down has redeveloped their menu, seeking inspiration from a Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean tapas plates curated by Chef Jimmy Derwish.
A mural of famous Jimmy’s flanks the wall on Ossington Avenue, home to the newest Jimmy’s Coffee. If you haven’t had their Maple Latte yet, branch out to their newest location to try their tempting winter warmups.
After a successful kickstarter campaign, LOKA has officially opened their Queen West doors, with Chef Dave Mottershall creating a distinctly Canadian inspired menu, with a nod to the nose to tail movement as well.
The Wickson Social
Hometown hunk and general Canadian cutie Will Arnett checked out his ‘fave new T.O. place’, The Wickson Social, a new pub near Yonge and Wellesley. Brought to you by the same owners as The Queen & Beaver and The Oxley, you can expect proper pints and actual British pub fare to favour their menu, not the usual lame fish and chips or chicken fingers that round out the franchise pubs that plague our city.
Quantum Coffee, the slick new coffee house is open after taking over the relic Global Village hostel at King and Spadina. Quantum features an open concept venue with exposed brick and hardwood flooring. Coffees are the real deal here, but other cold beverages like cold pressed juices from Greenhouse Juice Co. add some reprieve from all that caffeine.
The dream team from Cava has now opened a sister restaurant, taking over the old Le Trou Normand space. Chabrol will follow its predecessor’s footsteps with a decidedly upscale French menu and polished interior.
John & Son’s is getting a new look courtesy of the former owners of the Corner House. Barnsteiner’s is mere days away from opening at the corner of Yonge and Balmoral. Expect a solid menu from the experienced restauranteurs, with influences from France and Italy on their new space.
Maple Leaf Tavern
Reviving a block on Gerrard and heralding a new era for the Maple Leaf Tavern is no small feat, but word on the street is that MLT is inching closer to the big day, with Chef Eric Wood deftly managing the kitchen.
Italian chain Levetto is almost ready to unveil their latest restaurant, this one on Spadina in Chinatown.
While Jamie’s Italian restaurant is just days away from opening, don’t necessarily expect him to be there for the grand opening. JO’s in London town this week speaking to British Parliament to pitch his sugar tax and other efforts to curb childhood obesity. Here’s hoping he wraps things up so he can be onsite with head chef Frank Venditti (ex Bar Buca) for the big unveil.
Parked next to the newly opened Porchetta & Co., Chef Rocco is about to open the fourth Pizzeria Libretto in the centre of the club district on King West. No doubt people will swarm when the OPEN sign goes on the front door. Just make sure you look closely – the entrance is in an alleyway off the busy street.
Kupfert + Kim
Kupfert + Kim marathon build outs have seen papered windows for months at their Richmond and Spadina location, but fear not vegan foodies; the long wait is now finally over. Kupfert + Kim have finally opened their doors; with a slick eat in space featuring healthy wheat-less and meatless options.
Aptly named Switch has shuttered and morphed into Dublin Calling, a new two level pub in Old Town, near St Lawrence Market. Soon to be open for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, the pub will feature dancing as well. Dublin Calling is owned by the same hospitality group that runs Rock n Horse, Adelaide House and The Porch.
Hot off the heels of their financial district opening, west coast import Cactus Club has announced a second location is already in the works at the remodeled Sherway Gardens, who also scored a new Oliver & Bonacini chain by way of Beaumont Kitchen which is opening February 2016.
The onslaught of restaurants opening in Yorkville will be a continuing trend in 2016 with American chain STK opening a massive 8,000 + square foot restaurant in the newly minted Yorkville Plaza. Already a massive success in NYC and Las Vegas, you can expect a more is more approach here, to both the over the top décor as well as glammed up steaks and sides.
In a rash of sudden closures, Buster Rhino’s closed up shop swiftly on College, although the suburb outlets remain open. Sam James Coffee Bar also faced an eviction last week; a new condo development is slated for the space. And the twitter-sphere broke out in hysterics when it was announced that a Boston Pizza will replace The Brunswick House.
Did we miss any new Toronto restaurants? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.