Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on Toronto’s best new restaurants, those opening in July 2015 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
Summer patio season is in full swing, with sun-drenched days seemingly going on forever. This is reason enough to take a moment, pause and enjoy this city for its fleeting but gorgeous weather.
With concerts, Pan Am Games, Beer Festivals (Summer Craft Beer Festival, Beerfest just to name a few) and hopefully a few trips to the cottage (or ferry to Toronto Islands) on your dance card, plan your July accordingly to include the latest bumper crop of best Toronto restaurants . From every city block to a swath of culinary styles, we’ve got you covered.
A3 Napoli, the buzzy new deep fried hot spot on College has opened, the ultimate (threeway?) culinary marriage from Rocco Agostino and Porchetta & Co’s Nick and Vicky auf der Mauer. While their menu isn’t entirely deep-fried, one expects a decent amount of greasy pores after inhaling their Pizza Fritta’s – a handheld pie perfect for takeout, created in their one-of-a-kind friggitrice, a specialty deep fryer key to making these adorable pies pop.
If Italian is more your thing, the newest outpost from Liberty Entertainment Group is a safe bet. Taking over the space formerly known as c (or Centro to old-school midtowners), Cibo is set to take Yonge and Eglinton by storm with their upscale menu and fancy-but-approachable wine list.
Flock Rotisserie and Greens
Downtown saw Chef Cory Vitiello’s latest restaurant, Flock Rotisserie and Greens, swung its doors open, taking rotisserie-style chicken way past chalet territory. While the mesmerizing rotating spectacle will captivate your attention (close your mouth, honey) the salads are pretty entreé-worthy as well.
Uncle Tetsu’s Matcha Café
And if you’ve been actually hiding under a rock, you have a semi-decent excuse not to know about Uncle Tetsu’s Matcha Café, the latest variation on the immensely popular chain of Japanese bakeries that opened mere months ago. The matcha concept is Tetsu’s first worldwide, so give those out-of-town foodie friends some serious FOMO by checking (and Insta-ing) them out.
Carens Wine and Cheese Bar
After Le Petit Castor closed its doors in Rosedale after years of dancing and pink-themed cocktails, everyone’s favourite Yorkville and Toronto-based wine bar, Carens Wine and Cheese Bar, is opening a second location, taking over from the gaping hole left when the beaver went into (permanent) hibernation. Fans of Carens can vouch for their worldly wine list and creative cheese based menu along with friendly staff that make lingering easy. Unless you’re lactose intolerant, of course.
Union Social Eatery
A little further up Yonge, just past Sheppard, and another defunct restaurant that was shuttered for the past year will get a new lease on life, with Union Social Eatery scoring the prime rooftop patio location that was once home to the short lived Estrella Taqueria. Look for the opening on July 6th.
The Addison’s Residence
There’s jaw dropping renovations, and then there are complete overhauls – this one falls neatly in both categories. C Lounge is being reborn as The Addison’s Residence, set to open on July 18th. While C Lounge saw streams of people go through their doors for dancing and debauchery, this new iteration will have party-goers busting loose on the shuffleboard and foosball tables, so whatever you remember from C Lounge you can safely forget – except for that gorgeous backyard lounge, which will remain complete with bocce ball.
Maman, an import bakery/café from NYC, is set to open with their Michelin-starred chef Armand Arnal and baker Elisa Marshall early this month. First Canadian Place will be their new home, much to the delight of tasteful PATH goers.
Anet Gesualdi Macarons
The macaron trend continues, this time over on Dupont, as owner Anet Gesualdi opens her second macaron shop, after the original in Etobicoke. Anet Gesualdi Macarons will also offer classes on how to make your own colourful cookies. But if the very thought of leaving your house is too much, never mind baking. She also delivers.
Dooney’s Café, once the “it” spot in the Annex for literati and lattes, has found a new home on Bloor near Ossington, after five years of searching for a new space. Expect much of the same from this institution, right down to the same espresso maker that has been pumping out americanos for generations.
ALO, seemingly the only restaurant at Queen and Spadina not serving burgers, will swing their well-heeled doors open after an extensive renovation and transformation by Commute Design. Chef Patrick Kriss (Splendido, Acadia) and GM Amanda Bradley (George) have curated a tasting menu like no other, with guests given two options designed for sharing. Expect big things from this pretty space, with French flair the underlying ingredient to their whole-animal approach.
Swan by Rose and Sons
A long time serial restauranteur will have to finally swing south of Bloor, when Swan by Rose and Sons opens later this month on Queen West. Lovingly keeping the Swan name from the previous tenant was both a kind gesture and a nod to traditions (Rose and Sons kept their old signage as well). Anthony Rose has been busy invigorating the Dupont area for the past few years, so one has to wonder if there’s already plans for another new spot. Perhaps he’ll show some love to the east side next?
Otto’s Berlin Döner
Otto’s Berlin Döner, a Berlin-style sandwich shop in Kensington is opening on Augusta later this month, with meaty sammies and hefty wheat beers to soak up all the beefy juices.
Grey Tiger is finally opening in Bloordale. The long awaited café-cum-cocktail bar will stay open for a highly caffeinated 8 a.m. – 2 a.m. jaunt, so those seeking early morning refuge on Bloor West will have new company when they open later this month.
Something smells fishy on Dundas West, and it’s not halibut tacos for once. Ufficio Toronto is getting ready to hook Toronto pescaterians (and vegetarians too) to their Italian-influenced menu of mains and starters with an interesting wine menu to match. Look for this place to open in the former home of The Grove (weep) in July.
King of cones Sweet Jesus, once an outpost in Home of the Brave and La Carnita, will finally have a dedicated scoop shop at John and Adelaide opening this July. Expect more amped-up versions of soft serve and paletas (popsicles) like Honeycomb flavoured or candy floss topped concoctions.
Descendant Detroit Style Pizza
Descendant Detroit Style Pizza are keen on educating Toronto on what a Detroit pie is. DSP’s super thick rectangular pies come in many heart-stopping variations, including a tantalizing mash-up of corn, béchamel sauce, double smoked bacon, jalapeño and caramelized onion, which is reason enough to make the trek to Leslieville.
90 Seconds Pizzeria
If waiting for pizza is just too painful, check out 90 Seconds Pizzeria, set to open on Queen Street West at St. Patrick later this month. While little is known about this tidy pizza place, the room sits about 30, and they’ll make easy work of turning around tables with minute-and-a-half cooking times.
The Foundry Gastro Tap House
Spirithouse, the booze-heavy canteen on Adelaide, is growing, with addition of The Foundry Gastro Tap House joining forces and piggy-backing the craft beer movement. The Foundry will include a decent-sized patio, perfect for quaffing their 40 local beers (both on tap and in cans and bottles).
Maple Leaf Tavern
Maple Leaf Tavern is nearing completion, with Chef Eric Wood saying the final details in the massive renovation of the old tavern/motel are all coming together for an August opening. We can’t wait to see how this historic building will look after the months and months of labour intensive renovation.
Miku Restaurant / Cactus Club
Upscale Japanese restaurant Miku, a popular Vancouver destination thanks to their aburi style (blow torch) sushi, is setting up shop lakeside near the ferry terminal at 10 Bay Street. The insanely popular Cactus Club, another Western import, is also getting closer to opening its doors in the Financial District. Keep an eye open for both of these Pacific franchises in August.
Citta is expanding with a second location, this one Adelaide, right near Montecito. Building is still underway, but let’s hope club king Hanif Harji can put the screws to his team and open his brand of rustic Italian pre-TIFF.
Cafe Boulud 2.0
Speaking of TIFF, Cafe Boulud (version 2.0) will see a TIFF timeframe opening, after shuttering its doors at the Four Seasons this past Sunday. Expect a new look and menu from the eponymous NYC chef, who suffered from a lacklustre start in the 6ix since opening in 2012.
A single sad closing
If you haven’t yet eaten at the brilliant Table 17, then now is your (only) chance. After seven years, the east-side eatery is closing its doors on July 11th. Owners Erik Joyal and John Sinopoli will focus on their other restaurants, Ascari Enoteca and Hi-Lo Bar, but don’t rule out a third spot entering their flock once the area around Jilly’s becomes more gentrified.