Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on Toronto’s best new restaurants, those opening in June 2015 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
With festivals, concerts and celebrations rippling through our social calendars, there’s nothing finer than taking time to connect with friends over some ice-cold drinks on your (smoke free!!) patio of choice. Summerlicious, Pride and NXNE are all kicking off this month, and between all that frolicking you’re going to need to refuel. Why not try something brand spankin’ new?
An upscale Japanese soon-to-be-hotspot in Yorkville, Kasa Moto has officially opened its doors. The highly anticipated sushi spot from Chase Group of restaurants (Little Fin, The Chase) has breathed new life into the site of the old Remy’s. We’re excited about their take on contemporary Japanese, but mostly we’re drooling over the prospect of their Bar Mot/Skybar.
If the heat has you craving the sweet, look no further than Booyah Inc., a new shop at Bathurst and St. Clair specializing in ice cream sandwiches, coffee, smoothies. Or try Sweet Olenka’s, the fan favourite from Lakeshore, which just opened their second location near Kensington with addictive takes on ice cream bars. If bakeries are more your thing, then a trip to the newest Thai bakery Patchmon’s Thai Desserts & More is where you’ll find tapiocas, custards as well as a few savoury bits, like their Thai Curry Puffs.
Beer brawls are heating up in Liberty Village over who offers the best brews. The newly opened The Craft Brasserie & Grill, with their astounding 120 taps, might just take the title. If beer isn’t your thing, then surely Old School, the new 24/7 BBQ joint at Dundas and Palmerston, will get your blood pumping with their boozy cocktails and beefy sliders. KOHL, above Smoque n Bones near Trinity Bellwoods, is loaded with 84 bottles of single malts and 43 bottles of bourbon to pair with their downstair neighbour’s ribs. While they’re only open Friday and Saturday nights, stay tuned for more deets as their hours expand.
Meanwhile, in the east end, Corktown Kitchen, with Chef Matt Griffiths (Sen5es, Five Doors North) has opened with a few microbrews, upscale burgers and a benny-heavy brunch. In Leslieville, Crate has opened their airy café and tapas spot after outgoing Rakia Bar couldn’t keep the doors open. Staying in the east, Boxcar Social opened their second location, this one on Queen at Boulton, with their classy take on a coffee shop, featuring (duh) coffee but also nifty eats like homemade pop-tarts and a well-curated bar menu.
In Bloorcourt Village, Field Trip Café and Bar is now open with picnic-friendly preserves, sandwiches, and well brewed coffees. A few local beers on tap make this a destination day or night – especially with their quaint wood-flanked patio.
Up on Wilson Avenue, La Traviata Ristorante and Pizzeria has reopened after a two week renovation, which overhauled the dining room and saw new owners take over. Let’s see if they can keep things going as long as the last, which cashed in after 30 years in business.
Paramount Fine Foods has opened their 15th location, this one hitting Yorkville, with plans of many more locations around the GTA and beyond to come. Halal based meats, all farmed in Ontario, are a key component to their continued success, with a grab-and-go counter or sit down format working nicely for the busy location.
Queen West just welcomed Raca Café & Bar, setting up shop in the old ZeZe place. Chef and owner Ivana Raca (formerly of One and North 44) channels her wanderlust into a menu with a nod to her recent trip to Bali. A smart cocktail list and tidy brunch should fit in nicely to this part of Parkdale.
Opening in June
Mascot Brewery opens early June at 31 Mercer Street, the former home of the short-lived Cove Thirtyone club. In what will go down as one of the coolest openings in Toronto history, the scamps at Mascot Brewery have gone to insane lengths to create buzz for their rooftop beergarden, which they used a crane to lift into position. Sticking with local flavours and taps, including a hyperlocal in-house brew, Mascot Brewery will definitely go down as a game changer.
Appalachia Smokehouse and BBQ
Carnivores rejoice! Appalachia Smokehouse and BBQ is opening on The Queensway (by Islington) this month, so west-enders have a new spot for smoky ribs, pulled pork and briskets served in a cozy, cabin-like atmosphere. Only Ontario meats are cooked here, with no hormones or steroids. Ever focused on detail, even the wood they use for smoking is pesticide-free.
Bean & Baker Malt Shop
Bean & Baker Malt Shop is set to open early this week (check back to Vv for a tasty first look) with a sugary sweet retro vibe on Harbord, right next to Bickford Park (and former home of the Bickford Flexitarian). Husband and wife team (he’s the bean, she’s the baker) have combined their respective decades of food service to bring Toronto its first (and only!) retro soda shop. Look for handmade small-batch syrups for their sodas, deluxe ice cream cones and Wiseys Pies on-site, both savoury and sweet. And coffee, of course.
Starving Artist is opening a third location after the successes of their Lansdwone and St Clair spots. The all-waffle-everything empire is now setting its sights on College Street. Look for waffles in everything, from brunch to dinner, with lattes and lagers to chase down your maple syrup.
After much anticipation, Guu, the west-coast expert in Izakayas, is set to reveal their latest modern eatery, neatly tucked just south of the new Whole Foods at Yonge and Sheppard. Flanked by a decent-sized patio, Guu is known for their quality Japanese pub grub, with a heavy bar menu featuring sakes, beers, inspired cocktails and a lively atmosphere.
The Addison’s Residence
In what will undoubtedly go as the gutsiest renovation Toronto has ever seen, C lounge is set to reopen new and vastly improved, with a concept like no other resto/bar/club/lounge in our city’s history. Mark your calendars for late June for the addition of The Addison’s Residence. Modeled after a swanky Bev Hills residence, guests can check out the various rooms, including kitchen, parlour, backyard and games room, complete with foozeball, shuffle board and other 80’s rec room retro activities (if you are asked to throw your keys in a giant fish bowl on the way in, don’t say we didn’t warn ya!). The massive renovation has been going on for months, and no stone has been left unturned, including the backyard patio, which will host bocce ball tournaments and, eventually, pool parties. Food will likely be shared plates for communal noshing, stay tuned for more details on who’s helming the kitchen next month.
Check back in July for more food news. Already buzzing is Cosmic Treats in Kensington, a new vegan takeaway with a flair for homemade ice cream and candies.
Details are still emerging, but with Vita Sociale going bust, it was only a matter of time before someone scored the prime location. It has been revealed that Cibo, the chain of wine bars owned by Liberty Entertainment Group, has taken over the space.
Maple Leaf Tavern is still putting the finishing touches on the much renovated space, but word on the street is that the old cliché will hold true here, it really will be worth the wait.
Everyone’s favourite ginger chef (take that, Bobby Flay) has the foodie masses frothing over this one, as it appears that Mario Batali will open a branch of his amazing Eataly food emporiums in Yorkville, likely in 2016. Bellissimo!
Kupfert and Kim are almost ready to open at Richmond and Spadina, so stay tuned for more details on their freakishly fresh and healthy takeaway meals.
Jamie Oliver’s long-awaited restaurant in Yorkdale Mall is still ironing out the kinks after attaching a head chef last month. Considering the amount of mall renovations underway, it’s no wonder that Oliver’s spot has been hampered with delays. Fingers crossed for good news in the near future.
Did we miss any hot June openings? Share your thoughts on “New Toronto Restaurants: June 2015” in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewTheVibe.