Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on Toronto’s best new restaurants, those opening in February 2016 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
Spring is on the horizon in the 6, ushering in longer days and warmer temps, a perfect cause to toast the season and celebrate the arrival of sunshine. Festive holidays like St Patrick’s Day should see revellers take over the best Irish pubs the city has. Quieter candlelit gatherings to honour Earth Hour will offer diners the opportunity to eat off the grid on the 19th, so consider booking something with a view to see the city gone dark.
ComiCon is landing March 18-20th, and if you’ve never been it’s certainly worth a looky-loo. Plenty of actors and celebrities will be in town promoting their latest movies, also providing great gawking opportunities at the throngs of masked fanboys still playing dress up. If you’re looking for something splashier, snag tickets to the upcoming Waterkeeper Gala, an open bar evening of amazing food and stunning performances- it’s sure to sell out so plan ahead for this one.
The spring One of a Kind Show will also be hopping, taking over the Enercare centre closing out on Easter weekend, March 23-27th. With girls day out tickets and late night options you can reliably align shopping goals with squad goals for Etsy-ish finds of all things spring related.
March will also see sap flowing, so if you’re a maple syrup aficionado consider tapping into our cultural fabric and heading out to a local sugar shack and stock up on this Canadian staple. If heading up to 905-land is out of the question, consider tapping Sugar Beach, which will be hosting a Cabane à Sucre style weekend (March 12) with demos, eats and syrup soaked snow, don’t forget your skates.
In the News…
Kensington Market’s sublime supper club LUST, run by Luke Hayes-Alexander and his mom have cause to celebrate- Luke’s Underground Supper Table will be popping bottles in honour of their second anniversary, which is of course already sold out, but check for more dates here.
Spring is a time of rejuvenation and a time for rebirth, and many Toronto restaurants are taking notes from Mother Nature and blossoming with entirely new redesigns. Blowfish is set to reopen after a renovation saw them closing for the remodel, ditto for Lou Dawg’s on King, who have a small printed sign announcing a new concept set to take over the space soon.
The very first Rock Lobster is also shutting down on Ossington this month, with owner and celeb-chef Matt Dean Pettit switching gears to launch a more fast casual concept across the country. Also on Ossington, the Crooked Star is closing up shop to rejig the space with a renovation. Midtown’s beloved Quince Bistro is also closing and relaunching as Noorden Food Bar, for 2 years anyways, until their lease is formerly is done and the condo overlords have taken over.
Città, down at CityPlace is also rebranding, this time as a Tex-Mex restaurant. Look for their doors to open around mid-month. Meanwhile, Creemore’s newest venture, BATCH, is opening this week on Victoria. With Creemore providing the suds, surely this time the brewery won’t tank, after Duggan’s, then Denisons’s, and finally Beer Academy couldn’t keep it afloat. Charles and Hanif have the magic touch (and pretty deep pockets) so look for classy keg parties to kick off this spring.
Grant van Gameren has been busy, with reports of him scoping out not one, but two locations in Toronto for new restaurants. Post City has been on his trail (much to his chagrin) with speculation of Parkdale and Kensington Market being possible targets. His ex-business partner Jen Agg is growing again with Grey Gardens, also set to open in Kensington Market. The new space will be a departure from her meaty Black Hoof and boozy Rhum Corner ways, with on trend ciders and natural wines soaking up the spotlight.
Cacao70 on Queen West is inching closer to opening. The delectable hot chocolate dessert bar will be the second Toronto location, with titles like ‘Illegal Waffles’ set to infiltrate your Instagram.
Just across the street, The Baro is in the midst of their soft opening. The fast casual concept is brought to you by BFF’s John Gaganiaras and Bill Angelopoulos, who after years of slugging it out in the corporate world have teamed up to bring Queen West cali-style chopped salads, with a build-your-own format for picky eaters, or dive into one of their carefully crafted creations, all doled out in biodegradable bowls.
Maple Leaf Tavern
Ex-Saint Chef Jesse Vallins has been attached to the new (and seriously, finally) about to open Maple Leaf Tavern, taking the reigns over from Chef Eric Woods, who has amicably split from the project. Look for MLT to open soon.
Pinkerton’s Snack Bar
Also on Gerrard, Pinkerton’s Snack Bar is set to launch this spring, close to Galt Ave.
Banh Mi Boys
A third location of Banh Mi Boys is about to open uptown, this location at Yonge and Eglinton.
Kwan Dim Sum
Also uptown, a second location for Kwan, at Leslie and York Mills will see the makers of some very fine dim sum launch early this spring.
Beaumont Kitchen, by the O&B group is now open at Sherway Gardens. The luxe looking restaurant is attached to the newly minted Sak’s Fifth Avenue making this resto + retail concept a match made in heaven.
Coming this Spring….
Stay tuned for more food news in April, with the launch of Greta Soloman’s in Leslieville, more news on Belfast Love Public House on King West and Leña, the new O&B restaurant opening in June as well as the long awaited Queen Margherita Pizza on Richmond.
Cumberland Street in Yorkville will welcome two new hot spots in the places of Caren’s Wine & Cheese Bar and Toni Bulloni. Rumour has it that Zane Caplansky will be opening Caplansky’s in the long standing Toni Bulloni and a Mediterranean snack bar will replace Caren’s.
Jamie’s Italian has announced it will open its second location, this one at Square One sometime later this year.
Did we miss any new Toronto restaurants? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.