ViewtheVIBE’s Libby Roach fills us in on Toronto’s best new restaurants, those opening in November 2016 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
With fall in full swing, November promises brisker temps, a resurgence of mustache growing and an avalanche of events ushering you into the holiday season. Toronto’s fallen leaves will make way for twinkling lights, as holiday décor (and an appearance by Mariah Carey) signal the start of the shopping season. If you’re looking to get a head start on some original gift ideas, The One of a Kind Show is a great place to start, beginning November 24th at the Direct Energy Centre. If it’s more gawking at pretty lights that set the mood, then Distillery District is the place to be, with their insanely popular Christmas Market that will see tourists and Torontonians take over the historic area starting on the 18th.
While latkes could be a food group all on their own, there are more delicacies to explore at NoshFest, a Jewish food festival taking place at Artscape Wychwood Barns on November 13th.
More entertaining options await you at the Gourmet Food and Wine Show, which is back again from November 17-20th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This weekend-long celebration of food and drink comes just in time for the holiday season, so if you’re looking for some new tipples, this is a great place to try before you buy.
If you’re one of the few that haven’t been able to make it to Iceland this year, don’t fret because Iceland is coming to us! The Taste of Iceland Festival is headed to Toronto from November 10-13th and will include an authentic four-course tasting at Jump, plus a series of free events including a film screening, a literary event, and the annual Reykjavik Calling concert. The festival will end with a bang at Jump, with a closing party featuring live performances and even more authentic eats.
Tipping back oysters and sipping on VQA sounds like a sure cure for a bad case of the Mondays, so consider checking out The Great Canadian Oyster and Ontario VQA Wine Experience at Rodney’s Oyster House, a one-day special event on November 28th.
Harry’s Char Broil & Dining Lounge
Grant van Gameren and Nate Young’s new (yet very old) diner is now open in Parkdale. Harry’s debuts channeling the same reputation its previous owners were known for – burgers, beers, and diner-style eats.
Jackpot Chicken Rice
Chinatown scored a new trendy spot with Patois owners opening their newest sibling restaurant Jackpot Chicken Rice. Chef Craig Wong was craving Hainanese Chicken Rice, a staple in Singapore but a rarity in Toronto. With Chef Danai Hongwanishkul, they collaborated on the dish, fine tuning it until perfection.
Pai Market at Pai
The ever popular Pai unveiled their stellar Pai Market in late October, a quick-serve counter that will no doubt do brisk business when diners are faced with a wait list in winter months. The adjacent market, with Thai produce, sauces, and trinkets, makes for an immersive experience.
Concession Road closing a few months ago paved the way for Ji to open, by the same owners (Pukka too) who were looking to revamp their St. Clair restaurant. Indian food is given a pub makeover here, look for spicy and aromatic poutines and platters of naan-based nachos.
Ossington scored with Superpoint opening, brought to you by the owners of Bar Fancy. The food is comfort style Italian but kept casual with neon lighting and other heavy hipster homages. Look for grab and go pizza slices in the coming weeks.
Just a stop or two away is another sweet spot, with Sweet Addictions candy shop opening just before Halloween on Dundas by Ossington.
Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns
Food connoisseur and journalist Amy Rosen created a swirl of deliciousness when she opened Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns on College last month. Stop by for a grab and go, or linger at the counter with a cuppa but head in early because these buns sell out fast!
Filipino food fans will dig Tocino Boys new spot inside La Porte on Ossington. The street food style eats will be a welcome addition to La Porte’s bar atmosphere – look for their take on poutine, tacos and other greasy grinds that wash down well with a night of imbibing.
A huge success in the states, sandwich shop Potbelly has now opened, near Yonge and King and soon to open on Bloor, facing the ROM.
Vodka flights will soon land on Queen West, with the addition of another Loaded Pierogi location. Another Coffee Time quietly closed, and seemingly the next day posters were up for this potato rich franchise.
Maison Fou Brasserie
Bloor West Village will score a new restaurant later this month when Maison Fou Brasserie opens its doors. French food will be the focus, with many wines available by the glass or bottle.
There goes the neighborhood, and here comes Steve Gonzalez, of Top Chef fame. While Valdez closed with a bang in the summer, Baro is getting closer to completion. Look for this mammoth project to open late November (we hope!).
Poke Wrap is the latest in poke trends to hit the city. Located on Yonge, north of Dundas, this grab and go sets itself apart by offering a wrap style roll up, in addition to the ubiquitous bowls. Look for their opening later this November.
Thai power couple Chef Nuit and Jeff Regular are branching out beyond their Northern Thai roots to bring you Kiin, their latest restaurant, which focuses on delicacies found throughout Thailand. Look for Kiin to set up shop in the old Khao San Road location on Adelaide West.
White Lily Diner
Queen and Broadview will see a new concept from former Electric Mud BBQ Chef Ben Denham and his partner Ashley Lloyd when White Lily Diner opens up early this month. The duo will be cranking out all day breakfasts, baked in house bread, and other diner style eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. It’s also licenced and wheel chair accessible.
Eating and shopping go hand in hand, so consider perusing the goods at Pusateri’s, at Saks Fifth Avenue on Queen Street starting November 10th. Word on the street sees the gourmet food purveyor also inching closer to opening their Avenue and Lawrence location after it was gutted by a fire last year – expect to see it open on November 17th.
Sorelle and Co’s
Sorelle and Co’s second shop will also be part of the Sak’s experience. Look for their “guilt” free baked goods in the Food Hall starting November 10th.
Yonge and Sheppard is a hot bed for new fast casual restaurants with Allwyn’s Bakery setting up shop
A Smoke’s Poutinerie will launch nearby Allwyn’s, just south right on Yonge Street.
Pogue Mahone Pub and Kitchen
This restaurant underwent a big renovation and is inching closer to reopening on Bay Street, near College. Look for elevated pub grub classics to be the focus of their menu.
Oats and Ivy
The uber stylish Oats and Ivy closed in Liberty Village abruptly last month, with a fire sale on equipment and other kitchen gadgets. Only lasting just over a year, this outfit did healthy grab and go meals and cold pressed juices.
Avenue Road lost another decades old restaurant when Steak Pit cleared out to make way for more condos, just north of Lawrence. Their last day is November 27th.
Long-time occupant Far Niente has closed after their lease expired.
It’s onto new ventures for the team from Harbord Room after the hotspot closed end of October.
Did we miss any restaurants opening this month? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.