Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on the best new Toronto restaurants, those opening in October 2015 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
October kicks off with a bang in the 6ix—Drake’s favourite month might just become yours, too. With cultural celebrations like Nuit Blanche kicking things off, to Halloween closing the month off on a Saturday, this month’s weekends are going to be anything but quiet. Just about everyone will be talking turkey and but the real meal to get give thanks for will be Restaurants for Change, a communal benefit dinner at some of Toronto’s finest restaurants on the 21st, and a week later, a charity meal fundraiser for another noble cause, Eat to the Beat, on the 27th.
If you’re still craving cinema after your TIFF-fix, check out Eatable (October 4-6). For three mouthwatering nights, enjoy a film, drinks, and a dinner cooked by some of the city’s brightest chefs (including Leemo Han, Brandon Olsen and Grant van Gameren). It kicks off with a the Canadian premiere of Sherry & The Mystery of Palo Cortado, paired with a dinner from Chef Grant Van Gameren. Enjoy the film with a touch of sherry and some pintxos for $50, or splurge on the film and a 5-course dinner at Bar Isabel following the flick for $200.
French cooking is hot, and popular Toronto Chef Didier Leroy is taking over the kitchen at the new Rosedale location of Carens, injecting his brand of French cooking into this second outpost. Expect the usual magic from Didier, with this location going easy on the cheese and departing from their Yorkville wine bar roots—here, he’ll have room to inject some French flair into the menu.
Sports will be a huge draw this month, with the Jays going deep and the boys in blue back at the Air Canada Centre. Real Sports launched a new menu to go along with the new season, with a score of all new plates to go along with their hundred-odd beers on tap.
September Restaurant Openings
The internet had a tiny implosion (expecto patronum, more accurately) when the Harry Potter-themed The Lockhart bar opened last month on Dundas West. Sure to be a safe bet for Halloween, this tribute bar pours punchy Potter-esque cocktails and has plans for trivia and rolling out more snacks as well as, yes, Butterbeer.
What was once a coffee shop is now a tea shop, with Bake Code taking over from a defunct Second Cup late in September and opening their Asian bakery/Bubble tea café on Yonge, just north of Sheppard.
South Asian flavours dominate the menu at the tapas-style Rickshaw Bar, which just opened at Queen and Bathurst, with Chef/Owner Noureen Feerasta helming the kitchen.
The team responsible for all the sticky iPhones this summer (Sweet Jesus) has opened a third La Carnita on King West, in a gorgeous hundred-year-old heritage building. The two-storey taco tower boasts big numbers—you’ll find more seats here than at the other two locations—already making it a fan favourite.
TIFF hotspot Café Boulud has rekindled their love affair with Toronto, after undergoing a facelift as well as overhauling the menu. Vv caught up with Chef Boulud himself for a first look of this stunning new restaurant.
The Thirsty Duck
From the team behind Eastside Social comes The Thirsty Duck, an east end watering hole serving up East Coast fare such as donairs and fish and chips.
OM Grilled Cheese
Taking over from the Grilled Cheese, new restaurant OM serves a selection of handcrafted (you guessed it) grilled cheese sandwiches, with sides of chips and pickles, that can be topped with Nerpy’s hot sauces for extra kick.
Miku is set to launch at the foot of Bay Street—a West Coast Sushi fan-favourite that will change the landscape of Japanese cuisine with their upscale and inventive sushi rolls. Miku’s opening is slated for October 16 (Twitter).
Cibo continues the expansion of their wine bar bistros with another location in Yorkville later this month, after opening Cibo Yonge Street earlier this summer, not to mention their several Miami locations all under the same brand.
A world-renowned candy and caramel sweet shop, Papabubble is slated to open around mid-October on Yonge St., north of Lawrence Ave.
The dust is settling on Jamie’s Italian at Yorkdale Mall, and while the rest of the mall is still encircled by construction, his new restaurant will be beacon from the 401—if you can stomach the parking situation to get there, that is. Let’s hope everyone’s fave UK chef (take that Ramsey!) shows up for the grand opening later this month.
Chef Dave Mottershall is ready to open Loka, a meaty snack bar that secured its funding through a super successful Kickstarter campaign. Look to stab some pork with your fork (hopefully) later this month on Queen West near Bathurst.
Yonge Street North will see a sprout of new openings near Lawrence, with new sushi spot Shoushin opening soon near Fairlawn.
Also making headlines for dramatic openings, Susur Lee and sons welcomed a hit list of who’s who in Toronto for their opening of the ultimate collaboration, Fring’s. It not-so-quietly opened with a splashy party, then promptly went back to shuttered doors as a part of their soft opening. Look for Fring’s to heat things up when they formally open in the next few weeks.
Boxed in around soaring towers and condos, FIGO is getting ready to open soon after hosting a few TIFF photo shoots last month. The space is lined with distressed wood that makes for a cozy spot to feast on their version of rustic Italian.
Maple Leaf Tavern
We’ve been reporting for months on this east end bar, and the folks at Maple Leaf Tavern are inching closer to their opening date. Chef Eric Wood has been reppin’ the east side in Pickering (Port) anxiously awaiting opening this massive project with owner Todd Morgan.
Indian Street Food Co.
Bye bye Amaya, hello Indian Street Food Co. Fret not, owner Hemant Bhagwani is still at the helm, and looking to inject more spice and flavour into his delectable curries and biryanis.
Queen Margherita Pizza (Richmond)
Still tinkering with last minute adjustments, the Queen Margherita Pizza Richmond location has been taunting us for long enough. This central location has been in the works and flirting with opening for a good chunk of 2015, so we are pegging it to open soonish.
After months and months of renovations and design tweaks, the first east coast Cactus Club is ready to launch with Chef Rob Feenie (and first Canadian Iron Chef champ) bringing his version of moderately priced plates to First Canadian Place.
Cutesy Queen West Italian Destingo closed quietly in August, after a few years slugging it out with tough competition from neighbouring eateries. Let’s hope someone scores this space soon—the patio was prime for people watching.
American heavyweight PF Chang’s closed after a few years at the Shops at Don Mills making way for Don Mills Landing, a spin off pub/bar brought to you by the same owners as William’s Landing in Liberty Village.
November will see the likes of Bar Begonia open its doors, unless sneaky Anthony Rose ups the opening. He’s pretty much the unofficial mayor of Dupont, so stay tuned for more comfort food and curious cocktails in this stretch of town.
Did we miss any new Toronto restaurants? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.