Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach fills us in on the best new Toronto restaurants, those opening in September 2015 and the buzziest in-the-works hot spots.
With the final days of the CNE giving way for a much posher Toronto acronym (TIFF), September will see new concepts opening as well as the rebirth of an old favourite. You can expect the city to be hopping with food festivals and events squeezing out the last few days of guaranteed heat before October ushers in the fall temps.
Cram your calendar this month with food-based festivals like the muy caliente Hot and Spicy Food Fest taking over Harbourfront the first weekend of September. Fans of Vikram Vij should plan on checking out the festival on the Saturday to hear BC’s fave chef extol the virtues of spicy food. Those looking for a close encounter of a celebrity kind may opt for primo tickets to the 5-course dinner spectacle that is Sensorium, taking place from September 10-27th at a to-be-erected dome structure on King West. Expect big things from this sold out multi-sensory dining event, so visit a participating restaurant for your chance to win a pair of tickets.
If you want to broaden your palate beyond Belgian pilsners, check out Toronto Beer Week from September 18-26th with over 100 beer-centric events scattered across Toronto, including beer-based booze cruises on the Harbourfront. If beer is a little low brow, then nab tickets to the celebrity chef smorgasbord taking over Evergreen Brickworks from September 18-20. Once dubbed the Delicious Food and Wine Show, it’s been renamed and retooled as Toronto Food & Wine Festival, with Mark McEwan, Chuck Hughes, Curtis Stone, Roger Mooking and many more talented chefs hobnobbing and hanging so grab tickets soon and get the dish from the stars themselves.
Read on for the latest in new Toronto restaurants.
The Grow Op
The cheekily named The Grow Op is now open on Ossington near Dundas, slinging out smoothies, kombucha, as well as coffee—and perhaps even food you can chew.
Triple A Bar
The BBQ game is strong at Triple A Bar and they’ve now opened a second location, this one in Leslieville. Known for their lip-smacking ribs and cold tall boys, their take on Southern/Texas style BBQ is sure to be welcomes warmly in their new ‘hood.
Modo Mio Italian Bistro
Modo Mio Italian Bistro at Avenue Road and Brooke quietly opened their doors in late August serving up casual Italian food that’s family friendly at easy to digest prices.
Paramount Fine Foods has been busy swallowing up a fair bit of prime restaurant retail this past year, and their latest venture at Yonge and Dundas offers a tidy selection of what they do best:Middle Eastern flavours in a grab-and-go format. FreshEast has adopted a fusion-style fast food menu, combining the popularity of Middle Eastern food into a Canadian favourite—submarine sandwiches. Think foot-long shawarmas made with halal deli meats and sauces that go way beyond mere sub sauce.
Nothing is naughtier than the latest taboo, and Candyland takes the cake when it comes to the suggestive and implied. Rotating acts elevate this dinner theatre on King West, with talented performers acting out circus tricks for your amusement and enjoyment. Leave the kids at home for this one—it’s being compared to a burlesque-style show, with amped-up eats by way of Frank’s Kitchen.
Montecito will soon face even more competition when FIGO (same owners as Citta) opens on Adelaide in September. Serving up fine Italian fare with a wine and cocktail program to back it up, expect a similarly winning formula as FIGO’s sibling restaurants (here, partnered up with Fox n’ Fiddle owner Adam Brown) thanks to Hanif Harji and the Khabouth empire.
Omaw, the latest outpost on Ossington, is set to open (currently soft open awaiting a liquor licence) in the former home of Levack Block. The menu will feature southern favourites, and no doubt boozy drinks to go with it. Matt Blondin took over the space leaving the kitchen in the capable hands of The Food Dudes (Junk, Rasa).
The Fix + Co
The Fix + Co is the latest in the ever-expanding (and slightly saturated) market of fresh-pressed juices. Their first bricks and mortar shop is set to open this month on the western edge of the city by Lakeshore and 13th, but delivery of their cleanses, juices, soups and salads is available across the GTA.
The Old Laurel
Everything that’s old is new again, particularly when referencing The Old Laurel, which is opening in the home of long-time College street resident Rancho Relaxo. The Bristol owner Davy Love will reopen the space with a nod to the British empire, so expect nifty noshings to abound, like his well-loved take on British Indian Cuisine, and standard pub fare like fish n’ chips.
Beer lovers rejoice—the beer barons from Bar Hop are opening a second location. Bar Hop Brewco. is set to open on Queen by Peter later this month.
Maple Leaf Tavern
Maple Leaf Tavern is inching ever closer to opening their doors, near Gerrard and Pape. The devil is in the details and word on the street is veteran Chef Eric Wood and owner Todd Morgan are pulling out all the stops to ensure this newest venture opens with all the fanfare and excitement that this area has waited so long for.
A rebirth of Café Boulud may have been a tad impulsive, but we are still drooling at the prospect of the eponymous Chef Daniel injecting more French flavours to his outpost at the Four Seasons Hotel. Look for the menu relaunch and re-opening in early September—just in time for TIFF, naturally.
You need more than love to pay the bills and sadly 1 Love Kitchen at Queen and St. Patrick shuttered their doors earlier this year, making way for taqueria Mi Taco to take over. Look for this Mexican canteen to open late September.
The Lodge on Queen
We hear The Lodge on Queen is a new members club gracing our famous Queen West and will be in soft opening through TIFF, but will start to accept member applications shortly after the film festival.
Food Revolution Day activist and general UK cutie Jamie Oliver is inching closer to opening his self-titled resto, Jamie’s Italian, at Yorkdale Mall, with Chef Frank Venditti (Bar Buca) taking the helm of the kitchen when it finally does open in October. Let’s see if our boy JO joins the fun at what will surely be the grandest of grand openings.
With renovations going into extra innings, the signage is up for Cactus Club—well, at least the now hiring sign at any rate. Fans of the BC import and Bay street imbibers will surely flock to this resto/bar/lounge as soon as the doors finally open, hopefully later this month.
The prime real estate that is House Maison is up for grabs, as the owners of nearby Smith can’t seem to replicate their popular recipe. Ditto goes for the eccentric eatery The Atlantic, once in the spotlight on the show Million Dollar Critic for being one of Toronto’s best and brightest. The doors are also shuttered on Geraldine in Parkdale, marking a huge loss for absinthe-seekers in the city’s West end.
Did we miss any new Toronto restaurants? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.