With spring temps consistently bathing us in sunshine, Toronto is positively brimming with optimism, our two favourite words are right around the corner: Patio Season.
Here’s a look at what’s cooking in Toronto this month.
North TO has welcomed Café Landwer, an Israeli Bathurst Street restaurant. Internationally known for their full day spreads in a fast casual concept, expect more locations of this café to pop up in the GTA in the next few years.
AF1 Caribbean Canteen
Kensington Market’s Dirty Bird just got a cousin up on College, with Adrian Forte opening Af1 Caribbean Canteen. This corner spot is easy to find, look for the wafts of jerk everything cooking up on his Texas sized smoker. Jerk chicken is a given, but curries and plantains wash down better with his fully licensed menu.
We hinted last month that NAO has come and gone, but still in the faithful hands (and deep pockets) of ICONINK, Estia has opened in its place, just in time for patio season. Exec Chef Ben Heaton is in charge of the Mediterranean menu.
Eastbound Brewing Co.
This brewery has opened for East-enders, with a fully equipped kitchen to distract from the tantalizing beer menu.
Doug and Niall have been quietly busy with their next project, a sister for Chabrol (and Cava), Atlas. Still very shareable, but this time with Moroccan influences, this new spot on Dupont serves pretty plates in tagines, with punchy cocktails and of course, a dreamy wine list to go with.
Last month, the long-awaited dessert hub opened their doors on Queen West. Expect long line-ups and over-the-top ice cream treats as the weather warms up.
Lead by Chef Johl Whiteduck Ringuette, NishDish is Toronto’s first Aboriginal food emporium. The Bloor St. West eatery opened at the end of April and is offering Indigenously sourced ingredients and traditional Anishawbe-inspired bites.
The Halal Guys
The extremely popular New York-based fast-casual Middle Eastern eatery has opened their first Toronto location at 563 Yonge Street. Expect generous portions of shawarma, falafel and more, slathered with their famous white & hot sauce.
Coming Soon this Month
Brett’s Ice Cream
April showers may bring May flowers, but Brett’s Ice Cream is about to bring all the boys to the yard when he opens across from Woodbine Park at Queen East and Kingston Rd. early May. Owner Brett Young will be serving up the scoops, and milkshakes naturally.
Trinity Bellwoods is gearing up for park life to take over, but fear not, respite from all day sun bathing (and maybe a little brown bagging) is nearby La Palma, which is inching closer to opening. Brought to you by the champions at Campagnolo, this all day eatery will bridge coffee to cocktails, almost like all day breakfast at you know where.
Piano Piano’s takeover of the Harbord Room is almost complete as Café Cancan’s renovation is nearing a close. Designed by Tiffany Pratt, the pretty as a postcard space should open later this month.
House of Commons
Also in the west, House of Commons is getting ready for a May launch for their restaurant concept on Dundas West near High Park.
PAI Northern Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai, Sukho Thai and now Kiin, Chef Nuit Regular and her husband Jeff are burning up downtown with the launch of their latest Thai restaurant. Look for Kiin to open on Adelaide later this month.
Meanwhile in Parkdale, Grant’s new project, The Tennessee gets its name from its predecessor (a la Harry’s) while the menu reads Balkan and Eastern European with a striking patio to soak it all up on.
The financial district will soon be 5lbs heavier when Sud Forno flings opens their carb driven doors on Yonge by Temperance.
Madame Boeuf and Flea
Anthony Rose is growing his garden with Madame Boeuf and Flea, on, you guessed it, Dupont Avenue. He either reallllly likes this neighbourhood, or maybe played too much Monopoly growing up. Either way, another NoBlo resto from this dynamo is a good thing indeed.
West end Drake Commissary is inching closer to opening. As we reported waaay back in February, this Junction eatery will be not only an extra prep kitchen for the burgeoning chain, but also a well-stocked eatery with loads of grab and go items.
In the Works
Maybe you didn’t get a chance to miss him, with his copious Masterchef Canada TV time, but Claudio Aprile doesn’t like to be out of the kitchen long. And with the announcement of Copetin, in the original Origin space, King Claudio will soon reign supreme again, in a slightly more casual setting, where the Masterchef promises to be a fixture.
Japanese eats near Ossington will net another with Skippa opening in June near Bloor. Ethically sourced and Ontario farmed fish and veg will set this space apart, a focus long overdue for a shift to sustainability.
Blue Blood Steakhouse
The transformation of Casa Loma continues under the guidance of Liberty Entertainment Group, and Blue Blood Steakhouse will fan the flames when they debut in June.
Susur and son’s Bent on Dundas wasn’t totally short lived, but still came as a surprise when the restaurant juggernaut announced the closing via social media last month.
PizzaThick and The Ice Cream Bake Shop
Landlords have reclaimed the space and this pizza eatery has closed on Queen near Carlaw. But don’t fret, their west end joint is still open.
And Drake Junior, The Beaconsfield on West Queen West is gone. The long-time water hole will be missed by some.
Souped up sausages at La Saucisserie on Ossington Avenue are no more. The meaty magic couldn’t keep up after just two years in business.
But you won’t have to wait long for the Cheesecake Factory to open their first Canadian restaurant, later this fall. Word on the street is that the recently vacated Milestone’s on the north side of Yorkdale mall might be the location.
905 is getting street cred with the launch of Buca in Vaughn, don’t buy that Viva pass just yet though, this new restaurant will be rolled into some new condo developments that will open a few years down the line.
Did we miss any Toronto restaurant openings and closings? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.