Searching for your next favourite dining spot? Look no further! This month, Toronto is offering no shortage of amazing new restaurants that draw from many diverse sources of inspiration. Whether your cravings lean towards such summary delights as lobster and gelato, or more flavourful and exotic fair like spicy Thai or Japanese, our list is sure to cover all the bases…
The Good Son
Former Top Chef Canada contender Vittorio Colacitti opened this restaurant at Queen and Dovercourt just last week, and since then it has been getting no shortage of customers and positive reviews. Our team loved their crispy potato-wrapped jerk shrimp, but other amazing menu items include steak tartare with soft-boiled quail egg and grilled sourdough, and their thin crust pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven and lathered with sweet tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and sun-dried olives.
With two successful locations on Ossington and Queen West, respectively, Rock Lobster is quickly becoming the go-to destination for Torontonians looking for their seafood fix. The newly opened spot in Leslieville not only offers favourites like lobster rolls, jerk shrimp rolls, and lobster-tail Caesars, but also new menu items like lobster bruschetta, and our new favourite dish: fried clams stuffed into a crispy roll and drizzled with Sriracha mayo. If that’s not the perfect dish to kick off your summer, then we don’t know what is.
What started off as a little British café (The Bristol Yard) has grown a large and lively pub on Queen St. West, an area already pretty well-stocked with the best restaurants Toronto has to offer. So what makes The Bristol so special? Firstly, despite the typical lineup of British brunch and pub classics – shepherd’s pie, strawberry scones, bangers and mash – there’s an attention to detail that you won’t find anywhere else. There are five British-style curries (including one spiced with ghost peppers that we dare you to try), made with a classic gravy that takes 17 hours to prepare. Give them a try next time you’re in the area and are looking for some authentic British fare!
Newly opened on Duncan Street, Pai is a Thai restaurant by husband-and-wife power team Jeff and Nuit Regular, who are no strangers to the restaurant business. Their modern twists on classic Thai dishes are definitely worth a try. Check out their papaya salad with salted crab, and roast chicken with garlic aioli and crispy noodles if you’re looking for a rich and flavourful dining experience.
Shibui Robata Bar
Located on Adelaide, Shibui Robata is a strong competitor to neighbouring Brazilian restaurant Copacabana (situated on the upper level of the same address). Now, fans of slow-grilled meats can choose between mouth-watering Brazilian rodizio or Japanese robatayaki – just choose the right door! Just take a look at some of the items on their menu: Spicy Korean miso glazed lamb chops, pork belly served up with steaming shichimi peppers, and juicy Chilean sea bass rolled into plump dumplings. Mouth watering already? Ours, too. See you there!
While this King West café has already been open for a few weeks now, they’re just starting to introduce their delicious food menu in addition to their already famed coffee. In the morning, Portland Variety is a Parisian-style bistro with baked pastries (think butter croissants stuffed with rum almond cream) and great drinks. By lunchtime, they offer heavier fare like shrimp salad croissants and bacon-and-egg sandwiches. And, starting soon (rumour has it, later this week), in the afternoons they’ll transform into a tapas restaurant with Spanish-inspired pintxos.
Grinning Face Gelato
If you’re looking for non-dairy gelato, this newly opened spot in Cabbagetown is right up your alley. Yeah, you read that right: non-dairy gelato. While this may seem puzzling (and a little bit unappetizing) for some, trust us that this shop is good. Their coconut milk base turns these concoctions into delicious gourmet treats, and the flavours are so varied and interesting that you definitely won’t be at a loss for what to get. We loved their Roasted Banana flavour, and we’ll definitely be going back soon to get our fill of the others. Maybe we’ll run into you there?
Originally called Trinity Taverna, this Mediterranean restaurant is an interesting spot for succulent Greek food. Paralia’s beachy location on Lake Shore Boulevard helps to create a relaxed and casual atmosphere, but the plates themselves are anything but lazy. Every ingredient is fresh and carefully selected, and it’s no secret that if you grill fish with olive oil, oregano, and lemon dressing as expertly as the chefs at Paralia do, they become the perfect combination of sweet and crispy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. The walnut cake is also borderline amazing, with a layer of crème brûlée on top and brandy-infused chocolate at the bottom.
Toronto’s culinary scene is definitely thriving this summer and showing no signs of slowing down. The Ossington Stop will be opening June 20th on Dundas St. West, offering beer, cocktails, and delicious comfort bites like lobster rolls, ribs, and chicken-waffle tacos. On June 24th, a modern French-style bistro by the name of Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie will open in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, brought to us by the same team behind El Catrin, Pure Spirits, and Archeo.
La Libre, set to open in the coming days on Dupont, is a 100-seat patio offering up authentic al pastor grill and backyard BBQ. It comes at us from the same owners as Playa Cabana (pretty obvious given it’s behind-Hacienda locale). Montecito will be opening in July, and offering patrons a two-storey space with a 60-seat patio perfect for summer. Even better, they’ll be featuring ingredients from across Canada and evolving their menu seasonally.
If you’re looking for a taste of delicious Jamaican food, Patois will be opening on Dundas St. West early this summer. With items like the pineapple bun burger with oyster sauce and mayo, as well as fried chicken with battered onion rings, watermelon, and pickles, you can be sure this is one restaurant worth checking out.
Lastly, don’t forget about Summerlicious – Toronto’s favourite culinary celebration. From July 4th to 20th you can devour three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at 200 of our finest restaurants, including the celebrated Splendido, Canoe, Rock Lobster, and Momofuku Noodle Bar.