Talk about some serious Toronto restaurant March Madness! This month we saw a crazy amount of restaurants popping up around the city. From innovative gastropubs and sandwich shops to some seriously badass Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine, there’s a plethora of new restaurants invading Toronto just in time for spring. Here are the View the Vibe approved eateries that you should put on your “must eat here” list…
The Irv Gastro Pub
Opened March 1st, The Irv is the latest gastropub to hit the city. Enjoy some classic pub comfort food with the satisfaction of knowing that only fresh and local ingredients are used in their menu. Chef Dave de Faria has whipped up some unique entrees that give your traditional pub food a slight twist; try the cheddar and beer stuffed chicken, the curry spice lamb burger, or the eggplant gnocchi. Also enjoy a variety of local craft brews, premium beers and ciders as well as $5 tall cans of Wellington (you really can’t go wrong here).
Opened above the Kinton Ramen on Bloor, Yakitori Kintori opened its doors on March 18th. Serving Japanese skewered meats and over a dozen chicken parts to choose from, it’s perfect for the Asian meat lover. Also to note: Chef Wataru Yasui features a unique and very rare sake cheese fondue that melts in your mouth. You can always count on owner James Kim to offer a fantastic dining experience with delicious Japanese food.
For a cocktail lounge experience, D.W. Alexander has all the elements for a classy night out. Owner Jamil Kamal has created the perfect watering hole for those looking for after-work drinks in an 1870s vibe mixed in with some ultra-chic interior decor. Make sure you ask about their to-die-for house cocktails and dig into Chef Sean Simons’ (who’s also the head chef at Goods & Provisions) impeccable menu.
The Citizen is the newest hotspot to hit King West where the atmosphere is chill and guests can appreciate their sophisticated take on comfort food and craft cocktails. Chef Amanda Walti offers a great mix of snacks (jalapeno croquettes with tarragon-ranch sauce) and classic pub dishes such as the smoked mac ‘n’ cheese topped with seared pork belly. The vibe is friendly and comfortable and a far cry from the rest of the King West scene. Don’t be surprised if the bartender yells out your name when you walk in! Read more here…
A welcome addition is this newly opened Eastern Mediterranean restaurant created by Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji (both of Patria and Weslodge). Just off King West in the Storys building, Byblos is a destination restaurant that offers patrons creative yet authentic Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. Executive Chef Stuart Cameron strikes again giving traditional Mediterranean dishes an incredibly modern twist. Byblos’ House Alchemist, Wes Galloway, is Cameron’s perfect partner in crime, creating fantastic cocktails all named after areas in the Middle East. Read more here…
The District Oven
The owner of 93 Harbord, Isam Kaisi, recently opened this Middle Eastern restaurant/lounge at College and Ossington. Their flaming stone oven is what makes the best house-made flat breads and pitas. A menu that caters to many diet preferences, The District Oven offers Halal and Kosher meat and fantastic vegetarian options like quinoa lentil pilaf, stone oven house-made flat breads and pitas, as well as many salad variations with hummus. The restaurant’s decor definitely makes you feel like you’re in the Middle East with tin ceilings, brick walls, and vibrant Iranian-inspired paintings.
Come And Get It
This new Queen West sandwich joint fits perfectly with the neighbourhood’s vibe. Its exterior is artfully decorated by Toronto graffiti-artist Skam. Owner Jon Polubiec has teamed up with Chef Adam Brown to give patrons a new and exciting place to grab some gourmet sammies. Choose from a variety of impressive fillings like mango jerk chicken, Hawaiian pork belly, coconut shrimp (among others), and grab your meal as a sandwich, poutine, salad or naan wrap – it’s totally up to you. At night they serve up some killer cocktails, like the signature Chill Girlfriend (blend of gin, St. Germain, basil, cucumber, prosecco and lime).
650 Café Bistro
Located at Bay and Dundas, 650 Café Bistro serves fresh ingredients with tasty Mediterranean flavours. The bistro offers a daily menu change so you know that there will always be something new to try with every visit! You’ll feel like you’re in the Mediterranean with the bright lighting, white and blue colour scheme and brick walls.
With a Grand Opening of March 27th (they’re open in soft launch now), East Thirty-Six is an exploration of the heights of curated social dining. The restaurant and bar concept, brought to life by the same team behind Church Street’s beloved Boutique Bar, focuses on housemade ingredients for craft cocktails and a gourmet menu of shareable dishes. With a French influenced menu, Chef Brent Maxwell (formerly of LUMA) prepares beautiful and affordable share plates perfect for the Financial District after-work crowd and convivial social diners.
The County Cocktail & Snack Bar
If you’re venturing East, The County Cocktail & Snack Bar is hopefully your destination. Carlo Catallo, former partner at Splendido and owner of The County General, recently opened this bistro/snack bar/cocktail lounge. Open 7am to 11pm on weekdays (later on weekends) the space is a bigger version of the original County General while maintaining that funky country feel. The bistro inspired menu offers delicious pastries and signature brunch items during the day, and a dinner menu that is perfect for sharing. Their specialty? Cocktails, of course. Try their signature Sunday Picnic (El Dorado 5-year Demerara Rum, Averna, Cinnamon, Vanilla, County Root Beer).
For those who were disappointed to see Coco Lezzone close down on College, you’ll be happy to know that they will be opening a new and improved version on Avenue Road today. The Italian restaurant will offer traditional classics, perfect to satisfy your pasta cravings.
Luckee by Susur Lee
Celebrity Chef Susur Lee is opening his third Toronto restaurant on April 4th at the Soho Metropolitan Hotel and we can’t wait. Luckee will be a Chinese eatery specializing in dim sum and Cantonese delicacies. Knowing Lee, we can all get prepared to indulge in some of the best contemporary Chinese food that Toronto has ever had to offer.
Planning to check out these new restos? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.