Best Toronto Restaurants 2016: Parcae

Every couple of years, a new crop of young chefs take it upon themselves to define Canadian cuisine, which usually involves a combination of maple syrup, foie gras poutine and game meat served on foraged logs. At Parcae, ensconced in the Templar boutique hotel, Canadiana is a mash-up of Quebec bush cooking, nose-to-tail exotica and whatever’s in season. The chefs are Danny Hassell, another graduate of what we should start calling the Buca Academy (see No. 8, Figo, and No. 11, Jamie’s Italian), and Joseph Awad, who hails from Montreal’s Au Pied de Cochon. Fair warning: the squeamish should turn back now. Hassell and Awad make an exquisite carpaccio of cheval (from Alberta, if you’re concerned about the provenance of your Mr. Bojack Horseman), deep-fried lamb sweetbreads on wilted chicory, and a pork sausage stuffed into chicken skin (with its claw still attached). There are friendlier options, like a pretty puntarelle salad or pillowy ravioli filled with duck confit, but I don’t see the point of reserving a table here if you’re not ready for a walk on the offal side. Hassell and Awad are meatheads in the best sense. My only complaint is the room, which is in the hotel’s basement, and despite the high ceiling and plush banquette, is cave-like (you know a room is too dark when patrons are using their phone flashlights to read the menu). Canadiana this good shouldn’t be hidden underground. BEST BITE: The pouding chômeur, a classic Quebec bread pudding with maple syrup, smoked vanilla salt and house-made vanilla ice cream.

348 Adelaide St. W., 416-398-5335, parcae.ca

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