Best New Restaurants in Toronto 2014
These are the spots that encapsulate Toronto dining at its current peak, and ones I happily recommend to a friend or visitor.
Chef Michael Steh has revived surf and turf in a big way with his expertly prepped platters of fresh seafood and prime cuts. The glitzy room on Temperance Street serves up expense account dining at its finest.
10 Temperance St., 647-348-7000
At his College Street tapas bar, Grant van Gameren creates magical things with bone marrow, whole octopus and, his specialty, gloriously fatty cured meats. Fair warning: the room fills up early and the din reaches headbanger levels.
797 College St., 416-532-2222
THR & Co.
Cory Vitiello’s second restaurant is a bigger, better Harbord Room—a farm-to-table gastropub with a globe-trotting menu of fancy pizzas, he-man cuts of beef and harissa-kissed crudo.
97 Harbord St., 647-748-7199
Drake One Fifty
Here’s where to go after a performance at the Four Seasons for a glass of wine and a crash course in contemporary Canadian art. Chef Ted Corrado grills status steaks and a mean burger smothered in thick-cut bacon and sharp cheddar.
150 York St., 416-363-6150
Electric Mud BBQ
It’s worth suffering the wait, the picnic tables and tinnitus for the saucy ribs and cheddar-thickened grits with gulf shrimp at Colin Tooke and Ian McGrenaghan’s Parkdale party house. If you’d rather not, they now do takeout.
5 Brock Ave., 416-516-8286
Peter Ramsay, formerly sous-chef at Cowbell, now serves a Prohibition-era menu of oysters, game and mushrooms on toast. But the real draw is the ridiculously complicated drinks made by bartenders with period-appropriate handlebar moustaches.
1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8827
Anthony Rose’s canvas-topped spot, hidden behind his Dupont diner Rose and Sons, is like a cottage country cookout with better food: gargantuan racks of smoked baby back ribs, perfectly grilled lobsters and potent Purple Jesus cocktails by the pitcher.
176 Dupont St., 647-748-3287
Jen Agg’s laid-back new Haitian spot has a mind-boggling variety of rums and a chef, Jesse Grasso, who cooks the tastiest rice and beans this side of Port-au-Prince. The standout is a humble condiment that accompanies every entrée: an addictive, fiery coleslaw called pikliz.
926 Dundas St. W., 647-346-9356
Bruce Woods did the brazenly untrendy thing of opening an à la carte restaurant in a year of shared plates and tasting menus. And it worked. His cooking is as skillful as ever, especially his signature plate of hand-cranked spaghetti served with a giant pecorino-stuffed meatball.
45 Colborne St., 416-214-9918
Agave Y Aguacate
Francisco Alejandri worked at Chiado and Scaramouche before striking out on his own with a Mexican restaurant where there’s not a taco in sight. Instead, he’s cooking modern dishes like a fat, blistered poblano stuffed with avocado, pineapple and citrusy cape gooseberries.
35 Baldwin St., 647-748-6448