Summerlicious 2014: our restaurant critic Mark Pupo picks his top 10 meals

Summerlicious 2014: our restaurant critic Mark Pupo picks his top 10 meals

(Auberge du Pommier/Facebook) (Auberge du Pommier/Facebook)
 

Summerlicious meals can be hit-and-miss. That’s why we narrowed things down—first to the 67 spots recommended by our reviewers, and now to just 10 of the very best, selected with care by Toronto Life restaurant critic Mark Pupo. Restaurants start taking prix-fixe reservations tomorrow, June 19. With that in mind, read on for Pupo’s top Summerlicious picks.

Auberge de Pommier
This fairytale cottage, romantic despite its location tucked between office parks, is a favourite of uptown grandees. The $45, three-course romp through French marvels is one of Summerlicious’s best bargains.
What to order: Fried green tomatoes with chili-aioli shrimp salad, filet mignon in a Bordelaise sauce, and a vanilla-bean ice cream sandwich with candied hazelnuts.
4150 Yonge St., 416-222-2220
See all our recommendations for uptown »

Bent
Susur Lee lets loose at his clamorous, perpetually crammed room on a still-rough stretch of Dundas West, cooking with the verve that made him our first world-famous chef.
What to order: Fried jerk chicken with jicama salad, a crepe stuffed with spring-vegetable orzo, and a dessert trio of coconut-chocolate mousse, banana-jackfruit spring roll and mango panna cotta.
777 Dundas St. W., 647-352-0092
See all our recommendations for the west side »

Café Boulud
Daniel Boulud’s Four Seasons outpost makes up for tacky decor with exquisite service and an elegantly executed French menu that meanders into Canadiana.
What to order: Tajine-spiced lamb terrine, B.C. cod with a warm potato salad, and a strawberry-rhubarb sundae with pink-peppercorn meringue.
60 Yorkville Ave., 416-963-6000
See all our recommendations for downtown north »

La Société
I hit this Yorkville brasserie for prime people-watching, especially from a coveted patio seat. The kitchen excels in all things pescatarian—its raw bar is an impressive mountain of fresh shells and claws.
What to order: Oysters, salmon with grilled asparagus, and blood-orange crème brûlée.
131 Bloor St. W., 416-551-9929
See all our recommendations for downtown north »

Momofuku Daishō
Dinner at the upstairs Momofuku perch is as much about the panorama of the glittering downtown core as the peculiarly David Chang-ian concoctions—slow-roasted pork butt for ten, Korean-American-French mashups, inspired reinventions of nostalgic childhood desserts—that arrive at your table.
What to order: Radish and watercress salad with crispy yuba, grilled trout with watermelon and banana peppers, and a strawberry–white chocolate sponge cake.
190 University Ave., 647-253-8000
See all our recommendations for downtown south »

Nota Bene
David Lee, one of the original farm-to-table converts, runs my go-to spot for a formal pre-theatre dinner—complete with white linens, an unfailingly excellent kitchen and a long list of excellent wines by the glass.
What to order: Pulled braised goat with pico de gallo, New York striploin with rosemary frites, and a plate of artisanal cheese.
180 Queen St. W., 416-977-6400
See all our recommendations for downtown south »

Origin North
When he isn’t judging TV cooking contests, Claudio Aprile runs uptown’s most stylish place to eat, serving a globe-trotting menu with the occasional side trip into molecular gastronomy.
What to order: Watermelon, cuke and feta salad, steak frites with truffle butter, and a coconut–passion fruit parfait.
2901 Bayview Ave., 416-479-8833
See all our recommendations for uptown »

Parts and Labour
There’s seriously good eating to be had at this Parkdale hipster destination, a nose-to-tail, meat-lover’s paradise overseen by the frequently ingenious chef Matty Matheson.
What to order: Steak tartare, fried chicken with collards and ham hock, and a banana split.
1566 Queen St. W., 416-588-7750
See all our recommendations for the west side »

Splendido
The price of admission to Harbord’s glitzy, valet-parking-and-champagne-cart institution is never this low ($25 for lunch). Go. Now.
What to order: Salmon sashimi, black-truffle agnolotti and apricot mousse with rosemary ice cream.
88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788
See all our recommendations for downtown north »

Weslodge
If you can get past the line of models and their Bay Street admirers, and inside the tall yellow doors, the King West gastropub, modeled on a Prohibition-era saloon, is a lot of fun—especially if, like me, you’re a fan of period cocktails.
What to order: Chorizo Scotch eggs, braised beef cheek with puffed amaranth, and blackcurrant sorbet.
480 King St. W., 416-274-8766
See all our recommendations for downtown south »