RIP, recession-struck restaurants

RIP, recession-struck restaurants

Gone but not forgotten (Photo by Jasoon) 

The market may be slowly rebounding, but restaurants are still going belly-up. Diners who live by the “eat, drink and be merry” mantra—whether that means drowning sorrows in a pint of beer or a piece of chocolate truffle cake—can’t fill enough tables to keep some of the city’s eateries from shuttering. Here, a farewell to the few that fared well but have fallen.

Lambros: Notable for bringing “sophisticated Greek” back to the Danforth just over a year ago, this more-than-souvlaki spot breathed new life—and fresh garlic—into a strip sometimes denigrated for unadventurous standards. Devotees will grieve the loss of modern small-plate Greek servings and the boisterous antics of executive chef Aristedes Pasparakas. But Aristedes’s next venture can’t be far off; he’s had a hand in about a dozen restaurants to date.

Bungalow Café: The Bungalow was an instant hit with the King West condo set when it opened in spring 2007. A combination of swank style and casual fine dining, the café might have become a stylish it spot like nearby Brassaii. Whether the pricey menu was the culprit in the closure, Bungalow made a go of an admirable atmospheric fusion: slick and trendy, with a relaxed energy.

Chakra: Chakra’s artsy ambience and tasty take on traditional Indian fare brought new flavour to somewhat under-serviced Yonge and Eglinton. But even the careful balance of spice in the much-loved chicken tikka masala was no match for a floundering economy. Chakra closed doors just short of its one-year anniversary but left a good taste in our mouths.

Kubo Radio: The Leslieville trend-setter was part of the revolution that’s turning Queen East into the new Queen West. It may be radio silence these days, but good taste is timeless, and we salute the Asian pub for understated style and imaginative grub. The Irish bar The Roy has already moved into the space—there’s no time to stand on ceremony in this biz—but the fallen’s affiliate, Lil’ Baci, keeps the cupcake legacy alive just down the street.