Toronto’s Best New Restaurants: Tanto

Toronto’s Best New Restaurants: Tanto

Tanto

The best steak I’ve had in the past year, no contest, was a grass-fed strip loin aged for 72 days and grilled over crackling hardwood. The first millimetres tasted of campfire, the next few of blue-cheese funk, the core of smoked ham. Even though I was splitting the cut with a friend, we got beat at the halfway mark.

Smoked ricotta–stuffed empanadas with house-made hot sauce.

The steak was a special at this Argentine-inspired restaurant, which opened without fanfare this winter and quietly revealed its greatness. Julian Iliopoulos, the chef and co-owner, was chef de cuisine at Cava. He brought with him an instinct for precisely executed, sharable small plates, like empanadas stuffed with smoked ricotta, fragile “churros” of deep-fried puffed potato, and sheets of taleggio draped over pan-fried hen of the woods mushrooms and leek-flavoured gnocchi. That grill gets a workout, infusing smokiness into squid, short ribs and, no minor revelation, a cross-­section of cabbage, brushed with pesto and polka-dotted with yellow pearls of cured egg yolk. As for the strip loin, we fought over the doggy bag.

74 Ossington Ave., 416-546-3022, tantorestaurant.com

Pesto-brushed grilled cabbage dotted with cured egg yolk.
Savoury potato churros come with piquillo pepper honey.