Toronto’s Best New Restaurants: Lasa


People who keep track of these things all agree that Filipino food is currently the trendiest. Toronto, with its large Filipino population and ambitious second-gen chefs, can take some credit for this. It’s the ultimate fusion cuisine, melding the spiciness of India, the shrimp paste–based dishes of Malaysia and the predilections of China (rice and spring rolls figure prominently) with souvenirs from hundreds of years of contact with traders and colonists.

Pork skewers get their caramelization from a marinade splashed with 7-Up.

This midtown spot, my favourite of the new wave, is a spinoff of Queen West’s Lamesa, which introduced downtowners to home-cooking classics usually found in outer-GTA strip-mall eateries. Come for a lunch of skewered pork (tangy from a marinade of ginger, soy and 7-Up); squash and bok choy poached in a coconut-miso broth; lumpia Shanghai (ground pork–stuffed spring rolls); oxtail stew fragrant with garlic and peanut sauce; rice served with deep-fried tofu and a fried duck egg; and, in the summer months, halo-halo, a Day-Glo dessert of shaved ice, flan and taro ice cream.

634 St. Clair W., 647-343-1110,

Turon with purple ube ice cream is a sweet way to end a meal at Lasa.