Introducing: District Oven, a new “Middleterranean” restaurant from the owner of 93 Harbord
The Food: District Oven is one of several Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurants to open in Toronto this year, including nearby Rose City Kitchen and Anthony Rose’s soon-to-open eatery, Fat Pasha. (Chef Isam Kaisi describes his restaurant’s cuisine as “Middleterranean.”) Traditional dishes get contemporary updates, like tabouleh made with quinoa instead of barley, and shawarma re-imagined as a spring roll. All meats are Halal, 12 plates are fully vegetarian, and pitas and flatbreads are baked in the restaurant’s authentic stone oven.
The Drinks: Mediterranean and Canadian wines, local draught beers and classic cocktails infused with things like fig-almond syrup and harissa bitters.
The Place: Kaisi and his wife, Hanadi Loubani, wanted the space to feel chic but comfortable. They installed ornate tin ceiling tiles, and outfitted the large room with walnut harvest tables and scarlet banquettes. The restaurant’s namesake wood-burning oven churns out pitas and flatbreads at the back of the room.
• 500 °F is the max temperature reached by the stone oven
• 140 seats, including a 40-person private function room
• 36-foot-long bar made from salvaged Canadian walnut
• 12-plus vegetarian dishes
• 2 years in the making (delayed due to a rooftop fire)
• $0 for fresh baked pita bread and dip