10 new bars and restaurants to check out this spring
Where to eat tuna pizza, pastrami sandwiches and Italian small plates, right now
80 Blue Jays Way, 2nd floor, 416-551-2800, akiraback.com
At his restaurant in the Bisha Hotel, Michelin-starred chef Akira Back doles out Korean-flavoured Japanese dishes, like tuna pizza, wagyu tacos and (something specific to this location) crispy rice topped with seared tuna, flavoured with ketchup powder.
709 Queen St. E., 647-341-4500, theciderhouse.ca
Kitty-corner to the new Broadview Hotel is the neighbourhood’s new ciderhouse, a two-storey restaurant and bar that also happens to make cider on-site. On tap: all of Brickworks’ big guns (Batch: 1904, Queen Street 501) as well as a few seasonal one-offs, like a basil-mint number. The majority of the dishes coming out of the kitchen also incorporate the apple-based beverage.
122 Geary Ave., 647-293-5395, famigliabaldassarre.com
Geary Avenue’s not-so-secret pasta speakeasy is now officially open for lunch, serving plates of perfect pasta—perciatelli, cavatelli, duck-stuffed cappellacci, tortelloni with ricotta and lemon—Tuesday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m.
170 Spadina Ave., no phone, hotbunzz.com
The space that once housed Bacon Nation—the pop-up devoted to all things porky—is now home to Hot Bunzz, a kitchen specializing in stuffed buns. Some are fairly straightforward (like the falafel ball bun), while others are over-the-top (like one that’s full of pulled pork and topped with shrimp ceviche).
585 College St., 416-530-7585, ilcovo.ca
Two ex-Buca Yorkville alumni teamed up to open this new Italian kitchen on College. Chef Ryan Campbell is in charge of the cicchetti (Italian small plates) and Giuseppe Marchesini is responsible for the list of organic and biodynamic Italian wines.
60 Kensington Ave., no phone, @juanm0t0
Kensington’s hidden cocktail bar recently underwent a reno. The space is much brighter now and the food is no longer limited to dumplings (not that there was anything wrong with the dumplings). Leemo Han (Hanmoto, Pinky’s Ca Phe) is now the resident chef, serving a menu of dishes that are both Japanese and South American in flavour.
1161 Dundas St. W., 416-535-5656, parisparis.ca
The team that mastered fried chicken (Bar Fancy) and pizza (Superpoint) has turned their attention to small plates and wine, with some help from Krysta Oben of Toronto’s own Grape Witches.
33 Yonge St., no phone, pick6ixto.com
This new splashy sports bar in the Financial District has ties to Drake (his head of security, Nessel “Chubbs” Beezer, is a co-owner) and a celebrity chef (Montreal’s Antonio Park) serving a menu of sushi. You can guess what the Instagram feed looks like.
Rose and Sons Deli
176 Dupont St., 647-748-3287, roseandsons.ca
Anthony Rose recently turned his Dupont diner into a delicatessen that serves the food he grew up with: Jewish classics, like matzoh ball soup, chopped liver and pastrami sandwiches.
The Senator Winebar
249 Victoria St., 416-364-7517, thesenator.com
Sitting one floor above its sister diner, the Senator Winebar is an adorable addition to the downtown dining scene. The second-storey French restaurant can accommodate 24 dinner guests and, on Friday and Saturday nights after the tables have been cleared, the space turns into a piano bar.