11 extraordinary family-style feasts to fill up on this Family Day

11 extraordinary family-style feasts to fill up on this Family Day

Wholesomely named Family Day is one of the least exciting statutory holidays—there’s no turkey, no presents, no costumes or customs. This year, start your own tradition of going out for a family-style meal with your kin (be they blood relations or friends). Let someone else do the cooking and the dishes, and with a set price, the bill-splitting math’s a no-brainer. Here, 11 impressive family feasts and where to find them.

 

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Drake Commissary

128 Sterling Rd., 416-432-2922, drakecommissary.ca

The Drake puts on a few dinner feasts at their Junction Triangle outpost. Our favourite comes with a smoked brisket that falls apart at the mere suggestion of a fork. The fatty cut comes with grainy mustard made with beer from Henderson’s Brewing next door, and is served with dill potatoes, glazed baby carrots and grilled rapini. Add-ons like extra brisket ($8) and charred bourbon-brown-butter cabbage with black garlic and crispy fried garlic ($8) allow you to pad the meal to feed a larger crew. $62, feeds three.
 
 

 

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Tinuno

31 Howard St., 647-343-9294, tinunothirtyone.com

On a quiet street on the periphery of St. James Town, there’s almost always a queue of people hoping to snag a table at Tinuno, a hopping Filipino spot tucked into a Victorian row house. There’s no menu at the perennially packed two-storey restaurant. Here, they serve only one thing: kamayan. The cutlery-free spread layers rice on top of banana leaves, which is then piled high with pork skewers, pork belly, mussels, shrimp, grilled tilapia and squid. The roughage is scarce: a few spears of okra and a bit of eggplant, maybe. But one meal without veggies won’t cause scurvy. It’s fantastic fun and great value. $15 per person.
 
 

 

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Gusto 101

101 Portland St., 416-504-9669, gusto101.com

At Janet Zuccarini’s King West trattoria, they’re serious about sharing menus, with five different options to choose from. For the commitment-phobic, there are choices within each set menu, too. The perfunctorily named Dinner Menu C is a by-the-book Italian spread featuring all the greatest hits, from pizza to pasta and big-ticket proteins. Diners get a choice of grilled branzino, truffle pizza, grilled chicken or P.E.I. centre-cut strip loin. The steak option has some of the most tempting accompaniments, including maitake mushrooms and bone marrow. The meal starts with a selection of sharing apps (arancini, burrata) and finishes with a rotating selection of dolci. $65 per person.
 
 

 

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Amano

65 Front St. W., 647-350-0092, eatamano.com

Sundays at Amano are all about the slow-cooked meats, nonna style. Their Sunday Gravy special brings plates of pork ribs, meatballs, osso buco and tomato sauce-braised pork shoulder, served with tagliatelle, roasted bone marrow and crispy garlic bread. Oh and salad, can’t forget the salad. To sweeten the deal, there are half-priced bottles of wine on offer. $35 per person.
 
 

 

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Barque

299 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-532-7700, barque.ca

Every Sunday (or on long-weekend Mondays), this Roncy smokehouse hosts Family Nights. The three-course Smoker’s Choice meal starts with smoked chicken wings and a candied bacon–topped caesar salad. The smorgasbord of meaty mains includes barbecued chicken drums, smoked brisket and baby back ribs. Most of the sides have also spent a stint in the smoker, too, and the smoked sesame seed carrots and smoked garlic potatoes are particularly tempting. (But perhaps not as tempting as the salted caramel doughnuts with bourbon caramel sauce.) $30 per person on Family Nights; $20 for kids.
 
 

 

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Patois

794 Dundas St. W., 647-350-8999, patoistoronto.com

Craig Wong has been wooing Torontonians with his taste-bud-bending Chinese-Jamaican grub since 2014. Indecisive (or just very hungry) diners can opt for the Whole Shebang: a feast fit for four that features all of Wong’s greatest hits, including rotisserie jerk chicken, deep-fried chicken with pickled watermelon, Jamaican patty Double Downs, kimchi pot stickers and a dirty fried rice made with lap cheong, red sausage, Cajun trinity and a fresh-cracked farm egg. $120, feeds three to four.
 
 

 

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88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788, pianopianotherestaurant.com

Piano Piano

Groups of six or more can order a five-course dinner at Victor Barry’s Harbord Street restaurant. Dinner begins with a spread of cured meats and cheeses, followed by fried calamari and what might be the most Italian chopped salad in the city: shaved Brussels sprouts with salami, crispy polenta and dandelion. The third course is all about the carbs: two pizzas (one topped with bitter greens, one with ’nduja) and bowls of canestri alla vodka (with chili, mascarpone and more ’nduja) and oyster mushroom cavatelli. The main event is a pile of fried chicken served on escarole with fior di latte. Nutella tiramisu and lemon-basil cake with burnt honey and olive oil round out the meal. $59 per person.
 
 

 

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Côte de Boeuf

130 Ossington Ave., 416-532-2333, cotedeboeuf.ca

At the back of this Ossington wine bar and butcher shop is a private table for groups of six to eight. The sharing affair here starts with East Coast oysters and charcuterie (house-made terrine, foie gras, duck fat toast and cured meats, with pickles and piquant mustards). The second course is a truffle honey–anointed Quebec duck breast, followed by the pièce de résistance: a beautifully marbled, dry-aged Scotch Mountain côte de boeuf from Meaford, Ontario, which comes to the table with duck fat potatoes and seasonal veggies. A very French mousse au chocolate sprinkled with fleur de sel declares the French affair finis. $85 per person.
 
 

 

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Byblos

At this fancy Middle Eastern–inspired dining destination, there are three group-geared prix-fixe menus. The fanciest of the three-course options starts with date molasses–sauced lamb ribs and chili-spiced steak tartare. The second round of plates to hit the table includes harissa-painted salmon and black truffle pide, followed by dry-aged rib eye served with a za’atar butter and smoked eggplant with black truffle rice. For dessert: stuffed baklava and hazelnut-chocolate mousse. $85 per person.
 
 

 

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Kaka All You Can Eat

655 Bay St., 416-979-3288, kakaallyoucaneat.ca

All-you-can-eat sushi is the antithesis of a well-paced formal dinner: the promised of unlimited maki, sashimi, tempura, tataki, and nigiri can whip diners into an ordering frenzy. At this downtown location of Markham’s beloved (if ill-named) sushi restaurant, plates arrive at the table almost as quickly as chits are handed to servers. The selection here is a cut above the usual AYCE standards, with aburi (flame-torched) sushi, and premium specials featuring luxe ingredients like foie gras, gold dust, and extra-large scallops. The extensive menu, which features tacos for some reason, caters to everyone. $36 per person.
 
 

 

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Beast

96 Tecumseth St., 647-352-6000, thebeastrestaurant.com

In a wee brick semi just north of King, Scott Vivan has been wooing carnivores with his meaty menus since 2010. For those who can’t commit to a whole-animal dinner (an $80—$100 multi-course affair that is exactly what it sounds like), there’s a more budget-friendly family-style meal. Each of the four courses come with a few plates from the rotating weekly specials. Right now, diners get gnocchi poutine topped with a braised elk ragu (and cheese curds, of course), crispy pork hocks in sweet soy and kimchi, and Hokkaido scallops with parsnip and grapefruit. There’s also burrata with kabocha squash, pickled watermelon rind and pumpkin seeds on the menu, and dukkah-spiced Brussels sprouts. $60 per person, minimum eight people.