Our big summer bucket list of new bars and restaurants to check out right now
Where to eat roti, souffle pancakes, Nashville hot chicken, vegan Mexican and more
680 College St., 416-536-0195, @awaykitchencafe
Little-sibling restaurant to Awai—the plant-based restaurant in Bloor West Village—Away Kitchen and Café serves up a menu of vegan sandwiches (Thai seitan), snacks (empanadas), house-made bagels, baked goods and drinks in a casual setting.
571 Queen St. W., 416-361-3434, baraltura.com
At Queen West’s newest Italian eatery (formerly Lo Zingaro), chef Marco Zandona serves up modern takes on traditional dishes, including his signature porchetta, finished with olive oil-cured grapes and a cloud of crispy pig skin. The cocktail program incorporates a bunch of Italian liqueurs and vermouths.
2853 Dundas St. W., 416-564-6326, @chicas.chicken
This new Junction counter is heating up the neighbourhood with its Nashville hot chicken. The bird here comes in three spice levels: mild, medium and “hot AF.” Sides include coleslaw, a bean salad and waffle fries.
1352 Danforth Ave., 647-271-3949, citybetty.com
After a stint in P.E.C., Alex Molitz (Farmhouse Tavern, Geraldine) is back in Toronto and with a kitchen of his own. The changing seasonal menu at City Betty is influenced by New York, Ontario and California, and has so far included dishes like a trout-topped potato latke, and Fogo Island cod cooked with celery root purée and finished with golden raisins, wild greens and seared endives.
896 Queen St. E., 416-519-8101, corerestaurant.com
Leslieville’s new contemporary Canadian bistro offers a seasonal menu that features a five-course chef’s tasting menu that changes frequently, depending on daily ingredient finds and unique cuts the kitchen brings in from neighbouring Butchers of Distinction.
Don Alfonso 1890
19 Toronto St., 416-214-5888, donalfonsotoronto.com
At this first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, chef Saverio Macri (Cibo Wine Bar) serves an eight-course Italian tasting menu that features recipes from the Naples restaurant. Those looking for less commitment can order off an à la carte menu in the mezzanine-level lounge. Oh, and the cocktails are hella fancy.
Drake Mini Bar
150 York St., 416-900-0992, thedrake.ca/drakeminibar
The Drake’s smallest (and cutest) project yet takes up barely any square footage at the base of 150 York, across the hall from the Drake 150. It’s a morning-to-night affair at Mini Bar, with breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails all being served.
TD Centre, Concourse Level, 66 Wellington St. W.., 416-214-0320, fabbrica.mcewangroup.ca
Mark McEwan’s Italian restaurant in North York now has a takeout location in the PATH. Those who work and live in the downtown core can now get things like veal parm sandwiches, pizza and spaghetti Bolognese to-go. There’s also a salad bar stocked with lighter options for those who don’t want to experience a post-lunch crash.
1282 Dundas St. W., founderbar.com
Little Portugal’s newest lounge serves a snack menu of shareable things like potato-quinoa “falafel,” deep-fried Brussels sprouts and green curry fried chicken, to go with the bar’s 150-plus cocktails. There’s a bunch of champagne, too, and every booth comes with its own bucket for bubbly.
408 Bloor St. W., 647-618-2868, fuwafuwapancakes.com
This Japanese cafe specializes in one of the year’s most-Instagrammed treats: souffle pancakes. The fluffy flapjacks made with whipped egg whites all but collapse at the sight of a fork—but not before customers get a chance to document the jiggly wiggle in an IG story.
18 Saint Thomas St., 416-971-9666, windsorarmshotel.com
The Windsor Arms’ new lounge is the place to go for snacks (savoury doughnuts, oysters, a good-looking burger), fancy tipples (hard-to-find scotch, a wine menu 700-labels deep) and live noodling on the bar’s grand piano.
Gogo Chicken Pot
10610 Bayview Ave., Richmond Hill, 905-737-1628, gogochickenpot.com
This Richmond Hill restaurant specializes in Hong Kong-style chicken hotpot, the multi-course cousin to Mongolian hotpot that starts with a sizzling bowl of chicken in a rich sauce that ranges from mild to fiery hot. Once that’s done, chicken broth and all manner of veggies, noodles and meat can be added for an AYCE build-your-own-soup adventure.
218 Yonge St., 416-593-9667, hendriksrestaurant.com
The Eaton Centre’s new steak house is easy to spot—just look for the mammoth (functioning!) clock facing Yonge Street. Inside you’ll find an eclectic, crowd-pleasing menu of everything from burgers to oysters and, of course, steak.
190 University Ave., 2nd floor, 647-253-8000, kojin.momofuku.com
Momofuku’s newest Toronto restaurant is a steakhouse with a Colombian bent. Kōjin, named after the Japanese fire god, replaced Daishō and Shōtō, and it’s here where head chef Paula Navarrete masters the kitchen’s open-fire wood grill.
2 Trinity St., 416-548-8055, madrinatapas.com
At the Distillery District’s new Spanish restaurant, Catalan chef Ramon Simarro makes his modern takes on classic tapas snacks. He gives his patatas bravas the mille-feuille treatment, making them with 15 layers of potato and slicing them into bars. And of course there’s sangria—three different kinds, to be exact.
806 Queen St. E., meatrestobutcher.com
Equal parts restaurant and butcher shop, M’Eat is the new place to go in Leslieville for a steak dinner, a classic cocktail or just to grab some protein from the display case to-go. And for a place called M’eat, there are a surprising amount of vegan and vegetarian dishes on the menu.
My Roti Place
406 Queen St. W., 416-366-5554, myrotiplace.com
Queen West’s new roti shop lets customers build their own roti with their choice of house-made roti (white flour, multi-grain, turmeric), filling (lamb, chicken, tofu, paneer, fish), sauce (korma, “mom’s curry,” vindaloo, mango, saag) and spice level (from mild to “stupid”).
2901 Bayview Ave, 647-943-6780, parcheggio.ca
O&B’s newest restaurant is Parcheggio, a trattoria in Bayview Village where chef Andrew Piccinin serves Italian faves like meatballs, lasagna (made using his nonna’s recipe), spaghetti al pomodoro and tagliatelle Bolognese.
133 Richmond St. W., 416-907-0650, rosalindarestaurant.com
Grant van Gameren (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, PrettyUgly, Harry’s) teamed up with Max Rimaldi and Jamie Cook (both of Pizzeria Libretto) to open Rosalinda, the Financial District’s new (and Toronto’s first) vegan Mexican restaurant.
99 Yorkville Ave., 416-479-8974, sofiayorkville.com
Charles Khabouth’s newest venture (though he’s so prolific, by the time you read this it may no longer actually be his newest venture) focuses on Italian antipasti (carpaccio, spot prawns, citrus salad), house-made pasta, fish and meat (branzino, veal, steak Florentine) prepared in a wood-burning stove.
SoSo Food Club
99 Yorkville Ave., 416-479-8974, sofiayorkville.com
This new Chinese snack bar and cocktail lounge in Little Portugal focuses on the cuisine from mainland China (Shaanxi, Sichuan and Shanghai) with dishes like lamb biang biang, and lobster with mapo tofu in an XO sauce. To drink, there are biodynamic wines and cocktails made with Chinese spirits and spices.
151 Yonge St., tractorfoods.com
Toronto’s first location of the popular Vancouver-based brand offers Tractor’s lineup of healthful bowls, sandwiches, soups and sides, prepared with locally-sourced vegetables, cage-free chicken and OceanWise seafood.