Food & Drink

The Month that Was: the Toronto restaurants and bars that opened and closed in December

The Month that Was: the Toronto restaurants and bars that opened and closed in December
Yakitori Bar (Image: Gizelle Lau)


  • Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co.—Restauranteur Sang Kim (Ki, Blowfish) set an ambitious goal for himself: one restaurant, thirty days. It must’ve been too easy, because he ended up opening two, an izakaya and a Korean takeout joint. Read our Introducing post »
  • Hawthorne Food and Drink—Chef Eric Wood (Fabarnak) finds inspiration for Hawthorne’s menu in Toronto’s wide array of ethnic cuisines. Bonus: he also runs a paid training program for newly graduated cooks. Read our Introducing post »

  • Rock Lobster—The popular pop-up opened a permanent location in Watusi’s old space on Ossington, serving everything from the classic lobster dinner to lobster poutine and lobster cappuccino. Read our Introducing post »
  • Karelia Kitchen—This small, 24-seat mom-and-pop café and smokehouse quietly opened in Bloordale, offering all things Scandinavian, including smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches on buttered rye) and house-smoked meats and fish. Read our Introducing post »
  • Kingyo Izakaya—There’s always room for one more izakaya from Vancouver (this one is considered the most refined by West-coasters). Read our Introducing post »
  • Zakkushi—Yet another Japanese import from Vancouver, this restaurant specializes in robatayaki, a method of cooking meat on charcoal grills. [Zakkushi]
  • Hogtown Charcuterie—Pawel Grezlikowski spent years as a charcuterie hobbyist before turning professional; he offers an array of sausages, terrines, cured meats and a small lunch menu in his tiny Kensington shop. Read our Introducing post »
  • Sukhothai—The Northern Thai restaurant’s dedicated fan base is likely to swell with the opening of a second location at Wellington and Church. Read our Dish post »
  • The Artisan Baker—Frenchman Bruno Beaudoin makes a go at a bakery café at Yonge and St. Clair, where he serves European fare and fresh-baked breads and pastries. Read our Introducing post »
  • Oddseoul—The brothers behind Swish by Han finally opened their late-night dining spot on Ossington, offering down-and-dirty Korea-via-Philadelphia food. Read our Introducing post »
  • Smoke BBQ House—The Harbord strip now has a no-frills barbecue joint serving heaps of long-smoked meat with sauce on the side. Read our Introducing post »
  • Aprilé Bambina Cucina—Mary McGugan, Ted Koutsogiannopoulos and Bryan Burke opened their third Gerrard Street spot, this one a rustic Italian restaurant named after McGugan and Koutsogiannopoulos’s daughter April. Read our Introducing post »
  • Junction Craft Brewing—After operating out of Guelph’s Wellington Brewery for over a year, Junction finally opened a tap room and retail store near Keele and St. Clair. Read our Dish post »
  • Thomas Lavers Cannery and Delicatessen—Fresh pasta, terrines, canned produce, homemade root beer and sandwiches are on offer at this new Kensington spot from Tye Thomas of Ronnie’s Local 069 and Bryan Lavers, formerly of Grace. [NOW]
  • Fuel+—A new organic coffee shop in the Village catering to runners with its protein shakes and “fuel balls.” [Post City]
  • Cafuné—Just as one Brazilian restaurant closes down (see Cajú, below), another opens its doors. This one’s in Cabbagetown. [Cafuné]
  • Playa Cantina—The Junction offshoot of the Annex’s Playa Cabana adds a raw bar and longer cocktail list to the tacos, burritos and ceviches that made its sister restaurant popular. [BlogTO]
  • Fish Street—Midtown’s newest fishmonger and lunch spot makes sustainable and line-caught seafood a priority. [Post City]


  • Cool Hand Luc—The victim of an eviction, owner Luc Essiambre is currently looking for another King West location to house his ice cream parlour. Read our Dish post »
  • Pinball Café—The Parkdale games joint shut its doors after failing to secure a business license, making it the first victim of neighbourhood’s restaurant ban. See our Dish post »
  • Cajú—Mario Cassini closed Queen West’s long-standing Brazilian spot after ten years in business, in order to return to his native Brazil. Read our Dish post »
  • Bazaar Global Food Bar—Less than a year after opening, lower-than-expected volume forced owner Hemant Bhagwani to shut down this outpost of the Amaya empire; he’ll be opening a second attempt at the concept in Baldwin Village in the new year. Read our Dish post »
  • Toucan Taco Bar—Richard Henry shut down Toucan after only nine months to make way for a new, as yet unannounced, concept. Read our Dish post »
  • LPK’s Culinary Groove—Unwilling to sacrifice ethical baking and overburdened with overhead, Lisa Kohut closed down her Leslieville store for good at the end of December. Read our Dish post »
  • Loïc Gourmet—Another Queen East specialty food store bit the dust last month, this one after five year in business. It will be replaced in February by a shop called Heirloom Foods. [Loïc]
  • Half-Baked Ideas—The Mount Pleasant peanut- and tree nut–free bakery closed down at the beginning of December. [Half-Baked]
  • Stampede Bison Grill—The Queen West bison burger specialist completed a four-year run before closing just before Christmas. [BlogTO]
  • Fressen—Queen West’s longstanding vegan restaurant shut down in December for retooling; it should reopen in March with a new name and concept. Read our Dish post »

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.


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