What’s on the menu at Judaline, a new neighbourhood gem on the Danforth
Contact info: 162 Danforth Ave., 416-792-8088, judaline.ca, @judalineto
Neighbourhood: The Danforth
Previously: Combine Eatery
Owner: Joshua Mott (Her Father’s Cider Bar and Kitchen)
Chef: Cesar Karanapakorn
Accessibility: Not fully accessible
Joshua Mott, the man behind Harbord Village cider bar Her Father’s, has long been eyeing the Danforth for his next spot. “The neighbourhood reminds me of Harbord Village in many ways,” he says. “It has a friendly, tight-knit feel, and that really comes down to the wonderful community here.” The idea came to him well before the pandemic, but Mott decided to wait it out.
Judaline is named after Mott’s mother, who happens to be the inspiration for the restaurant’s warm, welcoming atmosphere. Mott’s goal isn’t for Judaline to be a destination restaurant (though chef Cesar Karanapakorn’s excellent seasonal dishes may have that effect anyway). Instead, his top priority is to get the community out.
Rustic-chic, homey and bathed in sunlight, this is a good-mood spot for elevated seasonal fare. And, though food is certainly the focus, guest experience doesn’t take a back seat—expect classic but unpretentious service.
A rotating menu inspired by Canadian seasonality features all-Ontario meat and local produce wherever possible. Chef Karanapakorn draws on his Thai and Mexican roots to bring punchy flavours to classic Canadian dishes. A rack of lamb, for instance, comes with a tomato salsa made with epazote, a zippy and pungent herb commonly used in central and southern Mexican cuisine.
Food-friendly alcohol is the name of the game here. A balanced wine program includes old- and new-world varietals, and draught beer features both local and European brews. Cocktails are mainly classics with a twist, like a rosemary gin and tonic rimmed with smoked salt. And, just like Her Father’s, Judaline has a strong cider program.
Exposed brick, floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of greenery in the form of hanging vines—which have been around since the space was Combine Eatery—lend a warm, lived-in feel. The restaurant’s colour scheme was inspired by the vines, hence the comfy forest-green banquettes. A spacious all-season back patio has a retractable roof for the warmer seasons (and, mercifully, insulation and heating for what’s to come).