What’s on the menu at The Daughter, a new wine bar and bottle shop in Davisville
Including mortadella sliders, espresso martinis and challah galore
Toronto is flush with wine bars—places to sip natural stuff, Canadian-made bottles and all things Italian—but so many of them are clustered in the east and west ends of the city, and usually south of Bloor. That’s where The Daughter steps in. It’s a wine bar situated on a busy strip of Bayview, complete with a long marble bar, a full shop for stocking up and a menu of elevated bar snacks.
The Daughter is partly a pandemic project of Marissa Goldstein’s, who gave up a career in real estate five years ago to move to New York and enroll in the International Culinary Center. A stint at Loring Place in Greenwich Village followed, as did a position at Blue Hill Stone Barns in upstate New York—which is where Goldstein fell in love with farm cooking.
That farm-to-table mentality is a hallmark of The Daughter. There are plenty of bottles from family wineries around the world, and the food menu is centred around Ontario produce. Above all, it’s very much a for-everyone wine bar. “The name is personal to me,” says Goldstein. “It’s an ode to the women in my life, my mother and my grandmother.”
Of course, there are wine bar staples: dips, local cheeses and plates piled with chorizo and lonza. Requisites aside, the menu features small plates, ideally for snacking, though it’s possible to build a filling meal from them if you’re famished. The menu will change depending on what good things are growing in Ontario—Goldstein works directly with 100km Foods to source her produce. (She’s excited about what next year’s tomato season will bring.)
One thing that will not leave is the challah. “It’s a staple in my culture,” says Goldstein. “We eat it every week for Shabbat.” And it’s not just any challah—Goldstein and her team went on a challah tasting of Toronto, finally deciding on the fluffy, canary-yellow loaves from Bagel Nash in Thornhill. “It was important for me to get a certain challah flavour. This one reminds me of Tel Aviv and my family in Israel.” Said challah is toasted and topped with fluffy ricotta or piled high with roasted vegetables. Leftovers are turned into croutons for salad or soaked in vanilla and butter to make bread pudding.
The wine list will evolve depending on what Goldstein’s excited about. She wants the by-the-glass program to be approachable, so there’s always a range of bottles popped. “We ask a customer what they like, what they usually drink and what they’re in the mood for.” From there, Goldstein will pour a few samples to try to set guests up with something they love.
If you’re looking for drinks to go, a long shelf of bottles includes weeknight wines, old-world stars and geekier selections. There’s a little something for everyone. For palates that like some funk, there are crunchy orange wines from Poderi Cellario in Piedmont or fizzy bubbles from Lammidia in Abruzzo. Fans of the classics will appreciate grower champagnes, white Burgundies, cru Beaujolais, and silky Sangiovesi. (Bonus: plenty of bottles ring in at under $40.) Anyone abstaining can crack a can of alcohol-free Barbet or City Seltzer. Next up? An online storefront with delivery options.
There are two main spaces. The first, which includes a long bar, is a space to walk in and camp out over a glass or two. Farther back is a private room (record player included) for parties and soon-to-come educational programming. Designer Andria Fong of YY Architecture Studio pulled references from Japanese-Scandinavian design for the space while keeping Canada’s organic elements as the focus, like the gorgeous stone bar with raw edges. “It’s like it was extracted from a vineyard,” says Goldstein.