Year in Review: all 161 new restaurants, bars, food shops and food trucks we covered in 2012

Year in Review: all 161 new restaurants, bars, food shops and food trucks we covered in 2012

When historians of Toronto’s food scene (should they ever exist) look back on 2012, they’ll wonder how so many new restaurants, bars and food shops could possibly open in 12 short months. The incomers colonized new retails strips, filled in the gaps in existing ones, and, in the case of Roncesvalles, revivified a neighbourhood that had lived through a particularly painful two years of construction. For dedicated diners (and humble food editors), it was equal parts thrilling and stressful to keep up with it all. Below, the 161 new places we Introduced in 2012:

The Annex:

  • A look at DT Bistro’s chic new renovation and second floor
  • Kitch, a new restaurant and club just north of the tracks at Dupont and Dufferin
  • The Bristol Yard, a bit of Britain down by Christie Pits
  • The White Brick Kitchen, a new spot for American comfort food (“Tater Tots” included)
  • Barton Snacks, the Annex’s new spot for ice cream and specialty chips (together at last)
  • Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, the Annex location of the pizza chain from out west
  • Indian Rice Factory Chai Bar, a new offshoot of the Annex institution (with a great patio)
  • Rose and Sons, the new Annex diner from Anthony Rose

The Beach:

  • Tori’s Bakeshop, a pretty new vegan bakery café in the Beach
  • Waffle Bar, serving Liège-style treats in the Upper Beach
  • Moo Milk Bar, the Beach’s new spot for milk and cookies


  • Bar Neon, a new Bloordale watering hole with some ambitious grub
  • Tallboys Craft Beer House, a new Bloorcourt den for beer geeks
  • Introducing: Karelia Kitchen, Bloordale’s new Scandinavian café

College Street:

  • Playful Grounds, the new kid-friendly coffee shop in Little Italy
  • The Feasting Room, a carnivore’s delight of a pop-up on College (now closed)
  • Bestellen, the new College West meat den from Top Chef Canada’s Rob Rossi
  • La Carnita, the bricks-and-mortar incarnation of the pop-up taco sensation
  • Easy Restaurant, the College Street outpost of the classic Parkdale breakfast joint
  • The Hogtown Pub and Oysters, a revamp of Little Italy’s Auld Spot Pub
  • Red Fish, a new West Coast–inspired seafood restaurant on College
  • Hapa Izakaya, the Little Italy outpost of Vancouver’s popular Japanese pub
  • Rebozos on College, a new downtown location for one of the city’s best taco joints
  • Fancy Franks, the new College Street spot for haute dogs


  • Pachuco, the new Danforth Mexican restaurant from the sisters behind Embrujo Flamenco
  • The Fuzz Box, a new Danforth restaurant serving classic East Coast donairs
  • 417, the Danforth’s newest resto-lounge (from a longtime Greektown family)
  • The Works on the Danforth, the first Toronto location of the cult fave Ottawa burger chain
  • Sauce on the Danforth, a new east end bar with classic cocktails and 17 craft beers on tap
  • Slider Revolution, Toronto’s first restaurant devoted to tiny burgers


  • DonDon Izakaya, downtown’s new spot for authentic Japanese bar food
  • Stock, the glitzy new restaurant on the 31st floor of the Trump International Tower
  • Sliced, a new grab-and-go sandwich shop on Bay Street
  • Osteria 55, the rustic Italian successor to the short-lived Bowery (long closed “for renovations”)
  • Arcadian, the classic event space at The Bay, revamped by Oliver and Bonacini
  • The Chickery, the new roast chicken joint from David Adjey and Danny Farbman
  • Sam James Coffee Bar’s new underground outpost in the Path
  • Beer Academy, downtown’s new brewery, education centre and tasting room for hopheads
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar, the Toronto outpost of David Chang’s New York original
  • Shōtō, Momofuku Toronto’s 22-seat temple to the tasting menu
  • Daishō, Momofuku Toronto’s home for “large-format” meals
  • Nikai, the Momofuku complex’s new bar and lounge
  • Momofuku Toronto, David Chang’s new four-in-one restaurant megaplex
  • Richmond Station, the new downtown restaurant from Top Chef Canada champ Carl Heinrich
  • Michael’s on Simcoe, a new downtown steakhouse from the old manager of Harbour Sixty
  • Triple A Bar, a new Texas-style barbecue joint and saloon on Adelaide
  • Reds Wine Tavern, a revamp of the Bay Street power lunch destination
  • JaBistro, a foray into sushi from the owner of Guu
  • Santouka Ramen, the new Dundas Street outpost of the Japanese noodle chain
  • The Tilted Kilt opens its first Toronto location
  • Ramen Raijin, the new Toronto outpost of a Vancouver ramen pioneer
  • Hawthorne Food and Drink, a new downtown restaurant with a social mission
  • Sabai Sabai, a new Northern Thai restaurant and bar on Church

Dundas West:

  • The Federal Reserve, Dundas West’s new brunch spot (with late-night snacks to come)
  • This End Up, Dundas West’s new sandwich shop and cocktail bar
  • The Grove, Dundas West’s new spot for modern English cuisine
  • Midfield Wine Bar, Dundas West’s laid-back spot for oenophiles
  • Hoof Raw Bar, the new seafood addition to the Hoof family
  • Le Dolci, Dundas West’s new cupcake studio
  • Quinta, a fresh new Dundas West Portuguese restaurant on the site of an old one
  • The Arrow Café, Dundas West’s newest coffee and ice cream shop
  • Bent, the new Dundas West restaurant from Susur Lee’s sons Kai and Levi Bent-Lee
  • Mr. Pong’s Bar, a new Little Portugal watering hole from the people behind Cold Tea
  • Archive, a casual new wine bar on Dundas West

The Junction (and the Junction Triangle):

  • Camp, a new camping-themed Junction café from the former owner of the Beaver
  • Farmhouse Tavern, a showcase for Ontario products in the Junction Triangle
  • Indie Ale House, the Junction’s long-awaited new brewpub
  • Junction Craft Brewing opens a tap room and retail store

Kensington Market:

  • Via Mercanti, Kensington’s new Neapolitan-style pizza parlour from a pair of Queen Margherita exiles
  • Thirsty and Miserable, a new Kensington dive with a nice slate of craft beers
  • Kinton, a new Baldwin Village ramen bar from the people behind Guu
  • The Bellevue’s Monday night dinner series returns with a new name, @TheBellevue
  • Le Ti Colibri, Kensington Market’s first French-Caribbean joint (complete with tiki hut)
  • Handlebar, The Avro’s new big sister bar in Kensington Market
  • The big new location of Sanagan’s Meat Locker, down the street from the old one
  • Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium, Kensington’s newest gourmet sandwich and soda shop
  • Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co., a pair of new restaurants on the corner of Baldwin and McCaul
  • Hogtown Charcuterie, Kensington Market’s new spot for prepared meats

King East, Cabbagetown and Regent Park:

  • Pacific Junction Hotel, a bright new island-themed bar from the owners of Betty’s
  • Paintbox Bistro, Regent Park’s colourful new social enterprise restaurant
  • Retsina, a new Greek restaurant down the street from Allan Gardens
  • Kingyo Toronto, the Cabbagetown outpost of Vancouver’s celebrated izakaya

King West:

  • Bloke and 4th, King West’s newest big, shiny resto-lounge
  • Gusto 101, a new King West Italian joint that’s got wine on tap (from the basement winery)
  • Edulis, Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth’s reinvention of Niagara Street Café
  • SpiritHouse, King West’s new home for cocktail nerds
  • Weslodge, the new King West “modern saloon” from Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji
  • Patria, the new King West spot for traditional Spanish food from Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji

Leslieville and Riverside:

  • McGugan’s, a friendly new Scottish pub on Gerrard Street East
  • Toucan Taco Bar, Riverside’s new Mexican joint
  • The Commissary, Leslieville’s new laid-back lunch spot
  • The East Ender, Leslieville’s new spot for “stepped-up” comfort food
  • Leslieville Pumps, Toronto’s only barbecue joint that’s also a gas station
  • Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken, Leslieville’s new house of indulgence
  • Riverside Public House, a new Queen East bar with Dustin Gallagher in the kitchen
  • Glas Wine Bar, Leslieville’s latest spot for a drink and a local, seasonal bite
  • Rakia Bar, a shiny new Queen East spot devoted to a traditional Balkan drink
  • House of Moments, a new art gallery and fusion restaurant in Leslieville
  • Bonne Journée, a new French bakery on Queen East with a Tunisian twist
  • Rashers, the new Leslieville shop devoted to the bacon sandwich
  • Skin and Bones, Leslieville’s latest restaurant and wine bar

Liberty Village:

  • Origin Liberty Village, the new west-side outpost of Claudio Aprile’s growing empire
  • Maizal Quesadilla Café, a Liberty Village spot serving Mexican street food that’s not tacos
  • Monforte on Jefferson, the artisanal cheesemaker’s new Liberty Village shop


  • Lil’ Baci Taverna, the midtown outpost of the Leslieville Italian spot
  • Bazaar Global Food Bar, the Amaya empire’s new, family-friendly Mount Pleasant outpost
  • Catch, the Rushton’s new seafood-themed sister restaurant on St. Clair
  • L’Avenue, a new modern bistro on Bayview
  • John and Sons, the new Summerhill oyster house from the owners of Rodney’s by Bay
  • The Artisan Baker, a new bakery café at Yonge and St. Clair

No Fixed Address:

  • Gourmet Bitches, a new Toronto food truck that’s a little healthier than most
  • Lilly’s Lunches, a new bike-based brown bag delivery service
  • Buster’s Sea Cove, Toronto’s first seafood-focused food truck
  • Rome’n Chariot, a new truck serving Italian-Canadian comfort food
  • Hogtown Smoke, Toronto’s first food truck with an on-board smoker
  • Hidden Kitchen, a dinner series brought to you by a ghost chef, an ex-chef, a guest chef and a craft brewery
  • Per Se Mobile, a Miami-inspired food truck serving Colombian fare
  • Fidel Gastro’s new food truck, the roving home base of the rebel without a kitchen
  • The Food Dudes’ new food truck
  • Gourmet Gringos, a new food truck serving Latin American fare (including handmade empanadas)
  • Pretty Sweet, the GTA’s newest cupcake truck


  • Yours Truly, a new Ossington restaurant and bar with a chef whose resumé includes Per Se, Alinea and Noma (no, really)
  • Actinolite, one couple’s labour of love on a quiet stretch of Ossington
  • The Saint, Ossington’s long-awaited and oft-delayed contemporary tavern
  • Bellwoods Brewery, Ossington’s new brewpub and snack bar
  • Hawker Bar, Toronto’s first spot for Singapore-style street food
  • Rock Lobster, the new Ossington incarnation of the popular pop-up restaurant
  • OddSeoul, the new Ossington Korean restaurant from the brothers behind Swish by Han

Out of Town:

  • Windows by Jamie Kennedy, the locavore chef’s new Niagara Falls venture


  • Maialino Enoteca Italiana, a bit of Sicily at the edge of Parkdale
  • The Hot ’n Dog, Parkdale’s coolest new lunch spot for the under-18 set
  • The Pinball Café, a bit of arcade nostalgia on Queen West (now closed due to licensing issues)
  • Chantecler, Parkdale’s new place for “progressive Canadian cuisine”
  • The Monday’s Dinner chef series at Chantecler
  • Kanji Sushi and Sake Bar, Parkdale’s new Japanese fusion restaurant
  • Glory Hole Doughnuts, Ashley Jacot De Boinod’s new crowdfunded Parkdale shop
  • Go Lounge, Parkdale’s new board game café

Queen West:

  • Ursa, a new Queen West restaurant serving modern Canadian cuisine (that’s secretly good for you too)
  • Lucid, Moses McIntee’s molecularly inclined cocktail bar and restaurant on Queen West (now revamped as Lo Zingaro)
  • Come and Get It, the very temporary Spadina pop-up resto that’ll turn into a condo before you know it (still alive and kicking)
  • Church Aperitivo Bar, an Italian kitchen and bar in a (former) Queen West church
  • Cube, Charles Khabouth’s newest incarnation of Ultra Supper Club
  • Banh Mi Boys, Queen West’s shiny new Vietnamese sub counter (already sprouting a second location)
  • The Big Fish, a new fish and chips shop on Queen West
  • Lamesa, a contemporary spin on traditional Filipino cooking on Queen West
  • The Dog and Bear, the traditional British pub that took over from The Social
  • Feel Good Guru, a new vegan joint with its own green wall (and urban cultivator!)
  • North of Brooklyn, a new thin-crust, by-the-slice pizzeria on Queen West
  • Strada 241, a new rustic Italian restaurant and café from the Rubino brothers
  • A-OK Foods, a new ramen and snack bar from the owners of Yours Truly


  • Hopgood’s Foodliner, the new Roncesvalles restaurant from Hoof Café vet Geoff Hopgood
  • Marcy, a Roncesvalles Polish restaurant reborn as a cocktail bar
  • Smock Café, the new Roncesvalles spot for coffee, kids and crafting
  • De la Mer, the Bayview fishmonger’s outpost on Roncesvalles


  • The Burger’s Priest on Yonge, the much-anticipated second location of Shant Mardirosian’s all-American roadhouse
  • Stack, uptown’s new barbecue restaurant (complete with a huge smoker)
  • Dine on 3, the $35-million facelift to Yorkdale’s food offerings
  • Urraca Resto Lounge, a new Korean tapas joint at Yonge and Finch


  • The Oxley, the new Yorkville British pub from the team behind the Queen and Beaver
  • Museum Tavern, a classic American brasserie right across from the ROM
  • Café Boulud, Daniel Boulud’s new casual fine-dining restaurant at the Four Seasons