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Review: Leslieville’s Eastside Social may be the perfect neighbourhood local

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

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Eastside Social 2 star ½
1008 Queen St. E., 416-461-5663
Eastside Social 1 star ½
1008 Queen St. E., 416-461-5663

The ideal neighbourhood local—not too crowded, not too noisy, just-right prices—can be found in Leslieville. Eastside Social’s nautical theme (brass porthole outside, lobster trap–shaped lights within) is campy without being kitsch, and the food, cooked by former Ceili Cottage chef Chris Mentier, is refined comfort at its best.

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The Dish

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Review: Colette Grand Café is expensive, conservative and mostly good

(Image: Erin Leydon)

(Image: Erin Leydon)

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Colette Grand Café 1 star ½
550 Wellington St. W., 647-348-7000
Colette Grand Café 1 star ½
550 Wellington St. W., 647-348-7000

The new restaurant in the Thompson Hotel is ultra-polished and styled after an airy Riviera brasserie. It’s run by the Chase Hospitality Group and radiates—for better or worse, depending on your dining tastes—a corporate vibe.

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Platinum Dining at Luma Restuarant

setting-top

American Express Platinum members were treated to an exclusive night showcasing an eclectic assortment of Toronto food trends. For Taste from Platinum at Luma, Chef Michael Wilson put his signature spin on street-level culinary trends of recent memory.

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Ten things Jamie Kennedy can’t live without

This month, the city’s most famous locavore releases his first cookbook in more than a decade. Here, the 10 things he can’t live without

Ten things Jamie Kennedy can't live without
01
My knife
I’ve been using a general-­purpose Global chef’s knife for a decade. I like the way it feels in my hand: a solid everyday work tool.

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The Dish

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Review: Mata serves good Brazilian bar snacks (and some of the best sliders in town)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

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Mata 1 star
1690 Queen St. W., 647-691-0234
Mata 1 star
1690 Queen St. W., 647-691-0234

Felipe Faccioli, Tulio Lessa and Patrick Fraser, sharing chef duties, cannily opened their South American restaurant during World Cup, projecting matches on one wall and serving bracingly strong cocktails of Brazilian liquor. Even if you’ve never loved the beautiful game, their menu, composed of elevated sports bar snacks, will win you over.

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The Dish

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Review: Barsa Taberna’s multicultural tapas menu delivers some inspired dishes

(Image: Megan Leahy)

Barsa Taberna’s sangria cake with compressed melon (Image: Megan Leahy)

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Barsa Taberna 2 star½
26 Market St., 647-341-3642
Barsa Taberna 2 star½
26 Market St., 647-341-3642

Squint in this cavernous underground space late at night and you could be in a new-generation Barcelona tapas bar. At Barsa Taberna, the 19th-century stone arches and rough beams contrast with a backlit wall panel that’s a sexy Rorschach-like study in cobalt, black and white. After-workers and Corktown’s pretty young things suck back pitchers of white and red sangria, the sparkling version bright with cava and fresh berries.

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The Dish

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Review: Cellar Door brings the urban trattoria experience to Toronto’s outskirts

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

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Cellar Door 1 star½
3003 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-253-0303
Cellar Door 1 star½
3003 Lakeshore Blvd. W., 416-253-0303

Chef Robert Rubino brings the urban trattoria experience—original cocktails, handmade pastas, wood-burning-oven pizza, seasonal ingredients—to Toronto’s ever-expanding outskirts. A colourful caprese salad with orange and red cherry tomatoes and creamy burrata is a lovely starter.

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The Informer

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Nine reasons to go see b-boys breakdancing to Bach at Massey Hall

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A crew of international b-boys is coming to Massey Hall in October to breakdance to Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. On its face, it’s an odd proposition. And yet, this particular performance, Red Bull Flying Bach, by the dance crew The Flying Steps, has been drawing capacity crowds around the world since debuting their world tour in 2010. Click on the images below to see nine reasons to go to one of the four Toronto shows from Oct 16-19.

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5 Ways to Dine in Style

Now that celebrity spotting is over, it’s time to be treated like one, thanks to the American Express Platinum Card. And yes, ever-bulging wallet or no, you really do need this card – especially if you’re an avid foodie. Here’s why:
 

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The Dish

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Review: Los Colibris brings sophisticated Mexican cuisine to a touristy strip of King West

(Image: Renée Suen)

(Image: Renée Suen)

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Los Colibris 3 star
220 King St. W., 416-979-7717
Los Colibris 3 star
220 King St. W., 416-979-7717

If your relationship to Mexican food extends no further than taco joints run by gringo hipsters, then it’s time to experience the joys of Mexican cuisine as interpreted by chef Elia Herrera. She presents the dishes of her native Veracruz with technique and polish in a dining room that’s just as sophisticated (the highlight is the bar with its elaborate tile mosaic depicting hummingbirds drinking nectar from flowers).

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Review: strong cocktails and excellent fusion food at Rasa in Harbord Village

Introducing: Rasa

(Image: Megan Leahy)

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Rasa 2 star
196 Robert St., 647-350-8221
Rasa 2 star
196 Robert St., 647-350-8221

The owners of Toronto’s Food Dudes catering, known for trendy comfort-fusion food, have overhauled the Harbord Street space formerly occupied by U of T haunt Momo’s. The subterranean room now resembles a civil war–era cabin, with its exposed pipes, stonework and bulbs, plus ruddy wood cladding. The 50-seat wraparound patio is reason enough to visit, looking out onto the restaurant strip’s sidewalk filled with posh couples stepping out of cabs, cyclists locking up and professorial types walking their doodle mixes. The menu is all over the culinary map: the 20 sharing plates range from delicate and fresh, like Asian-inspired yuzu albacore cubes on squid-ink brioche, to stick-to-your-ribs hearty, like a Korean-Ukranian kalbi steak cabbage roll. That diversity, along with touches of exuberance, make ordering fun, even if it’s difficult to put together a harmonious meal.

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The Dish

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Review: Portland Variety is a low-key surprise on clubby King West

(Image: Jackie Pal)

(Image: Jackie Pal)

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Portland Variety 2 star½
587 King St. W., 416-368-5151

This serene new tapas bar is a delightfully low-key surprise in the middle of the King West fracas. (Imagine the also-good Patria just up the street but without the ostentation and slavish devotion to Iberian purity.) Though you wouldn’t know it on first glance. The pristine white-on-gray room is decked out in neighbourhood-appropriate tufted leather banquettes and marble, and the servers sport hokey gingham shirts bound in old-timey suspenders, but beneath the trendy veneer is a refreshingly simple and down-to-earth Spanish(ish) menu.

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The Informer

Toronto Life Events

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Toronto Life celebrates Stylebook 2014 with red carpet event during TIFF

MS14_Gallery-Collage-656

George Pimentel Photography

On September 4, Toronto Life celebrated the new Stylebook issue and the annual list of the city’s best dressed. The exclusive, invite-only event was held at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and showcased the best of red carpet style on the opening night of TIFF. Guests arrived in their sartorial best, rubbing shoulders with the city’s celebs, athletes, socialites, fashion jet-set and more. In attendance: athlete Dion Phaneuf with wife, actress Elisha Cuthbert; TV stars David Chilton and Arlene Dickinson of Dragons’ Den; designers Dean and Dan Caten of DSQUARED2, Joe Mimran of Joe Fresh, Kimberley Newport-Mimran of Pink Tartan; and model Yasmin Warsame.

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The Goods

Best Dressed

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at our 2014 best-dressed list

Toronto Life Stylebook, which features our annual best-dressed list, is for sale today on newsstands and online, and our invite-only Most Stylish Party happens tonight at the Four Seasons. (You can follow along with the hashtag #TLMostStylish.) If you didn’t make it to the guest list and don’t want to pony up $8.95, you’ll have to wait till later this month to see who we chose and why—but until then, here’s a sneak peek: two behind-the-scenes videos of the photoshoots we did with the 23 Torontonians with inimitable sartorial vision who we’re featuring this year.

The Informer

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6 Things You Need To Know About Toronto’s Version Of The Hamptons

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