JaBistro’s sashimi, cut expertly by chef Koji Toshiro, is outlandishly fresh and flavourful. One night, the selection included ocean trout, sea bream, uni and, for adventurous diners, the chewy and ethereally sea-scented lobster sashimi. $100. 222 Richmond St. W., 647-748-0222.
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It’s 4 p.m. on Friday, and you don’t have a dinner reservation. Still, there’s no need to fret (or waste your night waiting for a table). We just called some of the city’s hottest restaurants and found three that can squeeze in two for dinner tonight. Now it’s up to you to get dialing and snag a table before they’re all gone. Today: Café Boulud, Samuel J. Moore, and Nota Bene.
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Read the rest of this entry »
Chocolate Brunette Pastry Company recently opened at Ave and Dav, selling truffles, Italians sweets and their own whipped-cream-and-mousse cupcake bombs. The boutique food shop’s hedonistic creations, like the sweet revenge cupcake filled with toasted walnuts and milk chocolate ganache and the vanilla coconut cupcake topped with mascarpone coconut mousse, look like they could rival the nearby, newly opened, Prairie Girl Bakery’s cupcakes in their epicurean insanity.
Chocolate Brunette Pastry Company. 182 Avenue Rd., 416-834-9711, chocolatebrunette.com
First, Crossroads Diner, a food truck covered in painted images of 1950s American icons and serving kitschy diner food, popped up in Toronto two weeks ago. Now, a roving restaurant with a ’60s California surf culture theme has hit the city’s streets. The Beach Boys Food Truck is painted aqua blue and sunshine yellow and is serving classic American greasy spoon dishes, like mushroom garlic burgers and chicken fingers and fries.
Name: Ardor Bistro
Contact Info: 59 Ossington Ave., 647-351-5100
Owners: Brothers Ivan Tarazona and James Bailey (Celestin)
Chef: Ivan Tarazona
The Food: A modern take on traditional Latin American food. Dishes include fish ceviche, grilled octopus salad and Peruvian riffs on classic bistro mains, like steak frites with chimichurri, duck confit with quinoa and sous-vide chicken with yellow pepper sauce. There’s also a six-course tasting menu for $45.
The sprawling former glass factory at 99 Sudbury St., tucked between West Queen West and Liberty Village, has seen all kinds of businesses come and go—an after-hours club, a film studio and the much-loved restaurant Mildred Pierce. It even hosted the popular pop-up ramen bash Slurp Noodlefest in April. Now joining the venue’s hodgepodge of occupants, which currently includes a professional MMA school and a monthly flower market, is a temporary oyster bar called Cool City Oyster Yard from chef Michael Pataran, who the nearby Cadillac Lounge recently brought in to add smokehouse barbecue to its menu. The 74-seat patio-bar runs from June to October and is serving sake cocktails and shellfish. The restaurant may just be the right fit for the ever-changing space: a breezy neighbourhood spot to slurp up oysters and put back early evening drinks with a view of Liberty Village’s expanding condo-scape.
The east-end neighbourhood café cherished for its Loïc Gourmet sandwiches, goodies from Café Jules Patisserie and Pilot Coffee Roasters (formerly Te Aro) espresso opened a second shop on King Street East near Parliament Avenue yesterday. The new spot is using the same Pilot espresso beans as the original location, but serving sandwiches and salads from Cinq catering. George Brown students and Corktown condo-dwellers are clearly excited: by 10 a.m. there already appeared to be line-ups stretching around the block.
Name: Marky and Sparky’s Smokehouse
Neighbourhood: The Junction
Contact Info: 520 Annette St., 647-748-4227, Facebook
Owners: Frank “Sparky” DiGenova (Butcher by Nature) and Marcus “Marky” De Simone
The Food: Slow-cooked southern barbecue made from meat from Butcher by Nature. The menu includes all the BBQ classics: wet or dry baby back ribs, chicken wings, brisket and pulled pork. All meats can be ordered on a sandwich, and there’s also a butcher platter, which includes every protein on the menu.
Liberty Village is now one step closer to becoming a yuppie’s dream. Live Market, a collaboration between Jennifer Italiano, who owns Live Organic Food Bar in the Annex, and Ezra Braves, who owns the Dundas West coffee house Ezra’s Pound, opened last week at the corner of King Street and Atlantic Avenue. The organic café, which serves espresso and gluten-free, fair-trade-certified wraps and salads, as well as Live Organic’s juice cleanses, is perfectly at home among Liberty Village’s 24-hour gym, doggy day care, hip mid-market furniture stores West Elm and EQ3 and Zumba studio.
Cut The Cheese, the latest restaurant capitalizing on the childhood food nostalgia trend, is bringing upscale versions of grilled cheese and mac ‘n cheese to The Junction this summer. Like Kensington Market hipster mainstay The Grilled Cheese, Cut The Cheese’s menu is amusing in its specificity and alarming in its disregard for early onset heart disease—everything has cheese.
Neighbourhood: St. Lawrence Market
Contact info: 45 Colborne Street, 416-214-9918, woodsrestaurant.ca
Owners: Bruce Woods and Robin Singh
Chef: Executive Chef Bruce Woods (Modus, Brasaii, Centro) and Chef de Cuisine Anthony Davis (Sidecar, Cowbell, The Roosevelt Room)
The Food: An eclectic menu with a farm-to-table ethos, including appetizers like wild Digby scallops and seared Quebec foie gras and mains from spaghetti and meatballs to roasted Muscovy duck breast with dried cherries and duck egg béarnaise. There’s also a bar menu (dishes are in the $10-15 range) for the after-work cocktail crowd.