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Best New Restaurants 2012: No. 2 Acadia

Best New Restaurants 2012: 2 Acadia

Chef Matt Blondin

The cuisine is billed as Acadian—the cooking of South Carolina and Louisiana married to the briny flavours of the Maritimes, refracted through modern French techniques. If it sounds high-concept, that’s because it sprang from the mind of chef Matt Blondin, who came up through the modernist kitchen at Colborne Lane during the molecular gastronomy craze of the early aughties. Determined, creative and fanatically precise, Blondin turns out complex dishes that buzz with originality. He pairs four cubes of luscious North Atlantic albacore tuna with the smoky, soulful zing of a southern dry rub. Rich gumbo, made with black rice grits, spicy tasso ham and prawns, is as colourful and comforting as a sunset. Cod cheeks battered with blue cornmeal are downright rococo, served on a multi­coloured column of pickled shrimp, sugarcane chow chow and pear squash. The artful plating—curlicues of bitter chocolate over veal cheek, scallops topped with paper-thin chicken crackling and Parmesan shards—is not only visually playful, it builds layers of flavour that surprise and delight diners, dish after dish. Acadia is a restaurant that soars above its pretensions, taking southern cooking in Toronto from barbecue to baroque. 50 Clinton St., 416-792-6002. See our listing for more information »

Steelhead Salmon with Fennel, Persimmon and Andouille Jerky

(Images: Raina and Wilson)

BEST NEW RESTAURANTS 2012No. 1No. 2No. 3No. 4No. 5No. 6No. 7No. 8No. 9No. 102012
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  • Jamal Uddin

    The sign over the stove in number 10 new restaurent says it all.
    Are the food in new restaurants free or priceless?

  • VR

    Yes, I’m curious as to pricing. This is unusual as location and pricing are usually prominently displayed in the articles on top restaurants. This is a disappointment.

  • GFFcrew

    The meal was good. Nothing that resonated for us to return though. Grits are yummy.

  • Frank Lloyd

    This is a chef who has been mislead into thinking more is more. Confused concoctions of unrelated flavors and textures much like other Ferran Adria groupies. Like modernist architecture that looked great in magazine photos this food in reality fails in providing its basic function: pleasurable nutrition.

    Less is more.

  • Leah

    THE BEST NEW RESTAURANT number ONE is Picea997! a new pizzeria and bar at Dupont and Dovercourt. Fantastic pizza, the owner went to Naples himself to learn how to cook pizza in his Stgefano Ferrara pizza oven! MUST TRY!

  • Jamie McDonald

    Worst Service Experience in 20 Years of Eating in Toronto
    * Had dinner for four on the patio at Acadia last night
    * Ordered the five course tasting menu with wine pairing
    * Sat down at 8 PM and had been served 2 courses by 10:15 PM. I am glad I didn’t order the 9 course meal! We would have finished up at 5 AM. A third course was delivered at 10:20 at which point we called it quits.
    * Have I mentioned the portions? Tiny. To say we left the restaurant hungry is an understatement. Should have ordered take out pizza from Cafe Diplomatico across the street and had it delivered to our table on the patio at Acadia.
    * Our waiter, Charlie, was apologetic and tried to make up for the lack of food by overdosing on the wine pairing. While nice of him, we had about 10 glasses of wine sitting on the table by the end of the evening.
    * Our evening was capped off by being delivered a bill where Charlie graciously took off 40% of the food bill. Unfortunately, there was no concession for the ridiculous length of time it took to be delivered our three courses.
    * It was $200 dinner for my wife and I that needed to be supplemented with a bowl of cereal when we got home.
    * Clearly Matt Blondin leaving Momufuku has left the kitchen in disarray.
    * Charlie – thanks for the laughs. We will see you at your next restaurant.

  • Jen

    Overpriced and under delivered – you will most definitely be hungry within moments of paying your bill.