Toronto Life’s weekly assessment of the restaurants with the biggest buzz, the longest lineups and the toughest tables to snag.
The Hoof Raw Bar steals the top spot this week, now that Jen Agg has revived the mega-popular Hoof Café brunch (see last week’s rankings). Over in Parkdale, a new southern Italian restaurant is gaining ground and in The Junction, there’s a new contender for Toronto’s top taco.
- Hoof Raw Bar (↑5)
Last weekend, foodies lined up along Dundas West like it was 2010. The draw: the Hoof Café’s famous brunch is back at the Raw Bar (the blood sausage McMuffin is an early hit).
- Shōtō (no change)
David Chang’s 22-seat tasting menu flagship is still pretty much impossible to get into on a weekend without camping out on its website as the reservations become available.
- Rose and Sons (↑2)
On Saturday we spied Anthony Rose on the street in plaid shirt sleeves glad-handing with the long line of parka-clad brunchers waiting to get into his tiny Dupont Street diner.
- Edulis (↓1)
Each week, we call Edulis in an attempt to include it in Friday Night Bites, and each week, we’re politely informed that the tiny Niagara Street restaurant is fully booked with no cancellations.
- JaBistro (↓1)
Japanese food fanatics flock here for chef Koji Tashiro’s immaculately fresh fish and torched and pressed sushi. On Monday, the restaurant hosted its first Fisherman’s Day dinner, a feasting menu of rare seafood.
- Kingyo (↑1)
It’s getting ever harder to score a table at this new izakaya—they’re now booking for a week in advance. If you do manage to get in, order the Pork Tan Tan ramen, which just might be the city’s best.
- The Grove (↓6)
Despite last week’s rave from the New York Times, it’s still not all that hard to get a table at this Dundas West modern British spot.
- Daishō (no change)
Daishō continues to pull in a healthy crowd. Tip: don’t skip dessert. The unassumingly named “Citrus,” which has about a dozen components, is a show-stopper.
- Porzia (↑8)
One weekend in, and Basiolio Pesce’s new southern Italian restaurant in Parkdale is already selling chicken liver agnolotti and tiny cookies by the boatload. It’s also the last place that can open on the strip until the ban gets lifted.
- Playa Cabana Cantina (new this week)
Two things you need to know about the Junction’s new taqueria: 1) it takes reservations; 2) the tacos are better than Grand Electric’s.
- Ursa (new this week)
In a bid to capture Queen West’s club crowd, brothers Jacob and Lucas Sharkey Pearce are launching a new late-night snack menu for under $10 tomorrow.
- Patria (↓2)
Charles Khabouth’s clubby Spanish restaurant is also freakishly authentic—witness the the jamón ibérico de bellota sliced to order on the countertop.
- Splendido (no change)
Don’t bother leaving a message hoping for a Winterlicious reservation here—they were all snatched up in four days flat (no-shows are running at about 5 per cent, however, so you might still get lucky calling day-of).
- Farmhouse Tavern (↑1)
Farmhouse’s sold-out Hunt Camp series got off to a suitably bacchanalian start yesterday, with venison, foie gras, hearts, kidneys, trout, pheasant, white truffles and, of course, bubbly.
- Skin and Bones (↓1)
Matthew Sullivan, the chef who bounced from kitchen to pop-up to kitchen, finally alighted at this Queen East bistro. We found the food hit-and-miss (see also NOW’s hilarious kvetching over the chicken tails).
- Jacobs and Co. (new this week)
British chef Marc Fosh gave the King West steakhouse props in Phaidon’s recent Where Chefs Eats book for serving the best steak he’s ever eaten.
- Dyne (back this week)
Forget the gimmicky $325 Chef’s Last Meal (rib-eye, lobster, foie gras, etc). It’s Richard Andino’s Mediterranean standards, like grilled calamari with calamansi sauce, that are drawing crowds to this Av-and-Dav restaurant.
- Enoteca Sociale (new this week)
Rocco Agostino and Max Rimaldi, the owners of Enoteca Sociale and the Pizzeria Libretto restos, just launched Sussurra, an exclusive new bottle of sparkling wine made for them by Prince Edward County’s Hinterland Wine. And boy are they proud of it.
- Yours Truly (new this week)
Last night, Yours Truly hosted the second iteration of its Common Ground dinner series, this time featuring a 20-course feast of fancified British pub food cooked by Tom Anglesea of the Michelin-starred Red Lion Freehouse.
- Hawthorne (↓1)
Our reviewer liked Hawthorne’s popular #Four Square meals, but not as much as The Grid, which gave them a sloppy, full-page kiss last week.
Dropped from the list this week: Café Boulud, Strada 241, Canoe, Buca and Hopgood’s Foodliner.