Lorenzo Loseto

The Dish

Restaurants

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10 most romantic Toronto restaurants—good for everything from popping the question to illicit affairs

Cabbagetown’s F’Amelia (Image: Renée Suen)

Whether you’re hoping to impress a new flame or celebrate with a long-time lover, the right restaurant can be the difference between a memorable evening and this. Of course, not everyone’s idea of romantic dining is the same—some prefer rooms buzzing with energy, while others opt for serenity and luxury. So, we rounded up some of both. Below, the ten most romantic Toronto restaurants.

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for October 15 to 21

Monday October 15

  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves up a $40 prix fixe menu of Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700. Find out more »
  • 86’D with Ivy Knight: This week, a battle for doughnut glory. Watch the folks from Glory Hole Doughnuts, Dough by Rachelle, The Sweet Escape, Paulette’s and more put forth their best fried dough. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo Italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »
  • Mediterranean Flare: Marni Wasserman demonstrates a variety of Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian dishes. The menu includes lentil-cumin soup, quinoa tabbouleh, roasted eggplant dip, spelt pitas, baked falafel, and homemade hummus. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • The “Seoul” of Korea: Chef Carrie Rau shows how to make some of Korea’s national dishes, including jap chae, glass noodle salad, bulgogi, skewered marinated beef, mandu dumplings filled with pork and beef, and hoddeok (a sweet pancake with brown sugar and nuts). Dish Cooking Studio, 390 Dupont St., 416-920-5559. Find out more » 
  • Workshop—Kids in the Kitchen: A series to help children aged 9-12 learn to cook, develop recipes and understand healthy food choices, run by holistic nutritionist Kate Leinweber. Week one kicks off with prep skills, super-power salads and healthy sweet snacks. The Depanneur, 1033 College St., 416-828-1990. Find out more »
  • Fizzie Bevvies—The Art of Home-Fermented Pop: Love pop, but not the lengthy list of ingredients on the can? This workshop will demonstrate how to make your own fizzy, home-fermented drinks packed with probiotics and other health-supporting products of fermentation. The Depanneur, 1033 College St., 416-828-1990. Find out more »

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for June 4 to 10

Luminato’s 1000 Tastes of Toronto takes place next Saturday and Sunday

Monday, June 4

  • 86’D: Join Ivy Knight and Toronto’s top foodies for the season finale of Top Chef Canada. Rock Lobster Food Co. will be dishing out their east coast lobster rolls. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Green Goddess Workshop: Marni Wasserman demonstrates how to incorporate nutrient-rich greens into simple recipes.  Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »

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The Dish

Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 11: Italian stallions and KD virginity

A bevy of guest judges showed up for an Italian feast at Fabbrica: Lorenzo Loseto, Carlo Rota, Rick Campanelli, Lidia Bastianich and Franco Stalteri (Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 2 | Episode 11

Last night’s episode of Top Chef Canada kicked off with a little sentimental reflection by the chefs at their digs—the condo that is finally living up to its “luxury” billing now that there are only five occupants (cramming the original 16 contestants in there probably violated some kind of occupancy regulation). Trevor Bird hoped to God that he wouldn’t have to do dessert again (foreshadowing alert!), while David Chrystian announced to all of Canada that he was set to go home and propose to his girlfriend (good luck, David!). This week’s twists and turns, including guest spots from an R&B star, a former MuchMusic VJ and a legend of Italian cooking, in our recap below.

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The Dish

Food Events

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We dropped by the Great Toronto Tartare-off to discover a meatetarian frenzy

Luma’s Jason Bangerter predicted the event was going to be a meat fest, so he opted for a tuna tartare instead.

Last night, Grapes for Humanity corralled some of the city’s top culinary talent under one roof (that of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel) for RAW! The Great Toronto Tartare-Off, an event to raise funds to support a high school in Guatemala. A panel of judges, consisting of John Higgins, Amy Rosen, Josh Josephson, Corey Mintz and, to the delight of many, Geddy Lee, was tasked with crowning one chef the King—or Queen—of Tartare. Those chefs included Jamie Kennedy (Gilead), Didier Leroy (Didier), Lorenzo Loseto (George), Jason Bangerter (Luma), Mark Cutrara (Cowbell), Brook Kavanagh (La Palette), Albert Ponzo (Le Sélect), Patrick McMurray (Starfish and Ceili Cottage) and, most impressively, Luke Wood of Thornton’s Wine and Tapas Room who flew in from Yellowknife specifically for the function.

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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Six things we learned about how chefs are dealing with rising food prices from today’s Star

The prices of many agricultural commodities are determined by traders at the Chicago Merc (Image: Matt Griffin)

Though the proliferation of exorbitantly priced hamburgers may make it hard to believe, most chefs hate passing the high price of food onto their customers. In the face of rising costs, Toronto chefs are taking steps to ensure that more expensive food doesn’t necessarily lead to more expensive meals, according to a piece by Tony Wong in today’s Star. After the jump, six things we learned from it.

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The Dish

Food TV

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Top Chef Canada reveals the rather stacked list of guest judges for season two

Remember last year when Chris Cosentino, one of the pioneers of the offal revival, visited Toronto for undisclosed reasons and claimed he could smell Chinatown from three blocks away? Or when Richard Blais, the molecularly inclined winner of Top Chef All-Stars, tweeted about the interesting tasting menu he’d just lunched on in Toronto? Or when Italian food legend Lidia Bastianich dropped in at All the Best Fine Foods? Turns out they weren’t here just because they love us—they’re all guest judges on season two of Top Chef Canada. Other notable judges and tasters include—and let us be clear, this is a bit of a spoiler for those who really like to keep their Top Chef Canada viewing pure—east-coast chef Michael Smith, season one host Thea Andrews (no hard feelings, we guess!), chef-about-town Matty Matheson of Parts and Labour, Leafs assistant captain Colby Armstrong, Susur Lee and his soon-to-be restaurateur sons Kai and Jet Bent-Lee, Toca’s Tom Brodi, Roger Mooking, Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelson, last season’s winner Dale MacKay and his adorable son Ayden, Keisha Chante, Rick the Temp Campanelli, Lorenzo Loseto of George, Charlie’s Burgers mastermind Franco Stalteri, husband-and-wife dynamos Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, Odd Bits author Jennifer McLagan, Vancouver Indian restaurateur and chef Vikram Vij and assorted competitors from last season, not to mention the somewhat bizarro guests we already told you about, like Alan Thicke and Mike Holmes. (Whew!) Not bad.

The Dish

Restaurants

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GALLERY: All the chefs and dishes from last night’s Gold Medal Plates gala

Langdon Hall’s Jonathan Gushue with his gold medal–winning dish

Toronto’s annual Gold Medal Plates gala took place last night at Metro Toronto Convention Center. Celebrated in nine cities across Canada, the event brings together some of the best chefs and wineries with the city’s well-to-do to raise funds for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Last night, Langdon Hall’s Jonathan Gushue took gold while Buca’s Rob Gentile got the silver and Michael Steh of Reds finished with bronze. Gushue will go on to compete in the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, B.C. next February. For those who didn’t manage to score one of the $400 tickets, we’ve got you covered.

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The Dish

Food Events

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This year’s What’s on the Table fundraiser for The Stop features over 30 top chefs from Toronto and beyond

Eat well and feed the hungry along the way—that’s the concept behind the annual What’s on the Table benefit being held this year on November 2. Since 2005, the fundraiser has gathered $1.5 million for The Stop, the innovative community food centre whose goal is to increase everyone’s access to healthy food (check out our interview with chef Chris Brown from shortly after he joined The Stop). Dining stations open at 6:30 p.m., and patrons won’t be starved for choice; the event features offerings from over 30 chefs, including Lynn Crawford of Ruby Watcho, Anthony Walsh of Canoe and pâtissier Nadège Nourian (see below for the very impressive full list).

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The Dish

Random Stuff

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In a bid to stop the “mega-quarry,” Michael Stadtländer rallies (nearly) every chef we’ve ever heard of for Foodstock


Michael Stadtländer has rallied 100 of the best chefs from across Canada to participate in Foodstock, an epic, pay-what-you-can public food event on October 16 to raise money to fight the construction of a huge limestone quarry in the town of Honeywood, Ontario. The Highland Companies’ plan aims to span 2,316 acres of land and run 189 feet deep (deeper than Niagara Falls), and will have to pump 600 million litres of groundwater out of the pit each day (about the same amount used by 2.7 million Ontarians), all to extract crushed stone known as amabel dolostone.

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People

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We ask the top chefs at Toronto Taste what’s in store at George, Splendido, Scaramouche and the rest of the city’s hot restaurants

This past Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of Toronto Taste, the annual event that unites Toronto’s food lovers and food makers for a day of innovative cooking, tasking and fundraising for Second Harvest. 60 of Toronto’s top chefs—including Jason Bangerter, Donna Dooher, Chris McDonald, Mark McEwan, Anthony Walsh and Anne Yarymowich—doled out top-notch cuisine to an estimated 1,600 guests at the ROM. We caught up with the chefs and asked them what’s in store for them and their restaurants this summer.

The Dish

People

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Cookbook fracas: Susur Lee, Marc Thuet and other Toronto foodies displeased as Canadians left out of 100 Emerging Culinary Stars

Shut out: Canadian chefs have been left out of COCO

Backcountry bias: COCO: 100 Emerging Culinary Stars Chosen by 10 of the World’s Greatest Chefs snubs Canuck chefs

The country’s top chefs and food writers are outraged that an upcoming book profiling the world’s 100 most promising chefs does not include any Canadians. The 448-page book titled COCO: 100 Emerging Culinary Stars Chosen by 10 of the World’s Greatest Chefs will also contain recipes by these young, non-Canadian chefs. When Toronto writer Shaun Smith learned that there is still one slot left in the book, he promptly started a letter-writing campaign to the COCO’s British publisher, Phaidon, making the case for squeezing in some CanCon.

The letter (full text below) explains how disappointed the signatories are with the list. It’s an impressive collection of names: 24 of Canada’s top chefs and food writers have thrown their support behind Smith’s campaign, including Susur Lee, Jamie Kennedy, Marc Thuet, Anthony Walsh, Guy Rubino, Anne Yarymowich, Lucy Waverman and Toronto Life’s own James Chatto.

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The Dish

Features

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Hog wild

Chalk one up for the nerds, the diehards, the people who stay to the bitter end of every party. At Pangaea, on Thursday, Michael Tkaczuk of Serrano Imports introduced an extraordinary prize to the city—the famous dry-cured hams of the Ibérico pig (also known as the Pata Negra or Black Foot pig) of southwestern Spain. I remember the night, years ago, when Tkaczuk first brought Serrano ham to Toronto—a soirée at Bouchon. Even then he had his sights set on the superior and world-renowned Ibérico, but it takes time to persuade Canadian bureaucrats of the virtue of foreign delicacies. Now we can taste.

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The Dish

Features

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Cause and Effect

Thursday night saw the spectacular start of the 2007 Gold Medal Plates campaign with a sold-out crowd of over 600 guests at Toronto’s most glamorous venue, The Carlu. Gold Medal Plates, if I may I remind you, raises money for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Our goal this year is a million bucks, and with events scheduled for seven Canadian cities, I believe we can do it. As ever, it’s the goodwill and generosity of the country’s leading chefs that bring in the high-rolling public—plus the chance to hobnob with elite athletes. Never more so than last Thursday. The multitude was in a generous mood during the silent and live auctions, inspired by an extraordinary evening of excellence in Canadian athletics, cuisine, wine and—as a new departure for GMP—music. Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo performed three times during the evening and almost stole the entire show when he sang a duet with Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies.

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The Dish

Features

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New Beginnings

Much rejoicing in the basement rec room of my brain that England has made it (OK, somewhat implausibly) to the final of the Rugby World Cup. But the breathless tears of joy are nothing compared with the jubilation of 16 front-of-house staff at Mark McEwan’s new restaurant, One. They just found out they won the October 10 Lotto 6/49—total jackpot a rollicking $4,600,201. I’m happy for managerial supremo Tim Salmon and manager Eric McEwan (Mark’s son) who were part of the syndicate; even happier for the food runners and bussers who also take their equal cut. It works out at $287,512 each. And 56 cents. Most inspiring.

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