Lunch

The Dish

1 Comment

Local, ethical and (mostly) organic home-cooking in the Junction

Humble Beginnings

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

Humble Beginnings is the latest new business to open on Dundas west of Keele—and the second gourmet lunch counter to join the strip in two months. The airy space has blond wood, exposed brick and a gleaming open kitchen that churns out a motley array of gourmet snacks: handmade empanadas, cheesy quiches and wraps stuffed with veggies, tofu and meat from Sanagan’s in Kensington Market. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options are available.

Humble Beginnings, 3109 Dundas St. W., 647-748-3109, humblebeginnings.ca

The Dish

Restaurants

Comments

Tabülè opens a new eatery in Riverside

Falafel

(Image: Facebook)

Tabülè, a favourite Midtown lunch destination, is the latest addition to the growing east-end restaurant scene. The new location is serving the same elevated Middle Eastern cuisine, including falafel balls, tabbouleh salad and lamb and beef skewers with assorted vegetables, as the original Yonge Street spot. The space is currently open for dinner. Lunch service starts this weekend.

Tabülè, 810 Queen St. E., 416-465-2500, tabule.ca, Facebook, @TabuleToronto

The Dish

Restaurants

Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: a bowl of fresh orecchiette at King East’s Mangia and Bevi

The Commendatore (Image: Andrew Brudz)

Eat! Drink! They are oft-heard words around an Italian dinner table, and the inspiration for the comfortable and familiar Mangia and Bevi. A King East favourite hidden inside the Ontario Design Building, the restaurant has drawn steady lunchtime crowds, obeying the exhortations of its name, for over seven years. The friendly, chatty staff serve up creative salads, sandwiches on Ace Bakery breads and some of Toronto’s best lunchtime pizza.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: the refreshing soba lunch special at Baldwin’s Konnichiwa

(Image: Renée Suen)

During the summer, diners flock to Baldwin Street for lunch on the many swelling patios under the shade of a wide, leafy canopy of trees. One of the best bets there is Konnichiwa, a quaint Japanese-owned and run restaurant that specializes in comfort foods made of rice and noodles.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

2 Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: the downhome chicken and crumpets at Lucien

Lucien’s chicken and crumpets (Image: Andrew Brudz)

For years, Lucien was known as one of downtown’s most elegant and fussiest fine-dining establishments. But owner Simon Bower recently recast the  restaurant as more casual and accessible (read: affordable). Part of the transformation includes a new lunch menu by chef Etienne Lemieux, formerly of Cowbell.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Openings

10 Comments

Introducing: Lilly’s Lunches, a new bike-based brown bag delivery service

Lilly’s Lunches owner Elizabeth Callahan packs brown bags into her custom-design basket (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Lilly’s Lunches is a new one-woman and one-bike operation run entirely by Elizabeth Callahan. After growing weary with her day job, Callahan fled her cubicle and landed on a bicycle instead. Throughout the workweek, she pedals her way around the downtown core, dropping off brown-bagged lunches to office workers too busy to head out for a bite. We decided to join her on her route for a day’s deliveries.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Openings

6 Comments

Introducing: The Hot ’n Dog, Parkdale’s coolest new lunch spot for the under-18 set

The Hot ’n Dog’s effervescent owner, George Karpouzis (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

As hungry customers file into The Hot ’n Dog around noon, owner George Karpouzis greets regulars by name, inquiring after their day and reminding them, gently, to keep up with their homework. With four schools within walking distance, this tiny new Parkdale eatery is the new go-to place for kids to looking grab a quick lunch. We decided to see what the fuss was about.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

Comments

50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No.49, Dosas fresh from a tiffin

no.49 We like our dosas fresh from a tiffin

(Image: Remie Geoffroi)

Midday in Mumbai, the streets are choked with bicycle-riding couriers carrying lunch in tiffins—stackable, reusable stainless steel containers. Mumbai is nothing like lunchtime in Toronto, when cubicle drones descend into food courts and stand in line for lumpy servings of salty carbs and icky meats drizzled with vaguely ethnic sauces. Luckily for the Bay Street hordes, Seema Pabari, a former paint buyer for Lowe’s, launched a lunch delivery service called Tiffinday. Entrées are about $11 each, and everything is vegan. The menu includes curried chana and puffy bhatura bread, a lentil-stuffed dosa served with coconut chutney, and vegetable-studded basmati rice with a side of pickled lemons. Users order online by 3 p.m. the day before, and meals are prepped by 11 a.m. the next morning. Pabari sends out 150 meals a week and is aiming for 100 a day, at which point she’ll open a satellite kitchen at Yonge and Eg. “I’m going head-to-head with the food courts,” Pabari says, determined to bestow executives of both genders the culinary benefits of having an old-fashioned Indian wife.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

3 Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: a quick, tasty and affordable combo from Taste of Orient

Three-item combo at Taste of Orient (Image: Renée Suen)

A food court gem located in the newly renovated Richmond Adelaide Centre, Taste of Orient serves heaping plates of simple but flavourful Cantonese food at the right price and the right pace for local lunch-goers with a schedule to keep. Less than $8 delivers three items from the heated countertop display with rice or noodles. On our visit, the curry-stained Singapore-style noodles, stir-fried with cabbage, carrot and onion are surprisingly light, while the green beans and chicken is, unlike most fast food counters, neither greasy nor sitting in a pool of congealed sauce. The coconut shrimp is encased in a thin, crisp batter and coated with a sweet mayonnaise dressing. Finally, four large sole fillets come slicked with a faint oyster-based sauce and delicately steamed with ginger and green onion. Altogether, a great value for surprisingly well-executed food.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: The Boulevard Café’s 30th anniversary lunch prix fixe

The creole salad and the quesadilla de pollo at the Boulevard Café (Image: Renée Suen)

The Boulevard Café has been serving Peruvian staples from its cozy, two-storey Annex home for the last 31 years, and to mark the occasion, the owners are offering a $15 prix fixe two-course lunch from Sundays to Thursdays.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Features

71 Comments

Welcome to Toronto the Rude

We swear at each other from cars, bark at each other on the TTC and yell into our cellphones. How a supposedly livable city suddenly turned boorish

Torontonians cursing each other in a traffic jam, illustration

(Illustration by Kagan McLeod)

I got into a cat fight the other day at the Bolshoi ballet, one of those live satellite transmissions at my local Cineplex, where people arrive an hour early to get a good seat. The orchestra in Moscow hadn’t yet begun warming up when one balletomane barked at me for sitting in her territory, a 10-seat swath ambiguously marked with scattered scarves and hats. “You can’t sit there,” she said, with surprising nastiness. When I chose a seat farther down the row, she snapped, “That’s taken, too.” Steaming, I moved to a third spot and plunked my bag down on the seat beside me, not to save it for anyone, but to ensure zero human contact after being bullied by Lady Ten-Seat.

Rudeness is contagious. When another woman arrived a minute later and needed two seats, I set my jaw. “You’re not going to move your bag?” she asked, incredulous. “Nope,” I replied. We exchanged sharp words. “I’m tired of being pushed around by your friend,” I finally hissed, nodding at Lady Ten-Seat. It turned out not only did they not know one another, but my newfound adversary had just received the same rude treatment. “Now I’m totally edgy, too,” she confessed, suddenly extending her hand. “I’m Jane. Let’s be friends.” Mortified, I shook her hand, apologized and moved my coat. Then we all settled in to watch Giselle.

I wish such hostile encounters were rare, but it’s hard to navigate the city these days without experiencing friction. At least that’s my observation. Perhaps I’m just a magnet for trouble. Perhaps you, on the other hand, float through winter with people politely stepping into snowbanks to let you pass; perhaps you’ve never been held captive to a cellphone user’s inane conversation on a streetcar. But I say civility is on the decline, and the evidence is everywhere.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Neighbourhoods

36 Comments

Rosedale-Summerhill Guide: 23 need-to-know places along Yonge Street’s poshest stretch

Yonge Street’s poshest stretch, from Ramsden Park up to the Summerhill LCBO, has two strong suits: food and decor. Locals from the tree-lined side streets keep the shops going during the week, while the weekend brings floods of shoppers from further afield. Here, our list of 23 essential restaurants, food shops, furniture stores, clothing boutiques and beauty parlours along tony Toronto’s main drag. 

START THE ROSEDALE-SUMMERHILL TOUR »

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

8 Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: the sumptuous tawük lunch plate at Tabülè

The tender barbecued chicken at Tabülè

This Middle Eastern restaurant is a midtown favourite—the room is already packed when we arrive for lunch. Our order of tawük ($8.95), recommended by an attentive server, features grilled nuggets of naturally raised Mennonite chicken parked next to a mountain of fluffy rice studded with vermicelli and fried onions. Like an ode to the perfect summer barbecue, the breast meat is moist under its light, charred crust and acts as the perfect foil to a large side of fattoush ($1.50 extra)—a refreshing salad of rough-chopped cucumber and tomatoes, sliced red onion and torn, toasted pita chips doused with a tart sumac dressing. We wash everything down with a tall tumbler of orange blossom-spiked lemonade ($3.95) and think of the warm weather to come.

The cost: $19, not including tax and tip

The time: 37 minutes

Tabülè, 2009 Yonge St. (at Glebe Rd. E.), 416-483-3747, tabule.ca.

The Dish

Restaurants

3 Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: a rich and delectable lamb sandwich at Queen and Bay

Great Cooks on Eight is an open-concept cooking studio and dining room on the eighth floor of the Simpson building. Since opening in December 2004, it has been feeding lunchers some top-notch fare from Andrea Nicholson-Jack (and providing them with a stunning face-to-face view of Old City Hall). Great Cooks on Eight only does lunch and has it down pat. Case in point: the slow-roasted leg of lamb sandwich ($18).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dish

Restaurants

Comments

Weekly Lunch Pick: oysters at Rodney’s by Bay

(Image: Trevor King)

The King West seafood mainstay opened this financial district offshoot on quiet Temperance Street last spring. The owners are as environmentally conscious with their food as they are with their decor, using mostly reclaimed pieces for a stylish maritime vibe. Between five and 10 kinds of oysters are available each day, drawn from both coasts and sometimes from as far away as Japan. This day’s selection includes clean-tasting Rappahannock River oysters from Virginia, briny Merigomish from Nova Scotia, and the salty-sweet Kusshi from B.C., helpfully arranged from the most subtle to most potent ($3 to $5 each). Mix and match with the house-brand condiments, including the appropriately named Danger Bay hot sauce. A bowl of Rodney’s crispy, salty frites rounds out the lunch, like an ultra-refreshing version of moules frites. A house-made ginger beer ($2.50) is the perfect seafood complement.

Read the rest of this entry »