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Friday Night Bites: tables for two at Union, Origin Liberty and Aria

FRIDAY NIGHT BITESIt’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: Union, Origin Liberty, and Aria.

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Burger’s Priest at Queen and Spadina is now open

Burger's Priest

The Tower of Babel (Image: Lucas Richarz)

The third location of the owner Shant Mardirosian’s crazy popular griddle-smashed burger chain opened its doors on Saturday to a line up that stretched a solid city block. Like Burger’s Priest’s other always-stuffed shops on Yonge and Queen Street East, the new Queen and Spadina location serves fast-food classics, Mardirosian’s unique burger bombs, like the soaring Tower of Babel or the Vatican City (the latter items are on the Priest’s “secret” online-only menu) and a new California Classic burger that’s still in the works. Also in the works: another location, this one at 986 The Queensway in Etobicoke.

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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

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Burger’s Priest is expanding to Etobicoke next (sorry, Mississauga)

Burger's Priest Double Double

Burger’s Priest Double-Double (Image: Lucas Richarz)

The Burger’s Priest’s third location at Queen and Spadina hasn’t even opened yet—though it’s supposed to very soon—and already the crazy popular east-end gourmet burger joint is expanding again. The restaurant tweeted with word of its fourth outpost: a new location at 986 The Queensway near the Cineplex movie theatres in Etobicoke, not Mississauga, as the owner Shant Mardirosian had told Insauga.com Radio last year. The menu is also expanding at the new spot. The Priest will be serving ice cream and other classic soda shop treats, like sundaes and banana splits.

 

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Restaurants

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Anthony Rose is opening a BBQ restaurant behind Rose and Sons later this summer

Anthony Rose is opening a BBQ restaurant behind Rose and Sons later this summer

(Image: Susan Keefe)

An as-yet-unnamed eatery from chef Anthony Rose, who left The Drake Hotel last year to open the first of three new restaurants, is the latest in the wave of smokehouses to open in Toronto in the last year. Rather than the slow-cooked southern barbecue of other recent arrivals, like Aft, Electric Mud BBQ and Marky and Sparky’s Smokehouse, Rose’s new spot is serving quick-grilled meats, including fish, chicken and sausage, plus smoked ribs and wings.  The space, which is tucked behind his elevated Annex greasy spoon Rose and Sons, will have its own kitchen and bar—housed in old shipping crates—but share cook Chris Sanderson with the diner. The new restaurant is scheduled to open in July. [The Grid]

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Openings

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Introducing: Switch, the new downtown bar and rec room from Hanif Harji

Switch

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

Name: Switch
Neighbourhood:
Downtown Core
Contact Info:
55 Colborne St., 416-901-9990, switchtoronto.com
Owners:
Hanif Harji (Patria, Weslodge)

The Food: A pan-global menu of sharing plates. Dishes range from finger snacks (cheesy truffle popcorn and spiced, smoked marcona almonds) to more substantial nosh (scotch eggs and haute dogs). The kitchen is open from 5-10 p.m. and reopens at midnight with a curated selection of snacks.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Ardor Bistro, a new Peruvian restaurant on Ossington from the owners of Celestin

Ardor Bistro

(Image: TJ Tindale)

Name: Ardor Bistro
Neighbourhood: Ossington
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.

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A summer oyster bar is joining the eclectic mix at 99 Sudbury

(Image: Facebook)

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.

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Openings

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Introducing: Marky and Sparky’s Smokehouse, a new spot for southern barbecue in the Junction

Marky & Sparky's Smokehouse

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

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.

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I confront parents who bring a wailing newborn to an upscale restaurant?

Urban Diplomat: For Crying Out Loud

(Image: Chalky Lives)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I went to Toca at the Ritz-Carlton for our anniversary dinner. Around 9 p.m., a newborn-toting couple settled into the corner booth, and seconds later, the wailing began. We were irked, especially when the couple tried for 10 minutes to soothe in situ rather than in the lobby. Would we have been so wrong to say something?
—For Crying Out Loud, Cliffside

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The Informer

Columns

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Dear Urban Diplomat: Is it rude to order dessert when there’s a line of people waiting for a table?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Just Desserts

(Image: www.justgrobio.com)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I recently waited for two hours to get a table at a new restaurant at Dundas and Bathurst. While we ate, we could feel the people in line eyeing our table. After we finished our entrées, the server brought our bill without offering dessert, so we sent it back and ordered panna cotta and cappuccinos. As we did, someone in line let out an exasperated “C’mon!” which I found incredibly rude. But then I wondered if maybe we had violated some unwritten rule. Is it bad form to order dessert when there’s a big lineup?
—Just Desserts, Dufferin Grove

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TIFF

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TIFF 2012 Insider’s Guide: top 10 places to eat

TIFF 2012 Insider’s Guide: where to eat

Amid the cocktail swilling and celebrity gawking, eating can be an afterthought during TIFF. Good news: there are plenty of excellent restaurants that let you do all three. Here, the glitziest places to dine, drink, and catch starlets cheating on their diets.

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The Dish

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Friday Night Bites: Edulis, Actinolite and Origin

FRIDAY NIGHT BITESIt’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: Edulis, Actinolite and Origin.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Women accuse G20 police of equating unruly leg hair with unruly behaviour 

During the G20 Summit in Toronto, being a lady with hairy legs was enough to attract police attention—that’s what a group of Hamilton women say, anyway. They’re among seven people who have filed a $1.4-million claim against police, saying they were stopped outside while exiting a Yonge Street restaurant. One woman also alleges she was sexually assaulted during a roadside strip search. Although none of the claims have been proven in court, an investigation by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director found evidence that at least one policeman, Constable James Ure, noticed the furry lower limbs. In his arrest notes, he wrote that “all parties appear to be protesters; back packs; clothing and females all have hairy legs.” The suit could be the last in the wave of litigation over police actions during the summit—the two-year limitation period ran out in late June, just after this suit was filed. [CBC News]

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Openings

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Introducing: Le Ti Colibri, Kensington Market’s first French-Caribbean joint (complete with tiki hut)

Introducing: Le Ti Colibri

(Image: Megan Leahy)

Le Ti Colibri is the latest little restaurant to make a go of it at 291 Augusta Avenue, the little nook that previously held Spicy Grill Indo Pak Cuisine. The French Caribbean restaurant is the first venture of Kristel Procida, who came from a marketing background and Mattias Laurin (Urban Herbivore, Fressen), a chef with over 15 years of experience. After meeting in France, the couple reunited in Toronto, a city they have come to love and call home. They told us they admire the cultural curiosity of Torontonians, which was part of the reason they chose Kensington Market to open their restaurant.

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