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Just Opened: LAB, another jolt of life for College Street

Rumours of College Street’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Just when it seemed like the west-end strip was hopelessly cluttered with mediocre Italian trattorias, generic pan-Asian takeouts and busloads of barely legals from the burbs, along came a few culinary jewels: Sidecar, Negroni, Grace, Cinq 01 and now LAB.

“I liked the vibrancy of the neighbourhood, and being about 90 per cent Italian, I thought it could use something different,” says co-chef and owner Howard Dubrovsky. Once located (there’s no signage yet), the two-week old boîte proves to be a welcoming setting with a soundtrack of indie and down-tempo electro more common to Queen West than College. Formerly Bite Noodles and Rice, the 32-seat room feels like a collision of urban street and Victorian apothecary, with graffiti tags by artist Darcy Obokata, exposed brick, rustic wood and sleek black granite.

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