Spring isn’t here quite yet, but there are plenty of new restaurants ready to take you in and keep you warm in the meanwhile. Here’s our lay of the best new spots coming to Toronto before the vernal equinox.
Marking the seventh restaurant under Dave Sidhu’s watch and the next in his Mas Playas culinary empire, this newest outpost brings diner-inspired Mexican to Dufferin Grove. Opened this month, the restaurant (split into a no-reservations bar area and a reservations-only dining room), offers hungry stomachs venison tostadas and crab salad pastor, while an assortment of Mexican beers, mescal, and tequila cocktails are ready for the thirsty.
The “World’s Largest Bubble Tea Brand” has already established franchise locations in Richmond Hill, Scarborough and North York, but as of Valentine’s Day they’ve established their first downtown location, just south of Irwin on Yonge. Just be ready for the lineups.
Opening at Queen West and Ossington on Feb. 9, Entice Culinary Lounge boasts an upscale bistro experience complete with a globally-influenced menu and unique signature cocktails. Information is tight right now, but a quick perusal of potential menu items on their Instagram feed reveals an assortment of attractive looking plates: scallop and pancetta salad with artichoke hearts, deconstructed mushroom pastas, strip loins with collard greens… Entice, indeed.
Fusing local ingredients with traditional imported spices, Palinka Bar is set to debut their 90-seat Hungarian bar any time now, simultaneously opening exclusive Canadian access to hundreds of varieties of 100 per cent fruit-based (and gluten-free) cocktail spirits and rare wines.
Real Mo-Mo’s is slated to squeak in and open its doors to the brunch, lunch and dinner crowds just steps away from the St. Lawrence Market before winter’s end. They identify as a modern European bistro, but Australia, the Canary Islands, Holland, Indonesia and New Zealand are all within reach of their democratic kitchen, which, if curious, just sounds like a recipe for success.
Opened in December’s home stretch, chef/owner Boris Babić’s new South Riverdale restaurant might as well be new to Toronto for 2016. Touting a German-influenced Italian menu, the Peasant Table offers a confluence of two worlds, Babić telling Toronto Life “It’s food from where the Alps meet the Adriatic Sea,” here you’ll find gnocchi served alongside sauerkraut, and cod fried in squid-ink batter.
While there’s still no projected opening date and the name is evocative of an Italian phrase instructing to go “softly, softly” or “slowly, slowly,” with designer Tiffany Pratt’s speedy, radical redesign of the former Splendido space and its once conservative exterior, we’re hoping Victor Barry’s Piano Piano makes its debut before winter’s end.
Little Portugal’s newly opened Ufficio is an Italian restaurant, but it sets itself apart from the traditional experience plating exclusively for ethically minded pescatarians and vegetarians. Expect seafood spins on Italian classics, like the spaghetti “carbonara,” headlined with a surprisingly pancetta-like, six-hour smoked salmon. A vegetarian dinner menu is also available, landing hedgehog chanterelle and perigord truffle porcini agnolottis and other dishes straying from the expected pasta offerings on tables.
(Photo by Entice Culinary Lounge)