FOOD AND DRINK
Five Great Toronto Restaurants that Bloggers Forgot About
In the quest to eat at the newest and trendiest restaurants, sometimes the well-established spots with consistently great service and food get overshadowed by the latest blogger buzz. Here are five top spots that don’t need the hype but are worth a revisit.
In the heart of the entertainment district this Tuscan restaurant is a sure-bet for a great night out whether it’s with a date, family, or client. Chef and owner Alida Solomon aces the rustic Italian cooking with her boar ragu, polenta with braised rabbit, and her sticky sweet mountain of short ribs with a zing of oranges and a bed of kale, long before the bitter green became the vegetable du jour.
364 Adelaide St. W., 416-594-8839
Long before the Ossington strip became well…Ossington in all its gentrified hipster restaurant and pseudo divey bar glory, Tom Thai’s Foxley was (and still is) serving up one of the city’s best ceviches and sticky short ribs. This is the place chefs and restaurateurs turn to when they want a reliable meal without the flash or pretension – not to mention a pretty sweet backyard patio in the summer. The plates are small, sharing-style so also head here if you’ve got a date.
207 Ossington Ave., 416-534-8520
This decades-old Yorkville institution is known for its ultra fresh seafood and pasta dishes, as well as its deliciously wonderful ‘70s-esque bordello décor with a celebrity wall and nude sculptures. Open for lunch and dinner, this is a big spender place if you’re planning to order its risotto platters and whole fish. Still, the pasta dishes (the Leonardo consisting of spaghettini with diced octopus and shrimp in a light lemony white wine garlic sauce is a favourite) are priced reasonably and it's a great semi-off-the beaten path spotin the glittery Yorkville.
202 Davenport Rd., 416-925-1903
Barberian’s Steak House
More than a steak house that’s been around for more than five decades, Barberian’s has played an important role of shaping Toronto’s downtown as second-generation owner Arron Barberian (along with Bobby Sniderman, son of long-gone Toronto institution Sam the Record Man) initiated the revitalization of Yonge-Dundas Square. (The restaurant was also where Richard Burton first proposed to Elizabeth Taylor in 1964). Aside from that, this steak house is part of the dying breed of old-school boys’ clubs with baskets of garlic bread, shrimp cocktails, filet mignon, surf and turf, and perhaps the biggest wine collection in Toronto – seriously, the floor-to-ceiling wine shelves in the cellar is worth the visit alone.
7 Elm St., 416-597-0335
Le Sélect Bistro
The word “bistro” has been used and abused so much lately that it’s lost all its meaning. However, chef Albert Ponzo’s Le Sélect is classic French bistro fare all the way: French onion soup, steamed mussels, choucroute garnie, escargot, crispy duck confit, and one of the best steak frites in town. The spacious bistro also looks like something out of Amélie with its adorable awnings out front, tin ceilings, and little tables of two. It gets particularly packed with theatregoers from up the street, so reservations are recommended.
432 Wellington St. W., 416-596-6405