My City: Chef Alex Molitz's Insider's View of Toronto
Currently cooking up trouble at Geraldine, where he’s executive chef, Alex Molitz is one of Toronto’s hottest young culinary talents. Part of the new guard known for iconoclasm and a fresh approach to food, Molitz describes himself as “twisted, earnest, sensitive and very, very ginger.” And that’s just his Twitter handle. With his obvious respect for the integrity of great ingredients and playful sense of humour, Molitz is known for his ability to transform great neighbourhood restaurants into must-eat destinations. We asked him to give us an insider’s guide to the best spots in Toronto and a glimpse into the places he visits on his rare days off. When he’s not napping and catching up on roti and Netflix, that is.
Q: What one super-touristy thing in Toronto is totally worth it?
Molitz: As expensive as it is, the CN tower is pretty amazing. Have a drink in the revolving restaurant and gaze over the water.
Say you had a friend in from out of town and wanted to take them to one place that would give them a feel for what it was like to live in Toronto. Where would it be?
Oddseoul on Ossington. It’s got a great vibe, clean and simple food and cucumber soju!
And then if you wanted to take them to see a band?
Dakota is, hands down, my favourite venue. Small, great sound, good
crowd. It’s a veritable Toronto institution.
Bar Isabel, though expensive, it’s fully and utterly worth it. Food, wine, cocktails, service, atmosphere: Isabel is the full package.
Do you have a go-to shopping spot?
Northern Standard Trading Post in Parkdale has really cool attire and I go to Public Butter for vintage finds. Lavish and Squalor (Queen and John) is great, too.
What about food shopping?
St. Lawrence Market wins for its history and consistently great food. It doesn’t hurt that you can snack on a peameal bacon sandwich there, too.
What’s your favourite way to immerse yourself in a little culture?
I go to the Canadian Opera Company and listen to my dad play. (His father is Alan Molitz, a double bass performer in the orchestra.)
Is there one place to steer clear of in Toronto?
Avoid Yonge-Dundas square like the plague. Promise me you’ll follow this advice.
What’s the best museum in the city?
The Ontario Science Centre is a real hassle to get to, but it’s worth the trouble. So much fun. The best is when you also get to check out a kickass space documentary at the IMAX.
Do you have one tip for people trying to get around this congested city?
Never ever, for the life of God, ever, take the blue night special bus, otherwise known as the “vomit comet.”
Geraldine, 1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815
Oddseoul, 90 Ossington Ave., 416-628-3586
The Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., 416-850-4579
Bar Isabel, 797 College St., 416-532-2222
Northern Standard Trading Post, 1662 Queen St. W., 647-348-7060
The Public Butter, 1290 Queen St. W., 416-535-4343
Lavish and Squalor, 253 Queen St. W., 416-599-4779
St. Lawrence Market, 92 Front St. E., 416-392-7120