Toronto is having a major moment when it comes to the culinary and cocktail scene.
Some time over the last five years, we’ve become a foodie’s playground.
Despite the growing list of options, however, it’s always a challenge to pick a spot come crunch time, or when asked on the spot for a restaurant recommendation.
With that said, here are the eight anticipated spots I’m most excited to check out in 2016 (and yes, I will probably have to revisit this list before a future date night).
Toronto’s king of Mexican, Dave Sidhu (of the ever-growing Playa Cabana empire), just opened his seventh restaurant, Cafeteria, last week. The Mexican diner has taken over the former Black Skirt spot at 974 College Street. Chef Lucas Perez, of popular spots like Patria, El Catrin, and Enoteca Sociale, will head operations in the kitchen.
2. Jen Agg’s New Spot
Jen Agg of young professional hotspots The Black Hoof and Rhum Corner is slated to open yet another spot in the city. Though the details are sparse (including the name), we do know that the focus will be on wine and ciders that it will be in Kensington Market – three of my favourite things. It’s expected to open this spring.
If you’ve eaten at STK during a trip South of the Border, you can get excited to know that the first Canadian location of the upscale steakhouse will soon hit Toronto. Expected to open mid-2016, STK will offer another reliable steakhouse option for Yorkville (and some stiff competition for the equally as delicious NAO).
4. Gusto 501
Yes, there will soon be a new Gusto to open up shop in the city – and we can expect it to be just as jam-packed as the current Gusto 101. As an added bonus for the east-of-Yonge Street set, the three-storey restaurant will be located at 501 King Street East – hence its name, Gusto 501. The focus will be on Tuscan food and there will be a flexible menu. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until the end of the year for it to open.
5. Grant van Gameren’s New Spot
As reported by The Globe and Mail, the man behind favourites Bar Isabel and Bar Raval is set to work his culinary and cocktail magic yet again with the opening of a Latin-American cocktail bar in Kensington Market.
You may soon have a new lunch spot – if you’re still riding the gluten wave or have a thing for salads, that is. Marben’s Rob Bragagnolo is expanding his sandwich delivery service, Carver, to open a brick and mortar restaurant. Expected to open next month at 101 Peter Street, Carver will feature slow-roasted sandwiches and fresh salads.
You’ll have another Italian option in Yorkville later this year (though the exact date is TBT). Rumours have been confirmed that Mario Batali will open his famous Eataly restaurant in Toronto. The Yorkville location will mark Batali’s first restaurant in Canada.
8. Bar Volo’s New Spot
Though it cooled off from its late 90s and early 2000s heyday, it’s safe to say that Little Italy is back in full-swing thanks to the addition of recent hotspots that make the trip up from the core so worth it. Yet another option will be a bar from the owners of craft beer spot Bar Volo. Word is that the new spot will maintain a strong focus on rare beers when it opens mid-year.