The holidays call for eating, drinking, and being merry all over town.
So what better excuse to check out some of Toronto’s newest restaurants and bars?
A little while back, we told you about eleven bars and restaurants to hit before the holidays. But that just wasn’t enough for our city, so we’ve found 8 new spots you can hit during the holidays (especially if you have a thing for Italian).
The re-launch of Yorkville’s 70 Down offers yet another reason to venture north of Bloor this holiday season. The Yorkville Avenue spot has a brand new Middle Eastern tapas-style menu. Created by Chef Jimmy Derwish, the menu offers a revolutionary take on traditional recipes to modernize them for today’s food culture. The space retains its lounge-like feel, allowing guests to get cozy over a glass of red, perhaps with a hookah pipe in hand.
Bugigattolo Italian Kitchen
Liberty Village has a new downhome Italian restaurant. Just in time for the cold weather, Bugigattolo, a new Calabria-inspired Italian restaurant, is now open at 54 Fraser Avenue, offering up comforting home-style dishes that are created with a rustic approach. The new spot has a mandate to base their cooking on old-school Italian preparation techniques, seasonal ingredient availability, and a unique set of cultural influences.
Figo Figo is the newest Italian restaurant to grace the downtown core. Located on the south-west corner of Adelaide and John, the stylish, open space dishes up things like house-made ricotta (made using a 100-year-old recipe), wood-fired pizzas, and made-from-scratch pastas, using contemporary techniques with the freshest ingredients. With legendary Toronto restaurateurs Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth behind the place, it’s naturally already become a hotspot for both dinner dates and holiday hangover brunches.
See you tonight for our second official dinner service! #Figo A photo posted by FIGO (@figotoronto) on
If you’re in the market for a holiday hookup, you’ll probably find it at Financial District’s newly-opened, young-professional-filled Cactus Club. Even if you’re not, if you’re in search of a busy (i.e jam-packed) spot for an after-work holiday cocktail (or three), it makes a no-fail option, even if you have to wait in line to enter the multi-level establishment. Despite the relaxed but refined pub-like feel, the food is far from pub grub, and includes a creatively crafted selection in everything from their steaks to their massive salads. Perfect for holiday bonding, there’s no shortage of sharable options either (and some are even healthy).
Jamie’s Italian at Yorkdale
Just in time for the holiday shopping mall madness, Yorkdale Shopping Centre just got more worth the journey up there thanks to the opening of Jamie’s Italian. The arrival marks the first North American location of famed chef Jamie Oliver’s chain of high-end Italian spots. After a successful day of shopping, a no-fuss meal at Jamie’s Italian is the perfect way to reward yourself – especially if a glass of wine’s involved. The spot features fresh pasta made in-house everyday, a variety of bruschettas, made-to-order pizzas, and antipasti planks of cured meats cheeses and vegetables.
If you’re in need of a night out with the guys or ladies before everyone leaves for the holidays, King West has a new hotspot, and one I’m pretty hopeful won’t fall victim to the douchbaggery of the surrounding clubs. Transforming the former Grand and Toy location at the corner of King and Brant, Early Mercy offers a more laid-back vibe compared to its neighbours, the design-forward spot is set up for those wild, judgement-free nights of no regrets (perfect, right?). To soak up all the booze, you can indulge in goodness from the beloved Food Dudes’ Food Truck. Bring your (well-heeled) dancing shoes; rotating bands and musicians celebrate an old-meets-new approach to music.
Yorkville is not only picturesque during the holidays, it’s also hella convenient for (high-end) holiday shopping. That’s why when a craving strikes for a little Cibo gourmet grub, you may want to opt for the newly-opened Yorkville location over the rowdier King Street spot. Helping in the “merry” department, Cibo Yorkville has the perfect wine to accompany the quality authentic Italian fare, thanks to the 2500 bottles of vino housed in the award-winning wine room.
For a night out on Queen West, hit the new(ish) Apartment 200. Just make sure you arrive early – there’s always a line and there’s no humouring these bouncers. The location of the former Wicked sex club is completely transformed (not that I knew what it looked like before, of course) into an open residential-inspired party place. It’s complete with arcade video games, a pool table, comfy couches, and big screen TVS. While it feels like you’re partying in a high-end apartment, the emphasis on expertly crafted specialty cocktails from some of the city’s most celebrated mixologists (complete with Toronto cocktail price tags) reminds you that you’re not (in a good way).