Now Open: URSA Restaurant

Queen West has a new hot restaurant that’s getting foodies and health nuts alike all aflitter. URSA Restaurant opened early February to quiet rumblings. Borne from bothers Lucas and Jacob Sharkey-Pearce, the spot where Bar One once stood has been gutted and transformed into this nutritional powerhouse of an eatery.

Lucas and Jacob got their start in the food industry at Terroni on Queen in their teens, and Jacob’s kitchen pedigree therefrom is nothing short of impressive. (Think Prime at the Windsor Arms, Centro, and, of course, Terroni.) In 2006 the duo started Two Brothers Food Inc., an endeavour to provide catering, and meal consultation to athletes, that was bold in flavour but heavy in health. 

Fast-forward to today, and the Sharkey-Pearce brothers URSA is built upon the same tenets. Greens are vacuumed, not boiled. Root vegetables are employed but are far from heavy. No deep fryers are present in the space. Protein and meats are smaller in portion size so diners won’t feel weighted down.

It’s at 924 Queen Street West, an area that in the last few years has become Toronto’s food capital strip. The cuisine is Canadian comfort, just lighter and loaded with nutrition. The new space is warm, dark, and intimate. Lights hang looking almost like stars in the sky next to the blackened walls and ceiling.

The dishes are absolutely stunning and vibrant, little works of art that are intricate yet not overtly finessed. Everything is house-made so that the kitchen can control the nutritional balances and depths of each ingredient. Don’t expect any fatty trend foods here, or an Italian focus for that matter (phew!), the meals are all inspired by Executive Chef Jacob’s extensive background with food.

Expect URSA to become a mainstay, and hopefully ignite a shift in Toronto’s restaurant menus towards more accessible healthy foods done in an upscale manner. With the (mostly silent) backing of Terroni’s Cosimo Mammoliti, sommelier Clayton Cooper, and the Two Brothers themselves, URSA most definitely is, as the pun-happy writers and tweeters are saying, major.