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Toronto Restaurants that are an *EXPERIENCE*

djfear

TRIBE Member
so - paris in april.
any splurge worthy restos we should try to hit?
There's a Paris thread somewhere. I think Klubmasta Will or Vise gave me suggestions for some good spots. I hit up the one with all the meat, and au pied du cochon, both were amazing. I'll try to find it later on in the evening but I do have this advice: Do your research and stay away from regular tourist restaurants. They're very expensive (i.e. 100 euro / 2) for crappy pub food, but you can pay the same for world class stuff if you know where it is.
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
Clearly you and I live in different worlds... :p

I'm all for checking out new spots but during the week it is usually work + family time... when I do happen to dine out its a work thing and we hit somewhere closer to the core like Jacobs, Patria, Biffs, Canoe, etc. Please do shed a tear for me though... :D
Bar Raval

I hit Bar Raval on Saturday around 3pm. The place was packed, food on the bar, very positive atmosphere, and it was surprisingly small. I think it's going to be the type of place that is rammed day in day out. We only grabbed two drinks and a two tapas, so the bill was in the $45 range, but I can see how you can easily drop $200 here.

The bar itself is beautiful, the Wutang symbols in the aluminum drip tray (or whatever its called) are a subtle form of awesomeness, and also makes me think how the generation of the 90s are now in the position to run the show and inject that type of nostalgia in our creations. I'll go back, but maybe instead of to that place, I'll hit up Bar Isabel since most of the foodies that go there are at Bar Raval!

NAO Steakhouse

I hit up NAO Steakhouse, but once again, I went there and I didn't spend a dime since my friend's hubby works there. The place is really nice, clean, high end clientele, and the bar is great to sit at. I'm not a big fan of the chandelier, and let me tell you, it is absolutely massive. Some contemporary piece, and it matches the interior, but I just wasn't feeling it... but who cares about it, it's all about the food and drink right?

I keep hearing rumours that they plan on having a $1000 steak (to share), and I've heard of people dropping stupid amount of money on bottles of wine... it's definitely a baller type of joint, but at the same time the staff are super friendly and it had a nice positive vibe. I would go back in the summer just to chill out and have a couple of drinks. If anyone likes Weslodge then you would like this place, as the cocktail drinks menu is similar (owners are the same) and it's the same level of class, if not a bit more upscale.
 

rudebwoy

TRIBE Member
So has anyone one here had the pleasure of dining at a place with one or more Michelin stars? Did it impart something noticeably improved? I'm looking at Japanese Chef Backed by Farm Co-Op Brings Seven Michelin Stars to London - Bloomberg Business and it makes me curious. I've already decided to try an omikosi (sp?) when I have a chance but this Michelin thing I have no idea about...
i've had dinner at three restaurants michelin star'd (Momofuku Ko, Jean Georges NYC and French Laundry. I would go back to all of them again in a heartbeat.

c.
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
I ate at Alo a couple times in October and it was fucking awesome. The second time, in particular, was amazing, as it was for the extended tasting menu at Chef's counter (the first time was for a wine dinner where the wines were at the fore). I ordered bottles off the list as opposed to the pairings as there are some interesting items at a price pretty reasonable compared to many restaurants in Toronto.

In short, it's expensive (especially considering the amount of wine ordered), but was worth every penny. My only negative comment would be about the cheese course supplement. $30 for a half wheel of one cheese with accoutrements for two people is disappointing. At least give me some variety if you're going to ding me $30.

-- Jay aka Fut
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
Cocktails!

I went cocktail bar hopping in Singapore about a month and a half ago.

Two weeks prior to that...
La Maison Du Whiskey SG

Friday:

Bar L'Aiglon
The Library (beside The Study)

Saturday:

F.O.C.
Manhattan Bar at the Regent Hotel
Jigger & Pony
Sugar Hall
Operation Dagger
28 Hong Kong Street


I have to say that their cocktail game is much more advanced than Toronto's. Basically every bar made smoked cocktails as part of their program, they had very unique styles as well, particularly The Library which is the worst kept secret there.

Manhattan Bar had two separate sections where they infused their own spirits and made their own bitters, the same type of vibe as Bar Chef here in Toronto.

28 Hong Kong Street is like an industry bar, so we went there last and met a bunch of our bartenders afterwards.

All in all I would recommend all of these places. Each one has a unique vibe, to being more of a restaurant, to a hipster vibe, or financial district crowd. The only thing is that the drinks are just absolutely EXPENSIVE. Cocktail prices averaged Bar Chef prices, but this is more about Singapore itself vs the level of posh at these places.

Honourable mention in Madrid
1862 Dry Bar in Madrid

I stumbled upon this place after a hectic search for a hotel last year. My cousin and I were walking towards the metro and saw the name. I thought "Dry Bar... this place MUST be good." Lo and behold we had 3 cocktails each and then came back later that night for another 4. Absolutely amazing staff & owner. Not to mention the prices are closer to about $10-12 for amazing drinks.
 

Vise

TRIBE Member
Are tribers not eating at fancy places anymore? Anyone eaten at Miku yet?
We haven't stopped, just haven't had time or thought about posting here lately. Been travelling a bunch this year and have lots of recommendations for San Fran, NYC, Chicago, Boston, etc if you need them. NYC in particular has been great, hit Eleven Madison Park, Marea, The Modern, Ma Peche, The NoMad, Jean-Georges, The Breslin, 3 of Daniel Boulud's spots, and a bunch more across 4 trips since July.

To your question we ate at Miku in October, food was nice although it was a bit on the expensive side for what it is. The room/space is really nice though so that would explain the price point. The aburi sushi is interesting, I enjoyed it but my wife wasn't a fan. Some of the other small plates were excellent though including the short rib carpaccio. Sushi/fish wise it isn't at the level of Yasu (which is fucking amazing btw) but certainly a different type of experience... more accessible to say the least. We will certainly go back though as we seem to eat at a random Japanese place every weekend (Kingyo, Zakkushi, Don Don, Santouka, Sansotei, Izakaya-Ju, etc).

I ate at Alo a couple times in October and it was fucking awesome.
Long time no see stranger. Agreed, I'm trying to keep it on the DL but Alo is easily the best new restaurant to hit Toronto in forever. We ate there in August (couple weeks after opening) and to say our meal was fantastic in every way is an understatement. Absolutely perfect from top to bottom including food, wine, service, room, etc. Really the only knock is the location but once you get up to the restaurant all is forgotten. 10/10 and we'll be back asap for the extended tasting... easily one of the few places in Toronto (if not Canada) truly on par with a 2/3 star experience.

On a related note, very sad to hear Splendido is closing for good at the end of December. In many ways it was the start of our love for high end/tasting menus in Toronto (alongside Perigee, blast from the past). As soon as I heard the news we booked a dinner which was this past Friday... nice to see the room was full and very cool that Matt is back as the GM. Excellent meal, I think it was roughly 12 courses but perhaps more including canapes/treats.... caviar, oysters, truffle, foie gras all represented too as they should be. Expensive yes but nice to experience it one last time before it is gone forever. :(
 

Vise

TRIBE Member
Victor is closing Splendido but rebranding the restaurant which he will remain Chef of. FYI.
Yeah thanks, should have clarified. We chatted briefly Friday night on his future plans... nice to see he will keep the space and move to something new, I'm sure running a tasting menu only spot in Toronto at that price point is a tough go.

Sad though that it is the end of an era for Splendido, certainly no shortage of talent that came through that kitchen (and front of house) over the past 25 years.
 

eddie

TRIBE Member
Yeah thanks, should have clarified. We chatted briefly Friday night on his future plans... nice to see he will keep the space and move to something new, I'm sure running a tasting menu only spot in Toronto at that price point is a tough go.

Sad though that it is the end of an era for Splendido, certainly no shortage of talent that came through that kitchen (and front of house) over the past 25 years.
Yeah the place rocked when arpis owned it
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
The Cloak: New cocktail bar underneath Marben

I went to a soft launch for Toronto's latest cocktail bar and I gotta say I'm really digging it.

The Cloak, underneath Marben restaurant on Wellington may be considered a speakeasy in a sense, there will be signage soon, however you will still have to enter the place through Marben (which is also a fantastic spot). *The Cloak should not be confused with the Cloak and Dagger.

They have a lot of new and interesting cocktails with excellent vermouths & bitters, a small but delicious bar food menu (about 5-6 items?) including some vegetarian options, and they even have several interesting shots, including a cognac foie gras, and several 5 / $20 shots. The vast majority of the cocktails are in the $14 range, with some being $10 and some punch bowls priced for 2-4 people (around $75 for those).

The space itself is really nicely laid out, with a properly sized bar, and then booths against the backwall and plenty of space in the middle for standing room crowds. Hopefully this place lasts for a long time as Toronto could always use more proper spots like this one!
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
we did the tasting menu at ALO last night, based on recommendations in this thread, and loved it. great food and wine pairings.

we'll try the chef's counter next time.
 

djglobalkiller

TRIBE Promoter
I went to a soft launch for Toronto's latest cocktail bar and I gotta say I'm really digging it.

The Cloak, underneath Marben restaurant on Wellington may be considered a speakeasy in a sense, there will be signage soon, however you will still have to enter the place through Marben (which is also a fantastic spot). *The Cloak should not be confused with the Cloak and Dagger.

They have a lot of new and interesting cocktails with excellent vermouths & bitters, a small but delicious bar food menu (about 5-6 items?) including some vegetarian options, and they even have several interesting shots, including a cognac foie gras, and several 5 / $20 shots. The vast majority of the cocktails are in the $14 range, with some being $10 and some punch bowls priced for 2-4 people (around $75 for those).

The space itself is really nicely laid out, with a properly sized bar, and then booths against the backwall and plenty of space in the middle for standing room crowds. Hopefully this place lasts for a long time as Toronto could always use more proper spots like this one!
havent been on tribe in ages! but im pretty involved in the cocktail community in the city, done some good things and seen some praises, let me know if you're up for hitting a night out of cocktails.. any tribers for that fact!
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
havent been on tribe in ages! but im pretty involved in the cocktail community in the city, done some good things and seen some praises, let me know if you're up for hitting a night out of cocktails.. any tribers for that fact!
I'm always down to drink cocktails! Where are you working now, or did you have a certain place in mind?
 

djglobalkiller

TRIBE Promoter
I'm always down to drink cocktails! Where are you working now, or did you have a certain place in mind?
im Bar manager at Miss Things now, but have been involved in building the community up. Started the Toronto Bartenders Guild with a few guys, so seeing that come alive has unified the toronto scene! Lots going on.. Cloak is great Steph and Tao are friends of mine.. great cocktails

temperance society, bar begonia are also good..

im usually on bar thurs-sat at miss things.. 65 rums and growing.. come by an introduce yourself and lets plan a night out to meet some more great bartenders/cocktails..
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
im Bar manager at Miss Things now, but have been involved in building the community up. Started the Toronto Bartenders Guild with a few guys, so seeing that come alive has unified the toronto scene! Lots going on.. Cloak is great Steph and Tao are friends of mine.. great cocktails

temperance society, bar begonia are also good..

im usually on bar thurs-sat at miss things.. 65 rums and growing.. come by an introduce yourself and lets plan a night out to meet some more great bartenders/cocktails..
I've only been to TTS once, and that was because Sidecar was closing and I must have looked really bummed out about not being able to sit down for cocktails with my bro (on his birthday), sis-in-law and friend, so they let us in upstairs. It was a perfect evening actually, we were just waiting for bar raval to call us back, haha.

I've never been to Bar Begonia but I'll be sure to check it out based on your recommendation. Probably the next time I'm up at Monks Table. Who owns Bar Begonia anyway? It looks like it's affiliated with a bunch of other places?

I'll make it out to miss things very soon, quite possibly even this week or next as my schedule's wide open. Also gotta hit up Chantecler because I think they just got a new menu as well and that's down the street from you as well.
 

djglobalkiller

TRIBE Promoter
I've only been to TTS once, and that was because Sidecar was closing and I must have looked really bummed out about not being able to sit down for cocktails with my bro (on his birthday), sis-in-law and friend, so they let us in upstairs. It was a perfect evening actually, we were just waiting for bar raval to call us back, haha.

I've never been to Bar Begonia but I'll be sure to check it out based on your recommendation. Probably the next time I'm up at Monks Table. Who owns Bar Begonia anyway? It looks like it's affiliated with a bunch of other places?

I'll make it out to miss things very soon, quite possibly even this week or next as my schedule's wide open. Also gotta hit up Chantecler because I think they just got a new menu as well and that's down the street from you as well.

good friends with jacob at chantecler, their new menu offerings are amazing. big mac tartar (tar tar americano), royale with cheese, the chicken pate, duck poutine with shaved foie! theyre closed wednesdays.. also hit up the commodore while you're in the hood and shameful tiki too
 
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