The city’s bar and restaurant scene has seen a staggering amount of new entries lately. Take this past month: Toronto openings have included a new Middle Eastern snack bar, a cool brewpub, a homestyle Jewish eatery, a craft coffee roaster, and a tapas-style Japanese restaurant. That’s a lot to handle, so get together with your significant other and get out there — you have plenty to explore, and even more to eat.
Rose City Kitchen
This sleek little Middle Eastern sandwich spot keeps it simple, but in the best way possible. Stop by Rose City Kitchen‘s new location on trendy Queen West for lunch, when the grill’s fired up with spicy steak and chicken. You can get your meat (or falafel) wrapped in a soft, fresh-baked pita and dressed in one of five different styles, including the simple Lebanese, with garlic sauce, pickles, and lettuce. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try the RCK poutine – a Middle Eastern twist on the Canadian classic, topped with humus and tabbouleh.
Louis Cifer Brew Works
Pubs are always welcome Toronto openings, but this plush new brew pub is especially worth a visit. Riding the unstoppable wave of craft beer popularity, Louis Cifer offers flights of their own hand-crafted beers. Come in and watch the game on one of the big screens and sip your way down their tap list. Or, try one of their “hoptails” (that’s a cocktail mixed with one their homebrewed beers) like the light, floral gin blossom and sample some of their sharables with your date – try the rosemary fries and mac ‘n’ cheese poppers.
Wholesome Jewish cuisine is served up old-school in this cozy space on Dundas West. Get up early on Sunday (like, at noon) and take a walk down to Little Portugal for brunch. You won’t find bacon or shellfish on the menu at Essen, but you will find hearty plates like braised beef brisket and challah French toast. Of course, you really can’t go wrong with their bagel plate: Whipped dill cream cheese is layered onto a Gryfe’s bagel with house-cured salmon and capers – and it’s served with a side of potatoes and a lemon and za’tar dressed salad.
Outpost Coffee Roasters
This specialty-grade, small-batch, craft coffee roastery “treats coffee like a fine wine, not simply a commodity,” and you can taste the difference. You’ll smell the beans roasting before you even open the door, and there’s refreshing lemon water for you to enjoy as soon as you enter. Showcasing beans from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia, with an emphasis on fine drip brews and seasonal roasts, Outpost is sure to become a Junction neighborhood local favourite.
Kujira Japanese Cuisine
Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighborhood welcomes a new Japanese restaurant billed as a fusion of authentic Eastern flavours with Western modern flair. Sleek, new Kujira features crafted, individually garnished sushi and hot and cold tapas-style plates. Pick up a pair of chopsticks and treat your tastebuds to torched mackerel sashimi, or the special Tuna on a Coin roll with fried asparagus. Fresh, original sushi in Toronto? That’s refreshing. Know what’s even more refreshing? Frozen beer. Think of it as a beer slushie, and use it to extinguish that wasabi burn.