AN OC­TO­PUS’S GAR­DEN

Annex Post - - FOOD -

#2 BAR IS­ABEL

It’s hard to be­lieve that Bar Is­abel, Grant van Gameren’s first post–Black Hoof eatery, opened back in 2013. But let’s not get all misty-eyed — let’s just fo­cus on the eats. It’s easy to load up on jamón and manchego and the mar­i­nated mus­sels es­cabeche, but al­ways save room for the oc­to­pus. A menu main­stay since day one, the whole octo (or half or quar­ter) boasts fork­ten­der grilled ten­ta­cles, jazzed with grilled dan­de­lion greens and smoky pi­men­tón. Sip on a Rusty Peach — a buzzy tip­ple with gin, man­zanilla sherry, the won­der­fully named RinQuinQuin peach liqueur and hits of ginger — and be trans­ported to a bustling eve in Barcelona. 797 Col­lege St.

#17 GI­ULI­ETTA

When chef Rob Rossi closed the doors to his Bestellen, it wasn’t for lack of in­ter­est. Rather, the beloved meat haven had kinda run its course, and chef Rossi was keen to switch things up. En­ter Gi­uli­etta. The menu skips across all re­gions of the boot, with Rossi us­ing a light touch on a cui­sine that never bores Toron­to­ni­ans. The oc­to­pus is al­ready a must-have: pro­cured from Morocco, it’s done sous-vide, grilled and sat atop bor­lotti beans and fra­grant salmoriglio. But the house-made scarpinocc pasta — tubes stuffed with creamy ta­leg­gio fon­duta, strewn with hen o’ the woods and bathing in but­ter — will go down even faster. Do leave room for dessert. The Gian­duja torta is a beau­ti­ful mar­riage be­tween choco­late and hazel­nut. 972 Col­lege St.

Ex­cuse us while we drool over this grilled oc­to­pus from Bar Is­abel

What has eight legs and is grilled to per­fec­tion?

Chef Cory Vi­tiello, of Flock, chose Gi­uli­etta as his top T.O. restau­rant. His other pick that made the list was Annabelle at #24

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