A Toronto steak house classic and a fired-up Argentine fave
There are steak houses, and then there’s Barberian’s. There’s no selfie wall or wannabe-witty hashtag associated with this joint — just a couple of Group of Seven paintings (no big deal). This is a proper old-timey dining experience and an institution in Toronto’s food scene. Now in the second generation, the family business reaches back to 1959, with the menu reflecting those classic dishes that never fail to please. Begin the meal with a jumbo shrimp cocktail, a trio of giant prawns in a coupe with house sauce, before tucking into the swanky chateaubriand pour deux, gussied up with wine sauce. For dessert, dig into a banana split — what’s more old school than that? 7 Elm St.
When it comes to a good hunk of meat grilled to perfection, the Argentines seem to know a thing or two. The kitchen at Branca embraces the Argentine tradition of cooking over a live fire. In fact, this is the only eatery in Canada using the “al asador” style where large cuts and whole animals are trussed up on steel crosses and roasted over hardwood and Argentine lump charcoal. The end result is a smoky undertone and charred crust on a steak that could easily run you $150. And if you want to see where the magic happens, you can ask your server for a tour of their “casa del fuego.” For those with less carnivorous cravings, try the empanadas or the zucchini flowers stuffed with mushrooms and house-made ricotta. 1727 Dundas St. W.
A steak house in a former home
Chef Donna Dooher, of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, placed Branca in her top five restaurants in the city