LAIDE 138 Adelaide East, 416-850-2726 Instead of a series of shared dishes served over a leisurely tipple, tapas to most area restaurateurs translates as smaller plates and higher prices. As primitive porno loops unspool above the bar of this louche east-side lounge, chef Sam Gassira’s conceptcorrect aps (snack-sized and cheaper than mains) – pan-fried lamb and cashew gyoza, hoisin-glazed baby back ribs – almost steal the show.
LINDA 335 Yonge, 416-971-7041 When Salad King’s Ernest Liu overhauled his popular Bangkok-style cafeteria, he transformed its unused second floor into an elegant supper club for his wife, Linda Liu. Along with a new upmarket look, she also installed a six-course $49 prix fixe meal deal and a fusion-inspired card that includes Toronto’s priciest pad thai. Mind you, at $16.50 a pop, it does come with wild prawns from the Gulf of Mexico.
OWL OF MINERVA 700 Bloor West, 416-538-3030; 5324 Yonge, at Churchill, 416-221-7275 Toronto’s come along way since Fran’s was the only 24/7 option in town. This extremely casual Korean café doles out bowls of fiery goulash-style pork bone soup round the clock to the seriously hung-over round the clock. Beats a cheeseburger at Vesta Lunch any time of the day.