A Toronto steak house clas­sic and a fired-up Ar­gen­tine fave

Thornhill Post - - Food -

#23 BARBERIAN’S 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.

#30 BRANCA 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

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