Toronto Life - - Where To Eat -

Chad­wick’s ★★

BAR AND PUB An­nex favourite Fanny Chad­wick’s has been re­born as Chad­wick’s Craft Kitchen. Gone are com­fort-food sta­ples like grilled cheese and corned beef, re­placed by a choose-your-own-ad­ven­ture menu with a heavy Latin Amer­i­can in­flu­ence. Din­ers pick pro­teins—like crispy, juicy fried chicken; ten­der (but a bit too sweet) co­chinita; or crispy fried white­fish—then pair them with sides that range from in­ter­est­ing (col­lard greens with bam­boo) to com­mon­place (deli counter–league potato salad). It’s tasty and fun—en­joy­able for its nov­elty even when flavours don’t quite live up to their prom­ise. 268 How­land Ave., 416-944-1606. $$OE

Emma’s Coun­try Kitchen ★★

MID­DAY At St. Clair West brunch main­stay ECK, week­end din­ers line up well be­fore the res­tau­rant’s 9 a.m. open­ing time for their French toast fix. This is no-frills morn­ing-meal stuff—eggs, fluffy pan­cakes and bowls of whole­some baked oat­meal, cater­ing largely to fam­i­lies with tiny tots in tow. A big slice of the daily quiche is served along­side red-skinned pota­toes, salad or fruit; house-made bis­cuits are dense and but­tery, served on their own or smoth­ered in gravy, with a side of scram­bled eggs. There are a cou­ple of beers on tap, plus clas­sic hair-of-the-dog brunch cock­tails— in­clud­ing a pitcher of mi­mosas for the ta­ble. Don’t for­get to grab a dough­nut on your way out. 810 St. Clair Ave. West, 16-652-3662. $$VE

Mis­tura ★★ 1/2

ITAL­IAN At its best, this Yorkville main­stay el­e­gantly re­calls Toronto’s ’90s-era fine­din­ing glory days. Sleek leather-up­hol­stered chairs, sculpted glass ac­cents and cerulean can­vases im­merse the din­ing room in sub­dued, sub­aquatic tran­quil­ity. Af­ter one fi­nal swim in an ocean of oil and vine­gar dot­ted with pine nuts and raisins, unc­tu­ous sar­dine fil­lets are a tart, sweet and sur­pris­ingly rich ap­pe­tizer. The res­tau­rant’s long-ven­er­ated beet risotto—cooked so per­fectly that in­di­vid­ual grains of al dente rice glide in an earthy, parme­san-sat­u­rated pool that flows like ma­genta lava—re­mains time­less. In an age of craft beer–swill­ing hip­sters, at­ten­tive—verg­ing on fawn­ing—servers who guide pa­trons through a deep wine list, in which $50 bot­tles and $5,000 vin­tages co­ex­ist, still have their place. The same can­not be said for the choco­late olive oil cake, a dry, bland anachro­nism un­suc­cess­fully dis­guised in a boozy-sweet cloak of brandied figs and honey ganache. 265 Daven­port Rd., 416-515-0009. $$$$WVA

Oak­wood Hard­ware ★ 1/2

BAR AND PUB With its Parkdale-lite vibe (vin­tage light­ing, an­tique tools), Oak­wood Hard­ware has found early favour with Oak­wood Vil­lage’s chang­ing de­mo­graphic. It’s an out­lier on a strip dom­i­nated by fad­ing pizza chains and take­out joints. Pains have clearly been made to po­si­tion it as the area’s first hip­ster haunt, down to its menu of char­cu­terie, tacos and Korean-style fried chicken. Ev­ery­thing is well ex­e­cuted, if lack­ing in pre­sen­ta­tion. Fluffy arepas crowned with a black bean chili and queso fresco, or crispy, pro­volone-stuffed arancini make for great starters. Bone-in braised short ribs come on a bed of belly-warm­ing po­lenta; they’re dragged down only by a side of unin­spired steamed veg­gies. Parts and Labour alum Nick Wat­son crafts well-bal­anced cock­tails be­hind the bar, and jovial servers make you feel like you’re din­ing with friends—even if you’re alone. 337 Oak­wood Ave., 416-658-9898. $$WVOE

Pub­lic Kitchen ★★

VE­GAN In his North York kitchen, chefowner Doug McNish sends out fill­ing and flavour­ful plant-based food to a din­ing room dec­o­rated with in­spi­ra­tional quotes, Po­laroid snaps and stacks of his own books. The eclec­tic, or­ganic menu can be play­ful at times: McNish’s take on a maki roll is lay­ered and nu­anced, stuffed with brown rice, smoked car­rot “lox” and cashew cream cheese; and his trompe l’oeil of fat king mushroom coins looks just like seared sea scal­lops. As faux meats go, tem­peh is too salty in a sweet Asian glaze, but a chimichurri-mar­i­nated grilled sei­tan is de­li­cious and ex­pertly charred. A dessert sam­pler is oh-so-sweet but in­dul­gently good, with wedges of creamy peanut but­ter, ve­gan choco­late, crispy rice squares and pump­kin “cheese­cake.” 561 Mar­lee Ave., 647-341-1736. $$VE

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