Down­town

Toronto Life - - Where To Eat -

Charidise

TAIWA­nese The menu at this Bald­win Vil­lage spot is full of tra­di­tional Taiwa­nese dishes, but it also in­cludes crispy chicken pou­tine and lamb chop spaghetti. By and large they ex­ceed the ex­pec­ta­tions raised by the caf­style trays and food court de­sign. Soft shreds of braised brisket in a dark star anise broth with ten­der noo­dles and bok choy give the beef noo­dle soup real heft. Teriyaki chicken rice, hot and saucy, is served with skew­ers of zuc­chini and brus­sels sprouts, and slices of boiled egg. Among the snacks: plump takoy­aki show­ered in bonito, pop­corn chicken and sweet potato fries dusted with pleas­antly sour pur­ple plum pow­der. Ev­ery­thing ar­rives in eco-friendly bam­boo con­tain­ers, with an ap­ple on the side. 27 Bald­win St., 647-351-6555. $$VN

Kiin THAI As their res­tau­rant empire ex­pands, own­ers Nuit and Jeff Reg­u­lar have turned their tal­ents to the com­plex and in­tri­cate

craft of Royal Thai cui­sine. To do this, they es­chew strong flavours, heat and funk in favour of a more de­mure ap­proach. Sim­ple rice crack­ers are gilded with a creamy tamarind, crab and peanut dress­ing, and an ex­cel­lent salad of star­shaped, blanched winged beans de­rives com­plex­ity from the sub­tle ap­pli­ca­tion of chili shrimp paste, fried shal­lots, toasted co­conut and boiled duck egg. Larger dishes in­clude slices of grilled pork jowl, de­li­ciously fatty, and flavoured with tamarind, mint, shal­lots and a sprin­kle of crunchy toasted rice; a whole, salt-crusted sea bream, pre­sented as an of­fer­ing and then taken away to be deboned, re­turns along­side care­fully con­structed kale cups filled with herbs and rhi­zomes. 326 Ade­laide St. W., 647-490-5040. $$$V

Mo­dus

ITAL­IAn The at­mo­sphere is au­then­ti­cally cor­po­rate, a vast ex­panse of white linen swad­dled in greige ac­cents—in­clud­ing the

suits of the Bay Streeters who flock here. It’s no won­der, then, that the food in­hab­its that lim­i­nal space be­tween North Amer­i­can red sauce and tra­di­tional Ital­ian. But­ter­nut squash ag­nolotti sam­ples the worst of both worlds: gluey hand­made pasta suf­fo­cates un­der a sauce with the tex­ture, taste and ap­pear­ance of sweet béchamel. Much bet­ter is the veal pic­cata with parme­san-roasted cau­li­flower and a zingy lemon, white wine and ca­per sauce; it sparks the palate with mul­ti­ple Mail­lard re­ac­tions. The wine list in­cludes both bargains and blowouts, and prompt yet un­ob­tru­sive ser­vice en­sures ev­ery­thing flows smoothly. 145 King St. W., 416-861-9977. $$$$WO

Peter Pan Bistro

BIsTrO While a res­tau­rant bear­ing the same moniker has ex­isted at the south­east cor­ner of Queen and Peter since the late 1920s, the most re­cent it­er­a­tion was launched in 2015

by chef Noah Gold­berg, who kept the name and many of the lovely art deco fin­ishes. Two years in, Gold­berg’s orig­i­nal menu— an homage to the nose-to-tail cook­ing he learned dur­ing a stint at Lon­don’s leg­endary St. John’s—is gone, re­placed by re­fined, sea­son­ally in­spired dishes. A ramp pesto risotto, with fresh peas that pop and sautéed hen of the woods mush­rooms, tastes like spring in a bowl, and a slightly un­der-sea­soned burger ar­rives per­fectly pink, and topped with rich rarebit, caramelized onions and house-made ketchup. From the bistro’s orig­i­nal menu, devils on horse­back— crisp ba­con wrapped around sweet, moist dates—are the ideal bar snack, and the al­most-too-creamy duck liver mousse smartly comes with a brit­tle, bruléed crust. 373 Queen St. W., 416-792-3838. $$$OE

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