Toronto Life - - Where To Eat -


What does the team be­hind Alo—still one of the tough­est ta­bles to book in all of Toronto—do for its en­core? Open a diminu­tive, no-reser­va­tions diner, of course. But this is no or­di­nary lunch counter: the 38-seat space is straight from the pages of a Restora­tion Hard­ware cat­a­logue. The staff wear denim, bow ties and Adi­das sneak­ers. Gucci Mane plays in the back­ground. And the menu fea­tures com­fort-food clas­sics with frills aplenty. The burger, served on a house-baked po­tato roll, sports a blan­ket of fried Beau­fort cheese and a base layer of sautéed onions; to­gether, they cre­ate an al­most polyrhyth­mic crunch. Matthew Betsch’s dishes jump through eras and con­ti­nents—ice­berg wedge salad, clams casino, charred chorizo with egg­plant and hal­loumi— but the re­sults are just as pol­ished as the stain­less steel spoons that stir the high­ball cock­tails, in­clud­ing one that blends Bur­dock’s Ver­mont ale with a splash of herbal China China. Both the tow­er­ing ap­ple pie

par­fait and the brick of lemon meringue pie man­date the sav­ing of room for dessert. 163 Spad­ina Ave., 1st flr., 416-260-3444.

The Anne Bo­leyn

The lat­est mem­ber of the Parts and Labour fam­ily is this mas­sive gas­tropub in the En­ter­tain­ment Dis­trict. No ex­pense has been spared on the space: the soar­ing room can ac­com­mo­date nearly 200 guests in leather ban­quettes and at mar­ble-topped ta­bles. The menu is full of tra­di­tional Bri­tish pub grub, in­clud­ing fish and chips, chicken tikka masala, and bangers and mash. There are also a few well-made sal­ads, a per­fectly done flat­iron steak with triple-cooked fries, and a P&L burger, of course. Flat-screens broad­cast sports games, which pa­trons are happy to take in while enjoying one of the nearly two-dozen beers on tap. 117 Peter St., 416-901-1536. $$VNE


This sum­mer, Clau­dio Aprile trans­formed his last Ori­gin lo­ca­tion into Copetín, and on any given night you can see the MasterChef Canada judge in the open kitchen, balanc­ing a toasted parm doily on five fat gnudi in a pool of mild reg­giano broth. Given that Aprile is back at the stoves af­ter years of sac­ri­fic­ing hands-on con­trol to ex­pan­sion, it’s sur­pris­ing that so many of his dishes lack the punch and flavour pre­ci­sion he’s known for: those gnudi need salt, and lob­ster ce­viche bathing in a bland Chartreuse ti­gre de leche could do with a hit of lime. Yet an exquisitely charred oc­to­pus ten­dril dot­ted with ji­cama and grape­fruit cubes and swiped with para­keet-green co­conut curry is a re­minder of what Aprile can do: turn an in­gre­di­ent that’s on ev­ery other menu in the city into some­thing daz­zlingly mul­ti­cul­tural and alive. 107 King St. E., 416-603-8009. $$$WOVA


The mid­dle child of Mo­mo­fuku’s three Toronto restau­rants, Daisho¯ is also the most con­sis­tently re­ward­ing. Its à la carte menu has a few of David Chang’s great­est

hits—buns, kim­chee, ham and red-eye mayo—but it’s also rich with On­tario-raised meats and pro­duce. The braised beef short rib is a lusty cut, served with two pucks of arancini made, in­ge­niously, from vine­gary sushi rice. And a ruler-length slab of rain­bow trout in a sam­bal emul­sion was eas­ily one of the top fish dishes of the sum­mer. The wine list places well-cu­rated On­tario picks on the same pedestal as some of the world’s great grapes, and there re­mains no bet­ter group din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in town than the kitchen’s large-for­mat bö ssam ex­trav­a­ganza, which show­cases an en­tire sug­ar­cured pork butt with a cav­al­cade of Korean ac­cou­trements. 190 Univer­sity Ave., 3rd flr., 647-253-6227. $$$WOAE

Planta Burger

Chef David Lee and the Chase Hos­pi­tal­ity Group are be­hind this sleek­est of veg­gie burger joints, a quick-ser­vice spinoff of Yorkville’s Planta. Ve­gan and veg­e­tar­ian ver­sions of fast-food favourites in­clude burg­ers and fries, shakes and floats. Stand­outs are deep-fried cau­li­flower flo­rets slathered in Frank’s and co­conut but­ter for a meat­less take on Buf­falo wings, and onion rings driz­zled with a sauce that tastes like sour cream and onion chips in the best way. A patty of shred­ded cele­riac and hearts of palm called a “crab cake” tastes noth­ing like crab, but it’s plenty tasty, and the ba­con cheese­burger is sat­is­fy­ing, but there’s noth­ing ba­cony or cheesy about it—though as far as ve­g­ans are con­cerned, that’s prob­a­bly a good thing. 4 Tem­per­ance St., 647-348-7000. $V

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