Cold Tea was nearly a self-parody staple of Kensington Market: a dingy bar with a semi-secret entrance and loud industry patio cookouts in the summer. The owners, having outgrown the legal headaches of the tailgate party atmosphere, have transformed the space into a slick restaurant with the requisite high chairs and neon lights. Partnering with restaurateur Leemo Han (Hanmoto, Pinky’s Ca Phe), the bar now serves up Han’s brand of elegantly delicious messes — brined, grilled and fried wings covered in tart green goop, variations on the sloppy joe and McChicken, ice cream sandwiches rolled in tiny, puffy rice balls. Regulars have no need to worry. Cold Tea hasn’t gotten too fancy for their summer Sunday barbecue series.
#5 King Place
Wonderfully unhealthy Teriyakitori wings This fluorescent-lit room located at a chaotic intersection is not a great place to sit down for a romantic meal, but the Pakistani cuisine is outstanding and ideally suited for takeout or delivery. Owner Mehood Meer (known as Mr. Butt) has a deft hand with ginger, coriander, butter, cumin and fenugreek. When something is spicy here, like the nihari beef, it is forehead-mopping spicy. Buttery naan is cooked fresh to order. Despite the wide variety of slow-cooked meats, no two dishes taste the same: each is a thoughtful calibration of flavours with a potency barely contained by Styrofoam containers, their magic released in the form of spiced steam as you remove the lids at home.