After emerging from one of the world’s longest pandemic-related lockdowns, the Toronto dining scene is coming back with a bang. Many long-awaited restaurants are finally making their debuts, while others that opened for takeout-only are getting a chance to spread their culinary wings and introduce the city to their full menus and spaces. Here are some of the most exciting and innovative Toronto restaurants to discover this fall.
Shenanigans (St. Clair West)
With iconic restaurant group Oliver & Bonacini (Auberge de Pommier, Canoe) at its helm, midtown’s newest sports bar is anything but ordinary. Shenanigans approachable, pub-style dishes check all the boxes that diners would expect from their neighborhood local, but they’re done with the expert execution Oliver & Bonacini’s upscale dining venues are known for. Elevated flourishes are peppered throughout the menu — think poutine topped with fried rosemary or a classic burger finished with gruyère cheese and truffle aioli. In spite of its posh dining pedigree, Shenanigans offers a relaxed, welcoming vibe. TVs are tuned to key sports games, and the large, partially covered patio overlooking Yonge and St. Clair is an ideal spot for whiling away warm, early fall days with friends.
La Latina (Midtown)
La Latina takes over an outpost of popular Brazilian steakhouse chain Copacabana, known for its all-you-can-eat menu of skewered meats. The new restaurant, which comes from the same team behind Copacabana, trades bottomless beef ribs and piri piri chicken for an a la carte approach to South American street food. From house-smoked meats to freshly baked bread, much of La Latina’s fare is made from scratch. The drink menu also plays up the restaurant’s Latin American influences with cocktails such as the pisco sour and the margarita, as well as a wine list that’s big on bottles from Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. With its rainbow-hued lighting, the restaurant feels as vibrant and inviting as its predecessor.
Myth (Fashion District)
With a splashy, 5,000-square-foot space, prime downtown location, and artfully plated dishes, Myth is one of Toronto’s buzziest recent openings. The restaurant’s interior channels Mediterranean coastal vibes with hand-woven basket light fixtures and murals inspired by ancient Greek artwork. Myth’s modern Greek menu emphasizes seafood and mezze platters with dishes such as the saganaki — a kefalograviera cheese that’s set on fire tableside with a shot of ouzo — featuring extravagant presentations to match the luxe setting. Cocktails like the Destino (a mix of scotch, brandy, bitter apéritif, and vermouth served in a smoke-filled chamber) make an equally impactful impression.
Enigma Fine Dining (The Annex)
Opened just before Toronto entered its second indoor dining shutdown last fall, Enigma Fine Dining is finally able to present its refined, seasonal tasting menus to the city. The restaurant’s five-course menus change regularly but feature a focus on European culinary techniques and elegant plating. A typical menu might begin with scorched hamachi fish with wasabi emulsion and delicate dollops of passion fruit gel, follow it with Darjeeling tea-smoked quail, and finish with a selection of petit fours that includes housemade pistachio financiers. The wine list offers a mix of Old and New World bottles, while the restaurant’s grand design is a natural fit for its location in the city’s historic Yorkville neighbourhood.
The Rabbit Hole (Financial District)
Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality’s handsome new watering hole draws on district executive chef John Horne’s years spent working in England for its menu of imaginative British gastropub fare. Using locally sourced ingredients, The Rabbit Hole refreshes classic pub dishes like steak and mushroom pie and puts fine dining riffs on others — the beef tartare, for example, sees Sunday roast staple Yorkshire pudding paired with a Scotch quail egg. The restaurant’s wood-clad interior nods to Alice in Wonderland, the story that inspired its name, with details such as a wall of mismatched clocks and subtle recurring rabbit motifs. The cocktail menu strikes a balance between traditional and whimsical with drinks like the Queen’s Tea, a spin on a Long Island iced tea that’s served in a teapot.
Pai Northern Tai – Uptown (Midtown)
More than seven years into its run, Pai’s original location still regularly garnered out-the-door line-ups pre-pandemic for its authentic Northern Thai cuisine. Now Nuit and Jeff Regular, the Toronto Thai cuisine power couple behind the restaurant, have opened a second Pai outpost at Yonge and Eglinton. Diners north of Bloor will no longer have to travel across the city to enjoy popular dishes such as richly flavoured khao soi or Thai chicken wings with lemongrass and sweet tamarind sauce. Like the first location, Pai Uptown pays homage to its namesake town in Thailand with its bohemian aesthetic, but this one features a larger, two-storey space with private dining areas and a stage for future live performances.
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