Alo! Alo!

So these are from a visit on July 29th (was sick, then travelling, then sick again… really. Stupid recirculated airplane air.), so the menu at Alo might have completely changed in the meantime, but we were so taken with Chef Patrick Kriss’ lovely new spot at Queen and Spadina that I couldn’t just leave these photos […]

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Taste of Toronto Festival

Toronto may not be included in the Michelin guide, but we’re the only North American city to be part of the Taste Festival series, which visits 22 cities each year, bringing together some of the best local food businesses and restaurants for a weekend-long celebration of cuisine. A well-curated selection of small food businesses (Mad […]

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Got Game?

Hey y’all! A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to write a feature on local game meat for Toronto’s weekly indie NOW Magazine. Just adding some linkage here to prove it actually happened. 🙂 Got Game – why more Toronto shops and restaurants don’t offer wild-caught meat. Top 5 places to buy game meat […]

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Vive Le Québec Dîner at Biff’s

The Oliver & Bonacini Group is a diverse collection of restaurants, many of which serve a specific niche, and a specific style of food.  Biff’s Bistro is well known for their French bistro cuisine, but the food tends to be more France-French than Quebec-French. Fortunately, O&B also gives their chefs creative license to do special […]

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My Friend, Steven Davey, aka Frank

I first met Steven Davey, restaurant critic for NOW magazine, more than 10 years ago. I was running a monthly dining group called Gothic Diners in which Toronto Goths gathered for dinner at local restaurants, usually in all their black finery. Davey heard about our group through a friend of a friend and invited Greg […]

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The Grove is Gonna Be Groovy

Do not adjust your screens. I know I already wrote a preview of The Grove back in November when I attended a pop-up dinner in conjunction with First Drop Canada. At that point, owners Fritz Wahl, Richard Reyes and Chef Ben Heaton were expecting their Dundas Street restaurant to be ready to go before Christmas. […]

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Smörgåsbord – Acadia

The story of the Acadians was part of the history of the place where I grew up. French settlers on the Bay of Fundy shore of Nova Scotia were expelled from the province in the mid 1700s when they refused to sign an oath of allegiance to Britain. The French settlers ended up scattered all […]

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Quince’s Indonesian Rijsttafel

Quick – tell me your favourite Indonesian restaurant in Toronto. Can’t do it? That’s because they don’t exist. Seriously, Google “Indonesian restaurant Toronto” and you get hits for a Thai restaurant, a Malaysian restaurant and a Vietnamese restaurant. And while those 3 cuisines are similar in many ways to Indonesian food, there’s a different interplay […]

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SalivATE – April 2011

Okay, so I’m a little bit late with this one, but we surely ate some good grub in April. Check it… Cardinal Rule (5 Roncesvalles Avenue) is a cool new diner on Roncesvalles just north of Queen, where comfort food really does get a fun twist. Above, meat muffins are wee meatloaves in a phyllo […]

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SalivATE – March 2011

This month’s food porn starts with a meal at Jam Cafe (195 Carlton Street). Never heard of it? It’s a charming neighbourhood bistro just west of Cabbagetown that we happened across about a month ago when we were looking for somewhere to eat before a concert at the Phoenix. Besides the fact that the space […]

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SalivATE – February 2011

Yeah, we thought we’d bring back the SalivAte column, because there’s so much good food going on in our city and it’s fun to share. Above is the soon-to-be-infamous duck confit French toast from Origin (107-109 King Street East). The toast is a soft cinamon-ny brioche style bun with plenty of tender duck meat, pickled […]

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The Rustic Rut

Do you know this man? Have you seen him recently in a food service capacity, either as a server or a chef/cook? Or possibly making your morning coffee? Do you live in a backwoods logging camp, hundreds of miles from the nearest town? Because that’s the only reason why we should be eating food served […]

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Patio, No

I have a question for restaurant owners everywhere. If your restaurant has a patio (or even if it doesn’t), why is it necessary to have your front windows and doors open on a hot day? Is it because you assume that everyone loves sitting on the patio, and by opening doors or installing big garage-style […]

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Taking on the Tapas Trend

It’s not easy being a pioneer. When the Fernandez sisters opened Embrujo Flamenco (97 Danforth Avenue) in 2002, few knew what tapas were. The concept of snack-like items, served on small plates and meant for sharing while enjoying a quick after-work drink was, while not unknown in Toronto, still vaguely foreign when the items were […]

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Sunday Brunch – Beast

Beast Restaurant 96 Tecumseth Street 647-352-6000 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $57 I’m breaking our ethical policy here. We normally prefer not to “review” places where we know the chef or owners. Just so that if it’s a bad review, nobody is hurt when their pal Sheryl disses their grub. And […]

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SalivAte – August 2010

There was much good eating to be had this past month, as we checked out a selection of restaurants both old and new. If you haven’t been to Delux Restaurant (92 Ossington Avenue) for their awesome Cuban lunch, don’t delay. Above is the roast pork dinner featuring sweet fork tender pork, fried plantains and rice […]

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Sunday Brunch – Milestones

Milestones Festival Hall 132 John Street 416-595-1990 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $45 Regular readers will notice a dearth of references to mainstream chain restaurants on this site. When we started TasteTO, that wasn’t our intention – our aim was to cover anything and everything related to food, including the mid-range […]

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SalivAte – July 2010

We ate some fine and tasty stuff this month. Have a look… First up, I attended the A9 Fenadegas Winemaker’s lunch at C5, featuring wines from Portugal. This BC wild halibut cheek and scallion pancake were paired with a Veercoope Via Latina Alvarinha 2009, as well as a Adega Pegos selected Harvest 2009.

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Sunday Brunch – La Palette

La Palette 492 Queen Street West 416-603-4900 brunch for two with all taxes tip and coffee: $45 La Palette is now considered a Kensington Market landmark, serving up classic French food in an adorable little bistro. So fans were rightly pleased when owners Shamez Amlani and Brook Kavanagh announced they’d be taking over the old […]

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Sunday Brunch – Chuck & Co.

Chuck and Co. 126 Atlantic Avenue 416-533-3500 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Messy. And that’s not a bad thing. Known for their handmade gourmet burgers, you wouldn’t expect a burger place to do up fancy brunch. And to be fair, the selection of breakfast sandwiches is pretty straightforward. This is […]

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SalivAte – June 2010

People always assume because we write about food that we’ve been to every restaurant in the city (all 5000 or so of them), and they’re always disappointed that we haven’t been. Meanwhile, readers tell us that they’d like more photo-essays. So to satisfy your food porn cravings and what might be an inappropriate desire to […]

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Sunday Brunch – Blue Plate

Blue Plate 392 Roncesvalles Avenue 416-538-7500 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $40 How long is long enough? We’re known for hassling other restaurant critics about not giving new restaurants enough time to find their groove before slipping in for a review. Two or three weeks is usually considered an appropriate amount […]

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Sunday Brunch – Henhouse

Henhouse 1532 Dundas Street West 416-534-5939 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $32 Skinny jeans, plaid shirts, iPhones… when did crusty old Dundas West become the land of the hipster? Or is it because the area is still kind of crusty that the hipsters flock to it? In any case, throughout our […]

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Tasty Tasty Iceland

What do you know about Iceland? If your first thoughts are snow, fermented shark meat and Björk, then you’re probably about on par with the typical North American. But Iceland is, in fact, a gorgeous country full of waterfalls and hot springs, unique artists and musicians, a cool underground music scene and a fair number […]

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Sunday Brunch – Cowbell

Cowbell 1564 Queen Street West 416-849-1095 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $50 Since it opened in 2007, Cowbell has never been open on Sunday. Chef/owner Mark Cutrara set that day aside to spend with his family. The idea of Sunday being family day is a big one in the Parkdale neighbourhood […]

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A Toast to the Roast

A few years ago, Toronto was all over the communal dining trend. Restaurants installed big harvest tables and hoped that customers would not just bump elbows but start up a conversation with one another. But because Torontonians are mostly of the “keep to yourself, mind your own business” variety, the communal table wasn’t a huge […]

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Y’all Come to Supper!

Hank’s 9-1/2 Church Street 416-504-9463 A few weeks ago, when I interviewed Scott and Rachelle Vivian about their take-over of the Wine Bar and Hank’s, the duo let me know about their plans to open Hank’s at night with a menu of southern favourites that Vivian had learned to cook growing up in Atlanta. Hank’s […]

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Why We All Need to Wise Up

Ocean Wise celebrated its 5 year anniversary this month by announcing a number of new restaurant partners across the country. Readers who haven’t heard of the Ocean Wise program need not feel out of the loop – it’s only been a year since a handful of Toronto restaurants signed on, and while this anniversary celebration […]

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TV Party Tonight!

Okay, not tonight. Thursday, actually. But if you can hold off until then, the folks at Grace (503 College Street) will serve you up a TV dinner like no other, paired with some kick-ass cocktails and a big screen TV showing old episodes of M*A*S*H and I Love Lucy. As a follow-up to their incredibly […]

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Fondue Yu

I’m not sure how, but fondue passed me by in the 70s. My folks had all the other trendy appliances of the day; crock pots, electric frying pans, but the communal dining experience of dipping bits of food into cheese, oil or chocolate never happened in our house. When Greg arrived on my doorstep in […]

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The Charms of Buca

Buca 602 King Street West 416-865-1600 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and wine: $150 The recession might have played a role, but Toronto seems especially caught up in the idea of rustic food. We’re uninterested in molecular gastronomy and sundaes sprinkled with gold leaf; we crave real authentic food like (someone’s) Mama used […]

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It’s All About Who You Know

It would seem that Toronto’s underground dining scene really did fizzle after its 15 minutes of fame. A few months back, Charlie’s Burgers was the name on everyone’s lips as Chowhounders and other “foodies” (note – derisive use of terminology) fought to have their applications accepted for the right to pay $150 and upwards per […]

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Sunday Brunch – Morning Glory

Morning Glory 457 King Street East 416-703-4728 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Morning Glory is one of those neighbourhood joints that fly under the radar. A popular Corktown breakfast spot since December 2003, it now tends to get overshadowed by Gilead Café, just around the corner. But on the Sunday […]

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Sunday Brunch – Nyood

Nyood 1096 Queen Street West 416-466-1888 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $50 Those folks that make the clam and tomato juice are on some kind of campaign to make the Caesar Canada’s official cocktail but they’ll get no support from me to do it. The very last thing I want to […]

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Sunday Brunch – Merci Mon Ami

Merci Mon Ami 171 East Liberty Street, #107 647-436-3832 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $40 As had been made evident on this site before, I am not a patio person, especially a streetside patio. But on a quiet Sunday morning, my bags loaded with goodies from the Liberty Village farmers market, […]

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A Summerlicious Survival Guide

It’s that time of year again. Summerlicious (July 3rd – 19th);  when diners flock to Toronto’s restaurants in search of a cheap meal, and restaurant staff groan and complain at the long hours and stiffed tips. Summer (and Winter) Licious are self-perpetuating catch-22s. Diners expect poor service and so tip poorly regardless, while servers expect […]

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Sunday Brunch – Sage West

Sage West – Closed 924 College Street 647-346-6183 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 Most people are probably more familiar with Sage Café on McCaul Street than they are with her sister restaurant Sage West. It’s one of those places you really want to like; it’s a pretty space that doubles […]

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Sunday Brunch – Bonjour Brioche

Bonjour Brioche 812 Queen Street East 416-406-1250 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $25 (cash only) People seem to either love or hate Bonjour Brioche. I regularly come across raves about their exquisite pastries and breads, but the service, and the line-up on weekends, can be a sticking point. In fact, in […]

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Two Meals

Most of us, if we’re lucky, eat three times a day – or more. We can look at this activity as either a chore, or a joy. We can take pleasure in every flavour, every spice, every texture and smell, or we can look at eating as something we have to do to stay alive, […]

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Eating at the Kids’ Table

  Getting kids interested in food seems to be a growing trend, with articles about parents taking their kids to fine dining restaurants or enrolling them in kids’ cooking classes popping up in publications right across North America, with opinion split on whether it’s a positive development. But once kids hit their teenage years, dining […]

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Can You Keep a Secret?

It was a dark and stormy night. As the rain poured down and the wind battered our umbrellas, we opened the newspaper box and pulled out an envelope bearing our name. After opening the letter and reading the instructions, we placed $220 in the envelope, walked a block or so west and headed down a […]

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