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Dining

Global Eats

EXOTIC YET AUTHENTIC FLAVOURS OF THE WORLD CAN BE FOUND RIGHT HERE IN TORONTO. HERE, YOUR PASSPORT TO PALATE-PLEASING DISHES FROM SOUTH AMERICA, EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST AND BEYOND.

Fried chicken at Omaw

Bar Fancy

Omaw riffs on Southern American cooking like no other restaurant in the city. Inspired by Carolina cooking, chef Matt Blondin slings plates of aged wagyu with beef fat vinaigrette, baguettes topped with pickled mussels and creamed corn, and recently he’s been winning crowds with heaping plates of his signature buttermilk fried chicken.

88 Ossington Ave., Toronto. 416-477-5450; omaw.ca

 

Pastries at Lucullus Bakers & Roasters

Lucullus’ third outpost brings 26 years of European pastries and Chinese breads in a posh boutique setting in Markham. The selection varies daily but you can expect an assortment of stuffed croissants along with steamed baskets of dumplings, and of course the iconic bo lo bao (pineapple buns).

31 Elm St., 416-792-1886; 7750 Kennedy Rd., 905-513-1188; lucullusbakery.com

 

Octopus at Bar Isabel

Bar Isobel Nicole Kim2

Photo by Nicole Kim.

Chef Grant van Gameren was cooking up whole octopus at his Spanish restaurant Bar Isabel long before cephalapod reached mainstream fame. It’s a dish he can’t remove from the menu, grilled tentacles swimming in a tomato sauce with chunks of chorizo and Israeli couscous. Once you’re done mopping up the bowl, finish with some basque cake.

797 College St., 416-532-2222; barisabel.com

 

Rabbit Stifado at Mamakas Taverna

Classic Greek cooking with a facelift is what Chris Kalisperas does best at Ossington hotspot Mamakas. One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the rabbit stifado. Kalisperas braises whole legs of rabbit in red wine, mirepoix, bay leaf, cinnamon and peppercorns for a few hours. It’s finished off in a pan with roast cippollini onions and parsley and served with a purée of local sunchokes.

80 Ossington Ave., 416-519-5996; mamakas.ca

 

Thali at Indian Street Food Company

A visit to Hemant Bhagwani’s midtown restaurant is a must if you want a true representation of street food prevalent in India’s many railways stations and roadside stalls. The rotating daily thali is a sublime experience, a mound of rice and freshly baked naan is served with a half a dozen dips and curries that take you on a flavour-packed trip of salty, tangy and spicy.

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Thalis at Indian Street Food Company include a variety of flavourful curries and dips .

1701 Bayview Ave., 416-322-3270; indianstreetfoodco.com

 

BBQ-Glazed beef tongue at Diwan

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The gorgeous dining room of Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum.

At the Aga Khan Museum, where chef Mark McEwan has recently taken over the food and beverage services, tuck into a vibrant Middle Eastern-themed menu while enjoying sprawling views of the Aga Khan Park. The top sandwich on the menu sees cooked beef slathered in a barbecue reduction and served with an East African salsa and pepper aioli on sourdough.

Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4670; agakhanmuseum.org

 

Curry udon with shrimp tempura at Menami

This new Sanuki udon house is putting out some of the best Japanese noodle bowls in the city. Kagawa-style artisanal “big fat noodles” is what MeNami specializes in, hand cut with a soft, al dente bite, tossed in a variety of broths (there are 15 versions in total). The signature bowl is the curry udon, noodles drowning in a rich clear broth, topped with vegetable and shrimp tempura.

MeNami Japanese Udon House and Sake Bar, 5469 Yonge St., 416-229-6191; menami.ca

 

Torta Cubana at Torteria San Cosme

Ever since restaurateur Arturo Anhalt laid eyes on a former cafe space in Kensington Market, the owner of Milagro restaurant wanted to open a traditional Mexican torteria. Nearly everything on the menu is sourced from the market, tucked generously into soft breads called pan teleras. The crowd favourite is the Cubana: thick slices of smoked ham and chunks of adobo pork are bathed in gouda and coated to the rim with a chipotle sauce.

181 Baldwin St., 416-599-2855; sancosme.ca

 

Quail and Foie Gras at Scaramouche

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Sacramouche specializes in upscale French dining.

Upscale French dining doesn’t get any better. Keith Froggett’s longstanding Scaramouche restaurant has set the standard for refined food and service in this city. They continue to entice diners night after night with dishes like the quail and foie gras. It’s a decadent dance of sweet and savoury notes with stuffed quail, double smoked bacon, and sauternes raisins drenched in foie gras jus.

1 Benvenuto Pl., 416-961-8011; scaramoucherestaurant.com

 

Maha’s Mind Blowing Chicken at Maha’s

A family-run Egyptian restaurant near Little India is redefining what it’s like to brunch in the city. Imported drawings and fixtures dress the tiny dining room with a menu that is all about flavour and getting your hands messy. The quintessential Maha dish is a messy tower of slow marinated chicken dripping in mayo and garlic sauce, covered with onions, tomatoes and parsley.

226 Greenwood Ave., 416-462-2703; mahasbrunch.com

Suresh Doss is a Toronto-based food and drink writer. You can follow him on Twitter @spotlightcity or Instagram @suresh.

 

Hot Dining: Eat Glocal

Chef Hu Guoguang, owner Tony Chow, and chef Pan Yewen. Photo by Ian McCausland.

Chef Hu Guoguang, owner Tony Chow, and chef Pan Yewen. Photo by Ian McCausland.

Like many first and second generation immigrants, owner Tony Chow of North Garden Restaurant has incorporated Manitoba ingredients into traditional recipes. The result is serendipitous Canadian-Chinese fusion food. During pickerel season, the local lakefish is simmered in a light and fresh watercress soup, stir fried with gaai laan, and bathed in rich chile oil. For North Garden’s customers, each meal is both familiar comfort and culinary adventure, often within a single menu page. 6-33 University Cres, 204‑275‑2591

Editor’s Pick: Top 5 Kid Foods Reimagined

Photo courtesy Marion Street Eatery

Photo courtesy Marion Street Eatery

With gourmet renditions of homey dishes on trend, chefs are getting in touch with their inner child. These childhood favourites are all grown up.

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5 Tips for a Great Winter Day in Lake Louise

March 3, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Olivia Grecu

Travel Alberta / Gerard Yunker

Travel Alberta / Gerard Yunker

You don’t have to stay at the Fairmont to play at the Fairmont. Have a great day at the Chateau Lake Louise:

1. Start with the breakfast buffet at Poppy Brasserie, while you admire the morning light on the mountains through big windows.

2. Next, rent skates and glide into the ice castle with Victoria Glacier as your backdrop.

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Canmore’s Restaurant Scene is Hot this Winter

Feb. 20, 2016
By Afton Aikens & Ashley Materi

There are so many things we love about Canmore’s dining scene. Engaged and innovative chefs, creative culinary event planning…and of course, amazing food. Try it for yourself this season and see why we’re hooked.

Mii Sushi & BBQ, by Glenn Miles

Mii Sushi & BBQ, by Glenn Miles

It’s a Deal
Canmore restaurants are a wonderland of tasty specials:

  • Stoney’s Bar & Grill: The Twelvetastic menu offers 12 mains with soup or salad for $12 each, through winter.
  • Mii Sushi & BBQ: Lunchtime bento boxes ($15/ $16) feature sushi, tempura, salad and teriyaki options.
  • Rustica Steakhouse: Upscale Date Night three-course meals with a bottle of wine are $119 per couple, Wednesday to Sunday, 5 to 9 pm through winter.
  • Murietta’s: Beer, wine, spirits and delicious appetizers are $5 each, weekdays 3:30 to 6:30 pm.
  • Rose & Crown and Georgetown Inn Pub: Both offer terrific $10 sandwich and soup deals at lunch; the Rose’s special includes an additional side.
  • Tavern 1883: Dinner specials ($18.83 Sunday to Thursday) include a pint, glass of wine or virgin cocktail. Weekday $16.83 burger specials at lunch come with a draft sleeve or milkshake.

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Hot Dining: Go Big or Go Home

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Chef Bill Georgakopoulos of Rae & Jerry’s. Photo by Ian McCausland.

At Rae & Jerry’s, the philosophy has always been “more is more.” With 330 seats in the dining room and lounge, the behemoth steakhouse serves up 200-300 pounds of beef daily, all butchered by chef Bill Georgakopoulos. The restaurant has been a perennial pick for stately steak dinners since 1957, famous for its generously loaded sandwiches, prime cuts of cow, and iconic red décor. This bastion of old school eating has proved the value of finding what works and sticking to it. 1405 Portage Ave, 204‑788‑6155, raeandjerrys.com

Hot Dates: Eat Out

DApeppers

FEB 2-12

Winter heats up during Ciao! Dine About Winnipeg. Celebrating the abundance of good eating that makes up Winnipeg’s dining scene, this annual event sees the city’s best restaurants offering three course meals for only $28 and $38. For a full list of participating restaurants and menu offerings, visit ciaowinnipeg.com.

Editor’s Pick: Top 5 Wild Poutines In Winnipeg

loveys2Photo courtesy Lovey’s BBQ

In a city with as much Francophone influence as Winnipeg, it’s not hard to find that glorious mixture of french fries, gravy, and melty cheese curds. These spots branch out from the classic with irresistable toppings and tasty twists.

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Hot Dates: RAW:almond

RA-EXTERIORPhoto courtesy RAW:almond.

JAN 21-FEB 15

Set directly on the ice of the Assiniboine River, pop up river restaurant RAW:almond serves diners a multi-course menu prepared by talented chefs, from Winnipeg’s finest to international stars of cuisine, like ramen master Richie Nakano. Winnipeg-based Etcetera Projects won the annual contest to design the structure, with a cinematically inspired “frame” that gives diners a glimpse into the kitchen. Tickets: $120. Visit raw-almond.com for more information.

Hot Dining: Now Open

IMG_7526Photo courtesy of Blind Tiger Coffee Co.

Craft cocktails are trending, with creative concoctions popping up all over the city. New spot The Roost Social House has landed on the Corydon strip, shaking up a menu of handcrafted libations that use tastes of the season such as cranberries, figs, and cloves, and are complemented by a changing menu of boldly flavoured small plates. 651 Corydon Ave, 204‑414‑9313, theroostwpg.com

A new Prohibition Era-inspired speakeasy adds to this cocktail culture. The Blind Tiger Coffee Co serves java by day, but a secret door leads to the sultry night time dining room. French classics like mussels, charcuterie, and escargot call to the old days of Paris with some modern updates (pork belly, anyone?) 725 Osborne St, blindtigerwinnipeg.ca

Winnipeg’s Best New Restaurants of 2015

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The Merchant Kitchen, photo by Ian McCausland

This year brought Winnipeg diners plenty to rave about. The Merchant Kitchen tops the list, and has been chosen as one of Canada’s Top 10 New Restaurants by WHERE editors.

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October Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

CULINARY KINGSIMG_9887-resized
Held in cities across Canada, the Gold Medal Plates competition showcases top chefs, battling to crown gold, silver and bronze culinary teams. On October 29, eight Nova Scotian chefs will compete in Halifax, including Chef Terry Vassallo of Café Chianti, Chef Bee Choo Char of Gio, and Chef Mark Gray of The Brooklyn Warehouse. Visit www.goldmedalplates.com for tickets.

A TALE TO REMEMBERHall_Sept050017-resized
At Stories, the intimate restaurant located at The Halliburton hotel on Morris Street, Chef Scott Vail’s inspired menu changes with the seasons. His mainstays include local game, lamb, seafood, and housemade charcuterie.

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A staple of Halifax’s West End dining scene for more than 30 years, Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road boasts a menu of flavourful classic Greek dishes, including lamb souvlaki, moussaka and calamari. The space seats about 150 people and is a popular breakfast spot on the weekends.

BANGKOK CALLINGmango_salad-resized
Baan Thai on Blowers Street has a fresh menu and colourful furnishings from Bangkok. Choose from any number of curries, Pad Thai or a special all-you-can-eat lunch buffet on Fridays. The delicious menu offers spicy noodles, cashew chicken, shrimp cakes and spring rolls, plus much more.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Photo: Kelly Neil

Photo: Kelly Neil

Chef Andrew Farrell of 2 Doors Down is making his mark on Nova Scotia’s dining scene, creating soulful recipes like deep-fried mac and cheese, and traditional potpie using fresh local ingredients. Find the restaurant in the heart of the downtown on Barrington Street.

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• Downtown on Prince Street, the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse is a large, three-room pub with live entertainment nightly and no cover charge. A great place to relax with friends, the Old Triangle has a classic pub menu and serves weekend brunch.
• Celebrating one year on Halifax’s brewpub scene, Gahan House is a popular destination in the picturesque Historic Properties. Choose from a range of Gahan’s own handcrafted beers on tap, including blueberry ale and Sir John A honey wheat ale.