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Where to Eat Toronto

Savour Mexican Dinner and Drinks at Los Colibris and El Caballito

Enjoy upscale Mexican dinner and drinks at Los Colibris (photos: Lauren Vandenbrook)

Enjoy upscale Mexican dinner and drinks at Los Colibris (photos: Lauren Vandenbrook)

A double serving of Mexican fare awaits in the Entertainment District. Earlier this year, the lower level of an Edwardian heritage building became home to decidedly contemporary tequila bar El Caballito, which boasts dozens of varieties of the agave-derived spirit, plus street-style dishes like tacos and antojitos. More recently, the “little horse” made room for the “hummingbirds”—Los Colibris, the tequileria’s second-storey sister space, which serves up refined Mexican dishes by chef Elia Herrera. You won’t find burritos and quesadillas here. Instead, Latin flavours come through in a variety of ceviches, meaty mains like confit pork belly in adobo sauce, and shareable options like a whole roasted sea bass with seafood stuffing.  —Craig Moy

• El Caballito, 220 King St. W., 416-628-9838; elcaballito.ca
Map and reviews

• Los Colibris, 220 King St. W., 416-979-7717; loscolibris.ca
Map and reviews

Queen West Restaurant The Good Son Aims to Please

(photos: Craig Moy)

(photos: Craig Moy)

Naming one’s business The Good Son implies a certain amount of geniality, and indeed, chef Vittorio Colacitti’s new Queen West restaurant aims to please—by drawing together the corners of the culinary world. A contestant on season four of Top Chef Canada, Colacitti applies the lessons of his varied cooking experiences—he’s worked in both fine-dining and corporate kitchens, and had stints at pizzerias in Toronto and Italy—to rise to the challenge of an ambitiously cosmopolitan carte that prioritizes seasonal and local ingredients, but uses them in dishes such as jerk shrimp, sarsaparilla side ribs and a half-dozen wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant’s large dining room is adorned with antique clocks, plates, photographs and other welcome reminders of home.  —Craig Moy

• The Good Son, 1096 Queen St. W., 416-551-0589; thegoodsontoronto.com
Map and reviews

Embark on a Sweet Excursion with Tasty Tours

Tasty-Tours-Distillery-District

If you’re looking to experience Toronto’s toothsome side, look no further than a morning excursion with Tasty Tours. Led by Audrey Ooi, the Oh Canada! Farmer’s Market Sweets Tour focuses on distinctly Canuck treats such as maple syrup, honey and the classic Canadian dessert, butter tarts. Local purveyors offer their own insight on fresh, handmade goodies, including apple rosemary jelly and rhubarb orange chutney from Spade & Spoon Preserves (who also stock maple syrup in dark, medium and light grades), artisanal chocolate from Soma, shortbread, macarons and biscotti from Sweet Escape Patisserie, flavoured honey from Hi Honey, and goat cheese truffles and goat milk caramel from Haute Goat. Distillery District, tours are held every Sunday starting at 10 a.m., adults $39.82, kids $26.55; visit tastytourstoronto.com to book.  —Linda Luong

Queen West’s The Good Son Aims to Please

(photos: Craig Moy)

(photos: Craig Moy)

Naming one’s business The Good Son implies a certain amount of geniality, and indeed, chef Vittorio Colacitti’s new Queen West restaurant aims to please—by drawing together the corners of the culinary world. A contestant on season four of Top Chef Canada, Colacitti applies the lessons of his varied cooking experiences—he’s worked in both fine-dining and corporate kitchens, and had stints at pizzerias in Toronto and Italy—to rise to the challenge of an ambitiously cosmopolitan carte that prioritizes seasonal and local ingredients, but uses them in dishes such as jerk shrimp, sarsaparilla side ribs and a half-dozen wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant’s large dining room is adorned with antique clocks, plates, photographs and other welcome reminders of home.  —Craig Moy

• The Good Son, 1096 Queen St. W., 416-551-0589; thegoodsontoronto.com
Map and reviews

You Are Here: Eat, Shop and Gallery Hop in Bloordale

BY CRAIG MOY

Daniel Faria Gallery is one of Bloordale's numerous contemporary art spaces

Daniel Faria Gallery is one of Bloordale’s numerous contemporary art spaces

The Yorkville stretch of Bloor Street gets much of the press, but farther west, a formerly industry-focused part of the strip is booming, too, thanks to an influx of art galleries, inventive restaurants and more.

1  Lofty design shop Julien Armand specializes in ultra-stylish seating, including pieces by Gispen and Pedrali. Lighting and other accessories are also available, to provide even more inspiration for contemporary space-sprucing. 213 Sterling Rd., 416-534-5665; julienarmand.com.

2  With a name that nods to the area’s industrial roots, Scrap Metal Gallery displays edgy and eclectic artworks collected by owners Samara Walbohm and Joe Shlesinger. The converted warehouse also hosts occasional performance works and other events. 11 Dublin St., 416-588-2442; scrapmetalgallery.com.

3  Canadian artists make up the majority of the exclusive roster at Daniel Faria Gallery. Among them are well-known iconoclast Douglas Coupland and Toronto-based photographer Chris Curreri, recently shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award. 188 St. Helens Ave., 416-538-1880; danielfariagallery.com.

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Nadège Patisserie’s Macarons Become Collectors’ Items

Steve Krug's limited-edition Nadège macarons box

Photographer Steve Krug’s limited-edition Nadège macarons box

In Paris, macarons from Ladurée are lauded, but in Toronto, it’s Nadège that’s the shrine to this airy French pastry. Though chef Nadège Nourian also offers delectable treats such as chocolate bonbons, marshmallows and cakes, her meringue-based bites have really won over locals. Indulge in them yourself, then give them as a gift: they’re available in travel-friendly boxes with an assortment of flavours, including blackberry chocolate and salted caramel. Several Canadian artists have also collaborated with Nadège on a series of limited-edition 16-macaron gift boxes ($38), with a new design featured each month. Award-winning Toronto photographer Steve Krug’s contemporary concept (pictured) is available starting September 5 while supplies last.  —Linda Luong

• Nadège Patisserie, 780 Queen St. W., 416-368-2009; nadege-patisserie.com
Map and reviews

Montecito Gives Toronto Diners a Seat in the Spotlight

(photos: Steve Krug)

(photos: Steve Krug)

The Entertainment District—home, of course, to the Toronto International Film Festival—has gained even more celebrity cachet with the recent opening of Montecito, the brainchild of Toronto-born filmmaker Ivan Reitman and revered chef Jonathan Waxman, one of the pioneers of California cuisine. That cooking style’s elegant simplicity is the basis for the 280-seat restaurant’s daily menu (So-Cal is also cited in the decor, too, including two large screens that display the view from Reitman’s Montecito home), but farm-fresh Canadian ingredients are the stars of the show. Anticipate such spotlight-worthy dishes as New York strip steak with roasted beets, speckled trout with yellow beans and sauce gribiche, and Waxman’s signature roast chicken with salsa verde. And don’t forget to indulge in the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man baked Alaska—an ode to Reitman’s Ghostbusters—before the curtain falls on your feast.  —Craig Moy

• Montecito, 299 Adelaide St. W., 416-599-0299; montecitorestaurant.ca
Map and reviews

You Are Here: Eat, Explore and Relax Along the Harbourfront

HTO Park

HTO Park

1  Inspired by J.S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, the Toronto Music Garden is a classical green space in both theme and execution: six meticulously tended “movements” are lush with trees, tall grasses and colourful perennials. The garden hosts chamber music performances on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer. 479 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000; harbourfrontcentre.com

2  Watch the boats (and planes) go by beneath a large yellow parasol at HTO Park. The sand-strewn site overlooking Toronto’s inner harbour lends a relaxed, beachy vibe to what was once a fairly nondescript stretch of lakeside real estate. 339 Queens Quay W.

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Market Street Brings More Foodie Fervor to Old Town

BY CRAIG MOY

Market Street (photo: Craig Moy)

Market Street (photo: Craig Moy)

The makeover of Market Street, a long-neglected little boulevard parallel to the St. Lawrence Market, is now complete. A passion project of late real estate developer Paul Oberman (also known for his work revitalizing Old Town’s Gooderham “Flatiron” Building), the block connecting Front Street to the Esplanade is now a cobblestone promenade lined by seven food-focused tenants.

Below you’ll find a brief rundown of the old strip’s new establishments. To discover more, why not head down to Market Street to try the fare for yourself?

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Second Helpings: On Toronto’s Newest Spin-Off Restaurants

BY CRAIG MOY

Farmer's Daughter (left) and The Tavern by Trevor (photos: Craig Moy)

Farmer’s Daughter (left) and The Tavern by Trevor (photos: Craig Moy)

Last year, whenever Darcy MacDonell was asked for his thoughts on the next big Toronto restaurant trend, he says his reply was a simple one: restaurant closures.

The owner of the acclaimed Farmhouse Tavern felt that the robust local dining scene was ready for a softening, that the supply of prime dining rooms was beginning to overtake demand.

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You Are Here: What to See, Do, Eat and Buy in Liberty Village

MZTV Museum of Television (photo: Craig Moy)

MZTV Museum of Television (photo: Craig Moy)

The condos are still going up in this west-end neighbourhood, but a number of restaurants, boutiques and other businesses have done more than enough to establish themselves.

1  Broadcasting impresario Moses Znaimer’s significant collection of rare, vintage television sets can be viewed, by appointment, at the MZTV Museum of Television & Archive. 64 Jefferson Ave., 416-599-7339; mztv.com

In Liberty Village, School is best attended on weekends. The academically themed spot gets top marks for its brunch, including pancakes with black- and blueberry compote and super-cheesy bacon French toast. 70 Fraser Ave., 416-588-0005; schooltoronto.com

3  Fashion-forward femmes find favour at Vocado, a contemporary boutique that makes updating your seasonal style as simple as flipping through a friend’s closet. Pick out everything from Wildfox printed t-shirts to J Brand jeans to well-heeled footwear by Dolce Vita. 121–171 East Liberty St., 647-347-7153; vocado.myshopify.com

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Top Chefs Assemble for Taste of Toronto

The participating Taste of Toronto chefs

The participating Taste of Toronto chefs

JULY 24 TO 27  A weekend full of flavour awaits as one of the world’s leading culinary festivals lays out its ambitious spread for the first time in North America. Taste of Toronto, one of 20-plus international Taste events, invites foodies to indulge in a range of small plates from a who’s who of the city’s chefs: Carl Heinrich of Richmond Station (pictured front row, second from left), Cory Vitiello of The Harbord Room (top row, third from right), Geoff Hopgood of Hopgood’s Foodliner (top row, fifth from right) and more than a dozen others. Momofuku’s David Chang (top row, fourth from left) is also coming in from New York. A cooking demonstration stage provides entertainment and education between bites, while a vendor market featuring more than 50 premium local producers—from cheesemongers to juice slingers to maple syrup makers—ensures you can take home some treats, too. Fort York, $30 for admission to one of six lunch or dinner sessions (individual dishes $6 to $10); visit tasteoftoronto.com for more information.  —Craig Moy