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Where to Eat Toronto

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

Get Luckee at Susur Lee’s New Dim Sum Restaurant

Duck, rice donuts and shrimp cheung fun are among Luckee's popular menu items

Duck, rice donuts and shrimp cheung fun are among Luckee’s popular menu items

Still best known for bringing highly stylized Asian-fusion fare to Toronto, chef Susur Lee sticks more or less to his roots with Luckee, his new venture that traffics in refined interpretations of traditional Chinese dinner and dim sum dishes. The former’s region-hopping menu proffers the likes of Hong Kong-style steamed sea bass, Shanghai ham with osmanthus honey, and Cantonese ginger fried rice. The dim sum carte is more compact than those of typical Chinatown eateries, but nonetheless hits all the expected marks: har gow, sui mai, cheung fun, spring rolls and more, presented in the meticulously artful fashion that we’ve come to expect from chef Lee.  —Craig Moy

• Luckee, 328 Wellington St. W., 416-935-0400; luckeerestaurant.com
Map and reviews

Fat Pasha Serves Up an Israeli-Mediterranean Feast

Fat Pasha (photo: Craig Moy)

Hummus, couscous and roasted cauliflower at Fat Pasha (photo: Craig Moy)

Anthony Rose continues to remake Dupont Street in his image. Joining the chef and restaurateur’s modish diner Rose and Sons and camping-inspired barbecue spot Big Crow, recently opened Fat Pasha serves up a melting pot of Mediterranean and European-Jewish culinary inspirations. Gather a group to share in everything from creamy hummus to date- and olive-laden couscous to the daily salatim platter of small salads, pickles and other veg. For the truly famished, there’s also a house-signature shawarma and mixed-grill feast. Chase it all with a carafe of anise-flavoured arak, and then return for brunch and a spicy shakshuka with lamb meatballs.  —Craig Moy

• Fat Pasha, 414 Dupont St., 647-340-6142; fatpasha.com
Map and reviews

You Are Here: What to See, Do and Eat on Bremner Boulevard

The CN Tower's EdgeWalk

The CN Tower’s EdgeWalk

1  Toronto’s skyline-defining monument, the 553-metre CN Tower, is among the world’s tallest freestanding structures. Peer way up and you may spot thrill-seekers taking part in an EdgeWalk, which allows daring individuals to traverse the perimeter of the building 116 storeys above street level. For a less precarious bird’s-eye view, guests can dine at the revolving restaurant 360, which boasts the world’s highest wine cellar. 301 Front St. W., 416-868-6937; cntower.ca

2  Adjacent to the CN Tower is the Rogers Centre, home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. The stadium was the first in the world to have a retractable roof; it’s open in good weather when Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera and their teammates are running the bases. 1 Blue Jays Way, 416-341-1000; rogerscentre.com

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Red Sauce Represents an Accessible Shift

Red-Sauce-Toronto-Meatball-Sandwich

Jumping from South Carolina to Italy is perhaps not the most obvious of culinary progressions, but it’s been a profitable one for Scott and Lindsay Selland. Earlier this year the Toronto restaurateurs turned what had been their acclaimed Lowcountry-inspired dining room, Acadia, into Red Sauce, a family-friendly haunt that highlights deli-classic veal, chicken and eggplant parmesans—available as regular or hero sandwiches, or on a platter with vegetable options—plus a smattering of other easy-eating Italian-American classics. Reasonably priced drinks, including a draught negroni, plus house-made sodas ensure a well-lubricated meal.  —Craig Moy

• Red Sauce, 50C Clinton St., 416-792-6002; redsaucetoronto.com
Map and reviews

Share an Exotic Experience at Byblos

Byblos-Toronto-Storys-Building

Toronto diners and restaurateurs, all in a perpetual quest to hit upon the newest trends in food service, seem to have agreed that this year’s modish menus are to be inspired by the Mediterranean and Middle East. These fashionable flavours find their most glamorous interpretation at Byblos, a dining room and lounge from the owners of similarly chic Patria and Weslodge. Named for the Lebanese port that’s said to be the world’s oldest inhabited city, the restaurant naturally presents colourful, contemporary takes on mezze-style dishes traditional to that region—saffron couscous, “jewelled” rice, Turkish dumplings, and spicy tomato and duck egg shakshuka. Communal cocktails, served in ceramic punch bowls, make for apt accompaniments to the shareable plates.  —Craig Moy

• Byblos, Storys Building, 11 Duncan St., 647-660-0909; byblostoronto.com
Map and reviews

It’s Cocktail Hour for Foodies at East Thirty-Six

Subtly flavoured scallop crudo goes well with your drink at East Thirty-Six

Subtly flavoured scallop crudo goes well with your drink at East Thirty-Six

A city’s heritage district can always use a good, historically-inclined cocktail parlour. The latest such establishment to make a home in Old Town Toronto is East Thirty-Six, an intimate spot that aesthetically evokes Hollywood’s golden age while melding equal parts timeless and modern on its menu. At the bar, owner and mixologist Julien Salomone crafts boozy tipples ranging from a barrel-aged smoked boulevardier to his maple syrup-splashed rye-and-Cynar “borsalino.” Tucking in for a bite proves a worthy pastime, too, thanks to chef Brent Maxwell’s classical French–leaning small plates, including brown butter and hazelnut cauliflower, duck confit and boudin blanc with foie gras, and for dessert, lemon custard with shortbread.  —Craig Moy

• East Thirty-Six, 36 Wellington St. E., 647-350-3636; eastthirtysix.com
Map and reviews

Savour Mexican and Korean Flavours at Playa Cabana’s Barrio Coreano

Barrio-Coreano

Arguably the biggest beneficiary of this city’s seemingly insatiable hunger for tacos has been Dave Sidhu, whose Playa Cabana mini-chain has now added its third new location in less than four years. This one’s a little different, though. Plunked down in the middle of Koreatown, Barrio Coreano blends Mexican and Korean flavours to striking effect. The restaurant’s aesthetic will be familiar to previous Playa patrons, with mucho salvaged materials serving as light fixtures, signage and the like, and an overall atmosphere that is most easily described as “red.” Somewhat less recognizable is the menu: though tacos are indeed highlighted, they feature fixings like kalbi beef and grilled octopus with wasabi.  —Craig Moy

• Barrio Coreano, 642 Bloor St. W., 416-901-5188; playacabana.ca
Map and reviews

Raise a Sake-Filled Glass at Kampai Toronto

Kampai-Toronto

MAY 29  It seems that with each passing day Torontonians are becoming more and more sophisticated when it comes to wines, craft beers and cocktails. This month offers the opportunity to toast another artisanal alcohol: sake. Kampai Toronto brings together interested imbibers to sample more than 120 of the best rice wines from Japan and North America alongside nibbles from such restaurants as Bent and Guu. And if the varieties of ginjo, nigori and junmai are still on your mind after the event, be sure to visit Ki Modern Japanese + Bar, where certified Advanced Sake Professional Michael Tremblay does an excellent job demystifying the drink. Distillery District, 6:30 p.m, $70 to $95; visit kampaitoronto.com for more information.  —Craig Moy

Eschew the Taco Trend at Agave y Aguacate

Agave-y-Aguacate-Toronto

Agave y Aguacate’s upstairs dining room

Torontonians have been conditioned to think of Mexican food as street-style tacos and burritos and not much else. Which is fine, but not particularly reflective of Mexico’s vibrant culinary traditions. Chef Francisco Alejandri corrects our collective palate at Agave y Aguacate, the two-level bricks and mortar version of his now shuttered but still legendary Kensington Market food stall. Instead of a portable stovetop, Alejandri now has a full kitchen in which to prepare the likes of shredded chicken tostadas, roasted poblano peppers stuffed with guacamole and pineapple, and his famous flank steak salad. What hasn’t changed is the restaurant’s popularity: you’ll want to make a reservation to avoid waiting too long for a table.  —Craig Moy

• Agave y Aguacate, 35 Baldwin St., 647-748-6448; Facebook page
Map and reviews

Enjoy a Mexican Feast and Fiesta at Fonda Lola

(photos: Craig Moy)

(photos: Craig Moy)

You wouldn’t necessarily expect to see a modernist-leaning vegetarian chef helming the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant, but the unanticipated is definitely not unwelcome at Fonda Lola. Here, chef Howard Dubrovsky plates contemporary takes on Aztec recipes passed down to co-owner Andres Marquez: addictive Oaxaca cheese-stuffed quecas; zesty trout aguachile; a handheld caesar salad with avocado mousse and candied bacon. Portion sizes are smallish to encourage sampling—and, presumably, so you don’t wind up stuffed to bursting. Order lots and you’ll have ample time to take in the eclectic decor, too, with elements including corrugated sheet metal, reclaimed wood, hand-painted mosaic tiles and even a hutch that acts as a tequila library, where regular guests can store their own bottles.  —Craig Moy

• Fonda Lola, 942 Queen St. W., 647-706-9105; fondalola.ca
• Map and reviews