I’ve been sitting staring at my laptop screen, writing and rewriting this paragraph over and over. Trying desperately to come up with an introduction to my summer restaurant list for Toronto that doesn’t sound pretentious. The last thing I would ever want for DoTheDaniel.com to become is that. I could tell you that I worked in the restaurant industry for ten years, but then I get preachy and speak server (yes, it is a whole other language). I could tell you that every one of the following restaurants is an absolutely must and HAVE to go, but that might sound demanding. So why don’t I just say this… The following restaurants, in my professional opinion, all have something different to offer you this summer in Toronto. Let me tell you which ones you can find the team & I enjoying in the sun and how you can do the same!
The Toronto food culture is one that is constantly evolving and growing. There seems to be a new restaurant opening every other day and though I love that, the fact remains that sometimes it becomes difficult to know where to go and why. The way that I broke down this feature post is to show you one thing about each of the following restaurants that sets them apart. No matter what the occasion is, #DoTheDaniel has got you covered this summer for Restaurants in every major neighbourhood that I believe you should try. So let me give you a guide on some of the best this city has to offer when heading out with loved ones, coworkers and friends for some fun in the sun.
The Happy Hour:
We all know that feeling. You’ve had a busy day and all you want is something delicious to eat and a stiff cocktail. The idea of Happy Hour is one that I love because who doesn’t like to save a bit of money these days? For those of you looking for just that kind of feeling, you’ll be happy to know that Happy Hour starts early at Biff’s Bistro. One of the Oliver & Bonacini properties, this is a great option when you’re feeling peckish or could use that afternoon cocktail to take the edge off. In a playful manner, “1930’s Paris meets fresh London cool. This modern French bistro offers warm, casual dining and robust bistro cuisine, including an outstanding selection of market fresh seafood and classic bistro specialties like steak tartare, duck confit and beef bourguignon. Neighbouring St. Lawrence Market informs our seasonally inspired menus, as well as our evolving Selection de Fromages.” I have always enjoyed my experiences with the O&B family of restaurants and this bistro is certainly a great choice for those of you looking for happy hour on any day of the week (which btw every day has a different theme for food. Delicious!) with their Ménage à trois, quatre, cinq.
The Late Night:
We’ve all been there. It’s late after a night out with friends and you need to put some food in your stomach. Or maybe you’re a night owl like me and at midnight you get a craving for good food and not some fast food joint down the street. The Ossington Stop has got you covered with that late night vibe for an affordable “snack style” menu alongside drink prices that you simply can’t find elsewhere. But don’t think greasy spoon late night dinner. They’ve got comfort food in snack style format from soft shell beef tacos to sausage pies. Located on Dundas West and… you guessed it, Ossington, this little gem is sure to be your new favourite once you try its late night vibe, great menu and drinks (if you need anymore by that point in the night that is!)
The Brunch Spot:
One of my personal favourite meals of the weekend after a busy week is brunch with friends. Finding a great spot that doesn’t require an hour waiting in line is proving to be quite the conundrum these days. One of the newest power players in the brunch game is the rooftop terrace at Malaparte located on King west. “The terrace will be fully transformed into a city oasis; chill in the Perrier-Jouët champagne garden and enjoy brunch-style beats by DJ Emmanuel. Whether for a special occasion or simply for the best outdoor brunch” $45.00 / ticket with two scheduled brunches scheduled and I’m sure more to come, this is the place to be in Toronto for brunch this summer. Enjoy some bubbles, brunch and time with the besties in the sun. Sounds like a perfect way to start my day. Click here to get your tickets now before they sell out & save yourself the wait in line.
The Date Night:
Where do you take that special someone in your life or have a first date that is both beautiful and affordable in the city of Toronto? Well, in my opinion, one of the best options available for Date Night is at Hudson Kitchen. #HKDateNight is a new program recently launched which provides those looking for romance and ambiance. Featuring a “menu that will consist of shareable items off the new summer menu, as well as cocktails made by Lead Mixologist Jay Meyers for him or her.” It’s always important to pick a place that will leave a lasting impression and ensure a beautiful date, and this option is one that I personally love. Composed with romance in mind, prepare to enjoy locally sourced food, a beautiful patio weather permitting and stunning decor. All that’s left is the romance to pair with the special Date Night menu. $60 a couple each & every Tuesday, I’m sure Julio and I will see you and your special someone there!
The Little Bit of Everything Everyday:
Lord knows that I’m the kind of person who needs to have somewhere in the city that I can get my coffee, my food and my drinks all while surrounded by a great atmosphere. And no, I’m not talking about Starbucks in the states (which for the record, they have started serving alcohol in some locations now. Totally jealous!). But I’m talking about Portland Variety of course. I recently told you about the launch and how much I’ve fallen in love with this King West hotspot. During the day you’ll find fresh baked (and healthy) goodies and coffee. At night, like Cinderella, the space transforms into a hotspot restaurant with cocktails and delicious menu items. It’s hard for me to give Portland Variety one category because it sort of fits into them all. Just what the doctor ordered for a busy person like me who loves the one stop shops!
For when you just can’t decide:
For the indecisive people like myself who just can’t decide, one of the best options I can offer you is to take a stroll down Market Street in the west end of the city. Recently revitalized and launched as a space for food culture in general, Tastes of Market Street has something for everyone. “Tastes of Market Street has involved the finely crafted restoration and painstaking revitalization of a row of heritage buildings along Market Street — the block that connects Front Street and The Esplanade along the western side of the St. Lawrence Market — and the creation of seven unique, charming eateries: Bindia, Market Street Catch, Barsa, Pastizza, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, Evolution Food Co. and Olive & Olives, all of which will have patios.” One of my favourite things to do in the summer time is to walk and enjoy the outdoor markets and spaces. We are all cooped up in the winter time, so when the good weather finally arrives I always suggest to head outdoors. This is a great option (with seven choices, all unique in their own right) for those of you looking not only for a beautiful dinning experience but also an area to spend the day in Toronto.
The Live Music Venue:
No I’m not talking about the ACC or Rogers Centre. I’m talking about the restaurant that you can go to in order to enjoy a delicious meal, a good strong drink and some live music. But not just any live music (I will not insult the cover band because I love them and Catherine would kill me!) but some serious talent. Well one place comes to mind and that is The Kitchen at Brassaii. All summer long, every Thursday night and Sunday morning the expansive patio will plays host to such names as Julian Taylor, Cary Shields, and The Royals alongside many many more. Add that to the new summer menu, beautiful staff and King West eye candy and you’ve got a Toronto hotspot that simply can’t be missed when you’re in the mood for live music.
The Corporate Chain Patio:
Alright listen, everybody loves them and no one ever wants to admit it. But why not? I have always said that corporate restaurants have a lot to offer to the food culture of any city, especially that of Toronto. Jack Astor’s is certainly no exception to my rule. With consistency, and numerous locations to choose from, Jack Astor’s is actually a pretty amazing place to enjoy a meal in the summer time. With their recently launched “Ultimate Summer Patio Experience”, this is something you won’t want to miss! ” On selected dates (July 5, 12, 26 and August 16 & 23) patio-lovers can head to their favourite Jack’s location in the GTA (including Hamilton, Burlington, Vaughan, Mississauga, Toronto, Scarborough, Pickering and Whitby) for a chance to win. Guests have to Tweet or Instagram a photo of themselves before 1:30 p.m. on a Jack Astor’s patio and mention @Jack_Astors, the location and #JacksPatio for a chance to win. … at 1:30 p.m., winners will be whisked away in a limo to Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport. From there, a private pontoon plane will fly them to a lakeside patio in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario for the ultimate VIP summer patio experience including an afternoon full of drinks, food and entertainment.” I mean. Let’s be honest. Who DOESN”T want to win this!?
I hope that this has been of some help for those of you looking to enjoy all the beauties that Toronto has to offer alongside some delicious food this summer. Make sure to Tweet & Instagram @DoTheDaniel to take me along with you to your favourites from the list above and tell me which dish & beverage you loved most. I can’t wait to see where the summer takes you in the city that I call home!
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.