Recently reviewed

Here are a few ideal hangover havens


Brunch

Edward Levesque’s Kitchen

1290 Queen E, at Hastings, 416-465-3600. In the blogosphere, Levesque has a reputation for being a bit of a curmudgeon. But once past the grumpy persona, find a chef who’s committed both to the environment – many of the organic veggies on the card are home-grown – and to the comfort of his regulars. Best: blueberry waffles with whipped wildflower honey and mascarpone grilled jerk Angus skirt steak and two over-easy eggs sided with pita, avocado and roasted tomato latkes topped with Kristapsons smoked salmon, sour cream and chives sides of chipotle cornbread, Cumbrae’s breakfast bangers and pickled beets to drink, bottomless cups of drip coffee. Complete brunches for $25 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of plonk. Average main $12. Open New Year’s Day 10 am to 3 pm, Saturday and Sunday (January 2 and 3) 9 am to 3 pm. Licensed. Access: four steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNN

Chinese Dim Sum

Yiu Wah

421 Dundas W, third floor, at Huron, 416-979-8833. Known as “the one on the south side of Dundas with the carts,” this venerable dim sum palace has relocated from its original second-floor digs to an even larger room on the third. Warning: expect mob scenes, especially at weekday lunch, when prices are deeply discounted. Best: lotus-leaf-wrapped bundles of steamed gelatinous short-grain rice strewn with smoky chicken fatty braised pork spareribs coated with cornstarch and black bean sauce crisp, grease-free spring rolls stuffed with minced pork in cornstarch-thickened gravy Chicken Rice Noodle Rolls, rice noodle cylinders plumply stuffed with minced chicken, raw carrot threads, chopped rice vermicelli and Chinese chives. Complete dim sum meals for $15 per person, including all taxes, tip and a pot of green tea. Average dim sum $2. Open daily for dim sum 9 am to 3 pm, and for à la carte dinner nightly till 10 pm. Licensed. Access: four steps at door to elevator, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN

Deli

Caplansky’s

356 College, at Brunswick, 416-500-3852. Formerly located in the Monarch Tavern, Zane Caplansky’s resto brings old-school deli into the 21st century. Though the new joint now features dinners and all-day breakfasts, the artisanal smoked meat – more Southern U.S. barbecue than St. Laurent – remains the focus. Best: smoked meat sandwiches sided with Yukon Gold fries or pickled coleslaw obscenely rich chopped liver cabbage borscht thick with double-smoked bacon potato ‘n’ cabbage knish in buttery phyllo pastry at dinner, pan-fried liver topped with onions caramelized in chicken fat sinewy slow-cooked brisket, both sided with lumpy mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli to finish, Wanda’s retro pie to drink, Verner’s ginger ale several Ontario microbrews on tap. Complete dinners for $30 per person (lunches/breakfasts $20), including all taxes, tip and a pint of Ontario microbrew. Average main $12/$9. Open Thursday to Saturday 10 am to 11 pm, Sunday to Tuesday 10 am to 10 pm, Wednesday 10 am to 11 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN

Korean

Owl Of Minerva

700 Bloor W, at Clinton, 416-538-3030. Millions of hungover Koreans swear by this exceptionally hearty – and fiery – hangover cure: pork bone soup. Though this somewhat shabby student-friendly soup kitchen attracts an older crowd by day, after the bars close, it fills with animated club kids from nearby karaoke bars. No sign, per se – look for the Owl! Also: 5324 Yonge, at Churchill, 416-221-7275. Best: from a very short menu, pork bone soup, the Seoul-food version of goulash, thick with delicious marrow-full shank slowly simmered in broth and thickened with potato, salty fermented miso paste and hellishly hot pepper powder bulgogi, stringy strips of quickly seared soy-marinated beef over sweet-potato noodles stir-fried with carrots, scallions and button mushrooms in smoky sweet red pepper paste. Complete meals for $15 per person, including all taxes, tip and a domestic beer. Average main $8. Open 24/7. Licensed. Access: eight steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN

Pakistani

King Palace

820 Church, at Asquith, 416-515-8188. Once located in an all-night downtown gas station, this Indo/Pakistani take-away moves to somewhat classier Yorkville digs in the former donut shop next to the car wash across from Canadian Tire. Warning: fancy it ain’t! Best: while most dishes are sold as combos complete with naan and purple cabbage salad, they’re better experienced in takeout tubs: slow-cooked and aggressively spiced tender lamb on the shank smoky eggplant with chickpea masala cauliflower and potato garnished with fresh coriander stalks and mild green chili pods al dente yellow lentils fired with green chili for the timid, boneless stewed chicken with sweet mango moist basmati biryani rice flecked with curry leaf for dessert, smooth rice pudding in sweet condensed milk dusted with crushed green pistachios. Complete meals for $13 per person, including all taxes, tip and a can of soda. Average main $9. Open daily 11 am to 6 am year round. Unlicensed. Access: one step at curb, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNNN

Pizza

Pizzeria Libretto

221 Ossington, at Dundas W, 416-532-8000. Now that Rocco Agostino and Max Rimaldi’s insanely popular Ossington trat does lunch, snagging a table at Toronto’s best pizza parlour has just got that much easier. Show up any other time after 7 pm and, because the joint doesn’t take reservations, join the queue. Friendly if rushed service, some communal seating. Takeout, too! Best: to start, deep-fried buttermilk-battered calamari with nutty chipotle Romesco sauce follow with Neapolitan-style thin-crusted pliable pies dressed with Pingue prosciutto, arugula, heirloom tomato and garlic classic Margherita brushed with San Marzano tomato sauce and layered with Fior di Latte mozzarella and oven-crisped basil leaves fennel-flecked house-made sausage with more mozzarella, chili oil, caramelized onion and drizzled honey duck confit with caramelized Bosc pear and minimal mozza’ to finish, lemony panna cotta with blueberry coulis. Open New Year’s Day 4 to 11 pm, Saturday (January 2) noon to 11 pm, Sunday (January 3) 4 to 11 pm, Monday to Thursday noon to 11 pm. No reservations. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNNN

Poutine

Poutini’s House of Poutine

1112 Queen W, at Beaconsfield. Sure, almost every other beanery in town does a take on poutine – that artery-clogging collision of french fries, gravy and cheese curds that only makes sense on an empty stomach after the ninth beer (or the morning after) – but only this minimally appointed late-night noshery gets the combo correct. Minimal seating but lots of leaning room. Best: the king of poutines, made from hand-cut russet potatoes twice-cooked in trans-fat-free vegetable oil and lightly dusted in sea salt, ladled with house-made roasted beef bone or veggie gravy based on leek ‘n’ onion stock and layered with super-squeaky cheese curds from Maple Dale Farm of Tweed, Ontario. Complete meals for $10, including all taxes, tip and a bottled water. Average main $6. Open Thursday to Saturday noon to 3:30 am, Tuesday and Wednesday noon to 11 pm. Closed Sunday, Monday. No reservations. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: one step at door, no washrooms. Rating: NNNN

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