Pita pockets at Rose City Kitchen aren’t exactly huge, but they’re tasty.
Barrio Coreano 642 Bloor W, at Manning, 416-901-5188, playacabana.ca/642-bloor, @barriocoreano Playa Cabana's Dave Sidhu finally gets the formula right with this surprisingly unpretentious taqueria in Koreatown. Friendly, informed service, an innovative East-meets-Southwest carte and a low-key Latin playlist transform first-timers into repeat customers. Best: thinly sliced "watermelon sashimi" dressed with kumquats, unseeded jalapeños, toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds in tart ponzu vinaigrette; grilled calamari in smoky árbol chili sided with pineapple kimchee salsa; South Korean fried chicken tacos in sweet 'n' sour kampungki sauce on blue corn tortillas; the built-to-share 32-ounce Cowboy aged rib-eye steak; flourless chocolate cake in jars finished with green tea ice cream; to drink, kimchee sours with Jack Daniels, fresh lime and pickle syrup. Complete dinners for $40 per person, including tax, tip and an imported beer. Open Tuesday and Wednesday 5 to 11 pm, Thursday to Saturday 5 pm to 2 am, Sunday 5 to 11 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: two steps at door, three steps to washrooms. Rating: NNNN
Skin + Bones 980 Queen E, at Carlaw, 416-524-5209, skinandbonesto.com, @skinandbonesto Ex-Enoteca Sociale partner Daniel Clarke's stylish Leslieville wine bar might be more at home on the King West strip, but its moderately priced Sunday brunch menu and supplementary all-you-can-eat buffet - buy any main and get chef Tara Lee's exceptional spread of charcuterie, cheese and pastries for an additional 3 bucks - fits this brunchiest of nabes like a glove. Best: gluten-free porchetta Bennys with sous-vide poached eggs in textbook hollandaise over cheesy polenta laced with kale; buttermilk-battered chicken with Asian apple slaw; from the buffet, house-baked cinnamon buns, cheese puffs and palmiers; house-cured bresaola and fennel-flecked salami; granola, high-fat yogurt and syrup-poached pears. Complete brunches for $30 per person, including tax, tip and a mimosa. Average main $15. Open for brunch Sunday 10 am to 2 pm. Dinner Sunday to Thursday 5 to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 5 pm to midnight. Closed some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNN
Agave y Aguacate 35 Baldwin, at Henry, 647-748-6448, agave-y-aguacate.com, @AgaveyAguacate Celebrated for the Kensington Market cantina that Anthony Bourdain called "some of the most amazing Mexican takeout north of the border - any border," Francisco Alejandri resurfaces in Baldwin Village in the former home of the equally legendary Gaston's. Anyone who ever lined up for hours at the old one-man operation will appreciate the much speedier service. Tables and chairs, too! Best: chileajo, stir-fried fingerling spuds, pearl onions, green beans and chickpeas in garlicky guajillo pepper sauce and mild queso fresco cheese; white fish ceviche verde with avocado, tomatillo and coriander pesto; chile relleno, blistered poblano peppers stuffed with pineapple and puréed avocado, dressed with roasted garlic; slow-poached veal 'n' pork meatballs in smoky chipotle gravy; tiramisu-like lime charlotte with black Hawaiian lava salt. Complete dinners for $40 per person, including tax, tip and an imported beer. Average main $9. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5:30 to 11 pm. Closed Sunday, Monday, holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: two steps at door, washrooms upstairs. Rating: NNNNN