Momofuku Noodle Bar 190 University, at Adelaide W, 647-253-8000, momofuku.com/toronto/noodle-bar-to, @momofuku For those who've experienced celebu-chef David Chang's original storefront on Manhattan's funky Lower East Side, the imported version in the super-luxe Shangri-La Hotel will come as something of a disappointment. Sure, the new joint's bigger - making for shorter lineups, and there almost always is one - but the space itself looks like a Spring Rolls franchise from 10 years ago. The menu is also much shorter and includes none of Chang's sensational Milk Bar desserts. To get those, you have to pony up the big bucks at his Daisho or Shoto upstairs. Best: in whatever random order the kitchen sends out, Chang's signature ramen, toothsome of noodle, intense of bacon-infused pork broth, dressed with very soft-poached egg, sweetly roasted pork belly and shredded shoulder; al dente vegetarian mein in ginger-scallion sauce; toasted rice cakes with sesame seeds in spicy sweet 'n' sour Red Dragon sauce; atomic kimchi stew with more Chang-style pig; but while they're tasty enough, his pork-stuffed steamed buns smeared with hoisin pale next to those of the Banh Mi Boys. Complete meals for $35 per person, including tax, tip and a Steam Whistle. Average main $15. Open for lunch daily 11:30 am to 3 pm; dinner 5 pm to 11 pm. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNN
Patria 480 King W, at Brant, 416-367-0505, patriatoronto.com, @PatriaTO Club kings Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji follow up their hip 'n' happening Weslodge with Patria, their tastiest collab yet. Executive chef Stuart Cameron's open kitchen sends out unusually authentic Spanish tapas while the cavernous room's cathedral ceiling guarantees the buzz only gets louder as the night progresses. Come back Sunday for one of the most non-brunchy brunches around. Best: to share, tissue-thin slices of 24-month-old Serrano ham; wedges of Valdeon blue cheese with quince jelly and grilled sour dough; creamy Manchego croquettes; blistered padrón peppers; Manchego-stuffed dates and guindilla peppers wrapped in fatty Iberico bacon; blood-red Iberico pork flank over piquillo pepper jam; deep-fried churros with caramel sauce; soft coffee ice cream sandwiches with olive marmalade; at brunch, sponge-cake muffins with olive-oil pudding; potato frittata with romesco sauce; braised cannellini beans 'n' chorizo; octopus terrine on flatbread splashed with aioli; wood-fired Spanish pizzas dressed with white anchovies, piquillo peppers and Manchego. Complete dinners for $60 per person (brunches $30), including tax, tip and a glass of wine. Average tapas $9. Open for brunch Sunday 10:30 am to 2:30 pm; dinner daily 5:30 to close. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN ?
Lazy Daisy's 1515 Gerrard E, at Coxwell, 647-341-4070, lazydaisyscafe.ca, @LazyDaisysCafe Though there may be similar all-day indie spots on every street corner west of Bathurst, here in Little India, Dawn Chapman's artsy 34-seat café is cause for dancing in the streets. A short locavore card of soups 'n' sandwiches augmented by stellar baked goods from nearby Knead Bakery makes this an inevitable magnet for the stroller brigade. Best: sweet Beretta Farms ground beef chili with chunky tomato and the occasional kidney bean sided with jalapeño cornbread miniature whoopee pies filled with Fifth Town goat cheese and smoked Mennonite bacon; broccoli and Woolwich cheddar quiche with buttery croissant crust; Cha Cha chicken salad sandwiches on St Urbain poppyseed bagels; salted caramel and chocolate cheesecake brownies; for the Star Wars fanatic, Princess Leia cinnamon buns. Complete meals for $15, including all tax, tip and a Te Aro coffee. Average main $8. Open Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday 8:30 am to 11 pm (closed 5 to 6 pm); Sunday 8:30 am to 4 pm. No reservations. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
Menu items and prices may have changed. Call restaurant for details.
With files from Steven Davey