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For the full-on high-end effect, nothing beats walking past the folks slurping noodles on the main floor and the à la carte diners at Daisho to take one of 12 seats at the bar at Shoto, where chef Mitchell Bates commands a team of five who prepare some of the finest dishes in the city, served omakase style (chef’s choice). Diners can choose an innovatively prepared five-, six- or 10-course meal. It all seems very serious at first, but the menu has a sense of fun, with touches like fried leek rings atop fluke or a cube of roasted rice that explodes with salty-sweet-sour-smoked flavour on the tongue. And while most people don’t think “beer” when considering Shoto’s food, there’s a great craft beer selection,including some off-menu rarities you can uncover via a chat with the sommelier.
Open Tuesday to Saturday 6 to 10:30 pm.
Considering that George serves five- to 10-course tasting menus – one of them vegetarian – plus à la carte fare at both lunch and dinner, you’d think the kitchen would be chaos. But chef Lorenzo Loseto’s team runs like clockwork, turning out gorgeous (and healthy) dishes made from seasonal produce, free-range game and wild-caught fish. The menu changes regularly, but if Loseto’s duck and foie gras in Thai curry is is available, grab it. It’s that fantastic.
Open for lunch Monday to Friday noon to 2:30 pm, dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5:30 to 10:30 pm. Bar Tuesday to Saturday 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm. @georgeonqueen.
Open daily for breakfast and dinner, Cafe Boulud is a go-to spot for special occasions – its prix fixe menus for holidays are always a great deal. The regular menu features Ontario and Canadian ingredients (venison, lobster, monkfish), and portions are generous. Truffle fans should know that the chefs at Boulud are super-generous with the diamond of the kitchen in dishes like truffle risotto or even atop wee amuse-bouches. Desserts are a mix of classics (e.g. profiteroles) and delightfully outrageous treats (the grapefruit givre with sesame halva).
Open for breakfast Monday to Saturday 7 am to 11 am, Sunday 7 am to 10:30 am; brunch -Sunday 11 am to 3 pm; dinner daily 5:30 to 10:30 pm. @cafebouludto.
Can’t make it to the French Riviera? Let Colette bring it to you. This pretty resto (formerly Scarpetta) has an in-house bakery and a menu stacked with French classics, with an emphasis on seafood. A summer afternoon on the patio with shellfish marinière, a glass of Riesling and maybe a chocolate soufflé is perfection. Colette’s Sunday brunch is smaller than the average hotel buffet’s but has a fantastic, generous selection of the house specialties, seafood and -pastries.
Open Monday to Friday 11:30 am to close, Saturday 5 pm to close. Sunday buffet brunch and dinner 10 am to close. @colettetoronto.
The Chase describes itself as a fish and oyster restaurant, but other tasty creatures appear on the menu, too. Chef Michael Steh emphasizes layers of flavours with techniques such as roasting and braising, plenty of acidic balance (so important with fish) by way of marinades, pickles and brines, and the best-quality ingredients. Try roasted halibut for two, or the raw madai (sea bream) and tuna with lime and mango.
Open Monday to Friday 11:30 amto 11 pm, Saturday 5 pm to midnight. @TheChaseTO.
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