Tavola Calda closes
Tavola Calda , the long-running trat on College, has called it a day.
After a 10-year run, mother-and-son team Mary and Pat Lanzillotto have seen Toronto's original Corso Italia evolve from a quiet neighbourhood of mom 'n' pop eateries into one of downtown's busiest late-night party zones. These days it seems the cocktail crowd just isn't interested in eggplant parmigiana.
Although they've had several offers to turn their building into a swanky nightclub, the Lanzillottos have leased the room to a sushi joint that opens there mid-May.
"If I'd wanted to turn my restaurant into a bar I'd have done it myself," laughs Mama Lanzillotto.
Verity , the terrific takeaway in the east-side spa of the same name, has also closed. George (111 Queen East, at Mutual, 416-863-6006) - NOW's resto of 2005 - has annexed the neighbouring space in the women's club to allow chef Lorenzo Loseto to expand his avant card to incorporate weekday lunch for the first time.
He describes the three-course lineup - lobster carrot bisque with olive-oil-poached scallops in cilantro foam ($14); followed by his signature mushroom ricotta gnocchi in brown butter ($16); and crispy sweetbreads, veal meatballs over polenta and Thai curry ($18) - as "similar but simpler."
One of a Kind deal
Those of more modest means already pack out One of a Kind (746 Queen West, at Niagara, 416-203-2229) every night of the week for the west-side eatery's wallet-friendly pasta specials. The wait for a table just got longer now that owner/chef Raymond To has introduced a Monday-t0-Thursday surf 'n' turf meal deal: an aged 8-ounce slab of sirloin served with a lobster tail, garlic-mashed potatoes and grilled veggies for all of $19.95.
Drake revives cost-consciousness
Further west, the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West, at Beaconsfield, 416-531-5042) has reinstated its Starving Artist Hour . Mondays to Fridays from 6 till 7 pm, cash-strapped foodies can dine in the boutique hotel's café on mains like braised beef cheeks with scallion-whipped spuds (regularly $21.95) or the house burger with frites (beef or veggie $13.95) for half-price. Jeff Stober clearly has money to burn.
More Ken Tam The Metropolitan Hotel 's Henry Wu has announced it plans to launch the sequel to its pricey Lai Wah Heen in the dramatic two-storey Pronto space on Mount Pleasant south of Eglinton that last housed Peter Oliver's and Michael Bonacini's ill-fated Square. Designed to evoke a 1930s Shanghai supper club, Lai Toh Heen (which means "beautiful, nurturing and pleasurable meeting place" in Mandarin) opens in May with an uptown take on chef Ken Tam 's downtown chinoiserie.