Recently reviewed

Tons of restaurants, crossing cultures, every week


Beech Tree 924 Kingston Rd, at Lawlor, 416-699-4444,, @TheBeechTreePub Taking his culinary cues from UK gastro-pub heavyweights Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White, first-time restaurateur Robert Maxwell’s 34-seat upper Beach bistro isn’t out to reinvent the wheel. Those who value substance over surface flash are bound to be impressed. Best: to start, ex-Opus sous Jamie Newman’s Pringle-like fingerling potato crisps with buttermilk dip creamed cauliflower and stinky Stilton on toast dressed with curly English parsley grilled double-thick Mennonite pork chops with flageolet beans and roasted Brussels sprouts halves of roasted Moroccan-style chicken with spicy du Puys lentils and red harissa substantial brisket cheeseburgers on house-baked brioche flourless chocolate cake with Maldon sea salt and unsweetened crème fraîche. Complete dinners for $45 per person, including tax, tip and a glass of wine. Average main $20/$13 brunch. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5 to 11 pm, Sunday 5 to 9 pm. Brunch Sunday 11 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNN

Latin American

Valdez 606 King W, at Portland, 416-363-8388,, @thevaldezTO This shotgun space in a converted warehouse will be familar to anyone who ever visited the 606 and Cheval nightclubs. And while the party vibe hangs on, original Origin chef and Top Chef Canada contestant Steve Gonzalez’s Latin American street food breathes new life into an old room. Best: made-to-order guacamole with yucca, plantain and taro chips bite-sized empanadas stuffed with minced chorizo and cubed potato with spicy chili pepper dip a vegan ceviche of “compressed” melon tossed with slippery strips of seaweed Peruvian chaufa fried rice tossed with shredded duck confit, freshly shelled edamame and salty tobiko fish roe, the lot garnished with the crunchy bits scraped off the flat-top salted watermelon and pineapple popsicle deep-fried wonton pasteles stuffed with cream cheese and sided with quince jam. Complete meals for $50 per person, including tax, tip and a Michelada. Average main $22. Open Monday to Wednesday 5 to 11 pm, Thursday to Saturday 5 pm to midnight. Closed Sunday, some holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Rating: NNN


Schnitzel Queen 237 Queen E, at Sherbourne, 416-363-9176, Though there are only three seats at the cramped lunch counter (four if you count the stool in the corner), this tiny long-running takeaway near Moss Park is responsible for some of the biggest meal deals in town. Regulars know to come early, after the lunch rush, or phone for delivery into the core. Best: enormous sandwiches on multi-grain ciabatta dressed with mayo and leafy lettuce, then stuffed with pounded, battered and fried-to-order pork cutlets the size of oven mitts customize the basic model with the likes of lemony potato salad and caramelized onion (the Bernard) or diced bacon, sauerkraut and processed cheddar (the King) chicken schnitzel with sweet ‘n’ sour Chinese chili sauce for the vegetarian, deep-fried Edam cheese or eggplant schnitzel with all the fixin’s. Complete meals for $15 per person, including tax, tip and a drink. Average main $10. Open Monday to Friday 11 am to 7 pm. Closed Saturday, Sunday, holidays. No reservations. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: barrier-free, counter seating, no washrooms. Rating: NNNN

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