Walking past Tamarind's modern counter-service eatery within Brookfield Place, home of the Hockey Hall of Fame and near the Air Canada Centre and Sony Centre of Performing Arts, you're likely to get a whiff of coriander, cumin, turmeric, and ginger?the telltale aromas of an authentic Indian restaurant. But, thanks to the chefs' active imaginations, you're likely to notice other scents as well. Jamaican jerk spices, for instance, which put the kick in a recent mango jerk chicken special. Or the spicy aroma of piri piri sauce, the chili-based dressing popular in Mozambique that played a role in a piri piri fish dish. These exotic variations on familiar flavors rotate each month, giving newcomers a reason to stop by and regulars a reason to return. To accompany both the traditional dishes?scratch-made curries, biryani, and convenient wraps and kebabs?and the innovative specials, freshly baked naan bread bearing tantalizing bubbles and zero tan lines emerges from the blazing tandoor throughout the day.
In Kothur Indian Cuisine’s neat and unpretentious dining room, where simply framed artwork dots the walls, the focus remains on rich, fragrant Indian dishes. From the kitchen, ceramic and copper dishes emerge, piled high with chicken, fish, and shrimp cooked in the traditional tandoori oven, as well as South Indian–style dosas, or rice-batter crepes. The extensive menu features a wide range of meat and vegetarian entrees, from classic chicken tikka masala to mutter paneer made with fresh Indian cheese.
Spice quiets stomach rumbles with traditional Indian-Nepalese dishes accompanied by a panoply of fine wines. The menu hosts a ticker-tape parade of spices, imbuing appetizers and main dishes with fiery flavour adjustable to individual taste buds. Awaken slumbering mouths with an order of vegetable samosas or a Spice salad with mango and baby spinach (both $5). A tandoori clay oven delivers deep flavours to entrees starring chicken ($16), lamb ($16), and salmon ($15), and fish and coconut linger past curfew in the goan fish curry ($16). Spice’s award-winning wines complement mealtime flavours, conversation, and tiddlywinks championships.
Rows of pastel treats glimmer behind glass cases at Gagan Sweets, tempting tongues with each tasty morsel. Gagan Sweets has been making traditional Indian sweets and namkeens—savoury snacks—since 1992, and that experience shows in its attention to detail. Twenty-five different types of sweets are made on site each day, including milk cakes and Bengali sweets. Gagan also serves savoury vegetarian food in its restaurant, the perfect dessert a meal of their sweets. The buffet stretches out for yards to accommodate a cornucopia of fragrant Indian dishes. Patrons wander along the table, loading their plates with palak paneer, samosas, and chana masala, as well as plenty of roti or naan on the side to soak up every carefully balanced spice.
"Zeera" translates to "sophisticated flavor," and it's an altogether fitting name for an Indian restaurant that's known for its complex blends of spices. Rather than infuse their cuisine with unbearable levels of heat, the chefs here prepare dishes a bit milder, which helps to bring out the subtler flavors in the acclaimed shrimp madras and tandoori chicken.
As you might expect from an Indian restaurant, vegetarian options abound. But there are also several unique dishes that combine elements of Eastern and Western cuisine. Fans of buffalo wings shouldn't miss out on the tandoori chicken wings with yogourt, served either on a traditional plate or in a commemorative '92 Bills helmet.
Elegant five-star hotels. The United Nations. Bustling cruise ships. For Chef Johnee Savarimuthu, no venue is too intimidating. Since completing his training at the Culinary Institute of America, he's prepared meals for international luminaries in kitchens around the globe. After years of wayfaring, he settled in Toronto, bringing his flair for food to the prep stations of 5th Element Restaurant. Open since 2006, the restaurant made a immediate splash with local diners when it was named an official restaurant of that year's Toronto International Film Festival. Praised at the time by the Toronto Star for its "primo location" and "trendy Indian-Mediterranean fusion food," the restaurant continues to turn out memorable meals today. Inside the dining room, the warm smell of curry wafts up from the sleek tables that line a long banquette. Menus change every 30-45 days to keep flavors fresh, but past praise-earning dishes include "Indo-Med dishes such as halibut, Goan-style strip sirloin and pork ribs marinated in mango chutney." No matter the dishes at hand, meals always pair well with selections from the wine list; behind the bar, resident mixologists also shake up lychee, mango, and French martinis.