With the vision of creating fresh, innovative food—and the credo that “real food should begin with real ingredients”—Porta Via Restaurant’s first location swung open its doors in 2006. Today, three sleek restaurants put these founding principles into practice by serving up housemade soups, freshly constructed paninis, and towering salads to give their on-the-go patrons access to healthy, fresh food. Behind the counter, Porta Via’s chefs draw from a collection of fresh, bright ingredients to create their signature pressed sandwiches, which, like their dreams, are filled with zesty spreads, grilled chicken and turkey breast, and flavourful cheeses.
Inside Café en Passant, tables are handsomely dressed in blue and white linens; along with the bouquets of red carnations, the colors evoke the French Tricolore flag. For 35 years, these tables have displayed dishes prepared elegantly with both traditional and nouveau techniques, such as baked white-mushroom caps filled with pâté, red wine, and Swiss. Though rooted in French flavors (there are crêpes, escargots, and award-winning French onion soups), the dinner menu also includes wiener schnitzel and a handful of Italian-style pasta dishes. Whatever the dish, chefs use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, and often rotate in specials that guests will find displayed on a blackboard or etched into their water's ice cubes.
Of course, since this is a French restaurant at heart, there's plenty of dedication to both wine and dessert. Sorbets and cheesecakes rotate daily, but you can order classics such as chocolate-truffle cake and their specialty crème brûlée every day. The wine list represents vineyards from around the world, including Canadian and Australian reds alongside French and Californian whites.
Since 2001, pastry chef and founder Steve Wemyss has manned the mixers at Patisserie Monaco, supplying artfully crafted wholesale pastries to clients throughout Canada. Today, approximately 100 team members join him in the operation to ensure the finest in craftsmanship, ingredients, food safety, and timely transportation. Their array of professional desserts includes black forest cakes, cookies, petite french fruit tarts, and elegant strawberry cheesecake squares. The company walks on the savoury side with their twists and flatbreads—including a basil pizza twist—and hors d’oeuvres such as jerk-chicken firecrackers, which despite all logic, can be safely eaten at gas stations.
Chefs at Crepe Delicious swirl paper-thin layers of batter onto their piping-hot crepe griddles, perfuming the air with the enticing aroma. Shortly after, the cooks lift away delectable crepes ready to be stuffed with savoury ingredients. The crepes themselves weigh in at only about 130 calories each with just 3.5 grams of fat, but they sate appetites during any meal.
On a nondescript St. Lawrence Market District street corner, one of the area's top fine dining establishments hides inside a historic brick building. Lucien's almost industrial-looking facade is a stark juxtaposition to an interior where chandeliers and velvety red curtains contribute to a refined yet welcoming space. Customers dine flanked by an elegant marble-topped bar and a sectioned wall behind which the kitchen staff can be spied conjuring up the restaurant's acclaimed dishes, all made form locally sourced ingredients.
Experienced restaurateur Simon Bower crafted the eatery's attitude and decor while chef Etienne Lemieux created the menu, which stars such gems such as grilled bincho octopus and red deer bresola. Lucien's genial milieu exudes the elegance of fine dining in an unstuffy, cozy setting. The establishment has won numerous awards for its overall quality, being praised as "the city's best new restaurant" by Toronto Life magazine and placed among enRoute magazine's top 10 restaurants in Canada. Meals can be capped off with an artisanal cheese plate ($17) or sake cherries jubilee ($12).
Evidence of toronto.com?s enthusiasm about Tappo Wine Bar and Restaurant?s ?thoughtfully presented? dishes and decor that marry "the past with the present? can be witnessed immediately upon entering the history-laden space, a converted whiskey distillery built in the 1830s. As affable servers bustle about the rustic stone walls of the dining room, chef Tyson Lambert and his crew of culinary gurus dash about the kitchen, architecting dishes that, like an opera about baba gannouj, fuse Italian classics with Mediterranean influences. Chefs? fingers deftly construct meals featuring ingredients such as fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables, and truffle jus. Bathed in the romantic glow of candles, chandeliers, and wall sconces, Tappo staffers replenish dwindling wine glasses with red and white libations selected from the 13-page wine list featuring oenological quaffs flown in from around the globe.