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Spend a lot, or spend a little on dinner on Ossington – according to Joanne Kates

Ossington’s local restaurants fared well on Joanne Kates’ recent list of best restaurants in Toronto. This year the list was broken up into two sections, one for the less expensive restaurants – categorized by her as those restaurants at which two people can eat for under $65 excluding taxes, tip and drinks – known as the ‘spend a little’ list, and the more expensive ones, priced above that level.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 10.23.20 PMSome of the eateries on her less expensive list include:

Mr Flamingo #25

Pizzeria Libretto #26

Hanmoto #27

Golden Turtle #31

On the “Spend a lot” list of more expensive restaurants, the neighbourhood had even more notable choices with these local gems:

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 10.23.08 PMBoralia #7

Enoteca Sociale #17

Omaw #28

Union #30

Foxley #32

The Saint #37

Ufficio #39

and The Black Hoof, close by, ranked at #43

Congrats to all the teams at all of the honoured restaurants, and enjoy eating out at our city’s best restaurants.

 

Ossington Restaurants and Bars in The News

A lot of local restaurants are getting some good press lately. As spring and summer near, those south of the border are exploring where to travel. The neighbourhood is getting mentioned in all sorts of publications, both local and international, pointing out both the tried and true, and some hidden gems..

torontolifelogoThe annual “Best New Restaurants” report from Toronto Life praises several nearby dining spots:

Omaw, the new southern style joint run by Matt Blondin and The Food Dudes, is booked nightly and probably will continue be in the near future, is rated #3 on the list. Located at the corner of Ossington and Humbert, Omaw opened late summer 2015.

Omaw is closely followed at #4 by Imanishi, the izakaya that opened late last year on Dundas West near Rusholme Road.

Dundas West newbie Antler gets some love here too, with raves for game meats, especially venison. This spot opened last fall and has been packing in diners to the small space at 1454 Dundas Street West.

Hanmoto, the tiny spot on Lakeview, and brother to Ossington favorite Oddseoul, is listed at #15. It’s tiny, but the food packs a lot of flavour.

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When it comes to bars in Toronto, a few of Now’s favorites are also located in our part of town. Local beer and arcade bar Get Well rates #7 for both of those things, plus their recent addition of North of Brooklyn Pizza. Always reliable Reposado is recognized not just for it’s stellar selection of tequilas, but it’s great live music too, with a ranking of #14 on Now’s list. Dundas West wine bar Archive, located near Trinity Bellwoods Park, ranked #15. Check out the full list: there are a lot of great bars!


Toronto restaurants are getting quite a bit of press in the U.S. media; who can blame them for wanting to take advantage of our dollar?

logo_vogueVogue just published a report on what’s making Toronto a haven for foodies, and our local hotspots are many of the reasons! The U.S. fashion mag highlights the Canadian cuisine at Boralia, the fusion at Foxley and the desserts from Bang Bang Ice cream! Not sure if we should be expecting more models in the area, or just those aspiring to be.
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Another U.S. magazine, Billboard, is recommending places where their music fan readers can spot Toronto musical talent. Did you know – at least according to this piece – that The Weeknd hangs out at Dundas West and Dovercourt spot Bambi’s? Billboard probably just hasn’t been in the neighbourhood long enough to know where all our other neighbourhood celebs live.

It’s great to read these kind of stories as a reminder of what a great part of town we live in and all the fun and delicious places to enjoy!

Local Restaurants Lauded in Best Of Awards

Local restaurants are coming out on top in 2015 restaurant lists. Critics and regular folk love the food coming out of kitchens on Ossington and Dundas West, and this time of year, they are naming their favorites.

boraliaBoralia, the innovative Canadian restaurant which opened at 59 Ossington this time last year, continues to receive kudos for it’s inventive and delicious dishes. USA TODAY selected the new Canadian spot as one of the Best Toronto restaurants this year.

Today, The Globe and Mail’s Chris Nuttall-Smith added to Boralia’s acclaim with a #2 ranking on his list of the top new restaurants in Toronto in 2015. The esteemed food critic also included Japanese snack bar Hanmoto in his list, at #10.

The Huffington Post has also posted a Best New Restaurant list. This one includes 31 restaurants, and lauds local spots like the recently opened Omaw, and Bobbie Sue’s Mac and Cheese and gives more recognition to Hanmoto.

Last month, in this year’s extensive NOW reader’s choice awards, local restaurants were well represented:

  • Rock Lobster‘s lobster tail caesar voted Best Caesar
  • Lakeview chosen as Best Diner and Runner-up for Late Night restaurant
  • Bellwoods Brewery chosen as Best Microbrew. We’ll drink a Grizzly Beer (or two) to that!
  • Pizzeria Libretto maintains its place on top as Toronto’s favorite pizza
  • Enoteca Sociale was recognized as Runner-up for best wine list in the city – another reason to toast!

Needless to say, we have a lot of excellent eating options in our part of town, so congratulations to the hardworking people behind these great places. To those of you who want to get some of that good food into your belly, get your reservations now.

Omaw Opening Soon

UPDATE: Omaw is soft opening tonight and last night, serving up food and non-alcoholic drinks. Their liquor license is pending but imminent. They’ll be open at 5PM Tuesday – Sunday, so go sample some delicious southern style cuisine! 

OMAW88 Ossington is soon to be home to a Southern restaurant called Omaw, filling a cuisine cavity on Ossington, despite the delicious ribs at Union/CDB.

The former home to bar/club Levack Block, the space has been converted by chef Matt Blondin and catering team The Food Dudes. Toronto Life posted the news that the restaurant is opening soon, and in our wanderings we noticed the place looks ready to open:

OMAWfrontdoorChef Blondin’s tweet from February expected a March opening, but things may be getting closer. The latest news we could find is a posting from early July for restaurant staff. They  should be staffed up and ready to open by now, right?

We’ll keep you posted as soon as the doors open and we get to try the grub! If you beat us there, let us know in the comments or social media.

Boralia and Other Local Restos Rank High in Kates 100

Kates-2015-headerOur neighborhood has been a hot dining scene for years now, and, according to restaurant critic Joanne Kates, whose annual list of the top 100 eating establishments in Toronto was released today, Ossington and Dundas is still a destination for food lovers in the city.

Newly opened last fall, Boralia has gotten kudos from us and the press at large since day one. Today is no exception: the Canadiana themed spot at 59 Ossington debuted on Kates’ list at #6.

Enoteca Sociale, the Dundas West spot serving homemade pastas and wine on tap, ranked #32 – up from a year ago – and has become a stalwart of good Toronto dining, often making these lists since opening in 2010.

Another highly regarded local spot, Teo Paul’s Union Restaurant, ranked #34 versus 42 in 2014. Kates loves the room and the consistency of the food, calling Union “one of the anchors of Ossington.”

Yet another local favorite, Foxley actually dropped from #30 to #40 this year, but still makes the grade. The only negative she offers is the lack of reservations.

The Saint made the list again this year at #49, calling it “the hottest eating tavern in the city” and compliments the brunch, dinner, and Jesse Vallins famous sausage.

Hanmoto is another new Dundas West (Lakeview) restaurant to make the list. Ranking at #53, this tiny spot is being called “grunge” with great food.

Another new, almost under-the-radar local restaurant to congratulate is Mr. Flamingo, debuting at #67 in Kates’ rankings this year. It may be a hipster hangout, but she loves the food!

Pizza Libretto Ossington came in at #75. Two of the Pizza Libretto locations are on her list, the best pizzas in the city, according to Kates, but the Ossington original is her favorite.

There are two well-liked pho joints on Ossington, and preferences are fiercely debated. Kates takes a stand on the issue, ranking them neck and neck with Pho Tien Thanh outranking it’s slightly northern competitor, Golden Turtle, #77 to #78.

 Next time one of your friends or visitors asks for a local recommendation, there are some great ideas! Haven’t tried all of them? Now is as good a time as any. Congratulations to all the restaurants who were recognized.

Trinity Bellwoods Park is the Place to Be

Warm weather in Toronto doesn’t last long, so we all try to spend as much time outside as we can. One of the best places in the city to enjoy the great outdoors is Trinity Bellwoods Park. There are lots of events already planned for the summer ahead, and you can always hit the park to play games or picnic with friends.

Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market just returned a few weeks ago, and it runs every Tuesday from 3p-7p. The market offers in-season fruits and vegetables, bread, cheese, meats, fish and this year, oysters. Get your shopping done at the northwest corner of the park near Dundas West.

Almost every weekend in the summer, there are events happening in the park, including music, theatre and art. Most Toronto festivals, including Luminato, NXNE and Summerworks, usually include Trinity Bellwoods as a site.

The events start this weekend. This Saturday, head to the northeast portion of the park for a craft beer festival/fundraiser. Home Runs for Horizons is a charity softball tournament for Horizons for Youth with a twist: a craft beer garden in the hockey rink. Put on by Tallboys, with support from many Ontario breweries, go help charity by trying some brews. Saturday, May 24 from 1-7p.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.58.33 AMFor you shoppers and bargain hunters, and again, charity supporters, the annual Yard Sale for the Cure is this Saturday also. Taking part all over the city and country, the Trinity Bellwoods outpost is a Massive sale, and will feature furniture items and more. Proceeds go to fighting breast cancer. This event usually takes over the southern end of the park near Queen, and will be open from 8a-5p.

Luminato hits Toronto in early June, and one of the events, a day long literary party, is taking place in Trinity Bellwoods Park. The literary picnic is Sunday, June 15 from 12p-3:30p and will include 45 Toronto writers presenting and reading. Food kiosks and booksellers will also be present.

We don’t yet know the NXNE schedule, but based on years past, there have been plenty of free concerts in the park sponsored by both CBC Radio 3 and Humble Empire. Check out some of our NXNE posts from last year to get an idea, or wait a few weeks – we’ll tell you what’s planned.

Also, last summer, Lululemon put on free yoga in the park every Sunday morning. We are hoping that will happen again.

In September, the park gets overtaken by artists for a weekend by Queen West Art Crawl.

Aside from all the fun events, you’re still free to visit the park for picnics, frisbee or tennis games. If you are picnicking in the park, don’t forget to stock up at local purveyors like Cote de Boeuf and the newly opened Lucky Penny on Shaw Street. If you are drinking in the park, be respectful. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

As always, keep an eye on our calendar, which includes events on Ossington and nearby, including Trinity Bellwoods Park. The Friends of Trinity Bellwoods also do a very good job of posting a schedule. Let us know in the comments or on twitter if you hear of anything going on – or if you spot the elusive white squirrel! Enjoy the park!

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February 2014 – Restaurant News

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 10.21.30 AMCozy Dundas West restaurant Brockton General, which opened at 1321 Dundas West around convenience stores and sports bars in a restaurant void in 2010, is closing soon. According to their home page, their last day is March 9th, so you have less than a month to enjoy their delicious ever-changing specials. Toronto Life broke the news but they don’t know what’s next for the space or the lovely owners.

In other, happier, food news, it was recently announced that Ossington will soon have a weekly farmers market. As of this June, Boehmer will open their doors each Saturday to Ontario farmers, and lucky us! We’ll be able to buy a range of products, from cheese to meats to fresh produce. A tomato? On Ossington? Sounds good to us! Of course, every Tuesday from May- October is the Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market, and on Saturdays last summer, Berry Fresh Farms set up a table in front of Bellwoods Brewery. This news gives us another reason to look forward to summer. Like we need any.

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Another delicious, and more immediate, offering, is the bread now on sale at Enoteca Sociale. Warm and fresh from the oven, just walk around back and knock on the door. The focaccia and sourdough bread are $5 each. Delicious!

 

Opening Soon: Ardor Bistro

A new restaurant is poised to open on Ossington this weekend. Ardor Bistro, a Nuevo Latino restaurant, is taking over Beau Lieu’s space and liquor license at 59 Ossington Avenue.

The brothers behind this new boite are hoping to bring some flavours from their South American heritage, specifically Chile and Peru, to Toronto, in both food and drinks. When we stopped in for a chat a few weeks ago, we were drooling listening to their cocktail plans incorporating pisco, a South American liquor.  The restaurant business is not new to them: their experience at the uptown Celestin Restaurant supports their new venture.

We’ve been following them on Twitter, and so have others. One blog announced a few weeks ago that Ardor was ready to open; prematurely, as there was still work to be done. Now, the opening looms: just yesterday, they posted a photo of the new space, with the message that they’re open this weekend:Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 8.34.09 AM

Dr. Cabbie films on Dundas

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Canadian film “Dr. Cabbie” is filming today on Dundas just east of Ossington. The film, about a young Indian immigrant doctor-turned-cab driver who turns his cab into a mobile medical vehicle, began filming in Toronto earlier this week.

The shoot is taking place in a garage on Dundas West, across the street and a little bit east of Opera Bob’s. We didn’t see any of the actors, but Adrienne Palicki from Friday Night Lights and Canadian born Vinay Virmani are in the cast, so maybe you or we will spot them at one of our locals or on set.

According to the articles linked above, the film should be released this Fall.You can follow Dr. Cabbie on twitter and facebook as they continue to shoot in our neighborhood and city.

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Neighborhood Food News

This new year already brings lots of news from our local cafes and restaurants.

Delux is celebrating 5 years of business, and this celebration extends to all of its customers through a special menu this month. They will be serving some of their classic dishes and charging only $10 for appetizers, $20 for mains, and $5 for desserts. Book now: the special starts January 8th and runs through the end of the month.

Winterlicious begins January 25th, and Boehmer is participating in the promotion with a set dinner menu. It looks like a good menu for $45 pp, with a choice between beef cheeks and arctic char.

Blogto has released some new lists: Arrow Cafe was among the best new cafes of 2012, and Le Dolci one of the best new bakeries.