Toronto Top 3 Guide January 2011 - Restaurants/Bars


Woodlot Restaurant and Bakery - Toronto West

Toronto diners are all fired up about the new Woodlot Restaurant and Bakery located at 293 Palmerston Ave. just south of College St. in Toronto's west end. The space which was formerly Octopus Lounge, has transformed into a successfully scrumptious bakery and restaurant.

Owner/Chef David Haman (Czehoski) has been receiving rave reviews for his Woodlot Restaurant. The stunning two level space is a casual bakery and coffee house by day, and by night becomes the restaurant of choice by Toronto's social elite and "foodies" alike.

Haman's wood-burning stove lends to the rustic ambience of the room. He also uses it to cook all of his fare, including his own artisinal bread. Vegetarian and meat lovers will both be happy diners here. Try French Onion soup made with a vegetable stock and Chanterelle Mushroom Lasagne. Or Braised Duck Cabbage Rolls and Parpadelle with a Wild Boar Ragu. His philosophy seems to consist of serving up deliciously huge portions of mouth watering comfort food, and yes he does encourage guests to leave with their leftovers. Approx. $50pp

293 Palmerston Ave - 647-342-6307 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 647-342-6307end_of_the_skype_highlighting - Tues-Sun 5-10:30.

Blu Ristorante and Lounge - Toronto Central

This secret treasure may seem to have come "out of the blue" for some but actually has been operating for 3 years. Blu Ristorante and Lounge is located at 17 Yorkville Ave in Toronto's trendy shopping and movie star watching district. Blu is on the somewhat quieter side of Yorkville, the other side of Bay St. near Yonge St. This may be why it can get overlooked, but that won't last long.

Owner Alfredo Rodriguez knew what he was doing when he placed Massimo Callovini at the helm of Blu's kitchen. Callovini, trained in Italy and is a veteran of the Toronto restaurant scene. He owned and operated the successful Cibo restaurant in the eighties. His love for Northern Italian fare is made obvious from the perfectly balanced flavours of his meat, fish and pasta dishes. Some of their favorites include grilled Calamari, Rigatoni Bolognese, Veal Saltinbocca and Cioppino, an Italian Bouillabaise with generous portions of salmon, halibut, shrimp, scallops and calamari in a delicious saffron broth.

Along with promotions such as, "No Corkage Fee Mondays", Blu also provides guests with live music, Wed-Sat evenings. Expect to hear mellow jazz and contemporary covers that will delight your ears but not over power your conversation. The elegant decor is warm and inviting and the ample bar area allow guests to have a pre-dinner drink without feeling crowded. Apps/Entrees - $13-$34.

17 Yorkville Ave, 416-921-1471 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 416-921-1471end_of_the_skype_highlighting - M-Thurs. 5:30-11:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-2am.

Available for private functions on Sundays.

Prohibition Gastro House and Pub - Toronto East

This East end favourite continues to deliver. The gastro house serves traditional pub fare made delicious with upscale ingredients. Voted best mac 'n' cheese in the city. Exceptional local and imported draft beer and a resonably priced wine list make this casual pub an easy choice for locals and tourists alike. Jagermeister shots are just $2.50 and there are Dj's and live music on the weekends.

Prohibition is located at 696 Queen St. East, at Queen and Broadview. Check out Toronto's trendy Queen St. West, then jump on the Queen streetcar and head east. Stop off at Prohibition for some lunch or a pint, then get back on the streetcar and head further along Queen St. East to explore Leslieville and the Toronto Beaches area. Brunch, lunch and dinner - $15-$34.

696 Queen St. East 416-406-2669 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 416-406-2669end_of_the_skype_highlighting - M-F - 11am-close. Weekends - 10am-close.


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