Spring has arrived and with it, more restaurant openings than most of us can afford, but try we must! This list of 15 hotly anticipated openings includes Nick Liu's triumphant return, the growing trend of hip downtown restaurants headed east and way north, and big Hollywood celebrities looking to cash in on the city's caché. Don't see something you're looking forward to? Drop us a line in the comments below.
Address: 794 Dundas St. West
Tallboys co-owner strikes out on his own with a 60-seater serving up a genre-shaking Chinese/Jamaican mashup menu. Get ready for Chinese "pineapple" bun burgers and Wong's O.G. (Original Gangster) Fried Chicken & Watermelon Pickle.
Address: 318 Spadina Av.
The Chau brothers of Banh Mi Boys ride the wave of Chinatown's re-hippification with their take on bao sandwiches, noodles, and Vietnamese desserts.
Address: 1588 Dupont St.
Think Farmhouse Tavern but lighter fare with more emphasis on seafood. Owner/operator Darcy MacDonell told The Grid that the little sister offshoot of Farmhouse Tavern will be "more urban, more modern, and more feminine." Backed up with the announcement of Leonie Lilla (Momofuku Daishō,The Libertine) in the kitchen.
Address: 1953 Queen St. East
Tasty things are looking up for east-enders. La Carnita has tapped the Beach for its second location, rumoured to be opening in June. The 85-seat taco party will also feature a dessert stand called Sweet Jesus featuring an array of ice cream sandwiches, soft-serve ice cream cones, and paletas.
Address: 307 Spadina Ave
416 Snack Bar's second location is going to be a doozy: 1800 square feet over two floors, two dining rooms, and a low-to-haute menu by former Top Chef contestant and longtime 416 collaborator, chef Dustin Gallagher. It may not open in the spring or the summer... or the fall, but who cares, it's still hotly anticipated.
Address: 2031 Yonge St.
An Indonesian snack bar courtesy of Quince Bistro's Jennifer Gittens and Michael van den Winkel is coming to North Toronto in the next couple months. For now, spy their Facebook page to get the play-by-play.
Address: 46 Blue Jays Way
The hugely popular burger chain by celebrity Wahlbergs – Mark, Donnie, and Paul – comes to downtown Toronto this summer.
Address: 299 Adelaide St. West
Movie mogul Ivan Reitman's restaurant collaboration with New York chef Jonathan Waxman will be a behemoth at 12,000 square feet and 280 seats. Steps away from TIFF Bell Lightbox, the restaurant plans to open its doors this summer.
Address: 18 Duncan St.
Jeff Regular (Sukho Thai, Sabai Sabai) and his wife, Nuit, will open a Northern Thai restaurant with Gusto 101's Janet Zuccarini, rumoured to open in the dying days of summer.
Address: 587 King St. West
Milton Nunes (Le Gourmand) is hard at work on his high-end 2400 square foot bakery/café/dinner/tapas/cocktail bar in the Fashion District.
Address: 220 King St. W
Upstairs from El Caballito on King St. West will be Los Colibris, a 150-seater offering upscale Mexican in two private dining rooms.
Address: 24 Wharf St., Wellington, ON
It's hard to deny the high level of service found at The Drake Hotel and its offshoots. The newest, to open this summer, is a bit of a trek but executive chef Matt DeMille's offerings from the kitchen will surely lure many urbanites out to Prince Edward County.
[Photo: Renée Suen]
Address: 503 College St
Chef Nick Liu breathes new life into the former Grace with a 70-seat Asian brasserie expected this summer, with lots of help by Niagara Street Café pal, Anton Potvin. It's been a couple years running for Liu to find a home so the anticipation is huge.