FOREST HILL— Liberty Entertainment Group has put in a proposal to turn Casa Loma into a restaurant. If approved, Toronto's only castle would get a restaurant on the main floor and its library and sunroom would remain available for events like weddings. Liberty Group already owns Rosewater Supper Club and Spice Route (as well as Liberty Grand, C Lounge, Courthouse, Tattoo Rock Parlour, Ciao, Cibo, the Phoenix and Velvet Underground).
TORONTO— Air Canada's in-flight magazine, enRoute announced its Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada this morning. Food writer Andrew Braithwaite travelled from Vancouver Island to Fogo Island, eating his way to a decision. Toronto's Bar Isabel comes in at number one; Momofuku Shoto is number two. And what may come as a surprise to some, Electric Mud is number 10.
QUEEN WEST— October 23 at the Queen Mother Café, 35% of the day's food sales will be donated to downtown social service centre, University Settlement. Why the celebration? Because everyone's favourite Queen Mum is turning 35. This Queen West fixture has been the go-to for Lao-Thai-loving shoppers and bar hoppers alike since 1978.
CHRISTIE PITS— It's Guy Fawkes Night on November 5, and Christie Pits' miniature gastropub The Bristol Yard will hosting a Guy Fawkes Party with a cheeky all banger menu, too. For those not in the know, this night is when people across the pond have bonfires to celebrate the failed assassination of their king by gunpowder explosives in 1605.
RIVERSIDE— Looking for a place to go for drinks around Riverside that's affordable, casual and has a great atmosphere? Well, now there's more options than just An Sibin. Hi-Lo Bar, from the owners of neighbouring Ascari Enoteca and Table 17 opened this weekend, taking over the spot from PicNic at Home.
CORKTOWN— He's back, baby! Corktown's Gilead Café will be turned into Gilead Wine Bar as of December 5. Chef Jamie Kennedy knows his wine, and Torontonians know his wine bars. After his emigration off Church a few years back, there's been a hole in many hearts waiting to be filled with oenological libations from that learned and talented guy who raised the bar on, well, wine bars.
YONGE AND DUNDAS— Old timey steak house Barberian's is opening a sandwich shop called TLP (Three Little Pigs) on Elm Street. Slated to open before the winter holidays, this mom-and-pop spin-off of one of the city's culinary cornerstones will offer home-style sandwiches, drinks and snacks.
ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT— The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is now featuring an izakaya-style menu at the Ritz Bar, starting October 21. Available Monday through Saturday from 5pm until close, Hapa Izakaya will serve Ocean Wise™ sushi and sashimi by chef Koichi Fujiokasushi, plus Japanese tapas like edamame, tuna carpaccio and goma-ae dressed veggies.
KING WEST— King West's Buca restaurant will host the next installment of The Northern Chefs Alliance on November 11. This culinary event will showcase the talents of nine chefs from Canada, USA and the UK. Expect magic from Parts & Labour's Matty Matheson and more
TORONTO— The Stephen Harper Government has just signed a free trade agreement with the European Union. This is a deal that has been on Canada's mind since the 1970s in part to reduce reliance on USA as our main trading partner. It will be interesting to see how this affects restaurant suppliers.