Toronto is full of amazing restaurants and talented culinary masters. So full, that sometimes it’s hard to experience every restaurant you want to. Luckily for us, there’s a festival that will let Toronto foodies try some of the best restaurants and chefs in the city all in one place: Taste ofToronto.
Back for its second season this July 2 to 5 at Fort York National Historical Site, this highly-anticipated festival is jam packed with cool events, from food and drink tastings, demonstrations, discussions and markets, to dining on inspired dishes while listening to live music curated by WayHome.
Last month I had the pleasure of attending a delicious #TasteSafari with a group of some of Toronto’s top food bloggers in anticipation for next month’s Taste of Toronto festival. We spent an exciting Tuesday night sampling dishes from six of the 19 participating restaurants.
Need a little convincing to get you online and buying your tickets to this event? Here’s a little foodporn for your viewing pleasure, and the six restaurants you should be looking forward to trying at this years festival:
Executive chef and owner Victor Barry
Dish: Bacon fat and smoked scallop flavoured popcorn and salmon sashimi served with Korean fried Daikon and Tamari emulsion.
Cocktail: Aperol Spritz, a traditional Italian cocktail that’s both refreshing, fruity and mild.
Executive chef Ted Corrado
Dish: Smokey lamb rib with a side of charred onion sour cream and crispy clams with spicy tartar sauce and Old Bay seasoning.
Cocktail: Beets by Drake, with fresh beet juice, anise and vodka, created for the Absolut Cocktail competition by Cheynelle Fraser, head bartender at the Drake Devonshire.
Fun Facts: The wooden pergola inside the dining room is made by the Brother’s Dresser from 100 year old logs dredged from the bottom of Lake Superior. The really rich, grainy look of them is from them being preserved in really cold freshwater for so long.
Executive chef and co-owner Adrian Niman (The Food Dudes)
Dish: Veg Slate, a backwoods-y snack plate with squash, broccoli, sun chokes, cauliflower baba ganoush and beet chips, and the indulgent Truffle Gnudi served with mushrooms, Portobello soil, pickled shimenji and walnut pesto.
Cocktail: Viola, a colour-changing cocktail made with butterfly pea flower infused gin, Prosecco, hibiscus water and lemon.
Fun Facts: The Food Dudes team did not outsource any of the design and instead did everything themselves. The chefs themselves came on two months early to help paint, sand, install, etc.
Executive chef Matt Robertson
Dish: A fluffy bed of polenta with a meatball and tomato sugo with a side of kale Caesar salad.
Cocktail: Cosmocito, made with Ketel One vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry sauce, lime, bitters and rocks.
Fun Facts: The California-inspired windows at Montecito are actually 4G video screens, with footage filmed by Ivan Reitman himself, often in his own Montecito, California backyard. Montecito has one homage to Ivan Reitman on its menu – the Stay Puft Marshmallow Baked Alaska, although some may argue that “Meatballs” also counts.
Executive chef Cory Vitiello
Dish: Albacore Tuna Kinilaw (a Filipino-style ceviche), with a coconut lime vinaigrette, chili sauce, cilantro and cassava chips.
Cocktail: Oliver Sacks, a subtly tart yet herby drink made with gin, Cocchi Americano, lemon and thyme
Fun Fact: Starting last month, THR&CO. changes their Sunday Gravy themes weekly. This is a “family style” setting perfect for large groups.
Oliver & Bonacini Corporate Executive Chef – Anthony Walsh
Dish: Light and fruity Ahi Tuna Poke, served with pineapple, macadamia nut and crispy seaweed and a buttery creole inspired roasted scallop jambalaya.
Cocktail: Treasure Island, a refreshing and strong cocktail made with orange bitters, tobacco, coffee, vanilla and pineapple.
Fun Fact: Has a menu item called the clusterphuck.