If our earlier picks for Wellington Street’s coolest joints have you jonesing for more, read on for six bonus hot spots situated on this downtown strip. (They’re all restaurants, so bring your appetite!)
RITZY FARE Within of the glitzy Ritz-Carlton Hotel, chef Tom Brodi’s Toca is a study in elegance (and decadence!). Appetizer portions of B.C. Dungeress crab marrow paired with fennel foam are as layered as the mains, such as beef tenderloin alongside oxtail and truffle bread pudding. Natural materials and warm wood tones will whet your appetite for Toca’s hearty “Canadian” fare, and the menu will deliver.
EASTERN INFLUENCE Indian food with modern Western flair—cheese croquettes are made from panir and brie, and rack of lamb comes smothered in spicy vindaloo sauce—is the specialty of 259 Host. Brothers Jay and Sanjeev Sethi envisioned multi-level space as a meeting place, bar, and destination for quality ethnic cuisine in one. Mission accomplished.
EN FRANCAIS Natural and sustainable produce is the menu du jour at Le Sélect Bistro. This tres charmant French bistro is styled with a striped awning, heated rear garden and curlicued chairs. Offering delectable brunch staples such as apple-and-cranberry-stuffed French toast and goat cheese quiche, Le Sélect is also known for its late-night steak frites and a dinner menu that boasts bistro classics like braised pork cheek and Provençal-style sea bass.
RISE AND SHINE If you subscribe to the philosophy that breakfast is, indeed, the best meal of the day, then Cora has you covered. The cozy café features an extensive, belly-filling breakfast menu including the “crepomelette”—a crepe stuffed with a Western-Cheddar omelet and drizzled with Hollandaise—and the “1990s Harvest,” which is a huge platter of raisin-cinnamon brioche with egg and bacon and a hill of fruit. With not-so-standard lunch offerings such as pulled pork on ciabatta, leek-and-cheese smothered salmon, and grilled crepe sandwiches, Cora easily satisfies any diner craving.
CELEBRITY CUISINE In 2010 Toronto joined New York, Las Vegas and Miami as one of the few cities to host top chef Scott Conant’s famed restaurant chain, Scarpetta. The spaghetti comes simply dressed in tomato and basil, but instantly transports you to the storied kitchens of Italy, while yellowtail is drizzled in ginger oil and sea salt. Planted in the luxe heart of the Thomson Hotel, the entranceway of this restaurant boasts a fantastic abstract mural of our fair city, reminding us that despite the Manhattan-style glitter, we’re still very much at home.
HAUTE PUB Bar Wellington’s multiple floors, wood fixtures, and English country home décor easily accommodate large parties, and no visit is complete without a taste from the hearty menu, which elevates this well-stocked bar serving brewskie imports such as Grolsch, alongside a thorough list of cocktails, well-above your neighbourhood pub. Try the spicy tuna melt or the Calabria burger—a Black Angus beef patty crowned with sweet red peppers and chevre— or lamb shank slow braised in beef stock, tomatoes and wine, which comes nested in a white bean cassoulet.