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drink

Three New & Notable Ottawa Restaurants

By Joseph Mathieu

It seems like every time you turn around a new restaurant pops up in Ottawa. We aren’t talking about franchises, but unique eateries with their own personality. The newest additions to the city’s food scene are beautiful, interesting, and far from a flash in the pan. Here is a roundup of new and notable restaurants that opened in 2017.

The Albion Rooms’ Heritage Room

33 Nicholas St., 613-760-4771, thealbionrooms.com

Open every day 11 a.m. to late

An often-overlooked gem is hidden in plain sight at the base of the Novotel on Nicholas Street. The lounge chairs and low tables visible from the hotel lobby are only the tip of the iceberg of The Albion Rooms, which includes a polished bar with standing tables, a glass-walled charcuterie station, and a dining room. The restaurant’s newest addition is hidden in the back, called the Heritage Room and themed like a British gastro-pub. Its rounded booths, cozy corners, and satellite kitchen serve up a breakfast buffet every morning, and dinners on Wednesday to Saturday. The harvest table can be the buffet display or sit a 10-person party. The restaurant’s three pillars remain craft cocktails, local beers, and a farm-to-table menu, all of which are well worth exploring.

Tried & True (and something new): Mushrooms on toast ($14) and elk tartare ($15) are nice additions by head chef Jesse Bell, but you really should try the charcuterie board (from $10)

Photo by André Rozon

Sur-Lie

110 Murray St., 613-562-7244, surlierestaurant.ca

Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m to 11 p.m.

If you have an interest in locally-inspired modern French cuisine, this is the place for you. Opened last February, sommelier Neil Gowe’s Sur-Lie offers elegant fine dining without the pretension. If you want to eat like the pros, try their $80 five-course tasting menu — and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. The menu is seasonal, made with fresh produce and game from the ByWard Market and the surrounding region, and always aims to bring in the best quality ingredients. Each plate is a piece of art that you are welcome to remix with your fork.

Pretty much omg: Local rabbit and fowl tartine ($18) for lunch goes a long way, and dinner is a win with the squash bisque ($10) and Québec fois gras torchon ($20)

Photo by Rémi Thériault

Citizen

207 Gilmour St., 613-422-6505, townlovesyou.com/citizen

Open Thursday to Monday, from 6 p.m. to late

First-timers will feel right at home in this casual wine and small plates nook. With dedicated staff, Citizen builds on the success of its big sister Town (296 Elgin St.) but is really a restaurant apart. Its wine list features bottles from around the world that pair well with menu items from all over the map — influences range from African to Spanish, and Italian to French. Something new (and meatless) by guest chef Mike Frank shows up on every Monday menu. Co-owner and chef Marc Doiron is comfortable creating new dishes for new wines, and the suggested dessert is a wonderful case in point. There are no beers on tap, but it’s hard to notice with such a generous selection of bottled beer from near and far. 

Love at first taste: Falafel and eggplant ($14) or the pork belly with mojito salad ($18), and definitely go for the concord grape tart ($12)

A Perfect Fall Day in Toronto

Enjoy the most colourful season with these five family friendly activities

9:00 a.m. Find fresh vegetables, preserves, baked goods and more at one of the city’s farmer’s markets, including the Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Ave.), Dufferin Grove (875 Dufferin Park Ave.), Sorauren Park (289 Sorauren Ave.), and St. Lawrence Market (93 Front St. E.).

11:00 a.m. Go apple picking, navigate an eight-acre corn maze and watch pumpkins get shot out of a cannon on a visit to Pingle’s Farm Market. 1805 Taunton Rd. E., Hampton, ON.

5:00 p.m. Stop into Kalendar for a late after-noon break. The Little Italy institution offers a number of warming seasonal drinks, including mulled wine and cider. 546 College St.

3:00 p.m. Take in the fall colours with a hike along the West Humber River Valley, the East Don Parkland, E.T. Seton Park, Scarborough’s Cudia Park, or Etobicoke’s Rouge Valley.

7:00 p.m. There’s no better season for classic Canadian comfort food than autumn. Drop by Bannock for a fish and shrimp cake,
cod chowder or spinach greens mac and cheese. 401 Bay St.

2017 Food and Drink Holiday Gift Guide

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Nuremberg-style Lebkuchen cookies ($24 and up)
Pusateri’s Fine Foods, 57 Yorkville Ave.; other locations, pusateris.com

Click below to view a slideshow of great food and drink gift ideas:

Toronto’s Best Breweries

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Photo by Carlo Mendoza.

Over the past few years, the city has seen an explosion of new microbreweries, each with their own speciality techniques. Here are some of the city’s best craft brewpubs, where you’ll find everything from classic ales and lagers to experimental sours and goses.

Indie Ale House

With creative brews, a cozy atmosphere and a fantastic menu this Junction alehouse has it all. The frequently rotating selection focuses on rare ales like Belgian sours, double IPAs and English porters, plus beers made using ancient brewing techniques. Once a month, Indie Ale House collaborates with a guest brewer to create experimental one-time-only beers. Grab a tasting flight to sample the range of ales and pair with a juicy short rib burger or the crispy southern fried chicken. 2876 Dundas St. W. 

Signature brews: Barnyard Instigator, Broken Hipster, Breakfast Porter

Henderson Brewing Co.

Henderson’s unassuming building, tucked into an industrial area south of Bloor Street near Lansdowne subway station, is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. This award-winning brewery houses some of the best suds in town, created using brewing techniques inspired by those used in Toronto at the beginning of the 19th century. Each beer has a Toronto theme, drawing inspiration from the city’s past and present. The featured July beer, for example, showcases work on its label by Kaley Flowers, an award-winning artist from last years’ Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Stay for a pint and get a close-up view of the brewing process, or take home some bottles or growler. 128A Sterling Rd.

Signature brews: Food Truck Blonde, Henderson’s Best,
Union Pearson Ale

Bandit Brewery

This microbrewery on Dundas Street West used to be an auto body shop. The former garage now houses brew tanks and its parking lot is a bustling patio filled with communal tables. Bandit has the atmosphere of a friendly German beer garden, with a uniquely Toronto twist: it features a mural and glasswear bearing the image of our unofficial municipal animal, the “trash panda,” or raccoon. Beers range from sour goses to hoppy IPAs to smooth lagers, and the menu includes delicious bar snacks like ale-battered cheese curds. 2125 Dundas St. W. 

Signature brews: Cone Ranger, Hoppleganger, Dundas West Coast IPA

Left Field Brewery

Both sports and beer fans will enjoy this baseball-themed brewery in Leslieville. In just a few years, husband and wife team Mark and Mandie have gone from sharing tank time with other breweries to opening their own space and widely distributing their brews to restaurants across the city. Left Field’s dog and kid-friendly location is decorated with baseball paraphernalia, like a salvaged scoreboard from Ohio that displays the business’s hours. There’s also a bottle shop where you can pick up favourites like Day Game session IPA, Cannonball Helles lager and Maris pale ale. 36 Wagstaff Dr.

Signature brews: Eephus, Sunlight Park, Wrigley

Burdock

Burdock, a combination bottle shop, restaurant and music hall, is one of the most innovative breweries in the city, trying out diverse styles of beer on a regular basis. Its brewers cite the wine world as a source of inspiration, and draw ingredients from a variety of producers, such as Niagara farmers and foragers and Ontario hop growers and wineries. The brewer began a barrel program in 2016, and it’s now starting to release some of its aged creations. The kitchen’s claim to fame is its sourdough bread, although there’s a lot more range to the menu, including a delicious selection of Ontario cheese. 1184 Bloor St. W.

Signature brews: The selection is constantly rotating, but the West Coast Pilsner is often on tap

Bellwoods Brewery

Bellwoods Brewery, a landmark brewery and bottle shop on the hip Ossington strip, is extremely popular, especially on sunny days when the patio comes alive. The rotating selection of pours range from aromatic pale ales to double IPAs to imperial stouts to farmhouse ales, and the special-edition bottled brews (including barrel-aged releases) means that there’s always something new to try. The small-but-tasty menu includes beer-friendly pairings like duck meatballs and smoked bratwurst. 124 Ossington Ave.

Signature brews: Jelly King, Roman Candle, Jutsu

Amsterdam BrewHouse

This waterfront drinking destination features 800 seats– 300 are located on one of four patios perfect for catching the lakeside breeze. The on-site craft brewery produces Amsterdam classics, as well as seasonal and small-batch releases from the Amsterdam Adventure Brews series, some of which have been barrel aged for more complex flavours. The comprehensive menu, which also suggests beer parings, features pub fare like the 3 Speed lager-battered fish and chips. 245 Queens Quay W.

Signature brews: 416 Local, Big Wheel, Boneshaker

Mill Street Brew Pub, Beer Hall and Brewery

The original Mill Street pub offers cold pints of the brewery’s most popular drafts, as well as small batch and seasonal offerings, like the refreshing ginger beer. Kick back with a pint and a bite to eat, or catch a guided tour to learn about the brewing process. Just around the corner, the newly renovated Mill Street Beer Hall features additional space and menu items for hungry and thirsty Distillery District visitors. A new on-site nano-brewery produces innovative and experimental, super-small-batch brews (some just a few barrels’ worth). 21 Tank House Ln. 

Signature brews: Original Organic Lager, Tankhouse Ale, 100th Meridian

June Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

PATIO PERFECTION

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• Catch some rays on the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache on Spring Garden Road. The fun and lively space has beer aplenty on tap, including three signature brews from the RockBottom Brewpub downstairs.
• Downtown, head to The Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street for a cold pint on the sunny patio. The landmark bar has the city’s largest selection of draft beer, including top selections from Maritime craft breweries like Halifax’s Garrison Brewing and Cape Breton’s Big Spruce.
• For fabulous views of Halifax harbour, check out Gahan House in the Historic Properties. This popular Prince Edward Island brewpub recently opened its first Nova Scotia location, serving its own line of handcrafted beers. Try the Beach Chair lager for a refreshing summer sip.

Editor’s Choice

Steak9246Two downtown restaurants have once again earned the prestigious CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award.
Recognized for the eighth year in a row, Onyx on Argyle Street is a sleek resto bar showcasing local ingredients in delicious globally inspired recipes. Cut Steakhouse on Lower Water Street has received the award every
year since opening in 2008. The menu boasts premium beef (dry-aged and butchered on-site) with
an artful wine list and inventive sides.

 

 

VEGGIES FIRST

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• A leader in Halifax’s emerging vegan scene, Envie touts a menu of hearty meals like vegan ribs, grilled cheese and indulgent raw desserts. Catering to dietary restrictions, the menu is 90 per cent gluten free. Find the stylish restaurant on the corner of Agricola and Charles streets in the North End.
• In the West End on Windsor Street, Wild Leek has made-from-scratch vegan comfort food. Chef Kirsten Haggart whips up recipes like mac’n cheese, seitan sandwich, and the popular coconutbacon “CBLT.” Wash it down with a fresh-squeezed juice and save room for gourmet cupcake.

 

CREATIVE CORNERSTONEGio-Tea--024---Version-2

Downtown at Gio on
Market Street, Chef Bee Choo
Char gives traditional recipes
an inventive new twist. Her
delicious version of poutine
includes fried polenta fingers
topped with duck confit, red
wine jus and blue “Cheez
Whiz.” Open for lunch and
dinner, Gio has a sommelierchosen
wine list plus creative cocktails and martinis.

 

SLICE OF SUCCESS

_MG_4104Specializing in wood-fired pizza, Morris East won bronze in the non-traditional category at the recent International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Its Nova Scotia-inspired winning pie featured pears poached in Blomidon Estate Baco Noir and prosciutto from Halifax’s Ratinaud Charcuterie. Visit in downtown Halifax on Morris Street and in Bedford on Larry Uteck Boulevard.