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Gilead Café & Bistro

Staff Picks: Our 10 Preferred Places for Poutine

Hearty Canadians embrace our less-than-tropical climate by bundling up in layers and chowing down on that classic Quebecois delicacy known as poutine. This holy trinity of French fries, cheese curds and gravy is served up hot—and with occasional delicious variations—at these ten Toronto eateries.

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2010 Dining Guide: Nosh from Nearby

Cowbell is a favourite for locally sourced, sustainable fare (photo by Derek Shapton)

It’s no surprise that some of Toronto’s top-rated restaurants are devotees of the local food movement: sourcing from nearby artisan farms and producers ensures freshness, which in turn guarantees flavour. Any discussion of “slow food” in this city begins with chef Jamie Kennedy, whose Gilead Café & Bistro serves modern Canadian fare that lets his farm-fresh ingredients shine. Tastefully simple, too, are the artisan meats butchered in-house and served at such restaurants as Cowbell and the Black Hoof—the latter’s charcuterie is legendary, as are the bone marrow–filled beignets at its sister space, Hoof Café. Slightly less meat-
centric is chef Teo Paul’s contemporary country cooking at Union—though you’d be remiss not to order the elk sliders.

Of course, using homegrown ingredients doesn’t mean a chef has to forsake global influences. Local Kitchen and Wine Bar preaches respect for one’s ingredients through exceedingly fresh Italian small plates, while amongst chef Victor Barry’s contemporary offerings at Splendido are a handful of traditional pastas plated with family-farmed accompaniments. High-end, internationally inspired cuisine made with Toronto flair can also be found at long-standing favourites like elegant George and Globe Bistro.

Hot Dining: Now at Night

photo by Jo Dickins

Since opening in 2008, Gilead Café has grown to be a favourite amongst local lunchers. It’s so popular, in fact, that chef Jamie Kennedy has been persuaded to keep his Corktown establishment open for dinner, too. From Tuesday to Saturday the café becomes a bistro, where patrons can select from a seasonal à la carte menu highlighting ingredients sourced from local producers. Guests can expect sustainable fish, naturally raised meats and exclusively in-season produce from Kennedy’s recently debuted spring menu. Ontario vineyards aren’t forgotten either, with several homegrown varietals featured on the wine list.