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steak

10 Toronto Steak Houses That Sizzle

The Shore Club

Everything from traditional favourites to new takes on the classic steak dinner

The Shore Club
The Shore Club is located in the heart of the Entertainment District, close to venues like Roy Thomson Hall and the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Along with classic cuts like New York strip loin, bone-in rib steak and filet mignon, you’ll find a steak and lobster dish, braised short ribs and double-cut lamb chops.
155 Wellington St. W.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Ruth Fertel, founder of this international chain, credited the success of her steaks as much to their sound and smell as to their taste. That’s why steaks here are cooked at nearly 1,000 degrees Celsius, served on an incredibly hot plate and doused with a tablespoon of sizzle-inducing butter before they leave the kitchen.
145 Richmond St. W.

Morton’s
This Texas-based steakhouse chain has a modern ambiance but still delivers a proper old-school steak—not to mention an impressive number of side dishes, including sautéed broccoli florets, creamed corn, bacon and onion macaroni and cheese, and parmesan and truffle matchstick fries.
4 Avenue Rd.

STK

STK
Mix the vibe of a modern restaurant with that of an exclusive nightclub—there’s even a live DJ—and you’ve got the STK experience. Along with dry-aged steaks, this restaurant offers some unique drink concoctions, with names like Cucumber Stiletto, Carroted Away and Strawberry Cobbler.
153 Yorkville Ave.

Harbour 60
Don’t be surprised to see a Toronto Maple Leaf or two dining here, considering the restaurant is only seconds from the Air Canada Centre, located in the century-old Habour Commission building. The restuarant offers classic fare and has a seafood menu to rival its steaks, with beluga caviar, a daily selection of fresh oysters and a seafood tower, including steamed lobster, king crab legs, jumbo black tiger shrimp and oysters.
60 Harbour St.

Barberian’s Steak House
Founded in 1959, this is one of the oldest steakhouses in Toronto. Sitting in the dinning room, you get the impression little has changed since it first opened its doors. One thing that definitely hasn’t changed is the attention to detail Barberian’s gives to preparing its steaks, which are all butchered and aged in-house. Be sure to ask for a tour of the must-be-seen-to-be-believed wine cellar.
7 Elm St.

Hy’s Steakhouse

Hy’s Steakhouse
Dark mahogany furniture, rich carpets and intimate lighting complement the high-quality, 28-day-aged Canadian beef on the menu here. The Steak Neptune—New York strip loin or filet mignon topped with asparagus, Dungeness crabmeat and hollandaise sauce—is just one of the house specialties.
120 Adelaide St. W.

BlueBloods Steakhouse
One of the city’s most noted tourist attractions is now home to this upscale eatery. Antique furniture mixes with modern art in the billiard room of Casa Loma—a circa 1900 gothic-revival-style mansion—where the Liberty Entertainment Group recently invested $3 million to create a steakhouse featuring cuts of beef sourced from around the world, plus a drink list of international wines and spirits.
1 Austin Ter.

La Castile
Eat like royalty in a three-tiered, castle-inspired dining room, complete with stained-glass windows and chandeliers suspended from cathedral ceilings. Start your meal with flash-fried calamari, escargots or a plate of Caspian Sea caviar before cutting into a char-broiled USDA prime steak, served with mushrooms or steamed spinach.
2179 Dundas St. E., Mississauga

Quinn’s Steakhouse & Irish Bar
Located in the Financial District’s Sheraton Centre Hotel, Quinn’s is a family-owned-and-operated steakhouse with an Irish flare. Not in the mood for their aged Alberta beef steak or slow-roasted prime rib? Try the Irish stew or Clare Island salmon. Whatever you settle on, make sure to relax afterward with a glass of one of the 240 whiskeys on offer.
96 Richmond St. W.

Hot Dining: Steak expectations

By Trevor J. Adams

STEAK EXPECTATIONS
Succulent steak and top-notch service are hallmarks of The Keg. Visit the popular chain in Halifax in the heart of the downtown on Market Street.

As the name suggests, Primal Kitchen on Brenton Street is a carnivore’s haven, boasting local meats smoked, cured, and butchered inhouse. The 35-ounce bone-in prime rib for two, paired with truffle fries, is a guaranteed date-night all-star.

The Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar gives the classic chop-house experience a 21st-century spin. You can’t go wrong with a classic New York striploin paired with a couple of big, juicy, fresh Atlantic scallops.

The Keg.

The Keg.

CASUAL FAVOURITES
A Southern-style smokehouse tucked away in a tiny Barrington Street location, Boneheads BBQ is beloved by locals. The menu includes all the slow-smoked mainstays you’d expect: ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and more. Indecisive? Try the mammoth (and ideal for sharing) Pit Boss Sampler and get a little bit of everything.

Boneheads BBQ

Boneheads BBQ

Just around the corner from the Atlantica Hotel on Quinpool Road, Relish Gourmet Burgers offers creative takes on the classic burger and fries. The house specialty is the Halifax Explosion: a flash-grilled pineapple ring dusted in habanero powder, plus pancetta bacon, curried onion frites, and aged cheddar.

A SHORE THING
The Shore Club Lobster Suppers in Hubbards are a must for Nova Scotian visitors. Enjoy a huge feed of fresh Atlantic lobster in the rollicking and informal setting of a community supper at one of the province’s last old-fashioned dance halls. The menu also includes all-you-can-eat mussels, with vegetarian, steak, chicken, and kids’ meals

FEELING CRAFTY?
Take a break from the bustle of Spring Garden Road in the subterranean refuge of the Rockbottom Brewpub. The menu offers all the pub grub you’d expect, but the house-made craft-beer is the real draw. Locals love the zesty IPA and rich oatmeal stout; keep an eye out for the brewer’s latest seasonal creations. But why play favourites? A sampler tray is a tasty way to experience all the newest brews.

Rockbottom Brewpub

Rockbottom Brewpub

HOW SWEET IT IS 
If you’re the sort of person who skips dinner to save room for dessert, proceed directly to The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street and at Sunnyside Mall. This stylish spot specializes in decadent desserts paired with creative cocktails. It’s the ideal place to while away an evening with friends.

4 Favourite Banff Restaurants

By Where Staff

Photo: Elk & Oarsman

Photo: Elk & Oarsman

Spirit of Banff

Park Distillery is arguably the most original new Banff restaurant to open, ever! Joining the exclusive ranks of few such establishments in Canada, vodka and gin (and soon whiskey) are produced in-house. After a free tour of the distillery, sample their spirits straight, in an exotic cocktail or incorporated into the wood-fired cuisine of chef Liz Gagnon’s food menu. While at it, drink in the backcountry alpine hut décor.

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10 Delicious Banff Restaurants

Photo: Courtesy of the Fairmont Banff Springs

Photo: Courtesy of the Fairmont Banff Springs

By Where Staff

New on Banff’s Dining Scene

The newest restaurant at the Fairmont Banff Springs is 1888 Chop House. The trendy chop house concept is juxtaposed with elements from the past such as railway artifacts and a name that evokes the hotel’s opening year. Before your meal, take a seat at the cocktail bar that overlooks the Castle in the Rockies’ lobby.

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8 Best Restaurants on Calgary’s Edmonton Trail

Best Restaurants on Calgary's Edmonton Trail: OEB Breakfast Co.

Best Restaurants on Calgary’s Edmonton Trail: The original “Soul in a Bowl” at OEB Breakfast Co. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Just a four-minute drive north of downtown, Edmonton Trail is the dark horse of emerging restaurant rows. The stretch is punctuated with an eclectic mix of eateries from retro diners serving brunch, burgers and Benedicts to upscale bistros serving fusion cuisine.

(more…)

Hot Dining: Cool and Cozy Dinner Spot

The popular $12 fries are served with a "side order" of steak.

If you love ending the day with a glass of wine and a good meal, look no further than Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro in the ByWard Market, which is known for its warm, relaxed atmosphere (as well as its $12 French fries served with a side order of steak). This restaurant carries 70 wines by the glass, 200 types of beer (including hard to find Belgian ones), and 20 wine flights, which come with a tasting sheet and three different wines. Live jazz Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday evenings and a complimentary cheese table Sunday to Thursday from 4pm to 6pm add to the experience. 54 York St. (in the cellar), 613-241-4270.

Hot Dining: New in Town

Bouillabaisse from The Shore Club.

In September 2010, the city got a new addition to its fine dining scene when The Shore Club opened in the Westin Hotel. Originally started in Vancouver, the restaurant made a name for itself based on its steak and seafood. Particularly popular is their signature bouillabaisse, filled with almost every type of seafood in the kitchen and finished with a saffron broth. With an elegant – yet modern – interior, this is the place to go whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or getting together for after work drinks. 11 Colonel By Dr., 613-569-5050.

2010 Dining Guide: Surf and Turf

For a classic dinner of steak or seafood, these restaurants are hard to top.

Wherelist: Best New Restaurants 2009

Where editors from across the country have cast their ballots for the Best New Restaurants to open in Canada in 2009. From creative twists on traditional cuisines to stylish décors and high quality food for reasonable prices, these are the eateries you won’t want to miss from coast to coast.

Veneto Tapa Lounge, Victoria

Victoria’s best new restaurant takes traditional tapas to a whole new level. Led by chef Tod Bosence, the sophisticated, urban Veneto Tapa Lounge offers both a hip bar area and quieter dining room, ideal for enjoying Bosence’s creative dinner menu. Each entree is presented tapas style – those in the mood for beef, for example, will enjoy it three ways: veal ravioli with portabella mushroom ragout and roasted garlic cream sauce; marinated short rib with parmesan polenta cake; and New York strip roulade with spicy lobster stuffing and bordelaise sauce.

Cibo Trattoria, Vancouver

With London’s River Café alumnus Neil Taylor heading up the kitchen and ex-Lumiere general manager/sommelier Sebastien Le Goff in charge, it didn’t take long for Cibo to gain a solid reputation for its vibrant rustic Italian cuisine, thoroughly grounded in West Coast ingredients. Taylor’s dishes, which change by the week (if not the day), are constructed with uncomplicated—but wickedly exacting—flair.

Parker House Grill & Wine Bar, Calgary

Parker House is the kind of place where diners can experience high quality service, ambience and food, for a reasonable price tag. Chef Andrew Keen, known for his excellence in “forgotten fare,” has created a menu inspired by traditional New England comfort dishes with creative twists. For dinner, most entrees (with the exception of their steaks) sit in the mid-twenties range, while diners on a budget can try one of their thin-crust pizzas for as low as $12.88.

Creations Dining Room & Lounge, Sawridge Inn Edmonton South, Edmonton

Artful, delicious dining at Creations—the paint’s barely dry and the buzz is on for the eclectic Canadian fusion cuisine of Creations, the stunning new dining room and lounge in the atrium of the Sawridge Inn Edmonton South. Walls of fire, water, badlands hoodoos and a huge dreamcatcher treat the senses as menu items entice patrons to explore palate pleasers such as Sherried Beef Caprese.

Rustica Steakhouse, Canadian Rockies

Rustic has earned its place as one of the Canadian Rockies’ top restaurants for its elegant ‘mountain lodge’ atmosphere and uncompromising dedication to Canada Prime Beef. But it’s the cuisine of Caribbean-born Chef Stefan Mahon that keeps them coming back for more. Only the top 0.3% of beef in Canada earns Prime designation (a superior grade to AAA)—Stefan’s New York cuts, grand filet mignon and prime rib chops are prepared with a signature dry rub, seared under a 1500°F (815°C) broiler and presented on 500°F (260°C) plates with garlic butter.

Hermanos, Winnipeg

Winnipeggers are feeling the Latin heat thanks to the fiery flavours of South American cuisine at this year’s arrival of Hermanos Restaurant and Wine Bar. Set in a 5,500-square-foot warehouse in the Exchange District, fast lunches, tapas and mains are found on the mainly Argentinean- and Brazilian-influenced menu. The crispy fried empanadas are a must-try.

Raw Aura, Mississauga

Raw Aura, true to its name, offers a menu of entirely raw cuisine—the better to emphasize the natural and nourishing properties of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. In an intimate yet airy space, friendly staff dish out delectably fresh fare including a “peace wrap” bursting with avocado, tomatoes, carrots, kale, sprouts and hummus, and zesty lo-mein featuring noodles made of zucchini and golden beets.

Loire, Toronto

Loire, a self-described “casual gourmet” spot, well-situated along increasingly foodie-friendly Harbord Street offers fresh, seasonal dishes that could include chili- and cornmeal-crusted Lake Erie whitefish, grilled New York striploin and a succulent beef or lamb burger on challah bread. This intimate restaurant effortlessly straddles the line between relaxed neighbourhood fave and boldface fine-dining destination.

Teca, Muskoka

Overlooking Lake Rosseau is Teca, a fine Italian restaurant located within the luxurious Rosseau Resort & Spa. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Muskoka Lakes, find this decidedly urban dining room and a centrally located open kitchen that dishes up authentic rustic Italian fare. Tuck into freshly made pasta—from papperdelle and gnocchi to spaghetti and meatballs—or thin crust pizza made in a wood-stone oven, as well as veal chops, fish, striploin and rack of lamb.

The Grand Pizzeria & Bar, Ottawa

Nestled on one of the most auspicious corners in Ottawa’s bustling ByWard Market, The Grand Pizzeria is a popular addition to the downtown dining scene. Built in the late 17th century, this enviable location once housed The Grand Hotel. Today, it’s home to the perfect pizza pie. Traditional Italian appetizers (antipasti, salads) make way for the main attraction: authentic Napoletana pizza. The dough is created and hand-pressed by Master Pizzaiolo Pasqualino Oliveri, who placed first in the 2004 European Pizza Championship, among other honours.

Pipa Restaurant & Bar, Halifax

Chef Luis Gaspar and partner Victoria Dunham Gaspar are longtime veterans of Halifax’s dining scene. And when they decided to embark on a project all their own, they saw a glaring omission in the city’s dining scene. Specializing in Portuguese cuisine, with rich, filling and full-flavoured dishes. Pipa is the only restaurant of its type in Halifax, specializing in Old World and Brazilian dishes such as Moqueca (fish stew) and Feijoada (a stew of meats and black beans). Seafood dishes abound, including fresh grilled sardines.

November Editor’s Picks: Dining

Harbour Sixty1. In a historic building just north of the waterfront, Harbour Sixty has long been known for its opulent decor, high quality of service and, of course, culinary excellence. But the elite steakhouse isn’t resting on its laurels. To mark its 10th anniversary, the restaurant boasts a dramatically updated interior. Among the many design features: high, brocade-swathed chairs, suede wallpaper and mother of pearl in the bar area, plus graphic valances and contemporary art by Joshua Jensen-Nagle in the dining space; the two distinct rooms encircle a marble- and agate-lined gallery kitchen that serves up the finest USDA Prime and authentic Kobe beef, fresh seafood and sumptuous desserts. Or, descend to the formal, lower-level dining room, where dark woods and leather foster a clubhouse atmosphere and selections from the superior wine cellar are showcased in sleek glass cabinets.

Union<br>photo by Robert J. Brodey2. At long last, Torontonians and visitors can see for themselves the state of Union, one of the newest restaurants to open on the increasingly hip Ossington Street strip. Thanks to a Toronto Life–backed blog—on which chef Teo Paul documented the many months of successes and setbacks between concept and first service—the farm-to-fork eatery had one of the more hotly anticipated openings in recent memory. It’s quickly become a fixture in an emerging neighbourhood, where dedicated locavores can nosh on fare that uniformly utilizes Ontario-fresh ingredients including grain-fed elk, artisan cheeses and seasonal organic vegetables straight from farmers’ fields.

Grace restaurant

Grace restaurant

3. As the cold weather begins to bite, warm your belly with timely takes on comfort-food classics at these welcoming restaurants.

>> The swank dining room of the Drake Hotel belies its carte of toothsome classics like mac ‘n’ cheese ($19) and a po’ boy sandwich with fried cod ($15). Or, try one of executive chef Anthony Rose’s daily blue-plate specials.

>> Modern farmhouse fare dominates the menu at Grace, where dishes such as lamb pot pie ($20) draw inspiration from traditional family dinners. Milk and cookies ($7) bring your meal to a simple yet memorable conclusion.

>> Though its hipster quotient can be intimidating, the food at OddFellows is anything but. The meaty combo of Jack Daniels–braised pork belly and spiced short rib ($16) is enough to make a slow-food lover swoon.

The Premier West

A glimpse inside the elite Calgary Stampede experience

By Sally MacKinnon

Behind closed doors at Stampede Park, Calgary’s elite separate themselves from the masses of the midway. This is a place where neon lights, street sweepers and deep fryers are nowhere to be seen; they trade places with mahogany woods, personal chefs and AAA strip loin. Welcome to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: Stampede Edition.

Three venues comprise Stampede Park’s premium seating: Ranahans, The Lazy S and the Infield Suites, as well as the groups-only 30X Saloon. Though they aren’t located above the grounds, if Calgary transformed into Ancient Greece they would be Mount Olympus. All are behind closed doors, cost big money to see, and are often packed to capacity.

In preparation for the 2009 Calgary Stampede, we’ve put together a glimpse into this mysterious world, as well as ways to maximize a more down-to-earth experience.

INFIELD SUITES

If premium seating is Mount Olympus, the infield suites would be Zeus’ domain. They are located behind the rodeo chutes, facing the Grandstand and within spitting distance of the bulls, broncos and cowboys.

The 28 suites were built in 1997, and vary in size and set-up. You can mingle in a stand-up saloon, lounge in a ranch-themed living room, or forgo both for the outside seating. Sound good? It is, but they’re not easy to get into—even for those willing to shell out the money.

“It’s definitely the place to be,” says Ken Knight, premium seating manager at the Calgary Stampede. “But it’s a reward for sponsors; it’s the carrot at the end of the stick.”

That being said, Knight points out that about 10 per cent of the suites are bought privately, but far in advance. For their money, buyers are given a personal chef and attendant at their beck and call. In all, the building has 150 employees—including 60 chefs—for the duration of Stampede. The menus are preset, and include items such as flambéed Athenian prawns, slow-roasted rack of lamb, and marinated AAA rib eye—followed by bananas foster cream pie flambé or a chocolate & caramel fondue.

Availability: Limited; reserved for Stampede sponsors.
Price: $2,800 – $22,200 (for 12 – 50 guests)
Contact: 403-261-9341

RANAHANS

The Stampede’s second foray into premium seating was Ranahans, a private members’ club on the third level of the Grandstand—built for one main purpose:

“What we’re trying to create here, for corporate Calgary, is networking,” says Knight, who also oversees Ranahans. “This is a very happening place at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s wall-to-wall people.”

Knight says the idea came from sponsors, who wanted to wine and dine one client per day instead of hosting everyone in one go—especially when those clients were competitors. At Ranahans, members buy a table—with four, six, or eight places—for a minimum of five events, or book private rooms.

The dress code and the décor are both upscale western; think designer jeans, deep woods, wrought iron and leather seating. The food isn’t a buffet, it’s served at “action stations.” This isn’t beef on a bun—their roasted AAA strip loin comes with black peppercorn and cognac sauce, or you can forgo red meat for grilled lobster tails or butternut squash ravioli. But, Ranahans’ claim to fame isn’t the food; it’s the cache, and the chance to network with 280 captains of industry.

Availability: Tricky; call far in advance, and make sure you’re ready to book multiple days.
Price: $1,505 – $16,800 (for groups of 4, 6, 8, 12, 28 and 40)
Contact: 403-261-9341

THE LAZY S

Ranahans may be a refuge for oil barons, but The Lazy S—located on level four of the Grandstand—is the option for young professionals who don’t want a Petroleum Club atmosphere. The space is designed like a lounge, with black leather couches, open areas for mingling, live music and a glow bar. There is also the “terrace lounge” for those who want to be at the rodeo, but not attentively watch it.

Patrons at The Lazy S eat their meals al fresco, with a full view of the rodeo and chuckwagon races. The seats are closer to loungers than the bucket seating in the stands, and wait staff cater to diners’ every need.

The cuisine is playful. Will Kwong, the head chef for premium seating, says last year he was on a Japanese kick and incorporated miso and tempura into multiple dishes. This year, he’s enamoured with slow cooking.

“There are no rules to say you have to do it like this,” says Kwong. “They have to reel me in sometimes because I can go far into left field.”

His recommendation for The Lazy S is one of their signature dishes, the Colossal Burger: four pounds of beef, eight slices of horseradish cheddar, 12 pieces of double-smoked bacon, half a head of lettuce, six tomatoes and ancho chili mayo on a 12-inch pretzel bun.

Availability: Variable.
Price: $345 per person, $10,560 for a 24-person private suite.
Contact: 403-261-9143

MID-RANGE DINING

1. The Range: a food court with fare from local spots such as Opa and Wicked Wedge Pizza Co. Big Four Building, lower level.

2. The Clubhouse Restaurant: on the fourth floor of the Grandstand, with an à la carte menu and prime rib buffet daily from 4:30 pm to 8 pm.

3. Mavericks Dining Room & Lounge: a buffet spot on the upper floor of the Big Four Building. Also offers regular and children’s menus.