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The Queen & Beaver

Staff Picks: 5 Sports Bars for Cheering on the Home Team

The Real Sports Bar & Grill is a must-visit for sports fans in Toronto

This city’s sporting culture is both broad and deep. Though our local teams are not always the cream of their respective crops, it can still be fun to watch them compete valiantly for the win. And if you’re not a Leafs, Raptors or Jays fan, you can always find someone who shares your passion for, say, English Premier League football (soccer), mixed martial arts, or international rugby. Watch it all on the big screen(s)—with a burger or beer in hand—at these boisterous sports bars. (more…)

Weekend Bonus: Ice, Wine and Dine Festival

Holiday Ornament MartiniNovember 20 & 21 Fire jugglers, stilt walkers and strolling songsters take over Elm Street this weekend, as the Ice, Wine and Dine Festival transforms the relatively quiet downtown strip into a festive holiday block party.

Organized by local businesses, the event also features live music, fortune tellers, magicians and ice-sculpture carvers, while restaurants and cafés serve up delectable food and drink specials under heated patio tents—recently opened pub The Queen & Beaver offers mulled cider and warm gingerbread, Commensal has organic hot chocolate and a tasty $5 vegetarian sampling platter. Even the Elmwood Spa participates in the festive fun by handing out free Lindt chocolate goodies. Those who seek heartier fare can stop by the Duke of Somerset and feast on pot roast sandwiches and the miniature deep-fried Mars bars, or pop into the Wolf and Firkin pub for spicy chili served with toasted garlic bread.

Culture vultures are encouraged to peek inside the Arts and Letters Club—a heritage building that, this weekend, hosts visual artists, poetry readings, music performances and more—while party enthusiasts will want to stop by the impressive Ice Martini Lounge, a chic outdoor space featuring a frozen ice bar. Here, revelers can pose for photos beside large-scale ice sculptures and sip on signature cocktails like the “Yongetini,” made with crème de menthe, chocolate liquor and vodka, and garnished with chocolate rosebuds. This downtown neighbourhood event has something for anyone looking to catch a bit of early holiday cheer.

Elm Street (two blocks north of Dundas Street) between Yonge and Bay streets. 4 to 9 p.m, free (excluding food samples); for further information, click here.

October Editor’s Picks: Dining

Splendido1. When acclaimed chef David Lee left fine-dining destination Splendido to focus on a new endeavour, Toronto foodies understandably questioned whether the award-winning Harbord Street staple would survive. They needn’t have worried. Now co-owned by chef Victor Barry and manager Carlo Catallo—both of whom were integral to Splendido’s past success—the restaurant has re-opened with a bright new look and a tasty, more affordable dinner spread. A cross-Canada photographic mural and a prominent display of preserves replace chandeliers and gilded mirrors in the dining room. On the menu, locally sourced mains like Yorkshire pork chop ($32) from Cumbrae Farms and Lake Huron pickerel ($26) are complemented by chef Barry’s fresh-daily pastas, and lovingly presented by the exceptional servers for which Splendido has long been known.

10-09-HotDining(YUZU)2. This city’s reputation as a raw fish–lover’s haven continues to grow as Japanese restaurants such as Yuzu stake their claim on the local sushi scene. Situated on the edge of the financial and entertainment districts, the cozy boîte offers both bankers and theatre goers an extensive selection of sashimi, maki and more. Of course, freshness is key when it comes to uncooked seafood; if co-owner Bruce Bu’s other hidden gem of a sushi house, Japango, is any indication, high-quality ingredients are assured. And be sure to try one of Yuzu’s signature cocktails, given a kick with a splash of premium sake.

The Queen & Beaver.

The Queen & Beaver

3. It’s easy to eat well (and affordably!) at the latest nosh spots to open near downtown’s Yonge-Dundas Square.

>> French import The 3 Brewers is known for its five made-in-house unfiltered beers, but its brasserie-style fare, including crisp Alsatian tartes flambée ($9.95 to $13.45), is equally satisfying.

>> Thoroughly British, The Queen & Beaver offers dishes like cider-braised leg of duck ($17) and beef short ribs ($23) amidst rustic, club-like ambience.

>> Expansive Woo Buffet Restaurant & Lounge presents a fusion of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines—everything from dim sum nibbles to barbecued pork ribs—as part of a lavish buffet spread.