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Toca

Father’s Day Dining: 5 Tasty Toronto Restaurants for Dad

BY CRAIG MOY

Take dad for a tasty Father's Day dinner (or brunch) this Sunday in Toronto

Treat dad to a tasty Father’s Day dinner (or brunch) this Sunday in Toronto (photo: Boston Public Library)

He might do his best to downplay the occasion, but even the gruffest papa bear deserves to be celebrated every once in a while. This Father’s Day, raise a glass to your dad at one of these Toronto restaurants.

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Bonus You Are Here: Wellington Street West

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!)

Toca

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. (more…)

Query the Cook #1: Chef Tom Brodi of Toca

As part of our 2011 Dining Guide, we asked a few of the city’s chefs about their work, and what dishes to expect from their kitchens this season. Tom Brodi is the Executive Chef at Toca, the restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto Hotel.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges of working in the restaurant
of a major hotel?

I would not say challenges but opportunities. It’s about understanding a different side of the business, which has helped me develop as a restaurateur and chef. An independent restaurant and a hotel run differently, and one of the advantages of running a restaurant at a hotel is that there are so many resources accessible to me. The administrative aspects of the business are very process-oriented and planned well in advance at a hotel; this is not typical at an independent restaurant. There are also some things that make life easy, such as being able to call the engineering department when I need my stove calibrated.

Toca continues the trend of serving regional Canadian dishes. Why do you think this style of cuisine has become so popular in recent years?
It’s not that it’s a popular trend so much as it is that knowledge and awareness of our choices is more accessible and the idea of supporting local farmers makes sense in our culture and economy. Why would I want truck a tomato from California when I can get one from less than 100 kilometres away. People purchase local products, and this gives farmers the ability to invest in their business. It makes economic sense, and the product tastes better! What a treat to visit the farm and touch the earth that grows what I will serve my guests for dinner.

Clearly, one of the restaurant’s highlights is its cheese cave. How are its cheeses chosen? Are there any that are particularly unique?
We strive to find exceptional cheeses that have a wonderful story behind them. An example is the “1608”—the year when a herd of dairy cattle was brought from Europe to Quebec to produce a cheese that we serve today. Though we have a lot of local cheeses, we also have international ones that might remind a traveller of what they consider their local cheese from home. I’m now working directly with some local dairies that are producing exciting cheeses that should be ready to serve in the spring.

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