SMALL BUT MIGHTY CHABROL SERVES UP EXCELLENT SOUTHERN FRENCH CUISINE
The buttery, unforgettable tarte aux pommes.
Chef Doug Penfold knows Spanish food. For years he’s served some of the city’s best tapas at midtown institution Cava. Turns out he’s equally passionate about French fare, as evidenced by his cooking at Chabrol, a tiny bistro Penfold launched with Cava co-owner Niall McCotter. Set back from the bustle of Yorkville Avenue, it’s an elegant hideaway for unfussy indulgence. Order and aperitif and some oysters, then spoil yourself with the rich wild mushroom and artichoke ragout—plus the chef’s acclaimed tarte aux pommes for dessert.—Craig Moy
•90 Yorkville Ave., 416-428-6641; chabrolrestaurant.com
• Map and reviews
LOOK BEYOND THE BIG BRANDS ON BLOOR STREET AND YOU’LL DISCOVER YORKVILLE’S ECLECTIC MIX OF LOCALLY OWNED UPPER-TIER BOUTIQUES, GALLERIES AND RESTAURANTS
Axe and Hatchet Grooming Club
1 Throw a stone in Yorkville and you’ll hit a highly credentialed salon; the pickings are slimmer for men in need of a new ‘do. Fortunately there is Axe & Hatchet, an unpretentious “grooming club” for perfectly executed old-school haircuts and shaves. 101 Yorkville Ave., 416-901-3634; axeandhatchet.com
2 Part of an elite group of spas highlighting treatments and products by Swiss brand Valmont, Spa at the Hazelton is one of Toronto’s most intimate retreats for facials, massages and more. 118 Yorkville Ave., 416-963-6307; thehazeltonhotel.com/spa
3 Esteemed fashion plates George and Lisa Corbo curate trendy ready-to-wear attire for both sexes at George C, one of the couple’s three unique Yorkville boutiques. 21 Hazelton Ave., 416-962-1991; georgec.ca
Bodé Spa offers targeted treatments for men
Though many of the city’s spas offer targeted treatments for men, Bodé Spa is a full males-only retreat. After dominating the market in Ottawa for nearly a decade, co-founders Daniel Francoeur and Inirida Zerpa have opened a new location in Yorkville that taps into the rapidly growing gentlemen’s grooming market. The therapies here are similar to other spas; what’s different is the semantics. Simple offerings are renamed to be more appealing to the Y chromosome—having your back or chest “manscaped” is more masculine than saying you’re getting waxed, while getting the “Hand Shake” and “Foot Fix” is better than booking a mani-pedi. Additional maintenance and pampering options include massages, haircuts, hot towel shaves, and facials—cheekily called “Beard Burn” and “The Liquid Plumber.” —Linda Luong >> Bodé Spa, 91 Scollard St., 416-968-0808; bodespa.com
>> Map and reviews
Have you ever wondered if you could pull off a dinner party in the presence of Madonna, John F. Kennedy and Christian Dior? Now you can! Well, not literally, but you can bring all of your favourite stars home as beautiful photographic prints from Legends Gallery of Fine Art Photography. Recently opened in Yorkville, owner Mark Zimmerman’s establishment specializes in signed and numbered limited-edition images depicting some of the 20th century’s best-known entertainers and icons. Of course, the subjects are not the only stars; the photos on display represent the work of numerous award-winning shooters including Terry O’Neill, Curt Gunther and William Coupon. —Ana Taveira
Yorkville can be one of the more intimidating neighbourhoods in Toronto, what with its lavish hotels and super-chic boutiques. The Oxley is a welcoming oasis in the midst of all this luxury. Inside a fire engine–red Victorian house you’ll find a quintessentially English pub complete with feature fireplace, lots of leather and murals depicting “ye olde fox hunt.” The pub shares a pedigree with its slightly sportier sister space the Queen and Beaver; count on it to deliver refined yet familiar comforts in the form of lamb sirloin with olive ketchup ($28), dry-aged rib-eye with stilton cheese ($38), and bar favourites like a roast beef sandwich ($17) and fish and chips ($17).
Mideastro's lamb and beef kufta
In North America, the term fusion as it pertains to food typically means that the cuisine of one ostensibly “exotic” region—Japan, South America, and heck, even France—has been somehow been reconceived to appeal to familiar, North American tastes. Not so, however, at Mideastro, a restaurant that draws together the flavours of the Middle East—Israel in particular—and Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Greece and Morocco. Stylish and sophisticated in Yorkville, its menu is thoroughly upper crust, featuring refined takes on lamb and beef kufta ($29), baked snapper with harisa-flavoured risotto ($34) and more. As you might imagine, bland palates need not apply.
After conquering Europe and Asia, Piquadro has set its sights on North America and chosen Yorkville as the location for its first boutique on this continent. The 25-year-old Italian company caters to modern professionals with its stylish and functional bags, luggage and accessories. The company’s expansion into the Toronto market—there are more than 100 shops around the globe—makes sense considering Piquadro’s clientele, whom president and CEO Marco Palmieri describes as “jet set, always on the go and expecting nothing less than excellence in the products they buy.” Here, those customers can find laptop and messenger bags, briefcases, backpacks, tablet sleeves and MP3 cases, ladies handbags, wallets and coin purses in traditional black and brown leather with punches of red and golden yellow. Open daily. 1286 Bay St., 416-928-6662.
photo by Oscar Mach
It’s the time of year when every other pair of feet you see is likely to be sporting a pair of calf-length caramel-coloured sheepskin boots. Although such footwear is synonymous with UGG Australia, the brand produces many other styles, too. Tony Yorkville is home to the company’s first concept shop here in Canada (a second is now open in Vancouver), where a curved zebra-striped ceiling and frosted glass walls serve as a backdrop for the brand’s entire collection of men’s and ladies boots, slippers, sneakers and accessories such as hats and handbags. Open daily. 23 St. Thomas St., 647-799-0300.
Intermix, an ultra-trendy destination for fashionistas, has established its first international boutique along Toronto’s Mink Mile. The luxe American retailer is well regarded for its assemblage of couture names like Helmut Lang, Herve Leger, Diane von Furstenberg and Rag & Bone alongside up-and-coming designers.
Liven up a nursery or a toddler’s sleep space with charming bedding from Auggie. Owner Cristina Burgess and her graphic designer sibling Genevieve joined forces to create this new collection that includes prints of blue ponies and robots on sheets, duvets and pillows, as well as quilts that are hand-stitched in India; prices range from $40 to $325.
Winter’s on its way out; it’s time to get a head start on exploring. Guide yourself with our specialized itineraries, or contact one of Toronto’s many tour operators to delve deeper into this multifaceted metropolis. And don’t forget to check out previous Yours to Discover posts, here: Day One, Day Two.
Thompson Landry Gallery
TAKE A LOOK
Gallery-going made easy.
This city has a reputation as being staid and somewhat conservative, but when it comes to
the creative arts, it’s actually quite adventurous.
For proof, one need but stride down Queen Street—west of Trinity Bellwoods Park are numerous galleries operating on the leading edge
of the contemporary art scene. Among the area’s major denizens are Angell Gallery, conceptualist-leaning Clint Roenisch Gallery and photographic specialist Stephen Bulger Gallery. In recent years, the Museum
of Contemporary Canadian Art has become a major creative locus, thanks to its consistently well-curated shows and a new partnership with the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
Straight in the opposite direction, the Distillery Historic District hosts an equally varied mélange of artists and craftspeople. Within its restored industrial buildings you’ll be introduced to top Quebecois painters at Thompson Landry Gallery, internationally renowned contemporary works at Corkin Gallery and Clark and Faria, and even Israeli artists at Julie M Gallery. Local artisans sell their creative ceramics, jewellery and more at many other boutiques and studios here. You can even print your own images at photography hot spot Pikto.
Gallery Gevik and Feheley Fine Arts
Further north, posh Yorkville hosts many longstanding fine-art houses, the majority of which represent well-established painters and sculptors whose works have gained significant recognition. Keen to see recent pieces by Ed Bartram or Stephen Hutchings? Head to Mira Godard Gallery. Love the imagery crafted by Norval Morrisseau or Haida artist Robert Davidson? Kinsman Robinson Galleries has it in spades. Or find a new favourite at Loch Gallery, Feheley Fine Arts, Gallery Gevik and many more.
For an insider’s view of the West Queen West scene, look no further than an Art InSite tour with effervescent expert Betty Ann Jordan. And partaking in a Yorkville Art Walk offers a great primer of that district’s top galleries.
As far as store openings go, it doesn’t get bigger than this. The first, much-anticipated Pink Tartan store opens this month in Yorkville. Co-founded by designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran and her husband, Joseph—the mastermind behind other noted fashion lines as Alfred Sung and Joe Fresh Style—the North American label holds its own alongside such timeless brands as Chanel, Prada, Gucci and Burberry. Celebs including Kim Catrall, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson have donned Newport-Mimran’s mix-and-match apparel that’s accessible and flattering for any woman on the go. While select items were previously available at local retailers, loyal style mavens can now visit a gracious 3,200-square-foot Scottish-Georgian townhouse to browse the entire collection and special runway items, as well as an accessories line that is to be launched this fall. Open daily. 77 Yorkville Ave., 416-516-0641.