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The Hottest Restaurants in Toronto Right Now, July 2015

12 new places to eat and drink in Canada’s most populous city.

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Today, Eater returns to Toronto, Canada to discover the newest drinking and dining destinations the Ontario capital has to offer. This time around, freelance writer/food photographer Gizelle Lau offers her picks, naming a dozen new spots worth your dining dollars. Among them: A tapas-minded restaurant from famed Bar Isabel chef Grant van Gameren (Bar Raval), a second location of chef Rob Gentile’s Italian staple (Buca Yorkville), and a reemergence of a beloved neighborhood restaurant (Peter Pan, newly reopened by chef Noah Goldberg).

Toronto's also enjoying a bar-food renaissance. A team of local pizza and sandwich legends have joined forces to debut a Neapolitan-inspired bar (A3 Napoli), and several late-night spots are dedicated to casual drinks and snacks: the Asian-leaning Kanpai Snack Bar and Hanmoto, plus the inaccurately named Bar Fancy.

Here now, in alphabetical order, the 12 hottest restaurants in Toronto right now:

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A3 Napoli

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What happens when the owners of Pizza Libretto and Porchetta & Co, the city’s top Naples-style pizza and sandwich spots, get together and have a love child? A3 Napoli: a quick-stop Italian-style bar serving up Neapolitan bar food. There’s Libretto’s VPN-certified wood-fired pizzas, panzerotti, as well as small bites like arancini, meatballs, and zucchini sticks — best finished off with a taste of its own label of Flying Monkeys craft beer. [Photo]

Bar Fancy

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There’s nothing fancy about Bar Fancy. It’s a low-key spot to drop in for a quick bite and drink, but it has a killer 5-7 p.m. special where the fried chicken comes at $2/piece and oysters are half-price. Stay for the specials and drinks, but don’t leave without getting a taste of the numbing wings, spicy Sichuan peppercorn wings that will literally numb your mouth in an amazing, temporary, way. [Photo]

Bar Raval

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In this city, it seems that you just can’t go wrong with team Grant van Gameren. His new spot is an ode to Barcelona’s tapas bars, complete with Gaudi-essque curves and wine barrel tabletops. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., so you can stop in for your breakfast pastries and coffee in the morning, casual bites at lunch, a few happy hour pintxos and cocktails after work (or late night when you’re tipsy and feeling munchy). [Photo]

Boralia

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One of just a few Toronto restaurants creating Canadian cuisine (or at the very least, as Canadian as you can get), Boralia — previously Borealia before the trademark legal eagles came swooping in — serves up dishes based on Canadian heritage, history, and multiculturalism. On the menu, you’ll see dishes like oysters with hollandaise, red fife bread, mussels smoked in pine needles, bison pemmican, sugar shack ham, or pigeon pie, all playing on the country’s regional favorites and diversity. [Photo]

Buca Yorkville

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For years, Buca has been the go-to for modern Italian fare in Toronto, and this past year, chef Rob Gentile and King Street Food Company have opened Buca Yorkville next to the Four Seasons Toronto. While staples like the burrata pizza and bread knots remain, Buca Yorkville’s signature dishes are a massive seafood platter and whole branzino sliced and diced tableside. For special occasions, book the chef’s table for a special tasting menu with 16+ courses. [Photo]

Dandylion

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A casual, tasteful atmosphere paired with ingredient-first cuisine that’s thoughtful, refined, and honest — that’s what Dandylion is about. It’s a welcoming, warm experience from the start, as if chef Jay Carter’s invited you to his house for dinner. The meal kicks off with warm house-baked bread and fresh cheese, followed by dishes like cod with charred beans and bonito sauce, poached egg in mushroom broth, and savory granola — all carefully balanced in flavor, texture, and execution. [Photo]

More chicken! Just opened in Toronto’s Entertainment District/King West, Flock Rotisserie + Greens is the new spot by Toronto’s “hunkiest” chef, Cory Vitiello (and co-owner Chris Shiki), who made a name for themselves at the Harbord Room. In this quick-service restaurant, you’ll get equal parts rotisserie chicken (naturally raised, no hormones or antibiotics) and an awesome salad selection, as well as a DIY salad option. [Photo]

Hanmoto

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Over on Dundas West, Leemo Han of Oddseoul has opened Hanmoto, a cheeky new spot that’s quickly making a name for itself as a top spot for Japanese izakaya-style bites and drinks ‘til 2 a.m. The dishes are Japanese-meets-American, like hamachi tartare, “dyno” chicken wings stuffed with pork, and bacon or a chicken katsu burger. Don’t miss the condensed milk and white miso ice cream. [Photo]

Kanpai Snack Bar

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The era of the snack foods reigns, and Kanpai Snack Bar over at Carlton/Parliament is one of the latest favorites, serving up Taiwanese snacks (or “xiaochi”) inspired by the country’s famous night markets. There are steamed buns, fried tofu, a family-size TFC (Taiwanese Fried Chicken) dinner, or Taiwanese “anti-pasto” of pickled veg for mains. For dessert: the deep-fried wow bao with spicy Nutella and pop rock condensed milk. Naturally, there are plenty of drinks and cocktails to wash down the snacky goodness. [Photo]

Kasa Moto

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From the folks behind the Chase and Colette Grand Café, a new massive, two-story modern Japanese restaurant, Kasa Moto, has opened in the heart of Yorkville — complete with Yorkville prices. Dishes run the gamut: Expect cold elements like hamachi with ponzu, hot dishes like rock shrimp tempura, large plates like the Kasa Moto burger or items from the sushi bar, like spicy tuna or the always-loved California roll. [Photo]

NAO Steakhouse

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With a swanky new patio just in time for patio season, the Asian-influenced NAO Steakhouse is the latest in the INK Entertainment restaurant, nightlife, and entertainment portfolio (next up, they’re partnering with Morimoto to open on King West). And it does not disappoint. Sitting pretty on Avenue Road in Yorkville, you’ll find steakhouse classics like chopped salad and oysters Rockefeller and a massive steak list from strip loins to porterhouse cuts from the U.S., Canada, and Japan. [Photo]

Peter Pan

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Re-creating Toronto’s iconic Peter Pan restaurant and space is no small venture, but chef Noah Goldberg, whose popular pop-up the Feasting Room certainly gathered a local following, has refreshed new life into the neighborhood spot. The menu is nose-to-tail British and aims to be as local as possible — featuring snacks like gin popcorn, country pork terrine, or Welsh rarebit to start, and mains like lamb belly with sweetbreads or bouillabaisse. [Photo]

A3 Napoli

What happens when the owners of Pizza Libretto and Porchetta & Co, the city’s top Naples-style pizza and sandwich spots, get together and have a love child? A3 Napoli: a quick-stop Italian-style bar serving up Neapolitan bar food. There’s Libretto’s VPN-certified wood-fired pizzas, panzerotti, as well as small bites like arancini, meatballs, and zucchini sticks — best finished off with a taste of its own label of Flying Monkeys craft beer. [Photo]

Bar Fancy

There’s nothing fancy about Bar Fancy. It’s a low-key spot to drop in for a quick bite and drink, but it has a killer 5-7 p.m. special where the fried chicken comes at $2/piece and oysters are half-price. Stay for the specials and drinks, but don’t leave without getting a taste of the numbing wings, spicy Sichuan peppercorn wings that will literally numb your mouth in an amazing, temporary, way. [Photo]

Bar Raval

In this city, it seems that you just can’t go wrong with team Grant van Gameren. His new spot is an ode to Barcelona’s tapas bars, complete with Gaudi-essque curves and wine barrel tabletops. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., so you can stop in for your breakfast pastries and coffee in the morning, casual bites at lunch, a few happy hour pintxos and cocktails after work (or late night when you’re tipsy and feeling munchy). [Photo]

Boralia

One of just a few Toronto restaurants creating Canadian cuisine (or at the very least, as Canadian as you can get), Boralia — previously Borealia before the trademark legal eagles came swooping in — serves up dishes based on Canadian heritage, history, and multiculturalism. On the menu, you’ll see dishes like oysters with hollandaise, red fife bread, mussels smoked in pine needles, bison pemmican, sugar shack ham, or pigeon pie, all playing on the country’s regional favorites and diversity. [Photo]

Buca Yorkville

For years, Buca has been the go-to for modern Italian fare in Toronto, and this past year, chef Rob Gentile and King Street Food Company have opened Buca Yorkville next to the Four Seasons Toronto. While staples like the burrata pizza and bread knots remain, Buca Yorkville’s signature dishes are a massive seafood platter and whole branzino sliced and diced tableside. For special occasions, book the chef’s table for a special tasting menu with 16+ courses. [Photo]

Dandylion

A casual, tasteful atmosphere paired with ingredient-first cuisine that’s thoughtful, refined, and honest — that’s what Dandylion is about. It’s a welcoming, warm experience from the start, as if chef Jay Carter’s invited you to his house for dinner. The meal kicks off with warm house-baked bread and fresh cheese, followed by dishes like cod with charred beans and bonito sauce, poached egg in mushroom broth, and savory granola — all carefully balanced in flavor, texture, and execution. [Photo]

Flock

More chicken! Just opened in Toronto’s Entertainment District/King West, Flock Rotisserie + Greens is the new spot by Toronto’s “hunkiest” chef, Cory Vitiello (and co-owner Chris Shiki), who made a name for themselves at the Harbord Room. In this quick-service restaurant, you’ll get equal parts rotisserie chicken (naturally raised, no hormones or antibiotics) and an awesome salad selection, as well as a DIY salad option. [Photo]

Hanmoto

Over on Dundas West, Leemo Han of Oddseoul has opened Hanmoto, a cheeky new spot that’s quickly making a name for itself as a top spot for Japanese izakaya-style bites and drinks ‘til 2 a.m. The dishes are Japanese-meets-American, like hamachi tartare, “dyno” chicken wings stuffed with pork, and bacon or a chicken katsu burger. Don’t miss the condensed milk and white miso ice cream. [Photo]

Kanpai Snack Bar

The era of the snack foods reigns, and Kanpai Snack Bar over at Carlton/Parliament is one of the latest favorites, serving up Taiwanese snacks (or “xiaochi”) inspired by the country’s famous night markets. There are steamed buns, fried tofu, a family-size TFC (Taiwanese Fried Chicken) dinner, or Taiwanese “anti-pasto” of pickled veg for mains. For dessert: the deep-fried wow bao with spicy Nutella and pop rock condensed milk. Naturally, there are plenty of drinks and cocktails to wash down the snacky goodness. [Photo]

Kasa Moto

From the folks behind the Chase and Colette Grand Café, a new massive, two-story modern Japanese restaurant, Kasa Moto, has opened in the heart of Yorkville — complete with Yorkville prices. Dishes run the gamut: Expect cold elements like hamachi with ponzu, hot dishes like rock shrimp tempura, large plates like the Kasa Moto burger or items from the sushi bar, like spicy tuna or the always-loved California roll. [Photo]

NAO Steakhouse

With a swanky new patio just in time for patio season, the Asian-influenced NAO Steakhouse is the latest in the INK Entertainment restaurant, nightlife, and entertainment portfolio (next up, they’re partnering with Morimoto to open on King West). And it does not disappoint. Sitting pretty on Avenue Road in Yorkville, you’ll find steakhouse classics like chopped salad and oysters Rockefeller and a massive steak list from strip loins to porterhouse cuts from the U.S., Canada, and Japan. [Photo]

Peter Pan

Re-creating Toronto’s iconic Peter Pan restaurant and space is no small venture, but chef Noah Goldberg, whose popular pop-up the Feasting Room certainly gathered a local following, has refreshed new life into the neighborhood spot. The menu is nose-to-tail British and aims to be as local as possible — featuring snacks like gin popcorn, country pork terrine, or Welsh rarebit to start, and mains like lamb belly with sweetbreads or bouillabaisse. [Photo]

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