Toronto Fun Parties
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The top restaurants for New Year's Eve dinner in Toronto aim to make 2013's last meal especially memorable, no matter if it's the main event or just the precursor to a wild night to come. While many restaurants are promoting over-the-top themed events, planned and priced for champagne tastes, there are a number of promising parties with a more laissez-faire attitude too.
Here are the top 20 restaurants for New Year's Eve dinner in Toronto.
The Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West)
Big Top NYE is a circus themed celebration featuring jugglers, acrobats, carnival games, cotton candy, themed VIP rooms and "ring side seats" avec bottle service. Advance tickets are $50 ($70 at the door), or reserve a table for a 4-course dinner and stay for the festivities for $126.05.
Boots & Bourbon Saloon (725 Queen Street East)
The newly opened cowboy bar will host two bands and an evening of line dancing and party favours. Entry will be $10 at the door on a first come first served basis. The requisite toast at midnight may or may not come in the form of a tall can.
The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West)
General admission to The Drake's Black & White NYE party is $40 from 8pm or $20 after midnight. The best bet to ensure a spot is to get a ticket to the Strolling Cabaret ($75) happening in The Underground that will be catered by food stations featuring signature Drake favourites. You can also reserve a spot for dinner, the first seating of which offers three courses for $75, while the second seating is 4-courses at $115.
Drake One Fifty (150 York Street)
The Financial District offshoot is offering a casual canapé menu or full dinner for $50 to $150. After midnight, admission to their Day and Night party is $10 until 3am for dancing.
Lisa Marie (638 Queen Street West)
Reservations are accepted for dinner served from 6pm to 10pm. The a la carte menu will feature new cicchetti and luxe street food specials like melted marrow and garlic tossed Lobster Chow Mein. After 10pm it's $10 at the door for a Viva Las Vegas party and a countdown hosted by DJ Carl Allen.
Momofuku (190 University Avenue)
Momofuku is ushering in the new year with something a little special at each restaurant. The Noodle Bar celebrates with large format fried chicken and caviar dinners for $90 an order, as well as, a $17 prix fixe for a choice of bun and noodle. Daishō is doing a lucky family style feast featuring 10+ dishes for $120 per person (add $60 for beverage pairings), available for parties of 2 to 10, from 9pm 'til close. Shōtō going all out with a $200, 12-course tasting menu (add $45-$120 for optional beverage pairings.
El Catrin (18 Tank House Lane)
The visually spectacular restaurant in the Distillery District is offering a Mexican tasting menu offered for $110 per person. Add cocktail, tequila or wine pairings for $60-$90. Fiesta into the night with more drinks during their NYE party.
Stock Restaurant (325 Bay Street)
Looking to splurge? The Toast 2014 in Grand Style celebration will let you do just that. The 31st floor restaurant at the Trump International Hotel is offering an ultra indulgent 9-course tasting menu for $220 dollars. Optional wine pairings are $120 more.
Big Crow (176 Dupont Street)
For NYE at the Big Crow, the backyard-BBQ will be open for dinner, but better still they're offering to cater house parties with smokey, family style feasts suited for four to 10 guests ($159-$279). Orders must be placed by 6pm on December 30th for pick-up between 4pm to 7pm on the 31st.
Ganzi dei Osteria (504 Jarvis Street)
On tap here is a celebratory 4-course dinner with a sparkling libation for $74 that'll later transition into Guys and Dolls, a cocktail soirée and dance party. An early seating is also on offer with a 3-course menu for $45.
Home of the Brave (589 King Street West)
This Hawaiian themed New Year's party features a 3-course, $50 prix fixe menu with a rum cocktail pairing and midnight toast in a coconut shell. DJ Brains4brkfst will be live-spinning eclectic tunes all night.
Bestellen (972 College Street)
The steakhouse will hosts two seatings for their New Year's Eve Bash featuring special tasting menus from chef Rob Rossi. Early evening guests will be offered a 4-course menu ($36) while tables reserved between 9pm and 10pm will be offered five courses ($79). Wine pairings are additional.
Hunter's Landing (82 Fort a York Boulevard)
Geared towards Cityplace dwellers, this New Year's Eve party is bound to be attended by revellers who don't have to worry how they'll get home. The evening offers a $50 menu starting with oysters followed by four more courses, and will later transition into a DJ'd dance party ($10) avec requisite midnight toast and late night hors d'oeuvres.
Parts & Labour (1566 Queen Street West)
Offering an alternative to exorbitant covers and special menus, this Parkdale restaurant is hosting Business As Usual, serving their standard menu at no extra cost. Eat dinner and get free admission (otherwise $15) to DJs upstairs and in The Shop starting at 11:30pm.
Splendido (88 Harbord Street)
Chef Victor Barry bids farewell to founding partner Carlo Catallo (who is opening two new County General offshoots in the new year) with a special menu featuring Catallo's favourites. Their New Year's Eve multi-course prix fixe menu costs $140 per head with wine pairings for an additional $100.
The Libertine (1307 Dundas Street West)
Ring in the new year with a dinner and show at this hidden speakeasy-style bar. Receive dinner from chef Leonie Lilla and live entertainment from The Girls Club for a $60 fee. Reservations are required.
Mill Street Brew Pub (21 Tankhouse Lane)
No Hassle New Year's at the massive Distillery District brewery bar will be offering a full menu plus chef creations, live music, party favourites, a midnight toast and snacks. Alternately, reserve a seat next door at the Mill St. Beer Hall and celebrate over a 4-course meal with beer pairings and DJ Humble Mike spinning vinyl.
Harlem (67 Richmond Street East)
Soulfully celebrate the New Year with an all-you-can-eat appetizer buffet and open bar for $70. Entertainment provided by Poetic Sound Crew featuring JR the Superstar and Larry Uptown Smooth.
Valdez (606 King Street West)
Dubbed the ultimate Latino street party, The Night Market at Valdez will be spinning old school hip hop and celebrating with all-you-can-eat food stations plus $10 cocktails and $6 beers. Tickets are $50 and available now at the restaurant or online.
OTHER RESTAURANTS WITH SPECIAL NYE MENUS
- Lee (601 King West) and Bent (777 Dundas West), Susur Lee's Toronto restaurants are each offering a three course menu for $85.
- The County General (936 Queen Street West) is planning a tasty celebration featuring menu favourites and five beverages included with each $75 ticket.
- The Beverley Hotel (335 Queen Street West) celebrates with $100, 5-course dinner with champagne toast and party favours. Come for just the countdown at 11pm for $25 at the door.
- Ursa (924 Queen Street West) is offering a 9-course dinner for $125.
- Rosewater (19 Toronto Street) four courses for $125 plus live entertainment by Take Note.
- Cibo Wine Bar (522 King Street West)is offering a $70 prix fixe menu featuring four Italian courses
- Ki Modern Japanese is offering a $60 7-course dinner. Add premium sake pairings for $35.
- Hapa Izakaya (602 College Street) hosts its grand reopening (after months-long renos) with a 7-course omakase dinner followed by a dance party for $50 each head.
- Huntsman Tavern (890 College Street) is offering a $45 prix fixe menu, opt to including wine pairings for $70 total.
- Nyood (1096 Queen Street West) celebrates with a special multi-course prix fixe dinner offered for $60
- Wind Up Bird Cafe (382 College Street) is doing a kid-friendly, 3-course family style feast. Adults can eat for $25, kids under 12 eat for just $10.
Photo of Drake One Fifty
by Liora Ipsum via blogTO
Sherbourne Street is about as diverse as they come, from the stately Rosedale mansions at its north end to the towers of St. James Town to the last bit of industry that hangs on near its southern tip at the lakefront. It's also one of Toronto's older streets, being one of the original thoroughfares in the town of York, the central hub of which was located east of Yonge in and around where the current day St. Lawrence Market sits.
Named in 1845 by Samuel Ridout after the town of his origin in England, Sherbourne would eventually grow into a street that housed the well established throughout much of the 19th century. Although not as opulent as Jarvis Street to the west (or at least through the stretch south of Bloor), it was nevertheless a desirable and rather pretty place to live. That would eventually change in the mid 20th century when the affluent left the area, larger houses were divided up, and eventually public housing was built in the form of the St. James Town in the 1960s.
Like many older Toronto streets, Sherbourne carries a significant industrial legacy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Polson Iron Works were located at the foot of the street (this despite the current location of Polson Pier to the southeast), where huge steamships and dredgers were built, as well as a few other more bizarre nautical contraptions. The shipyards would close up in 1919, though the waterfront would remain largely industrial for years.
Today, Sherbourne is a street in transition. Where once there was industry, now there is sweeping redevelopment of the waterfront area. It's the first street in Toronto to receive dedicated bike lanes, and there are cautious signs of gentrification in an around Dundas and Sherbourne, an intersection notorious for crime.
Sherbourne and Carlton, 1890s
Sherbourne Bridge, 1890s
Bloor terminating at Sherbourne, 1907
Southwest corner of Sherbourne and Bloor, 1912
Sherbourne looking north from Queen, 1913
Polson Iron Works at the foot of Sherbourne, 1914
Sherbourne Bridge, 1915
Filling in the valley near Bloor and Sherbourne, 1917
Northwest corner Sherbourne and Bloor, 1923
George Street Yard near Queen and Sherbourne, 1923
Fill at the foot of Sherbourne, 1926
Industry at the foot of Sherbourne, 1926
Skyline from southern end of Sherbourne, early 1930s
Isabella Hotel, 1945
607-611 Sherbourne, 1954
Sherbourne north of Gerrard, 1960s
Sherbourne subway station, 1965
St. James Town, 1987
Photos from the Toronto Archives
by Derek Flack via blogTO
The Toronto restaurant scene shows no signs of slowing down in the approaching year, and the most hotly anticipated openings promise to deliver notable expansions from kitchens and chefs that we already love, plus some new potential game-changers ready to whet our appetites. All in all, 2014 is already set to be an exciting year for food and drink in this town.
Here are the 10 most anticipated Toronto restaurant openings in 2013.
The first of two planned expansions for County General in the new year. This new cocktail-centric spinoff will be situated in the east end, replacing the Canadian Pie Company At 798 Queen East. The new eatery and bar will serve coffee and casual fare in the day, before transitioning to tapas and sharing plates in the evening.
Later in 2014, Bloorcourt Village can also expect the County-treatment to take over the former Beirut Palace at 1006 Bloor West (including its sizeable patio) next to the Paradise Cinema (hence the name). Chef Danai Hongwanishkul (formerly of Canoe) will supply culinary direction once founding partner, chef Victor Barry goes solo in the new year.
Not just a humble sandwich shop, but an offshoot to this legendary steakhouse, this new take-away joint at 15 Elm Street will share the same commitment to quality as Barberian's Steakhouse next door. Arron Barberian and partners Pasquale Orgera and John Andrews plan to offer breakfast 'til late-night service, The menu will triumph generous helpings of made-from-scratch Canadian comfort foods like; peameal, fried baloney and meatloaf sandwiches, plus, there'll be poutines, Nanaimo bars and butter tarts.
Come & Get It
Always billed as a placeholder for an impending condo, this poutine/sandwich/salad joint closed up shop at Spadina and Queen this fall and announced it was finally moving to a permanent address at 676 Queen West. They've hinted the new location will even serve booze.
The two adjacent restaurants on King West between Bathurst and Spadina will still operate independently, but just the thought of this pizza-pork hybrid makes me salivate and start dreaming of potential menu cross-overs.
Nuit and Jeff Regular have already expanded Toronto's repertoire of regional Thai cuisine at Khao San Road (no longer involved) and then at Sabai Sabai and Sukhothai. Now, at this third restaurant slated to open at 18 Duncan Street, the duo plans to introduce the flavours and foods of Northern Thailand.
This casual Italian-American restaurant will open in place of the much-lauded Acadia on Clinton at College. Ownership remains the same, though Lindsay and Scott Selland will bid adieu to Top Chef Canada alum, chef Dustin Gallagher and switch focus to a more casual approach. The menu will triumph affordable cocktails and familiar dishes like mini calzones and Parms done every which way; chicken, veal, eggplant on a roll, hero sandwich or platter.
This new Barcelona-inspired tapas bar is slated to open at 26 Market Street in late January. The menu is planned to feature small plates, tapas and pintxos rooted in Spanish tradition but with a global spin. The opening menus from chef Michael Smith (formerly of C5, Gladstone Hotel not theChef at Home ) will span brunch, lunch and latte-night featuring delicacies like cauliflower chorizo pancakes and sesame sweetbreads.
This vegan bakery has been a fixture on the farmers market circuit since 2010. In the new year (mid-January) the bakery will open a brick and mortar retail source for dairy and egg-free baked goods at 589 Markham Street.
Bar Buca is open at last on Portland but what about this long-awaited offshoot planned for the Four Seasons? Rob Gentile's third seasonally-inspired eatery will reportedly be a heavily researched, seafood-centric, reverential-Italian concept. As for an opening date? I won't even hazard a guess.
- Cut the Cheese
- Greenwood Smokehouse
- Speakeasy 21
- Black Irish Whiskey Bar and Oyster Saloon
- Scaddabush Kitchen & Bar
- Union Social Eatery
- Kensington Brewing Company
What did I miss? Add your most anticipated restaurant openings to the comments below.
Photo from the County General's Facebook page
by Liora Ipsum via blogTO
The top Toronto artists to watch in 2014 work with painting, sculpture, photography, and digital imaging to give our retinas the kind of stimulation that just might keep us from spontaneously combusting or praying for an alien takeover to save us from our mind numbing daily routine. While Toronto has a thriving visual arts scene - especially for a place where rent is a billion dollars and you can't throw a tablet pen without hitting some fancy condo (smash?) - here are five artists who have caught our eye, and who will be challenging and defining the arts here in Toronto and beyond next year. Make sure you check out their shows - and follow them on Tumblr.
Sculptor/photographer (in that order, chronologically) Jimmy Limit stimulates with bright colours and absurd forms. His photos look like commercial stock photos, until you get a bit closer and realize the objects photos like "2 Litre Mountain Dew on its side with level" are made to melt your brain. Jimmy Limit is represented by Clint Roenisch Gallery and has a solo show coming up there, but you can see him this month at Rodman Hall for Recent Advancements, curated by Marcie Bronson.
Petra Collins kept busy in 2013. Part of Tavi Gevinson's Rookie Mag team, she curated and showed in "Period Piece: The Gynolandscape" with Sonja Ahlers. Aside from her work with Rookie and Vice, her photos of Toronto band Trust appeared in Vogue Italia. Then there was that controversial (really, people?) menstruating American Apparel t-shirt. Did I mention this artist just turned 21? You can read about why Instagram deleted Collins' account for a selfie she uploaded there on The Huffington Post, and follow Collins' new Instagram here.
Rafael Ochoa's digital paintings mess around with classical imagery - think antique still lives and epic paintings in guilded frames rendered into The Sims universe, though obviously, especially when compared to the terrible art selection The Sims had, these read more like futuristic masterworks. Ochoa employs multiple digital-imaging software programs for each piece. The images were made for a world beyond Tumblr, and you can see them this winter when Ochoa shows at Angell Gallery in February as part of Simulators, opening Febuary 21st.
In Vanessa's Maltese's understated paintings and sculptures, lines, patterns, colours, and architectural elements (this describes a lot of art, but bear with me) make for rare abstracts that are compelling to spend time with - just see it for yourself. Winner of the 2012 RBC Canadian Painting competition ($25,000!), Maltese is part of Micah Lexier's More Than Two and in 2014 she'll show twice at Cooper Cole: her solo show runs from April 10 - May 10, and her work is currently part of Endless Vacation, on until January 18. Read an interview with her here.
Mitsuo Kimura was one the stand out artists we saw at the Le Gallery stall at Art Toronto in 2013. The Japanese artist has lived in Toronto for about four years, and participated in the Sanko mural at Queen and Claremon. If you're a fan of psychedelic Toronto illustrator Alex Mackenzie, prepare to feast your eyes. Kimura's ultra detailed psychedelic paintings might just start the first rumblings of a seizure - and then you'll want more, naturally. Read an interview with Kimura in Juxtapoz here and check some work from his 2012 solo show. Then keep tabs on Le, visit Toronto's galleries as much as you can, and watch the skies. Que X-Files theme, and I'm out.
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO
What's open and closed on New Year's Day in Toronto 2014:
- All LCBO, Wine Rack and Beer Store locations
- Government offices and banks
- St. Lawrence Market
- No mail delivery
- Major grocery stores and most pharmacies
- Food Depot (Dupont and Davenport), Rabba grocery stores (various locations), most Kitchen Table locations, Bloor Superfresh (384 Bloor St W)
- The Pacific Mall, The Eaton Centre (12 p.m. - 5 p.m.), Square One (11 a.m. - 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills (10 a.m. - 7 p.m.)
- Major movie theatres
- Most public ice skating rinks
- Attractions such as the AGO (10 a.m.-4 p.m.), ROM (10 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.), Ontario Science Centre (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.), CN Tower (although 360 Restaurant will be closed), and the Toronto Zoo
- The TTC and GO Transit will operate on a Sunday schedule.
by Derek Flack via blogTO