Being a Canadian native living in Milan, it’s not often that I get to spend as much time across the pond as I would like. But when I do, I love to visit Toronto. As one of my favourite cities, it has a je ne sais quoi and an electric atmosphere. I thought I’d let you in on some of my favourite weekend dining spots from my last trip.
I arrived on a Thursday evening (a popular night for going out here) and despite the attempted coercions from my friends, I managed to stay in and chill out as I had a huge meeting on Friday which was the primary reason for my trip. The chilling out paid off as I nailed my meeting. I then met with my business partner and debriefed him over a celebratory lunch at Cactus Club.
Cactus Club is an extremely popular Canadian restaurant, but it’s far better than most multi-location eateries. It boasts a consistent menu with robust contributions from world-class Canadian chefs, Rob Feenie from Vancouver and Cory Vitiello from Toronto. We each started with a pint of Pemberton Pilsner which is brewed in British Colombia. For lunch I had the Baja Fish Tacos which feature beer battered ocean wiseTM cod, shredded cabbage, chipotle aioli, fire roasted tomato salsa, pickled red onions and jalapeño peppers. As usual, everything was well executed and delicious. I like to follow a ketogenic diet plan and Cactus Club is an accommodating location for any dietary requirement.
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Friday evening I met up with a couple of friends from Vancouver who were visiting Toronto. I took them to LBS, one of favourite restaurants in town. LBS originally stood for Lobster Burger Salad, but people often just called it Pounds.
They feature sustainable seafood from both coasts of Canada and an extensive wine list with many gems. We dove right in and ordered malpeque oysters from Prince Edward Island, a shrimp cocktail, a beautiful 2.5 pound Nova Scotia lobster (with big claws) served with drawn butter and a fennel and apple slaw, truffle fries, and seafood pappardelle. I should point out that we were only a party of three, but we still managed to power through and finish! Our seafood feast was accompanied by one of my favourite white wines: the Nautilus Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It was an epic dinner and we were clearly spoiled.
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In addition to the seemingly unlimited selection of great restaurants, Toronto is also home to a myriad of festivals. On Saturday afternoon I attended the inaugural Rosé Picnic which took place on the historic grounds of Fort York. Despite the rain the people came out in droves, all dressed in the pink and white theme. I was in the VIP area where we were treated to a selection of delicious canapés from Canadian celebrity chef Mark McEwan. These were expertly paired with wines including: Hogwash Rosé from Napa Valley and Moet & Chandon Rosé Champagne. Eventually the rain stopped, the sun came out, and while the DJ played we danced the afternoon away.
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If you ever visit Toronto and head to any of these places, make sure to tag my Instagram @christopher.bates.official so I can see where you’ve been!
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