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Deep Dish: The Latest Restaurant News

Toronto chef Mark McEwan launches a rustic Italian restaurant...Susur Lee's next venture set to open....Two Montreal restaurateurs experience success with new eateries...

October 22, 2010

Mark McEwan.

Mark McEwan.

Uber-chef and Food Network mainstay Mark McEwan has opened Fabbrica restaurant in the Shops at Don Mills, in North Toronto. The design of the 150-seat dining room is contemporary, but the food hews to a decidedly rustic Italian theme, via homestyle pastas, appetizers, mains and sides. A 15-seat bar anchors the front of the room. At the back, a wood-burning brick pizza oven, imported from Naples, cooks pies in a brisk 90 seconds, according to the restaurant’s website.

Superchef Susur Lee’s much-awaited new restaurant, Lee Lounge, is aiming for a mid-November launch in the downtown Toronto space formerly occupied by Madeline’s restaurant, which Lee launched in July, 2008. From all reports, the new resto’s menu will see Lee returning to his Eastern roots. Expect a DJ (!) and comfy lounge chairs.

Montreal’s most-respected, and influential, chef, Normand Laprise, is packing ’em in at Brasserie t!, on the grounds of the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. Laprise, owner of haute temple Toqué restaurant, has gone more homestyle. So expect everything from devilled eggs and charcuterie platters to salmon tartare and pork ribs. The dining room is housed in a glass, orange-hued, rectangular space that is, reportedly, very loud.

Another renowned Montreal restaurateur, Costas Spiliadis, of Milos (the city’s best fish destination), has made a splash with his new venture, Cava. Highlighting the earthy, rustic food of Greece, and focusing on meat, Cava offers Jamon Iberico de bellota gran reserva, the Rolls Royce of cured pork. Incidentally, Spiliadis has also launched Marketta, an upscale deli in Manhattan, and plans to open restaurants in Las Vegas and Miami.

Wabora, a Japanese/Korean fusion restaurant, is now operating in the Thompson Toronto hotel. Housed in a sleek room, boasting a black and grey color scheme and loads of hard surfaces (think limestone masonry), the eatery serves sushi (nigiri, rolls), Korean items (bibimbap and bulgogi, for instance) and features a robata grill bar.

Attracting crazy crowds in New York is Eataly, a 50,000-sq.-ft. Italian-themed food market and restaurant hub just off Madison Square Park. Under its ambitious roof are several restaurants, a fishmonger, espresso bar, cheese store, wine shop, cooking school, butcher shop and a whole lot more. Partners include restaurateur extraordinaire Mario Batali and his business partner Joe Bastianich. In a media interview, one of the principals said he may consider Toronto for a location.

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