Last week Square One hosted media and influencers for a preview of their upcoming Food District, opening to the public on April 1st. The ultimate influencer, the Food God, Jonathan Cheban was on hand to experience all of the deliciousness.
Guests sampled appetizing eats, coffee, juice and beer from some of the merchants and restaurants that will be part of The Food District. Take a look below and prepare to get hungry.
Summer isn’t over yet! With warm weather still in the forecast, our thoughts remain on sunsets, light jackets and of course…the endless search for the city’s best patios. Whether you’re grabbing drinks after work, enjoying a Sunday brunch or planning dinner with friends, the perfect restaurant always sets the scene.
Here are NKPR’s favourite city hot spots, that will make you feel like the ultimate foodie.
The Beach Boys said it best, “I wish they all could be California girls”. Montecito bridges the divide between casual Cali-cool and fine dining with premium quality ingredients. Located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, Montecito puts you in the centre of the action featuring farm-to-table Southern Californian cuisine. Not to mention the garden patio’s foliage and canopy umbrellas to keep you cool during hot summer days. Stop by for their signature kale salad and mouthwatering JW Chicken, perhaps paired with a wine selection provided by the restaurant’s in-house sommelier.
Cibo Wine Bar
Get a (delicious) taste of Italy at Cibo Wine Bar– located in the stylish King West neighbourhood with a recently opened second location at Yonge & Eglinton. The menu offers authentic Italian cuisine with modern staples, and classic fresh in-house pasta (is your mouth watering yet?). The trendy feel and inviting atmosphere means Cibo Wine Bar is sure to top your favourites list…and make it onto your Instagram feed!
The two words that make our summer hearts flutter? Rooftop patio. Gusto blends the perfect mix of comfy and industrial décor, serving up international flavours with Italian classics. Treat your taste buds to the margherita pizza and Tuscan grilled Bistecca striploin, plus wine on tap for $1.00 an ounce…oh yes, you read that correctly.
The Thompson Toronto is a chic summer escape right above the city. The rooftop lounge offers a breathtaking 360° view of the Toronto skyline and Lake Ontario amidst a lounge atmosphere and the city’s best looking clientele. Guests can dip in the infinity pool by day and linger on the patio by night, enjoying creative seasonal cocktails (toast to the champagne cocktail or James Bond inspired Vesper) and inventive cuisine far above the fray.
Some things are just meant to go together: peanut butter and jelly, Beyoncé and Jay Z, cold drinks and hot summer days. DAVIDsTEAoffers an extensive collection of their signature teas served over ice; perfect to grab when strolling through fellow Queen West stores. Enjoy $1.00 iced tea all summer long when you purchase one of the brightly coloured travel mugs…talk about fulfilling your cravings to a “tea”. We at NKPR LOVE the sweet and refreshing Strawberry Colada ice tea (talk about an afternoon pick-me-up).
What are your favourite summer hotspots? Tweets us @NatashaNKPR!
On December 6th and 7th, Liberty Entertainment Group opened its third Cibo Wine Bar. Originally opening in Coral Gables, Miami, the success of the Toronto location inspired Liberty Entertainment Group decided to take Cibo to South Beach, where they purchased the last piece of property on the famous waterfront strip.
The Cibo Wine Bar South Beach features the restaurant’s authentic Italian dishes and impeccable wine selection, however it is the aesthetics that make it stand out amongst its Toronto and Coral Gables counterparts. Cibo South Beach partnered with world-renowned street artist Mr. Brainwash, who has been the inspiration for the restaurants unique and stunning interior décor. Mr. Brainwash’s famous art installation titled “Life is Beautiful” is featured on a piece of exposed concrete inside the restaurant along with works of various other artists from the South Beach community.
Cibo Wine Bar South Beach features other notable Italian-influenced aesthetics that contribute to the restaurants unique and inviting atmosphere. Hanging 20 by 12 feet over the restaurant’s dining room is a beautiful custom-made chandelier featuring 3,000 glass spheres in red, white and green – Italy’s national colours. The restaurant also has a two-story glass enclosed wine cellar, standing 24 feet tall in the middle of the restaurant. The cellar holds over 3,000 bottles from around the world with hydraulic features to lift and collect bottles. Additionally, Cibo’s European style rooftop patio covers 6,000 square feet and gives guests an opportunity to enjoy the fresh, ocean air.
The restaurant opening took place during Art Basel, the world’s premier international art show for modern and contemporary works. An incredible opportunity for Cibo to be a part of celebrating of the arts, while showcasing the restaurants own artistic pieces and stunning visual aesthetics.
Last week we celebrated the grand opening of Ovest Cucina e Vineria; Toronto’s cantina-inspired Italian kitchen and wine bar. Located at 788 King St W, Ovest is a brand new concept in Italian dining and entertaining.
With an innovative space, Ovest offers an in-house pizza oven, local salumeria, and walk-in vineria. Their menu is updated seasonally and features a combination of fresh regional Canadian and authentic Italian offerings including produce, meat, and cheese, with a special focus on seafood.
Leading the kitchen is Chef Luca Stracquadanio (previously of La Bettola di Terroni and Terroni) who brings his unique Italian traditions mixed with French techniques creating dishes with unparalleled flavour and spectacular presentation.
Whether you want to grab a quick bite at the bar with a paired glass of wine or signature cocktail, or enjoy a relaxed sit-down dining experience, Ovest has it all – and let us tell you, it’s delicious!!
If there’s one good thing that comes from the cold, grey months of fall-winter, it’s the delicious comfort-foods filled with rich, hearty ingredients that bring us back to our childhoods with warm fireplaces and bustling dinner tables.
There’s no secret about it… pasta is absolutely an NKPR favourite. In honour of the Italian staple, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite recipes from a variety of restaurants around Toronto featuring different types of Barilla pasta.
Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini – Recipe by Chef Saverio Macri
150g Barilla Orecchiette Pasta
Rapini – ½ a bunch
1 Whole Spicy Sausage
50g Fontina Cheese
2 cloves Garlic
Extra Virgin olive oil to taste
Parmesan & Fontina Cheese
– Put pasta in boiling water for 10-12 minutes and the rapini for 5-7 minutes (until fork tender)
– In the meantime, get a pan and add olive oil and brown some sausage. – Next, throw in the garlic and let brown together. – Toss in the cooked Orecchiette and rapini, and finish it with parmesan and fontina cheese. Serves 2
Did you know? “Orecchiette” means little ears in Italian – and that’s because the pasta is shaped like little ears.
Federico Fellini Farfalle alla Bolognese – Recipe by Chef Eron Novalski
500 g Barilla Farfalle Pasta
2.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tbsp butter
1/2 carrot, finely, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 rib celery, finely diced
1/2 pound veal, ground
1/2 pound fresh pork sausage
1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground
1/2 tube tomato paste
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating
– In a 6 to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. – Add the veal, pork, and pancetta and stir into the vegetables. – Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.
– Add the tomato paste, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. – Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat. – When ready to use, the cooked Barilla Farfalle pasta should be added to a saucepan with the appropriate amount of hot ragu Bolognese, and tossed so that the pasta is evenly coated by the ragu.
Rigatoni “Alla Carbonara” – Recipe by Chef Giacomo Pasquini
1lb Rigatoni Barilla Pasta
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup guanciale (pancetta) cut in lardons
Pregiato Black Truffle
– Cook the Guanciale in a fry pan with the oil until crispy and set aside
– Mix the egg, yolks, pecorino and the black pepper together in a bowl and set aside
– Cook the pasta. When it is nice and al “dente” drain it and pour it in the fry pan with the crispy guanciale. – Turn the heat on, add some pasta water and leave it a bit moist than usual. Turn heat off. Add the eggs and cheese mix, sauté off heat until nice and smooth. – Add extra black pepper and truffle Serves 6 – 8
**NKPR Tip: We recommend our favourite Zwilling cookwares to prepare this dish. Pasta cooks beautifully in the Zwilling Prime pots while offering guests parmesan cheese in these ramekins.
Cut Ziti with Arugula Pesto *Vegetarian – Recipe by Chef Paolo Marabello,
400 g Cut Ziti Barilla Pasta
1 cup Basil leaves
2 cup Arugula salad
1/2 cup Pinenuts
1 Garlic clove
1/2 cup of Pecorino Chese
1/3 cup of Parmesan
1 cup cherry tomatoes – cut in half
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
– Put basil, arugula, garlic, pinenuts, pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil in the mixer and blend well for a one minute.
Meanwhile: – cook the pasta until al dente – Sauté cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil – Drain Pasta, but keep 2 spoonfuls of cooking water. – Mix the pasta with cherry tomatoes and pesto sauce. Add the 2 spoonfuls of cooking water. – Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and buon appetite! Serves 4 people
Last week we had an amazing opportunity to discover Montecito, a new restaurant partnership between Hollywood director Ivan Reitman, world-renowned New York chef Jonathan Waxman, and local restauranteurs Tom and Jordan Bitove from Innov8 Hospitality.
Located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District and just steps away from film festival headquarters, Montecito’s decor (inspired by Reitman’s expert eye) combines a casual elegance with effortless sophistication. The menu, which changes daily, marries the simplicity of California cuisine (that Waxman pioneered) with ingredients that pay homage to the best of Canada coast-to-coast.
Montecito welcomed 50 of Toronto’s top foodies to sample a specially curated menu with some of the best signature dishes served family-style from Jonathan Waxman and exec chef Matt Robertson.
From cocktails to homemade pizza, see our favourite moments from the night here.
Summer is the perfect time of year for fresh ingredients and delicious outdoor eats… And what better way to spend a beautiful, sunny day than out for a picnic with your favourite home-made sandwich?!
We’ve been inspired by ZWILLING incredible Panini/Sandwich Knife that easily slices through crusty breads and deli items and has a wide blade for easy spreading of condiments – definitely a summer must-have!
If you have questions in the kitchen (which most of us do!), ZWILLING.ca is a fantastic resource for all your cooking needs offering incredible how to’s and easy-to-follow tutorials. The Knife Tutorial is definitely worth checking out – it breaks down each individual knife from the ZWILLING Pro Collection and explains why each one is sized differently and how their unique shape is dependent on each knife’s purpose.
So before you hit the grill, click here for lots of helpful tips!
**Tweet us at @NatashaNKPR and tell us YOUR favourite summer sandwich using #cookwithzwilling for your chance to WIN your very own Zwilling Panini/Sandwich Knife ($150 value)!
Take a look at some of NKPR’s favourite summer sandiwches…
Bunmi: BLT with avocado
Meg: Grilled Cheese
Denise: Wichcraft (minus the eggplant and courgette)
Tory: Walnuts, prosciutto, pear and blue cheese on a baguette
Jasmin: Nutella, peanut butter, jelly and banana on rye bread
Nicole: Anything peanut butter
Kristin: Caprese sandwich with buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes
Ashton: Grilled cheese with tomato and bacon
Ania: Rye bread with avocado, tomato and jalapeno havarti
Andre: Chicken Panini – kaiser with grilled chicken, avocado, olive oil and sauteed bell peppers
Bringing your lunch to work every day is hard – and even harder when you’re surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the city! From lunch meetings to takeout, here are our favourite spots near the NKPR office!
Buonanotte Toronto 19 Mercer Street
This Entertainment District hotspot brought 20 years of great food, great drinks and a great vibe from their Montreal location to Toronto and we could not be more excited! Buonanotte offers authentic Italian comfort food and a weekly lunch table d’hôte. Open Monday – Friday from 11:30 AM – 3 PM, it is the perfect spot for a client meeting, a quick sit-down respite from the busy office or a laissez-faire lunch on a day off! To make reservations call 416-599-7246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NKPR Pick: Agnolotti del Plin con Burro e Salvia (Traditional Piedmontese pasta filled with beef, pork and rabbit with butter, sage and parmigiano)
Khao San Road 326 Adelaide Street West
There’s almost always a line outside of Khao San Road during weekday lunch, but trust us, it’s worth the wait! Not your average Thai restaurant, KSR (as we like to call it), boasts authentic flavours with signature dishes like Street Style Pad Thai and tender braised beef in their signature Khao Soi. Delicious food, friendly staff – did we mention delicious food?
NKPR Pick: Green Curry Chicken – Thai Spicy
Ravi Soups 322 Adelaide Street West
Anyone who says that a bowl of soup isn’t a full meal has clearly never frequented Ravi Soups. Created with a combination of culinary genius and fresh ingredients, Ravi will change the way you feel about a simple bowl of soup. And trust us, a large Beef Miso is enough for lunch AND dinner.
NKPR Pick: Roasted Free Range Chicken Wrap with Porcini Mushroom Soup
Zupa’s Restaurant & Deli 342 Adelaide Street West
NKPR’s local greasy spoon, Zupa’s is everything a good diner should be; simple with a delicious menu and easy on the wallet. Perfect for a freshly made meal on a dime!
NKPR Pick: Soup of the Day and the Grilled Cheese
Banh Mi Boys 392 Queen Street West
Asian fusion at its best! Banh Mi Boys combines Vietnamese flavours with North American-ized banh mi sandwiches and tacos. The line is long but the flavours are unreal. Take it from us – we haven’t met a banh mi we don’t love yet!
NKPR Pick: Grilled Chicken Banh Mi and Kimchi Fries
Le Gourmand 152 Spadina Ave
The best NKPR brainstorms come with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies from Le Gourmand… The French-inspired cafe offers the option to takeout, sit-down as well as a full grocery section with specialty treats!
We’ll admit it. The NKPR team loves a great party. Needless to say, when we heard Montreal hotspot Buonanotte was expanding to Toronto, we were just a little bit excited to check out the new venue. The original Buona is known for its nightlife, celebrity spottings and most importantly, its delicious food! And after attending Tuesday’s Buonanotte launch on 19 Mercer, we can confirm this Toronto outpost will bring that same Montreal flair to the city, with a few Toronto-inspired menu items, of course!
Check out our Top 5 highlights from the Buonanotte Toronto opening:
1) The Crowd Toronto photographer extraordinaire and editor of The C Daily, Ryan Emberley, tweeted that the Buonanotte Toronto launch felt like the first day of school. And we couldn’t agree more! Amid a snowy and cold January, we were thrilled to get out and see everyone for the first time after the holidays.
2) The Porchetta Okay so we’ll be honest… not many of us have ever seen a full roasted pig before. And while it was maybe a bit alarming at first, the moment we tried Chef Davide Iannaci’s flavourful porchetta on a neapolitan pizza crust, we were sold on the presentation.
3) The Other Food Those that know us, know that we are an office of food-lovers! Buona showed off their true restaurant chops on Tuesday with food stations complete with risotto, gnocchi, charcuterie, pizza, cheese, olives and passed hors d’oeuvres.
4) The Vibe Buonanotte Montreal is known for its nightlife and we can tell Toronto will also be a fun fusion of music, good food and friends!
5) The Team We had a great night working at the Buonanotte Toronto launch and celebrating the opening of this fabulous new spot. We’ll be back soon!