|Luma's deconstructed shrimp salad...|
The Toronto International Film Festival
recently wrapped, and while I was there working as a publicist on a few titles, food was never far from my mind. And fortunately the food scene is as international as the festival itself.
Downtown Toronto's Entertainment District is the brand new home to the festival, where activity centers around the TIFF Bell Lightbox
, a 6-story complex of state-of-the-art cinemas and film related exhibits, as well as two noteworthy restaurants from famed Canadian group Oliver + Bonacini
(as in critically acclaimed Canoe and Jump).
|And Luma's warm octopus salad|
is a sprawling street front, corner cafe for all day dining and fine people watching. If you're on the go, or between screenings, grab a freshly made sandwich or gourmet salad.
The Lightbox's second floor restaurant, Luma
, serves global and Canadian fare in a chic, relaxed space.
Standouts include the warm grilled octopus salad with pickled eggplant and romesco ($16/23), and shrimp salad ($16/23), a deconstructed plate of tender shellfish and veggie spring rolls. Other light dishes include the lobster burger ($21), and beef tongue pastrami on pretzel bread ($9). Weekend brunch service just started.
Chances are you'll hit the Entertainment District on a night out in the city. Home to four national sports teams, theatre, opera, concerts, and rows of clubs, the area just added a new dining hot spot The Shore Club
, across the street from Roy Thomson Hall
, home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (and site of big film premieres). This swanky Canadian steak and seafood chain screams "Mad Men" and martinis. Even the appetizers like fresh oysters and spicy popcorn shrimp ($14) are seductive enough to heat up the night.
|Le Select Bistro|
If you're craving authentic French fare, Le Select Bistro
is a short cab ride into the Garment District. With 1200 wine labels and a classic zinc bar, the bustling bistro easily transports you to the side streets of Paris.
Don't leave without trying the sensational soo yook
($10) from Swish by Han
. This thinly sliced beef shank is braised for 48 hours and topped with spiced greens and mustard seeds.
|Soo yook packs a flavor punch|
And if you venture off to Little Portugal, another must try is Porchetta + Co
, a five seat sandwich shop that gets rave reviews for serving one of life's greatest foods: Italian slow roasted pork sandwiches ($5.95-$8.95).
Make sure you fly Porter Airlines
to Toronto. Even their complimentary snacks are delicious.