Staff Picks 2015: The Best in Restaurants

Staff Picks 2015-

The third in our series, NakedNicole looks back on her favourite restaurants and the restaurant trends of 2015.



Toronto never has shortage of restaurants to choose from or new grub to try out, but as we get excited about the new, we should remember  that there are others that have to fall in order to make space. Places like Parkdale’s Geraldine was a beautiful little spot, but even a glowing review of the place last spring in The Star couldn’t save this little gem that was shuttered last August. Even the prestige of Jamie Kennedy couldn’t save the The Gilead Cafe, which barely made it out of the Polar Vortex winter last year. We are an ‘out with old, in with the new’ kind of city.

I’ve lost some personal favourites over the years, like Margret in the Junction, as well as some no longer in production foods that I would give my left tit to have again (if anyone out there remembers Tin Roof Sundae ice cream or Lipton’s Alligator Soup, we are soulmates). The point being that the what ruled 2015, though not exclusive to this year, is the brevity of food.

It’s almost like the shorter it is the sweeter it feels. Just look at the the rise and domination of the overhead view, time-lapse recipe videos popularized by Tasty. I used to look for recipes, read someone’s witty (or not so much) preamble about what lead them to dabble in this or that in the kitchen. Now what catches our eyes most is essentially a  30-second food porn trailer that leaves us drooling.

Brevity was the name of the game last year, and while that can suck for some, like this list of places that didn’t even last a year in the city, it also opens up the field some some amazing new arrivals. Toronto’s darling Bar Raval swept the city off its feet, and managed to nab one of my favourite Northwood bartenders in the process. We even managed to give birth to The Lockhart, a much needed (in my opinion) Harry Potter inspired drinking hole. This isn’t possible unless we let the old die off.

There was a whole style of Dutch art in the 16th and 17th centuries called Vanitas that consisted mostly of skulls, hourglasses, dead flowers and weathered books, all to illustrate the inedibility of death, and therefore the brevity of life. Yeah, it sucks when things you love either close up shop or stop being made, but that just means we need to get our fill while the getting is good. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So go forth and find what is tasty today. Or, if the snow makes you cocoon inside, screw it and stay home, and make this Easy Jambalaya instead.


For the full recipe:

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