May offers 31 days of semi-celebratory days; it doesn’t come with the pressure of peak summer, it’s the promise of new, it’s spring in full swing. The Raptors are still playing, Jays are always a good ticket, and drinking in parks is now a thing, legally? Sandwiching in some time to paparazzi pose for the Cherry Blossoms, and of course, scoping out somewhere for Mother’s Day (or not!) are all part of the May experience.
The city is ripe with farmers markets opening, flower shops blossoming out on the sidewalks, and something we’re eager to check out, the ‘Foodilicious’ Marketplace is launching this Saturday, from 12pm-6pm at 765 Queen E, 2nd floor at the Ralph Norton CC. The marketplace is run by an all-star lineup of all female vendors, and admission is totally free!
While we still have a month to go until the kick off of the annual Toronto Taste but it’s time to order your tickets now to this amazing event that supports Second Harvest.
Mark this Sunday, May 5th on your calendars for a memorable morning of arts, dance and learning hosted by Extension Room. The ballet brunch begins at 9am, and weaves into a star studded discussion from current and former professional dancers, speaking on Maintaining Health Through Movement. The event includes a ballet warm up, brunch, special performance and Q&A.

May 5th marks Cinco De Mayo, or the 5th of May, I mean, do you need a reason to drink tequila? You’ll see us venturing for authentic Mexican eats at the new Roncy location of Maiz we’re loving the on-trend floral garnished margaritas.

Maiz Latin Food

Maiz Latin Food- Guacamole


The brunch vibes continue at Bootleg Smokehouse, where pancakes and piggy platters unite with libations of all creations. The two story smokehouse at King and Spadina is a head turner, decked out and dressed up: this is a smokehouse that truly shines. Stay tuned for a full review!

Kinton Ramen is celebrating their seventh anniversary! Deals for $5.18 bowls of regular ramen (only on May 18th, get it?) to mark the occasion. They are also opening a new Roncesvalles location May 4th, and will feature 50% off regular ramen bowls all day long at that location.
Gluten-free living can be a grind so stock up on pantry items and more from over 65 vendors at the annual Gluten Free Garage at the Artscape Wychwood Barns on May 26th from 10am-4pm. Tickets are $10 or free for kids.

Buca Boss Rob Gentile


Aperitivo hour continues over at Bar Buca, from 4pm-6pm Monday to Friday at their Eglinton or Portland locations. One drink gets you a token to feast, Buca style. Arguably no better deal in town, so get there before I eat a whole wheel of parm to myself.
Union Summer Market is coming back better than ever, with new restaurants and tons of programming to court you out of your cubicle. The open air market features some of Toronto’s finest chefs in pop-up mode, with live music and movies adding to that camp feel. Look for the kick off later this month.

Now Open
Our O&B buds have been busy, first with the opening of Maison Selby at Bloor and Sherbourne, which just opened this past April, in a heritage project that compartmentalizes the space into swoon worthy Insta-friendly spaces. Trendy, yes. Secret hidden bar, also, yes.
Allwyn’s on Queen West is now open, and in a testament to their market research, have announced this location will stay open til 2am every Friday and Saturday night. Well played Allwyn’s!
May Openings
Leslieville darling Ascari’s is set to open their second restaurant, this time on King West, with a 120-seat concept set to steal hearts and sway King Street eaters away from the Kit Kat, I mean, obviously.
Udon Kitanoya is currently in soft open mode, a new Kansai-style Japanese eatery boasting unique udon dishes with authentic influences.

Coming Soon
Queue De Cheval setting up shop in theatre district, look for this beast to open in the coming months right in the base of a glitzy condo building. The Quebecois steakhouse will put STK and The Keg on high alert, but Jacob’s could care less, since, well, it’s Jacob’s.
Score Bar will be offering up caesars and sports after it completes the redesign on Claudio Aprile’s old gem of a spot on King Street East. Score will be taking over Copetin and offering cocktails and craft beers, but mostly we’ll just be reminiscing about the tasting menus that never were.
Cory Vitiello has unveiled the signs for his latest FLOCK, this one opening dangerously close to my house at Yonge and Sheppard. He’s also stretching his beak a further, with a seventh location just listed, coming to Yonge and Eglinton.
Jen Agg’s Bar Vendetta is in design mode, and she’s a total stickler for all the gory details. We can’t wait to see this place when it’s ready!
Babel at Yonge and York Mills is the latest Toronto project for O&B, who are expanding into Saskatchewan in a Risk-style invasion/domination across Canada. Babel is now occupying the space that was once a Movenpick, this time, no passport will be required for the Middle Eastern eatery, no word on if they removed the swing bench in the back.
After some speculation and rumors from Aurora, it was confirmed that Adamson BBQ, will open this summer in 905-land. Smack dab on Yonge street.
The long awaited CHOTTO MATTE is getting closer to the big unveil. The massive 10,000 sq ft space is looking to put Toronto on the map, with luxury Bento Boxes, super stylish sushi and so much more, all crafted by Executive Chef Jordan Sclare, who worked under Gordon Ramsey and all his Michelin-ness in the UK. Nikkei cuisine is the focus, and they’re dubbing it ‘an evolution of Japanese-Peruvian fare, where each dish and pairing will play on a multitude of colours and flavours that merge into one of the world’s most intriguing cuisines’. Read our exclusive interview with Kurt Zdesar here.

Kurt Zdesar – Photo by Libby Roach shot at Shangri La Hotel, Toronto


Manulife Centre is still getting glammed, and anchor tenant Eataly attached to the project. If you haven’t been to one of the other locations, in Chicago, Italy or NYC, it’s a sprawling space of pasta, pizzas and grab and go Italian style, now Batali free.
Pizzeria Moretti is about to unpack for an extended stay at Soho Met Hotel. Imported from Quebec, this pizza restaurant focuses on fresh, we’re excited to see how they make use of the old Luckee space.
Mother Chuckers, a new axe throwing place, is coming to the midtown pocket of the city. Look for this bar to open in the coming months.
Closing
We lost one of the best brunch spots in the city last month when Lisa Marie closed. Owner Matt Basile told us over a plate of Pad Thai Fries that he’s onto bigger things, we can’t wait to see what form that takes in the coming months.
And it was sent to us by the PR team behind Campagnolo that Chef Craig Harding and Designer Alexandra Hutchison are packing it in after a decade, and calling it quits on their Dundas West darlin’. Chef Craig is still heating things up at both adjacently located La Palma and Constantine, in The Anndore House.

Constantine

Got a food tip? Want a shout out for your new spot? Drop me a note- Libby@auburnlane.com