The food gods are making it rain with a bumper crop of new Toronto restaurant launches this spring. We don’t like to use the word epic too often, but this season, it’s the secret ingredient to a sizzling summer. New, open, happening. These words were unimaginable a few years ago. They said the glory days were upon us. We say they’re finally here.

Top Food Events Popping this Spring in Toronto

TasteToronto is partnering with El Rey of Mexican pops to bring you The Jarritos Off-Menu Food Crawl. Happening in Halifax, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and of course here in Toronto, the six-week taco extravaganza kicks off May 3rd. Look for inspired options from local faves like Chen Chen’s Nashville Hot Chicken, Guu Izakaya and more, all pairing with the eclectic and electric Jarritos flavours.

Jarritos
DYK there are eleven flavours of Jarritos?

Can’t choose between breakfast or lunch? Then Brunch Fest is for you. This 19+ is taking over the palatial grounds of Hotel X on June 15 and 16th. Waffles, Caesars and freshly squeezed everything create a picnic of possibilities. Grab tickets now for this all-day event.

June is for frolicking. And there’s no better place to soak yourself in pink than the Rosé Picnic. It’s also popping over at Hotel X, on June 21 and 22nd. Grab weekend passes for $100, or grab a group and you’ll have your own tent to Coachella all the pink drinks all weekend long. https://www.rosepicnic.com/buy-tickets

rose picnic
Lisa Vanderpump approved, The Rosé Picnic is the dawn of summertime tipples

Soluna is bringing some weeknight sizzle to the city. Every Wednesday, this Queen West cutie is spicing up the neighbourhood, injecting Latin rhythms and culture, and free dance lessons to thirsty newbies. Soluna boasts a daily rotation of events – stalk them all @solunatoronto

TFOB, aka Beerfest, is the best damn event in Toronto, period. The event is back, and Cypress Hill is headlining Friday. More than just beer, this summer frolic engages the senses, with tons of food trucks, free swag and fun libations to soak up the scenery. Get tickets now, they often sell out early. https://www.beerfestival.ca/

@auburnlane

Toronto’s festival of beer is on this weekend 🍻 The can’t miss event of the summer brings beers, bands and buds together for an epic party! 🍻 #tfob #beer #beerfest #toronto #auburnlaneeats #auburnlanedrinks #weekendvibes

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH- NEW TORONTO RESTAURANT OPENINGS

The Ballroom Yorkville split guests on what a bowling alley really is. Yes, you wear borrowed shoes, but then sit by a state-of-the-art three-sided water vapour fireplace to nosh. Bowling is of course, recommended, but you can safely tuck into this underground bunker and not ever lift a ball, either. The Ballroom Yorkville is now open at Yonge and Bloor, look for more locations coming to Toronto soon.

ballroom yorkville chicken wings, New Toronto Restaurat
Wings, Calamari and more upscale options await at The Ballroom Yorkville

EDNA + VITA is now open in First Canadian Place. Located in the former home of Reds, this new concept brings upscale Italian eats (EDNA) and libations of all kinds below (VITA). Chef Gord Mackie is attached to this project. Stay tuned and give them a follow @edna_vita

O&B is all in at The Well. A hidden boudoir-inspired speakeasy is only the start at La Plume. This Wellington-facing Southern France-inspired restaurant is in the capable hands of Chef John Horne. A little higher up, on the 38th floor, you’ll find the restaurant Aera. With top-dog Chef Anthony Walsh manning this post, look for high-quality well-executed ‘American’ cooking. The third concept, a British pub dubbed The Dorset is launching later this year.

More Impressive Places to Try #AuburnLaneEats Approved- Now Open

On the hunt for pastries? The PATH is the place to find Louis BonBon for homemade pastries and a nice place to people watch (yes, there are actual seats!) in Royal Bank Plaza. Toasts, salads and sandwiches offer savoury flavours.

Mehfill Indian Restaurant has replaced Uncle Betty’s Diner on Yonge Street.

Queen’s Cross Food Hall by O&B in the Eaton Centre (lower level) is now open. The food hall concept brings 16 chef-driven food stalls, a bar and more into one under-utilized part of the mall. O&B favourites like Babel blend with up-and-comers like Captain Neon Swanky Burger. We especially love the Lala’s Cantina, serving up Toronto’s best empanadas.

gaucho pie co
Gaucho Pie Co supplies O&B (and many more Toronto restaurants) with top-notch empanadas

A six-table setup makes Ficoa an exclusive and sensual dining experience. Open Wednesday to Saturday evenings, Chef Gerry Quintero offers a small a la carte menu for bar walk-ins, but reservations are required for the dining room. Located in the old Il Covo spot.

From popup repeat to established dining room, Ricky and Olivia is a good food story to get behind. 🥂Bottle Shop and Tastings, with an inhalable menu and drinks to match. Book a table, or cruise by for the bottle shop. Find them on Queen East, in the former Wayla Lounge.

NEW TORONTO RESTAURANT IN YOUR HOOD? WE WANNA KNOW ABOUT IT- TELL US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

Our pals over at Stefano’s Sandwiches are very close to securing a permanent spot for its plant-based goodies. Currently, on production through Gia, SS aims to have a dedicated space to ramp up supply for both delivery apps and loyal fans.

stefanos sandwiches-mac cheese
Stefano’s Sandwiches are plant-based perfection

We love shared dining experiences, and Waterworks Food Hall will be a destination for just that. Housed in a historical building, this mixed-use space is an equal part housing development, YMCA and convivial dining space. Coming soon.

Waterworks Food Hall, New Toronto Restaurant
Waterworks Food Hall will be a gem for tourists and locals alike

Bye-bye, butterfly. The Berczy is transforming the old Le Papillon on Front Street, which had been open for 50 years. Look for this pub, helmed by Chef Michael Angeloni to open later this year in the market.

It’s true! Shake Shack is the US import we want to make the move north the most (next to Olive Garden) so we were gitty to hear of its first (of many) locations coming. Yonge and Dundas snags the first Shack, at 10 Dundas Street East. Look for Canadian inspiration touches on the menu like maple syrup-scented frozen custard. No firm date yet, but we feel like this summer will sizzle.

cactus club cafe yonge sheppard centre patio
A high-tech and not too-high-up patio will draw you in and up

Cactus Club Cafe is still coming, and we got the first look. The devil is in the details. The blueprint phase took four years to execute, and the build-out has been slow. But it’s firmly in motion, with a hiring spree fully underway, we expect to be enjoying the all-season patio this (late) summer.

@auburnlane

Coming soon- The newest Cactus Club Cafe is coming to Yonge and Sheppard 🌵 We took the hard hat tour! #auburnlaneeats #cactusclubcafe #yongeandsheppard #comingsoon

♬ Unstoppable (I put my armor on, show you how strong I am) – Sia

CLOSING TIME

Miss Aida is on the move. Jad and Tara’s Roncesvalles treasure is looking for a new location – stay tuned as we track the next steps for this restaurant.

miss aida labneh
Miss Aida excelled on housemade and traditional Levantine dishes

Rosalinda (lead photo) is closing. We are so sad to see this plant-based palace exit Toronto’s restaurant scene. Celebrated for amazing Mexican food, a lush atmosphere and a deep tequila menu.

hotblack coffee momiji kishi
HotBlack Coffee’s Momiji Kishi at the Yonge x Charles location

Maybe it was the location, or maybe it was just bad timing. The closing of the Yonge and Charles HotBlack Coffee hit us harder than usual. Momiji’s signature brews live on at the other remaining locations, Queen West and on Yonge Street.

Pusateri’s in Yorkville is now closed after two decades.

All images by Libby Roach.