You made it! It’s 2021 and if you’re reading this you’re alive, and hopefully still have retained your sense of taste and smell, and let’s face it, control of your bowels too. COVID-19 may as well be called the devil himself.

Virtual Robbie Burns tasting? What else are you doing? Spirt of Toronto has a few virtual events in January celebrating the Scottish Bard himself. Get more details on tastings here.

Here’s the latest scoop for what’s happening in the Toronto food scene.

Libretto Pizzeria on has closed two locations temporarily after a team member tested positive for Covid-19. While they’ve not formally announced this closure, the Danforth and University locations are undergoing a deep -clean this week. Other locations remain open.

BlogTO is reporting Greystones – a stunning new foodhall concept from none other than father and son duo Keith and Benn Froggett of Scaramouche fame is inching completion. We can’t wait to safely road-trip up this spring for this opening, all in a very historic space.

District Pizza in Distillery District has opened. The pizzas range in toppings and good stuff, with notable shout-outs to Afrim’s cheese emporium The Cheese Boutique, so you know the gourmet goods are legit.

Momo House welcomes a second location, this one on Bay Street, and the first franchise location for the Tibetan- Indian restaurant.

Yin Ji Chang Fen has just opened in the vacant Oliva spot, just north of the 401. Moving north from their other location on Spadina, Yin Ji Chang Fen are known for their noodles, and noodle rolls, we’re excited to try the Hong Kong style rice noodle roll with beef brisket…hello warm comfort food built for sweat pants.

Takeout game has been strong and swift for Liberty Commons and we’re chuffed as chips with their insane meat pies, like this puffy Steak & Ale with all the traditional British influences and upgraded with modern approaches like shiitake mushrooms. Order on Uber Eats or through their pie shop here.

And there’s a new darling sandwich shop in Trinity Bellwoods area, welcome to town Lambo‚Äôs Deli & Grocery! Comfort food by way of stacked subs is the main draw here, with premium ingredients nestled tightly on Drake Commissary baked bread.

Azhar Kitchen and Bar from Janet Zuccarini’s Gusto 54 Restuarant Group and Executive Chef Stuart Cameron is open, offering Middle-Eastern eats in a comfortable COVID-friendly grab and go format. Look for this restaurant to fully open for eat-in dining whenever restrictions finally lift.

nuit regular

Hot news again hits Yonge and Eglinton with the word that PAI is set to open later this year. Chef Nuit Regular is blessing this block with her flavour of regional Thai dishes that literally put Thai food in Toronto on the map. The 12,000 sq ft space will feature two storeys and a stage for live music, eventually. Takeout game will be strong too, with a dedicated door just for deliveries. SWOON! We spoke to Chef Nuit Regular before this whole pandemic happened, stay tuned for that interview for #AuburnLaneLadiesFirst soon.

chotto matte octopus

Chotto Matte has launched their Chotto at Home Kits and the Chotto Cook Along, two distinct at-home experiences to bring the Peruvian-Nikkei flavours to your front step. Home kits feed two people and feature Chotto Matte’s clever courses, like Padron Peppers or Black Cod Aji Miso, for $120. To make a real night of it, consider upgrading to the Chotto Matte Cook Along for two ($200) with pre-recorded video of CM’s chefs guiding you through each plating detail.

Hidden gem Suite 114 has shuttered. The Bay and Dundas prohibition-style bar couldn’t keep up with COVID restrictions.

The Morning After brunch spot around Fort York is selling off heaps of their gear, either in a grand-goodbye or possibly a re-shift/re-brand. Hugs to their team for curing many a bleary Sunday morning.

In lieu of mentioning a certain BBQ joint, we’re just going to say Stack is our fave spot, and you should give them a try instead.

While the list of closings are well-documented, we’re here to shine a light on the ones still in the fight. We see you, we’re here to help. Hit Libby up for a shout-out- libby@auburnlane.com.

All photos by Libby Roach.