September usually conjures images of back to school sweetness, hand-holding and catching those last summer concerts…but then 2020 had different plans. Oh what a fool I was! TIFF is barely back, hockey playoffs are a fall thing now, and where was the usual wave of restaurant openings and events? Now, instead of reporting on the newest eateries, it’s more of a list of where not to go. Yorkdale, nope. Sherway? I’ll pass. Both malls have recently been caught in COVID closures, with Joey and The Keg being shuttered at Sherway, and Joey again at Yorkdale. No matter what phase you’re sticking to, let’s all hope we can stick to basic human hygiene- wash your hands, wash your face, wear a mask and remember to mind your p’s and q’s.

Sweet N Nice Levels and Layers of Flavours and Fun

This Saturday, September 5th brings Sweet n’ Nice Caribbean Marketplace from 11am-5pm at STACKT Market. The sounds of steel drums will whisk you away for that getaway feeling, with authentic Jamaican and Trinidadian food on offer, you’ll spend the day with friends six feet apart with Caribbean vibes conjuring up memories of before times. Of course, there’s sweet treats on deck courtesy Sweet n’ Nice and Longos will be giving out mystery gift cards! Hosted by Black Foodie‘s Eden Hagos, look forward to a day of programming under hopefully sunny skies.

AsialiciousTO food festival is a new ‘licious themed marketing campaign from the city. With over 200 restaurants united to deliver “Skillful; Exquisite; Exotic; Diverse”, the eating is on starting September 11th, running until October 11th.

TIFF is getting the Lindsay feeling with CityView Drive-In x TIFF Programming. Taking a page from this cute Ontario town’s drive-in, CityView downtown will be presenting a slew of live and digital film experiences from September 10-19th at a spacious 7 feet apart. Popcorn will be delivered via contact-less delivery to your car and an FM channel ensures you won’t miss a beat of cinematic movie moments. Grab tickets and sort out your selections here.

While the announcement of one of Toronto’s finest (and newest) destination worthy dining rooms closing, Don Alfonso has renewed themselves with a partnership program with popups at sister-restaurant Blue Blood Steakhouse. Look for those dates to roll out this fall.

Chef Alfonso Iaccarino of Don Alfonso 1890

Pronounced am-elle, Amal has opened in the old La Societe spot on Bloor Street. Helmed by Charles Khabouth and Danny Soberano, this modern Lebanese cuisine restaurant’s name translates to hope, a word we all have on the tip of our tongues. Dips, hot and cold mezze, platters and more will pay tribute to the Middle East’s Arak spirit.

Toronto’s Waterfront added a new collection of eateries recently, with the opening of Cuppa Tea, specializing in Hong Kong-style eats and treats and Bubble Baby, offering bubble teas with cute and clever flavours.

Chen Chen’s Nashville Chicken with roots in Nashville and recently as a pop-up at STACKT is now part of the LQ Market, formerly Loch and Quay, which will soon reopen as a dynamic food hall.

Impact Kitchen is also spreading their wings south, joining the Waterfront at 88 Queens Quay W. Look for their healthy and sustainable food choices, including soups, salads and fresh juices.

Kakimayo from Kinka Izakaya

Kinka Izakaya is also part of this new era of eateries around the harbour. The fifth edition of this all-star enthusiastic Japanese bar, Kinka’s are known to be loud, bold and offer excellent snacks and drinks on deals, and with a splendid patio we’re smitten– hello new watering hole!

Eat Nabati is our latest crush worthy eatery, with vegan shawarmas that are as impressive as the beefy variety. Read the full review here.

Village Juicery has made a significant investment in Tori’s Bakeshop. The new partnership brings Tori’s baked goods into a massive 32,000 sq ft production space in Mississauga. This has allowed Tori to keep up with the demand for her organic baked goods, and partnering with Village Juicery marks a feel-good united front for both brands.

GOA + Popa have teamed up to offer deluxe dining experiences

Goa + Popa are offering meal kits for pick up from Bayview Village Mall. The patio kits come brimmed with tantalizing options bridging Burma with Goa, each designed to feed four for $120. Ring 647-352-1661 to order.

DOVA is the new pride and joy of Cabbagetown. Marrying the culinary wonders of Sicily and the Mediterranean, DOVA joins sister restaurant ARDO on its mandate to deliver on extensive wine lists, exquisite plating and top botch service. DOVA is located on Carlton Street, and yes they have a patio!

And finally something we can all agree upon has moved in at Yonge and Eglinton. Stock TC, the stunning concept that brings butchery from Cumbraes, sweets and treats from Sud Forno and classic rustic Italian eats from Terroni has opened. The full spread service including a wine shop is a perfect addition to the neighbourhood, it’s the unofficial Eataly North.

MARKED restaurant is set to make its mark on the Toronto dining scene. ForthSpace Hospitality Group, the same owners as COC have taken the defunct Zebu spot on John to bring an inspired and exclusive approach to going out, with themed rooms and intimate spaces.

Cory Vitiello of Flock fame

Flock looks finished at Sheppard Centre. The eatery was just getting going when COVID struck and hasn’t reopened its doors since. The downtown location on Richmond is also still shuttered. Let’s hope we can crank the doors open on these chicken coops soon.

King West celebrated the demise of Kit Kat, or that restaurant your Grandma got a Groupon for before going to the theatre. Meh.

Got a hot food tip? Hit us up! food@auburnlane.com