Aft Kitchen & Bar is simple in its decor yet extremely inviting. All the wood is reclaimed and the lighting is dim but not so much where you need a flashlight. Also it will get loud, not that it’s a bad thing but if you want a quiet evening Aft won’t be your first choice.
Weekends are Texas BBQ – and being to Texas before this would make a Texan proud. The menu is simple and vegetarians need not apply. We were going to get an appetizer (the smoked wings smelled amazing from a table over) we decided on the sharing platter for two. In hindsight it’s a good thing we didn’t get an app because the platter was more than enough.
Our platter consisted of beef brisket, beef sausages and BBQ side ribs. Our sides were fries, coleslaw and baked beans. As for the sides the coleslaw was uneventful but the baked beans and fries were outstanding.
Along side all the mains you are presented with three home made sauces. A straight ahead BBQ sauce that is Kansas style, a sweet sauce with some mango, and the clear winner being a maple mustard habanero sauce.
The brisket was done perfectly. Great crust and so tender and when doused in BBQ sauce it was stellar. The beef sausage may have stole the show. Smoked, a little spicy and a great snap to the skin. The sausage alone is worth coming back for. The ribs could have used a touch more rub and a touch more smoke. Also note that they are side ribs so there is a bit of fat to contend with. These are just minor gripes though.
We skipped on dessert and opted for Ed’s Real Scoop ice cream instead. How could you not when it is so close by?
For those in Leslieville make sure to check out your latest gem of a restaurant. The rest, brave the treck over the bridge and go get some great BBQ.
Also, you may want to bring a bib cause it does get kind of messy…in a good way!
686 Queen St East, Toronto
Nadège is by far my favourite place to grab a sandwich or a mouth-watering pastry. The store itself is visually appealing. Clean, white and fresh that exposes a rainbow of colours coming from behind the counter from the pastries and sandwiches.
Nadège was opened by a French chef Nadège Nourian. She is a game changer in Toronto’s pastry scene and her creations are to diet for!
From her authentically French croissants to state-of-the-art sandwiches, teas, coffees, macarons, chocolates, brioches, tarts, mini-cakes, and other delicious treats – you just have to try them all!
My favourite by far is the almond chocolate croissant and the smoked salmon croissant with cucumber, dill and cream cheese.
Clearily Nadège is a neighbourhood favourite with throngs of people coming in for either a quick bite inside or enjoying the sun on the patio. While it is definately not the cheapest, it is one of the best in the city.
780 Queen St. W.
1099 Yonge St.
So continuing with the trend of visiting places barely out of infancy, we visited Osteria Dei Ganzi. It was its fourth evening being open.
Ganzi took over what used to be the Hive. While we never visited the Hive it had always had mixed reviews and we were always more comfortable just going to the Blake House or the Keg Mansion.
The restaurant is in a 120 year old home formerly owned by the Gooderham family. It appears that all the original architecture is in place and Ganzi has dressed the decor up with some chic Italian inspired art work. Think Andy Warhol meets Betty Page.
Museum Tavern is a cross between a pub and french bistro. With comfy banks and warm lighting the whole space is very warm and inviting. I could even say romantic. For all you star gazers note that during film festivals this could be one of the new celebrity hot spots! Even that same night, we were sitting next to David Cronenberg, who directed movies such as Crash, The Fly, Eastern Promises and much more. With its close proximity to the Cumberland Street, the swanky hotels and shopping, this is the perfect place to sit down, grab a drink and a bite to eat.
The drink focus is on bourbon, vodka and gin. With a blend of tinctures, bitters, syrups they are sure to have you covered with exploring something new. Since they didn’t have a traditional Caesar on the menu I opted for the Bloody Mary. While lacking the classic Clamato it was still spiced nicely and very enjoyable.
We skipped the appetizers, although there were a lot of good options to consider.
For the mains, the filet of Arctic char over lentils and kale with a grapefruit glaze ($24) was delicious. It was refreshing to see it was a substantial piece of fish. Most restaurants would have split this filet and served it as two mains. It was fresh, cooked perfectly and hit the spot.