The sophistication and diversity of Toronto eateries and bars is well-known among festivalgoers. Here are some new and updated spots to eat, greet and deal during the festival.
Bosk Bar and Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel Toronto
Meet in a well-lit and relatively serene at atmosphere at the Shangri-La’s Bosk Bar while sipping fruit-infused cocktails like the Twilight, made from rum aged in small oak casks inhouse. Small bites include plates of cheese, organic Canadian caviar and oysters. TIFF’S Asian Film Summit returns to the hotel on Sept. 9.
The Chase (pictured)
The Chase offers two options in the Financial District: the view-rich, open-air penthouse bar and rooftop restaurant, and Chase Fish & Oyster, which spotlights seafood. Turf is well represented, too: prime cuts of sirloin and lamb plus a whole chicken for two. Both restaurants have become favorites of Toronto’s business crowd for their sleek interiors, American-style menus and happening bar scenes.
dbar Toronto, Four Seasons Hotel, Yorkville
The street-level lounge attracts a fair share of execs and talent throughout the fest with its sophisticated ambiance, floor-to-ceiling windows and mixologist-crafted cocktails. Prix fixe lunch menus are available in addition to upscale bar bites. Housemade charcuterie is a standout; pair selections with Movie Mixology cocktails named for Toronto hits like “Silver Linings Playbook,” a tangy mix of Patron Silver tequila, ginger beer and lemon juice. For calorie counters, dbar’s skinny cocktails (only 95 calories) are a treat.
A quick walk from the TIFF Lightbox, chef-restaurateur David Chang’s quartet of restaurants includes the popular Noodle Bar, Nikai, Shoto (dinner only) and Daisho (his take on a steakhouse, recently opened for lunch), all housed in a striking tri-level glass cube. There’s also a Toronto outpost Chang’s Gotham Milk Bar, with takeaway cookies, soft serve ice cream and the infamous sweet-and-salty oat cookie crust Crack Pie.
El Catrin, Historic Distillery District
For those needing to escape darkened screening rooms, El Catrin’s lively and heated patio is taste of colorful Mexico (and updated Mexican specialties), albeit with skyscrapers in view. To entice there are ceviches, mini burritos and Baja-style fish tacos (made with North Atlantic haddock), rich mole sauces and jalapeno-flavored bar snacks. Behind the bar are 120 kinds of tequila and mescal. Open to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Luckee Restaurant and Bar, SoHo Metropolitan Hotel
Around the corner from the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the recently opened Luckee Restaurant (from chef Susur Lee, a Food Network regular) offers a modern take on dim sum and other Chinese dishes from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Traditional Chinese teas are paired with the breakfast dim sum cart service; at lunch there’s a $30 four-course lunch that starts with a cold soba noodle salad (and a variety of hand-made dumplings and bao); Ontario-brewed Izumi sake is on tap and pairs well with afternoon dumplings; vegetarians will appreciate the wide selection.