The culture club: Our 6 favourite Toronto restos right now

Gus Giazitzidis and Peter Tsebelis' Italian spot, Buca

We can’t help smiling lately with the advent of so many wonderful new restaurants springing up (or old favourites refreshing their menus). When putting together a recent reco list for visiting friends, we felt spoiled for choice. Here are some of our favourites right now:

With years under his belt as a successful bar owner–does a little place called Amber ring a bell?–Toufik Sarwa recently exploded onto our radar with the launch of Cinq o1 (501 College St., 416-964-1555). We love that he is always around to greet his guests with a warm handshake or a kiss kiss.

David Minicucci and Sam Kalogiros are no strangers to the Toronto restaurant world. The owners of two of our fave local hangouts, L’Unita (134 Avenue Rd., 416-964-8686) and Malena (102 Avenue Rd., 416-964-0606) know how to create  a neighborhood bistro–a killer combination of amazing fresh food, great energy and inviting, cozy nooks.

Gus Giazitzidis and Peter Tsebelis have locked down and elevated the King West neighborhood over the years with their successful dining ventures. Our favorite by far has to be their latest, Buca (602 King St. W., 416-865-1600), an ode to the Italian local. Giazitzidis and Tsebelis are the ultimate hosts and always make their guests feel as welcome as you would be in nonna’s kitchen.

Dave Mitton, owner of the charming Harbord Room (89 Harbord St., 416-962-8989), has a rich history in the food and beverage world (he’s part owner of Czehoski with Brad Denton below). Although we Culturites were sad to see their Sunday brunch is no longer served, we still hit this spot for cozy dinners by chef Cory Vitiello on a regular basis.

When we’re feeling fancy, and hungry for rich and inventive French cuisine, we head straight to Didier (1496 Yonge St., 416-925-8588). The menu at Didier Leroy‘s spot definitely embodies the character and class of its namesake chef. He knows how to work the room like a pro, and each guests has the opportunity to feel the love.

Luke McCann and Brad Denton‘s Le Petit Castor (1118 Yonge St., 416-968-7366)–a favourite of ours–is as much a destination for socializing as it is for dining. The pair have cornered the Rosedale clientele (and those who wish to travel uptown for a night out) so much so that its next to impossible to get a walk-in table Thursday through Saturday.

Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakley are the co-founders of The Society Global, a social club with chapters in Toronto, New York, L.A. and Miami. For more info on The Society Global, visit their website, , or follow them on Twitter at .

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