Best New Restaurants Toronto 2008

The Best New Restaurants in Toronto, 2008

Of the 11 places on last year's roundup of the best new restaurants in Toronto, only one (Karuchie) has since gone bust. Another has overhauled management (Coca) but as for the other nine, life seems to be humming right along.

I hope at least the same can be said a year from now for the crop of restaurants born in the city during the past 12 months. We're now in recessionary times and already menus are being nipped, tucked and tweaked. Promises of more comfort food and value-pricing (and no, I'm not talking McD's) are becoming more common; and higher end new spots like Nyood and Nota Bene are likely to see more empty tables than they'd like if housing prices and stock portfolios continue to plummet.

With a few exceptions food trends started to shift this year. I'm thankful that not every new restaurant serves tapas; and the whole molecular gastronomy thing appears to have been little more than a flirtatious fad.

Instead, looking at this year's batch of star newbies, I'm spotting themes like communal dining (OddFellows), raw food (Rawlicious) and serious devotion to the art of cured meats (The Black Hoof).

Here's a rundown of the top 12 with honorable mentions to Mildred's Temple Kitchen, Sidecar, Spice Route and Madeline's which just missed the cut.

Also: See our list of The Best New Cheap Eats of 2008.



Pizzeria Libretto
1

Pizzeria Libretto

Forget Terroni, Lower Ossington is where pizza is at. Combine a no reservation policy with Torontonians' new found love for Neapolitan pizza and this place hums with line-ups out the door nightly. The secret ingredients here are freshness and an authentic wood burning oven crafted in the mother country. San Marzano tomatoes and Fiore di Latte Mozzarella are brought in daily and the pizza cooks in less than 90 seconds.

Black Hoof
2

Black Hoof

Starring the former owner of Little Italy's Colbalt and the ex charcutier at Amuse Bouche, Lucien and Canoe, the Black Hoof is now ground zero when it comes to sharing pig ears and horse sausage with your best friends. Don't leave without ordering a bowl of the cabbage soup and bone marrow, a perfect match for dunking with some fresh Thuet bread.


School Bakery and Cafe
3

School Bakery and Cafe

Like its name suggests, the School Bakery and Cafe brings a high school theme to life (but in a good way) complete with blackboards, bookshelves and uniforms worn by the waitstaff. Currently serving breakfast, lunch and brunch, a dinner menu is slated to be added to the repertoire by Summer.

The Best New Restaurants in Toronto, 2008

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The Best New Restaurants in Toronto, 2008

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