1211 Toronto

The 1211

The 1211 is a true melting pot of Korean, Mexican, and Canadian flavours.  

Stirring the pot are three friends who swore to never open a restaurant. They were once co-workers in notable kitchens such as Seoul Shakers, Hanmoto, 416 Snack Bar, and Le Select in their past lives.

Dong Soo Eum, Miguel Arguello Garcia, and Aidan MacDowall are the owner-chefs behind the fusion tapas spot in Bloordale.  

1211 TorontoDuring the day the trio run DAM - a sandwich shop they launched in December 2021. The pandemic offered the trio a reprieve from the gruelling lifestyle of the restaurant industry and they were more than happy to operate a small daytime shop with a small menu. 

However, when MacDowall's friend decided to close their bottle shop at the address, Eum says it felt like "serendipity" and they decided to take a chance.

1211 Toronto

The menu here is an "organic mix of what we like to eat, the flavours we're familiar with," Eum details. 

It's a true collaborative effort behind the scenes with the group riffing off each other, building on recipes of dishes they casually talk about in the kitchen. 

It's "simple honest food" Garcia describes. "We don't over-garnish, it's no frills."

1211 Toronto

There's negroni on tap and Garcia has taken the effort to find eclectic chairs second-hand from all across the GTA. The walls are adorned with cheeky portraits and the vibe is moody but fun. 

Each dish is influenced by someone on the team, often with interesting twists whether it be a choice of spice or unexpected vegetable.

1211 TorontoThe Ribs ($14) was actually the basis of a sandwich at the DAM but after realizing how much work it took to take the meat off the bones, they decided it best lives as its own dish.

They're not wrong, glazed in a chipotle gochujang maple and it is absolutely amazing. The heat creeps in after a few bites but it's a glorious smoky savoury experience. 

1211 TorontoThe Mitmita Fries ($7) were born after a group of Eritrean-Ethiopian cab drivers became regulars of their sandwich shop. They gifted them a pack of mitmita salt and asked them to put it on the food they served.

Almost everyone that came in during our visit ordered the fries. It's also completely vegetarian.

1211 TorontoEum has come up with a variety of kimchi's but notably the Kale Kimchi ($5) is a sour-spicy delight. 

1211 Toronto

Garcia explains the chorizo in the Pork Tacos ($10) are made in true traditional style. Instead of salsa, Eum has come up with a spicy basil kimchi to top.

"Korean and Mexican food are actually so similar- especially the way you cook meat," says Garcia.

Dakgalbi Skewers ($12) were made Korean street food style with chili flakes and soy sauce - this is an easy crowd-pleaser.

1211 Toronto

The Cornbread ($7) is the best-selling item at the DAM, a recipe based on MacDowall's grandmother's. It comes with a side of chili whip cream. 

Ask for the house-made habanero hot sauce and add just a tiny smidge. The heat should balance out the sweet ever so perfectly. 

1211 TorontoGeneral Manager Wiheba Kalisa tells us, "they're all so chaotic but together they really balance each other out." It's definitely a chaos that you can taste and admire. 1211 Toronto

Located at 1211 Bloor St. W. there's no overhead sign. Open 7 days a week from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. On weekends, they operate a Brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photos by

Fareen Karim

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