Annex Commons is the affiliated food hall by the Annex Hotel. Chic and secluded, this lush space offers eats from two of Toronto's most popular purveyors of tacos and pizza.
Sitting in a separate building next to the three-storey boutique hotel's main lobby area, the Commons is open to everyone, not just hotel guests.
Elegant, leafy decor and plush seating mirror the look of Annex's Lobby Bar next door, but the vibe is laidback. A host will be there to greet you but it's really a seat-and-order yourself kind of affair.
It's rare to see two independent entities operating from the same space, but the teams behind both Toronto brands have agreed to share a kitchen for the benefit of Commons' guests.
Seven Lives, the ever-popular Kensington tacqueria, delivers with a slightly smaller menu than the one offered at their cramped counter in the Market.
They offer four tacos here: the Al Pastor ($6), the blackened swordfish ($6), mushroom ($6), and their popular Gobernador ($6), which comes with smoked marlin, grilled shrimp, and cheese.
All tacos come in single orders. As a shareable side you can get the steelhead ceviche ($11) served with crispy tostadas for scooping.
Hot tortilla chips come in cute Chinese takeout boxes from Tap Phong as part of their Chips 'N Dip order ($11), which arrives with sides of guac and salsa.
Big Trouble holds down the front portion of the kitchen, where cooks knead and roll their famous 365-day dough to make seven different types personal-sized, 12-inch pizzas.
The Annex Margherita ($18) is a new pie to Big Trouble's roster of devourable pizzas; their Chinatown location doesn't offer this simple but delicious pie made with mozarrella di buffala, basil, and fior di latte.
Another standout is the MF Prashoots ($19), a delectably cheesy pizza with prosciutto, portobello mushrooms, mozzarella, and truffle-infused ricotta cheese.
The Boom Boom ($17) is an impressive creation considering it's completely vegan. Instead of cheese you'll find an abundance of veggies including braised radicchio, pickled onions, and green peppers.
Even hardcore cheesy pizzas lovers will respect what this mint-covered pizza achieves for plant-based eaters.
At the back of the Commons is where you'll find the wine bar, which offers a selection of wines by the bottle and glass which, unlike the wine list in the Annex lobby, aren't all natural or biodynamic, but are meant to be paired with Mexican and pizza.
There's also a number of local beers on tap from breweries like Collective Arts and Bellwoods, and negroni on tap ($11.50).
For an interesting take on a rum punch, El Chupanibre ($14) mixes Mount Gay rum, pineapple, lime, and mint.
And the signature Commons Cocktail ($14) is a light drink with grapefruit mezcal. Even more refreshing: the Spritz ($14) with Aperol, prosecco, and soda.
The formality of the Commons' set up is offset by a commendable playlist and DIY methods of ordering at either bars in the front or back of the restaurant. Live music and comedy events will be sprinkled here throughout the month.