Holt's Cafe Toronto
Holt's Cafe sits on the third floor of the luxury department store, serving weekend brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner cocktails.
Just past the racks of Balmain and Prada is Holt Renfrew's equally upscale eatery.
Plans to re-open this Yorkville restaurant as a Colette Grand Cafe, as was the case with three other Holt Renfrew stores in Canada, appears to have gone to the wayside, with this revamped Holt's Cafe acting as the brand's flagship instead.
You can access the restaurant with an escalator trip up to the third floor, or via the first-floor elevator designated specifically for the place.
The biggest highlight of space, designed by the London-based firm behind the ultimate department store, Selfridges, are its 20-foot-high windows.
Providing some amazing natural light and a bird's eye view of the Mink Mile (and next-door Eataly), it makes sense that the restaurant is at its busiest during the day.
There are three distinct sections of the restaurant, where you'll find business lunches and coiffed ladies sitting in the Mondrian colour-schemed booths.
The menu includes some items from pre-revamp Holt's Cafe, like the BLT salad ($27), with grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, poppy seed vinaigrette and crispy tuiles made from manchego cheese.
A seared albacore tuna tartine ($25) comes on a layer of roasted pepper tapenade atop an unexpected layer of egg yolk that moistens up the toast. If you don't upgrade to a side of their truffle fries, you've missed the point of coming here.
One thing I absolutely consider worth the splurge is an organic carrot tart ($25), a more recent addition from Executive Chef Benjamin Lillico.
It's basically a deconstructed tart, with beets and carrots presented on a bottom of filo pastry, cashew creme, apricot chutney, and a dukkah (an Egyptian blend) made with almond and sumac.
The seafood tagliatella ($28) has sauteed prawns, east coast mussels, meaty scallops and crushed tomato.
The prettiest drink you can get here is probably The Renfrew ($18), an elaborate drink of Cointreau and Louis Bouillot sparkling rose.
The bubbling caviar is made from rose water: it's basically a drinkable lava lamp. They'll eventually all float to the top.
A smoked Manhattan ($19) is my kind of drink, giving the bourbon favourite a sweeter edge with sweet vermouth and two maraschino cherries at the bottom. It comes under a smoke-filled cloche, meaning a table-side show.
The pink popsicle is definitely a fun summertime drink for the heated sweet tooth.