NBA Courtside Restaurant
NBA Courtside Restaurant has its first location in the world right here in Toronto.
Located within walking distance of Scotiabank Arena and the waterfront, the space measures 10,000 square feet and has 25 screens throughout.
It encompasses a retail area right near the entrance where fans can pick up merch.
Kind of like a Hard Rock Cafe for the NBA, the restaurant is filled with memorabilia showcasing the history of basketball.
This includes sneakers signed by star players like Shaquille O'Neal.
The interior design, filled with art and hidden Easter eggs for those in the know, is intended to reflect a player's journey from their beginnings to a championship.
On one side, a "beginnings" area has raw white brick walls mounted with hoops and decorated with photos of local street courts.
Pay close attention to your table: it might just be made from a salvaged piece of a legendary court.
The highlight of the central bar area is an overhanging accent light that looks like the painted lines on a basketball court.
A "championship" area is more loungey, accented by velvety fabrics and lots of gold.
A private "all-star" dining area is actually hidden behind the wall of the lounge.
Standout art pieces include a sculpture designed to replicate Raptor Kawhi Leonard's famous 2019 four-bouncer buzzer-beater moment.
There's also a textile art piece that pieces together jerseys to create the NBA logo.
A menu put together by executive chef Myles Sam and culinary ambassador Erica Karbelnik (who also just so happens to be from Toronto and a Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada champion) seeks to take typical sports bar food to the next level.
A grilled tahini Caesar salad ($17) puts a spin on a classic, with sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, roasted maitake mushrooms, and micro basil.
The San Antonio chicken salad ($24) with roasted chicken, black bean salsa, black rice, avocado, roasted corn, ranch dressing and tortilla strips is garnished with a corn husk for a cookout vibe.
An ahi tuna stack ($18) is great for sushi lovers and designed to be shareable. It's made with ahi tuna, avocado, cucumber, green onions, wonton crisps and a citrus vinaigrette.
Tacos ($17) on corn tortillas are filled with Tajin-spiced cauliflower, avocado and jalapeno puree, vegan feta, and micro cilantro.
Avocado egg rolls ($18) have a little sun-dried tomato in them and are served with a tamarind dipping sauce.
Hennessy wings ($18 for a pound) are a highlight. Sticky and sweet but still bold, they've got a pop of citrus thanks to a little orange peel.
The muffuletta fritto ($21) is another must that could be shared or eaten on your own. It's basically a rolled-up fried muffuletta sandwich layered with spicy Genoa salami, mortadella, provolone and olive tapenade. The dish is served with rosemary kettle chips and pepperoncini aioli.
10-inch stone baked pizzas include the Stinger ($17) with dry cured pepperoni, spicy salami and honey. It's spicy enough to have you reaching for a beer.
Agnolotti ($24) stuffed with ricotta and spinach is a light plant-based option for a main. You'll find it tossed in sun dried tomato pesto and garnished with parmesan, basil oil and crispy sage.
If you're more of a seafood person, opt for meaty swordfish ($36). Here it's served with fingerling potatoes, brightened up by Castelvetrano olive salsa verde, dill, and roasted cherry tomatoes.
The berbere spiced grilled chicken ($28) is another star on the menu and a signature of Karbelnik's. It's very juicy on the inside with a flavourful coating of warm spices on the outside and is served with honey-roasted heirloom carrots, Jerusalem artichokes plus a cooling fresh thick yogurt.
When it comes to dessert, don't shy away from a basic-sounding NYC cheesecake ($10). It's smooth, creamy, rich and is a nice light meal closer.
The raspberry Greek yogurt cheesecake ($10) is more of a showstopper with chunks of raspberry cake and finished with raspberry puree.
Cocktails are on the sugary and colourful side, with one of the sweetest being the Jurassic Juice ($14) made from tequila, dragon fruit, yuzu, pineapple, fresh lime juice, green tea and tiki bitters.
The Maverick Margarita ($14) adds blue curacao and coconut cream to the classic mix of tequila, lime and agave. It has a surprisingly tasty sweet and salty rim.
The NBA Courtside Restaurant can be found on Queens Quay, east of Yonge Street and the Westin Harbour Castle.