Ah, the eternal conundrum: where to grab a drink or bite to eat near your next TIFF screening. TIFF is back in actual theatres, baby, so we’ve consulted the most in-the-know folks about where to fuel up before and after your films: fancy hotel people!
Check out these recommendations courtesy of Violet Skuce, assistant general manager of d|bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, and Robin Elliott, chief concierge at 1 Hotel Toronto.
TIFF Bell Lightbox
Just drinks: Peter Pan Bistro, 373 Queen St. W.
Skuce: “Peter Pan Bistro has a great small, private patio and a lovely wine list, and they opened a small bottle shop if you want to grab something to enjoy later.”
Quick bite: PAI Northern Thai Kitchen, 18 Duncan St.
Skuce: “I’d say this is one of the best Thai restaurants in the city. It is known for its pad Thai but a must-try is the gaeng hunglay, a curry with oxtail that will melt in your mouth.”
Nice sit-down meal: Vela, 90 Portland St.
Elliott: “It’s a great choice for al fresco dining with the 2,000-square-foot patio space, and, like 1 Hotel Toronto, it shares a commitment to sustainability by sourcing high-quality ingredients. My suggested dish is the hamachi crudo.”
Roy Thomson Hall
Just drinks: Coffee Oysters Champagne, 214 King St. W.
Elliott: “A lovely spot for an aperitif. My cocktail recommendation is the Songbird’s Paradise: St-Germain, yellow chartreuse, cava.”
Quick bite: Mother’s Dumplings, 421 Spadina Ave.
Skuce: “I love Mother’s Dumplings for a delicious and quick bite in the heart of Chinatown. My favourites are the green onion pancake and steamed pork and chive dumplings.”
Nice sit-down meal: Miku, 10 Bay St. #105
Elliott: “Miku has an incredibly large, modern dining room and serves amazing and innovative sushi and seafood. Some of my favourites include the crispy Brussel’s sprouts, the miso sablefish and the torched saba oshi sushi.”
Princess of Wales Theatre
Just drinks: Minami, 225 King St. W., Suite 100
Elliott: “Enjoy a cocktail on their patio. You won’t be able to resist an order of their famous flame-seared aburi sushi.”
Quick bite: Wilbur Mexicana, 552 King St. W.
Skuce: “Wilbur is a really great option for a quick taste of delicious Mexican food. The shrimp and mushroom quesadillas are one of my favourite fast snacks in the city, and the fish tacos are amazing.”
Nice sit-down meal: Aloette, 163 Spadina Ave.
Skuce: “Be sure to make a reservation as Aloette doesn’t have tons of seating, but, even if you have to wait awhile, it’s definitely worth it. While all the savoury food is to die for, the featured sundae dessert takes the top spot as one of my favourite desserts.”
Just drinks: BarChef, 472 Queen St. W.
Elliott: “The Late Harvest Vesper cocktail is one of my top picks. It features Chantilly lavender and Ontario spruce with juniper and thyme.”
Quick bite: Campechano, 504 Adelaide St. W.
Skuce: “Campechano is a great spot for tacos and a killer spicy margarita. The barbacoa taco is a must-have, and the guacamole with chips is the perfect snack.”
Nice sit-down meal: Rodney’s Oyster House, 469 King St. W.
Skuce: “Aside from the incredible oyster selection, Rodney’s has great New England-style clam chowder. Another must-try is the rotating tartare: whatever the feature is, it’s usually amazing.”
Just drinks: Mother Cocktail Bar, 874 Queen St. W.
Elliott: “I love the intimate atmosphere here. Their knowledgeable, personable staff make for a memorable experience.”
Quick bite: The Momo House, 1422 Queen St. W.
Skuce: “They have incredible Tibet-style dumplings. It’s a quick-service spot for a delicious meal.”
Nice sit-down meal: Taverne Bernhardt’s, 202 Dovercourt Rd.
Elliott: “Tucked away on Dovercourt Road, they deliver a wonderful neighbourhood vibe and an ever-changing menu that celebrates Ontario produce.”