The last year was a a busy and exciting one for the Toronto food scene, in which we saw electric openings that ranged from highbrow to low, including modest local joints and grand, attention-grabbing eateries.
To highlight the standout newcomers, we asked Michelin-recognized chef Eric Chong, recently awarded a Bib Gourmand for R&D — a perfect representation of high-end modern Canadian Chinese cuisine — to tell us what he thought was the best new addition to the city’s dining scene. Read on to find out which exciting spot he selected.
Chef Chong’s pick: Chantecler
“The food is even better than I remember,” he recently told us. “The brioche à tête was sensational, and the French onion soup was the best I’ve ever had.”
Beloved bistro Chantecler returned this year with a new location and the same soul-warming French cuisine that made it a Parkdale neighbourhood favourite. Opened in 2012, the original Chantecler was decimated by a fire in 2019. A pop-up, a pandemic and a butcher shop later, and Chantecler reopened in spring 2023 in its new Bloorcourt home. Fans of the OG Chantecler will be delighted to see the return of menu mainstays, such as the top sirloin steak tartare served with house-made sourdough. New dishes channel the restaurant’s core ethos of French fare executed with unex- pected twists and local ingredients. Like the first iteration, the second coming of Chantecler also aims to appeal to diners with a variety of budgets. The restaurant’s namesake, a type of heritage chicken, is served as a duo of crispy pan roasted breast and thigh stuffed with mushroom duxelles. Nods to the Parkdale location can also be found in the decor, which incorporates a wood arch motif as well as some lighting and bar stools from the first restaurant. With its tin ceiling and hints of exposed brick, the vibes are as timeless and inviting as ever in the new space. A large patio overlooking Christie Pits Park is in the works for the warmer months. 798 Bloor St. W.