A City of Toronto update with dinner at the Ritz Carlton and take-out from Miku

By Alexandra Cohen

I recently had the great pleasure of visiting Toronto, Canada’s largest and most bustling city, for a long weekend. For a sense of what might be new, I consulted Destination Toronto (www.destinationtoronto.com). 

In June, Toronto is opening up one of its most anticipated developments, the Waterworks Food Hall (499 Richmond St. W.), which celebrates the city’s dynamic culinary scene in a beautifully restored heritage building. The space spans 55,000 square feet and is located in the heart of the King West neighborhood. Visit to experience this European-style food hall, which hosts more than 20 different food stalls including sushi, ramen, various beverages, and more. 

A lover of cats and exhibitions? Check out Wild Cats at the Royal Ontario Museum from June 15 – October 20. This exhibit presents an array of mounted specimens, interactive displays, cultural objects, and multimedia. Visitors will also learn more about the conservation and protection of these amazing creatures. 

Another treat might be the newest summer concert venue: The Bowl at Sobey’s Stadium. This venue is situated at the York University campus. See their website for more information about upcoming shows (https://liveatthebowl.com/). For those who enjoy more of a Broadway flair, Mirvish Productions always has something up and running. The musical Wicked will run from June 5 – July 21, with Tina – The Tina Turner Musical set to run from June 18 – July 28. See their website for a full list of upcoming offers (https://www.mirvish.com/). 

Upcoming festivals include the Beaches International Jazz Festival from July 4 – 28, Salsa in Toronto from July 6 – 7, the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair from July 12 – 14, and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival from August 1 – 5. 

Dining Out

EPOCH BAR & KITCHEN TERRACE: 

The Ritz-Carlton name is synonymous with class and high quality; that is something that I have known for a long time now, having experienced some of their other properties. During my recent visit to Toronto, I had the great pleasure of dining at EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace (https://epochtoronto.com/). Having opened in the last few years inside the Ritz-Carlton Toronto property, it offers a casual but elegant setting where one can enjoy a series of imaginative dishes and cocktails. 

While the venue’s indoor seating is lovely and appears quite comfortable, the location is perhaps best known for its large garden-style patio. The terrace features outdoor heaters (with the servers also being happy to offer you blankets on a cooler night), a lovely centerpiece bar, and a wood-fired stone oven which is used to make their signature pizzas. 

From a beverage standpoint, the menu was fantastically creative, with the cocktail list divided into various categories based on the general flavouring that you might prefer (“The Secret Garden”, “Lost in Paradise”, “Avant-Garde”, and “Intermission”). I opted for the delicious Pineapple Express from the “Lost in Paradise” list, which featured pineapple and vanilla-induced Tito’s Handmade Vodka, crème de cassis, pomegranate reduction, fresh lemon, pineapple juice, all served on the rocks. For those looking to explore the wine list, there are plenty of options as well, both by the glass and by the bottle.

Helming the kitchen is chef Jeff Crump, a Canadian slow-food pioneer. The menu is a culinary homage to his earth-to-table philosophy and his roots in the U.K. gastrobar scene. From the appetizer menu, my dining partner and I were able to sample delicious offerings including the French Kiss Oysters, the Japanese Hamachi Crudo, the Crab Stuffed Avocado, and a true highlight: the Crispy Coconut Shrimp. From the Mains, we shared the light and flavourful Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, as well as the Rib Cap Steak, which was cooked to perfection and served with chimichurri. We were also able to sample one of the restaurant’s signature pizzas, cooked on the wood-fired stove oven outside: Mushroom Truffle. For dessert, we shared the Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake, which was the perfect way to end the night. 

While we did not stay at the hotel, it is certainly luxurious. It is close to the Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Arena, and many other downtown establishments. The hotel is undergoing refurbishment through to the end of August 2024, which will involve redefining the lobby, opening a new retail shop, transforming the Ritz Bar, and more. I certainly look forward to visiting EPOCH again. 

MIKU TORONTO: 

During my visit to Toronto, I was also able to sample some take-out from Miku Toronto, which is part of the Aburi Restaurants Canada group. Miku Toronto first opened its doors in 2015. It is situated in Toronto’s Harbourfront at the corner of Bay and Queen’s Quay. 

Takeout offerings include a variety of sashimi, nigiri, maki, and of course, aburi offerings, as well as a variety of desserts which can also be combined into a dessert platter for the complete tasting experience. We tasted a mix of sashimi and nigiri offerings, as well as their two specialty rolls: the Miku Roll (sockeye salmon, uni, crab, cucumber, rolled in tobiko, served with Miku sauce) and the Red Wave Roll (spicy prawn, avocado, red tuna, served with masatake sauce). The star of the meal, unsurprisingly, was both the Salmon Oshi Sushi and the Ebi Oshi Sushi. Everything was packaged nicely and tasted delicious. 

Aburi  Restaurants is the parent company of Miku VancouverMiku TorontoMinami Yaletown, WA-BAGEL, Minami Toronto, ABURI HANA, ABURI TORA, and Gyoza Bar.  They also have two grocery concepts (Aburi Market and Aburi To-Go ). For more information, visit   https://aburirestaurants.com/ 

Miku Toronto is located at  105-10 Bay Street in Toronto, You can call (647) 347-7347
or (416) 716-1501 (take-out only) for more information.