New restaurants creating a buzz in Toronto's east end

2015 was a busy year for Toronto’s east end, from Riverdale to Cabbagetown to the Distillery. Fresh new businesses are popping up everywhere, and among them are some of the finest eateries in the city. Whether for brunch with pals, a dinner date, or dessert, there are many places to indulge without the hustle and bustle of downtown.

Cacao 70

28 Gristmill Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

Montreal has brought a rare treat to Toronto’s romantic Distillery District – a restaurant completely inspired by hot chocolate! This is an ideal option for an indulgent dessert date, but be sure to come with an empty stomach. For just a taste, sample their 76 percent drinking cacao from Ecuador. The more ambitious however, may give in to the chocolate pizza or generous crepe dishes decorated with hazelnuts and strawberries. Chocolate bevies and confections can also be made with soymilk for vegan diets. Packaged samples are available to take home as well!

Descendant Detroit Style Pizza

1168 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1L4

Descendant is blazing the trail (the pizza trail, that is)as TO’s first Detroit-style pizzeria. The variation from the pies you’re used to is in the light and fluffy dough that’s given a caramelized crust with extra tomato sauce. The soppressata marmalade tempts with a mozzarella and smoked caciocavallo mix. And in terms of interior, Descendant is spacious with a gritty urban style, a welcome change from the average chain pizza shop. Prices are a bit higher, but the pies are incomparable in taste. Plus, a small is likely enough for you and a friend!

Il Ponte Cucina Italiana

625 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1G7

Nestled on the corner of Queen and Davies Avenue, and overlooking the Don Valley River, Il Ponte not only has one of the best views of the city’s skyline, but it also boasts some of the classiest decor and most delectable Italian fare on the east side. Choose from made-in-house antipasti and daily gluten-free pasta options, and pair it with some top-notch vino from the resto’s impressive wine list. For dessert, treat yourself to a creme caramel (as if you could resist). Hot top: Il Ponte is a more formal option, excellent for a dressy night out in Riverside.

Kanpai Snack Bar

252 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5A 2L1

Kanpai Snack bar is spicing things up in Cabbagetown with their Taiwanese xiaochi (small-sized street foods). Kanpai brings in a sauna-styled open restaurant that’s very well suited for groups. Typically sold at night markets in Taiwan, xiaochi is similar in concept to tapas. Sweet, spicy and salty mingle in these small, but meticulously crafted plates of kimchi, prawn salad, and chicken schnitzel. Plates range from about $4 to $8 and are complex in their inspiration, pulling from Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Dutch cuisine.

La Carnita Leslieville

780 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4

La Carnita’s 2015 location joins the rapidly shifting Riverside strip, much to the delight of east ender foodies. You’ll find a warm, cozy vibe at this Mexican restaurant, due equally to charming pink neon lights and the number of people packed inside. The menu, similar to the College Street location, features signature tacos with crispy cod and bass as well as daily specials unique to the east end location. Refreshments include Agua Fresca, a minty alternative to alcohol, as well as tropical cocktails and of course, the all mighty margarita.

Triple A Bar

138 Adélaïde St E, Toronto, ON M5C 1K9

Triple A Bar has found its way into the heart of Leslieville with its award-winning Texas-style BBQ. This laidback Southern-esque spot features traditional favourites, rendered daily on an in-house barrel smoker. They boast an indulgent (and largely gluten-free!) menu with classics like the dry rub ribs and Texas chili. Pair an Austin-style smoked brisket with a $3 tequila or one of 25 bourbon varieties, and find yourself warming up in no time. Their kitchen is open until midnight all week and is sure to be buzzing throughout the winter.

20 culinary aficionados have gathered for Front Street Foods at Adelaide Place (150 York Street) to offer up their most beloved dishes. The tasting market is buzzing with foodies from across the city taking advantage of the open-air dining experience and buzzworthy pop-ups. Open weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm until August 5, 2016, this is one foodie market you’ll want to stay hungry for. [Photo courtesy of Front Street Foods]
Move over caffeine and say hello to sweet, colourful, energy-boosting juice. Whether you’ve decided it’s time for a cleanse or you’re simply hooked on the limitless fruity elixirs nature has to offer, cold-pressed juice is the organic solution to your afternoon crash. Best of all, these healthy spots  in Toronto will deliver your daily or weekly supply of juice right to your door. [Feature image: Anti Vice Juicery]
The vegan food scene has become a competitive arena in Toronto, and not just for vegans! Many prefer vegan food for sustainability and diversity in their diet – and vegan restaurants happen to have some of the healthiest options around. As for those busy days and lazy nights, TO hosts a number of delivery services that will bring healthy, hearty vegan meals right to your doorstep.  [Image credit: Cazzaniga]
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