Pucker up for Pisco Sours at these Toronto restaurants

Chileans and Peruvians both lay claim to inventing the Pisco Sour — a classic South American cocktail with a white-brandy base. The tart tipple features a refreshing mix of pisco liquor, sour lime juice and egg white. And while the drink’s true origin might still be up for debate, there’s no doubt that you’ll find some delightfully frothy variations at these Toronto bars.

The Boulevard Cafe

1
161 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S 1H1

Annex area locals fill up this charming Harbord Street bistro year-round, especially during the summer months when you’ll find crowds of diners enjoying an al fresco evening on the leafy side patio. Surrounded by fragrant and colourful hanging flower baskets, the patio is the perfect spot to sip on a refreshing Pisco Sour; the recipe here sticks to the tried-and-true mix of pisco, lime juice and egg white. The café’s Peruvian menu delivers a unique fusion of Incan, Spanish and African flavours. Try the house specialty Parihuela: a spicy seafood stew with monkfish, clams, mussels, tomatoes, cilantro and wine.

Branca

2
1727 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1V4

A bit of a local secret, you’ll find this Argentine parilla (grill house) housed in a former residential home on a quiet stretch of Dundas Street West. The dining room has a casual-yet-elegant ambiance and the live-fire grill in the kitchen turns out charred skirt steak slathered in harissa or chimichurri sauce. The cocktail menu includes a unique take on the classic South American cocktail — the lime pepper pisco is made with pisco, fresh lime, egg white and aromatic bitters that give the drink an extra kick.

El Fogon

3
543 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C 1A3

St. Clair West might be known for its Italian trattorias, but this authentic Peruvian eatery serves up an array of fresh fish, meat and seafood dishes that’ll give your taste buds a tour of South American cuisine. We suggest pairing the classically made pisco sours with the Arroz con Mariscos — a fragrant Peruvian paella made with rice, seafood, turmeric, coriander and white wine.

Mata Petisco Bar

4
1690 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6R 1B3

This cool cantina on the western edge of Parkdale specializes in South American sharing plates (Brazilian tapas or “petisco”) prepared with a contemporary twist. The Pisco Sours are shaken in a traditional fashion with pisco, egg white, lime, simple syrup and lemon grass. The refreshing citrus libation pairs well with South-of-the-Border specialties like polenta frites, pão de queijoand Mahi Mahi ceviche.

Grand Electric

5
1330 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L4

The hype continues to linger on years after former Black Hoof chef Colin Tooke opened his acclaimed taco joint in Parkdale. You’ll find a young hip crowd and strong drinks paired with seriously good Mexican street food at this buzz-worthy spot that’s perennially packed. After waiting for your table, reward your patience with a signature Grand Electric sour made with vanilla bourbon, lemon, agave syrup and egg white. Sure, there’s no actual pisco in this variation, but it’s a unique take on the classic cocktail and a great accompaniment to the Mexican-inspired menu.

Paracas

6
992 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E 1A2

This longstanding St. Clair West restaurant has been satisfying local cravings for Peruvian cuisine for over 15 years. The food menu is filled with exotic South American flavours and regionally inspired meat and seafood dishes. Regulars love the paella and chupe de mariscos (a rich and creamy seafood soup). As in Peru, the pisco here is available straight up or in cocktail form.

Toronto’s frigid winter months were made for curling up with a warm mug of hot cocoa. Escape the chilly air inside these local cafés where the hot chocolate is sweet, spicy and sinfully delicious.
Grabbing lunch or dinner around the TIFF Bell Lightbox? If you've a craving for thin crust, wood-fired pizza in an upscale atmosphere, stop in at one of these trendy King West trattorias where humble pizza pie gets the gourmet treatment.
With plenty of cinematic delights to take in, you’ll need to make sure your hungry brood is properly fuelled during TIFF. Forget the typical movie-theatre popcorn and indulge in a meal at one of these family-friendly downtown dining destinations around the TIFF Bell Lightbox. [Image credit: iStock.com/Nastia11]
Close menu