Establishment neighborhood
Le Swan
892 Queen St. W., Ossington
Whatever the kitchen equivalent of a green thumb is, prolific restaurateur Jen Agg has it. Le Swan is a combo of two things we love: French food and diners. The cozy leather booths, low-lit, sculptural light fixtures and monochrome tile set the atmosphere for resolutely French, late-night vibes. The menu delivers the kind of comfort food that brings frozen limbs back to life during the bone-chillingly frigid Toronto winter. Expect steak frites, grilled cheese, salad Nicoise, cobb salad, rotisserie chicken, fish sticks, late night fondue and a beautifully considered wine list (hello Austrian Pet Nat). Yep, the gang’s all here.
I Miss You
63 Ossington Ave., Ossington
It was a purely word-of-mouth haunt for years, and owner Julie Yoo has managed to assemble one of those incredible vintage shops which is packed to the rafters with legitimate finds—everything from Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. Each piece is in perfect condition, already dry-cleaned, touched up, and ready to wear. This treasure trove isn’t really the spot for a casual browse, but if you’re on a mission and ready to spend, I Miss You is hands down the best vintage store in Toronto, and perhaps one of the best in North America.
Foxley Bistro
207 Ossington Ave., Ossington
Although chef Tom Thai emigrated from Vietnam in the late 1970s, Foxley—primarily a South Asian bistro—pulls foodie inspiration from the large immigrant population that defines modern Toronto. Think ceviche infused with Asian flavors, like Arctic char with green apple and pickled ginger or chimichurri hanger steak. While the décor is fairly straightforward, chef Thai’s food, always with just the right amount of seasoning and acidity, keeps the dining room full nightly.
Boralia (Closed)
59 Ossington Ave., Ossington
Boraia offers one of the most original meals you’ll eat anywhere. Husband-and-wife team Wayne Morris and Evelyn Wu have crafted a menu that is pure Canadiana, from the country’s inception to the present day (and with no poutine in sight). Expect dishes ranging from traditional Aboriginal Canadian cuisine to foods eaten by the first European settlers: everything from deviled Chinese tea eggs and pigeon pie to the especially wonderful l’éclade (an aromatic dish of mussels smoked in pine needles). The interior may be simple, but the diverse medley of flavors—so thoughtful and considered—keeps you coming back.