There is a reason why Toronto is often compared to the vibrant metropolitan of New York. The hustle and bustle, high fashion, grandiose infrastructures, and delectable dishes are undoubtedly prominent in both. And as the excitement for the Toronto International Film Festival builds up among us, I guarantee that the similarity will only become more evident!
It could get a little crazy next week. There will be people doing just about anything to have a peek at one of their favourite stars. We want to ensure that in spite the haste, you can still take some moment to relax and dine. So for this special feature, the tripcentral.ca team chatted with the inspiring people behind some of the best rooftop bars in Toronto. Today, we share with you their inside scoops and secrets. Savour and indulge with us the different reasons that make Toronto great and make sure to keep these places in mind on your upcoming visit.
Main Inspiration: When we first entered the space and took in the view, we knew we wanted to build something special. Sitting up here you truly feel you’re on top of the town so we work to make everything match. Top cocktails, top menu & top hospitality. We bought Panorama from a restaurant group who overlooked its potential and were running it like a 1970’s airport lounge – we invested in what Panorama could be (adding patios, gutting the space and redesigning completely) and doubled the previous sales in the first year we took over.
Highlights: Besides the view, which cannot be matched, we provide a welcoming and private atmosphere. The bustle of the city is left far below and you can escape. Whether it is an intimate dinner for two or a blowout cocktail reception, the space is perfect for getting away from it all. We have also really focused on creating an environment which we feel is comfortable and conducive to people being able to mingle in groups large or small.
For first-timers: What to order? If I was with a group of friends or clients I would order a variety of our platters, like the Crowd Pleaser and the Charcuterie. Some of the desserts are big favourites with couples coming in to dine but I always like to order a nice variety of the sharing items even if you’re just two do the sharing. My wife would disagree and just order herself the shrimp starter and the filet though!
– Sebastien Centner, Director of Panorama Lounge
Main Inspiration: The Drake Hotel is definitely inspired by our community and the eclectic mix of individuals that make up our neighbourhood and team. The history of our building alone tells a story that has paved the way for how we work and play.
Highlights: Main Inspiration: The Drake Hotel is definitely inspired by our community and the eclectic mix of individuals that make up our neighbourhood and team. The history of our building alone tells a story that has paved the way for how we work and play.
For first-timers: What to order? The Fried Chicken, a new addition to our menu this summer, quickly becoming a Drake staple and one of our most popular dishes. Served with jalapeño corn bread, smoked potato salad and honey.
– Abigail Van Den Broek, Publicist & Social Media Manager + Zoe Shaprio, Marketing Manager
Main Inspiration: Seventeen years ago I made my first foray into the restaurant business with the opening of Trattoria Nervosa in Yorkville. Since then my passion for travel and good food has led me to many places around the world. After all that I had learned in the industry and throughout my years of travel, I felt compelled to create a restaurant that would be reflective of both these experiences. Aesthetically, I was very inspired to work with the 1940s dilapidated auto body shop I purchased in 2009 and turn it into an industrial, yet rustic Italian Trattoria.
Highlights: Whenever I open a restaurant I look to provide diners with new and different experiences that answer the question: “why would someone choose to dine with us?” We are proud to say that we are the first restaurant to offer wine on tap and have the only retractable roof in Toronto. Our executive chef, Daniel Mezzolo has worked in three Michelin star restaurants throughout Europe and is a serious talent in the kitchen. The vibe in the restaurant is lively and fun. I worked with Munge Leung to create the design and this year we won an international design award in our category.
For first-timers: What to order? Our Kale salad, with toasted pine nuts, currants and pecorino cheese, is ridiculously tasty, and the fact that we sell around 53,000 servings of it annually between both restaurants attests to that. For pasta lovers I would suggest the Fettucine ai Funghi, which is our number one selling item on the menu. The Branzino alla Griglia, prepared on a Tuscan wood fired grill with fregola, escarola and a citrus emulsion, is also a must-try. If you’re looking to end your dining experience on a sweet note, our executive chef, Daniel Mezzolo, is an ace when it comes to desserts, so I would highly recommend trying our Dolci Platter, which includes miniature tastings of four dessert items of your choosing.
– Janet Zuccarini, Owner
Have you been to any of these places? Let us know in the comment section below.