SCARAMOUCHE MAY BE ONE OF A HANDFUL OF “SPECIAL OCCASION” restaurants left in Toronto — certainly, it is one of the most highly regarded. And deservedly so. Four decades in, it maintains a fresh aura of sophistication — along with its dazzling twilight views over the city — and the place is always packed. The admittedly pedestrian arrival area — the restaurant is housed on the ground floor of a high-rise apartment building (but there is free valet parking) — is more than made up for by the quiet dining room and gracious service. Chef Keith Froggett’s culinary vision, executed these days by chef de cuisine Caarolyn Reid, is grounded in European classicism with whispers from the Middle East. It packs just enough of a modern touch to keep things interesting. An appetizer of fresh burrata with watercress, Meyer lemon relish and herb dressing is a deft rendering of a classic, fried capers and all. What else does grilled AAA Ontario filet mignon need besides mushrooms, French green beans, blue cheese butter and whipped potatoes? Five vegetarian options, often riffs on the main menu, usually include at least one pasta, such as a recent herbed gnocchi Parisienne with sautéed mushrooms, wilted greens, porcini sauce and shaved fresh winter truffle. Desserts are a highlight, though venturing far from the legendary coconut cream pie is an enduring challenge. Excellent choices of wines by the glass, along with a deep reserve list, appeal to a cool-climate, Eurocentric palate.
Photography by: Stacey Bradford