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No. 18

Prime Seafood Palace

IT’S NO PALACE FROM THE OUTSIDE — just another nondescript lowrise on Toronto’s Queen West. But within, it’s a visual feast — a bright and airy cathedral purpose-built for worshippers of steak, seafood and Champagne. (Just be prepared to pay the tithe.) The surprising author of the striking monochromatic restaurant is louder-than-life chef-slash-internet-and-Emmy-winning personality Matty Matheson. He’s someone known for putting on a show (say, The Bear), so statement dishes, a 20-ounce prime rib and a pricey caviar service are ever-present. But many of the restaurant’s hits lie in the soft touches — tongues of sea urchin on chawanmushi and pillowy Yorkshire puddings with bone marrow. Matheson and Coulson Armstrong (ex-Canoe) exercise refinement by selecting only the best of the best — A5 wagyu, New Zealand bluefin, Hokkaido scallops, live Atlantic lobster and Dungeness crab, Kristal caviar — or growing it themselves. Purple broccoli, plum-coloured peas, flashy trout lettuce and chamomile are all pulled from the ground at Matheson’s Blue Goose Farm. Desserts are well-executed comfort fare, with classics like an ice cream sundae, key lime pie and apple galette with spiced walnut- and-Calvados cream. Service is attentive.

CLAIM TO FAME: Steak, yes, but also a globe-trotting Sicilian crudo trio of Gulf of Mexico bluefin tuna, Australian amberjack and dry-aged king salmon. Ontario prime rib.

Large and flush with a who’s who of old-world producers.
Best Seat
At the bar for walk-ins (reservations can be tough to come by)

Photography by Daniel Neuhaus

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