No. 15: DaiLo
503 COLLEGE STREET, TORONTO, ONTARIO
Chef Nick Liu and his business partner, front of house manager and sommelier Anton Potvin, have invested impressive scads of cash and a lot of great taste in their new restaurant.
A busy, centrally located, dimly lit bar anchors the room in style and spirit. Décor is vintage chinoiserie with a contemporary accent. And the food, by contrast, is completely and assertively modern. Watermelon is rendered nearly unrecognizable with a Liu makeover that begins with compression, then batter and a deep-fryer, and ends with being served hot and crisp, with its pickled rind and a scattering of shredded pork. A fantastic new-Asian pseudo taco features crisp-fried octopus and braised pork in a crunchy and refreshing shell of paperthin jicama. Whole fried trout is crisp and succulent.
This smart, original new-Asian menu is long and entirely worth exploring. Just remember: everything goes with truffle-fried rice, and Potvin knows what you should be drinking with it. Service is casual, but professional. The mood is upbeat, and so is the noise level.
Tuesday to Sunday
5:30 PM until 11:00 PM
Riots of flavour and texture. Same with the wine list. – DICK SNYDER
Asian with twists and turns, amazing cocktails, and “geek” wines with a passion to match. – LANITA LAYTON
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RESTAURANT PHOTOS: MAT FABIJANIC