With the Film Festival launching again in Toronto we take a look at a sure-fire Festival hotspot and number 8 on our 2015 Best Restaurants list.
Tracking down a decent meal after 10pm in Toronto has traditionally been a problem. Or it was, until Max Rimaldi (the restaurateur who introduced Toronto to Neapolitan pizza), and celebrated local chef Grant van Gameren got together and opened Bar Isabel with a pledge to serve quality food until 2am every night of the week. It has caught on well enough that a line-up regularly snakes out onto the sidewalk. The décor speaks of an old European bistro with a dash of speakeasy. Jazz blasts loudly over the sound system. With the food, van Gameron aims to do for Spanish tapas what he did for offal some years back at the Black Hoof. Fish dishes are a strong point. Try morcilla (blood sausage) with side stripe shrimp, escabeche and quail egg pincho. Or bacalao with egg and chistorra pintxo, or raw scallops aji Amarillo. Oddly, the bar is a quieter place to dine than the raucous rear dining room. Cocktails are excellent, and many good wines are available by the glass to facilitate you joining the party.