TOCA, the signature fine-dining restaurant inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel (181 Wellington St. W., at Simcoe) is going through a bit of a change since the departure of executive chef Tom Brodi earlier this year. At a media preview dinner last night, TOCA’s new chef Gihen Zitouni, who previously cooked at Ritz-Carlton outposts in Florida and Barcelona, as well as the Penha Longa Hotel in Portugal, showed off parts of the new menu, which will officially launch on Oct. 29. It includes more farm-to-table focused dishes like creamy cheese croquettes, toasted vermicelli with lobster, Tunisian sandwiches with tuna and harissa mayo, and a green seafood stew (pictured below) with red mullet, scallops, shrimp, and clams. One of the more interesting dishes is the “Planet Chocolate” dessert, consisting of a white chocolate, Saturn-shaped shell, which is filled with Pop Rocks and other candies, and then smothered in hot chocolate to make it melt. With so many hotels in the city recently upping their culinary offerings to stay relevant, it’ll be interesting to see if this momentum continues.—Karon Liu
Photo above: The Ritz Carlton’s executive chef Bruno Lopez talking to media at the chef’s table, located inside the kitchen.