Cue the izakaya floodgates: two new Japanese-style pubs are set to open in the downtown core, giving Guu some serious competition.
■ After closing last year, Queen St. Patrick Market (238 Queen St. W., at McCaul St., #QNW) will reopen this winter as The Grove, a “food emporium and smart market.” In other words, it’s a healthy food court, where the dishes are free of hormones, artificial sweeteners and colouring.
■ The long papered-over Pizzeria Defina has finally opened at 321 Roncesvalles Ave. (at Grenadier Rd., #RON), with a menu focused on thin-crust, wood-fired pies.
■ Guu patrons who are tired of the hour-long wait for a table will be relieved to hear that two izakayas (a Japanese style of pub) are opening in the downtown core. The first is DonDon Izakaya (130 Dundas St. W., at Bay St., #DTN), which will open its doors in late October or early November (renovations have just started). The restaurant recently tweeted this exciting announcement: “You get drunk, we’ll drive you home—Japanese izakaya chauffeur style!” The second is simply called Izakaya Japanese Restaurant (294 College St., at Robert St., #COL). It’s owned by the same people who run the Japanese-Korean restaurant Il Bun Ji in the Annex.
■ Sadie’s Juice Bar, an offshoot of the vegan-friendly Sadie’s Diner, is now open in Kensington Market (146 Baldwin Ave., at Spadina Ave., #KNM) and serving smoothies, juices and dairy-free milkshakes.
■ Also opening in the market is Le Kensington Bistro et Rotisserie (256 Augusta Ave., at Oxford St., #KNM), which is owned by Jean-Charles Dupoire and Sylvain Brissonnet of the Harbord Street French resto Loire Casual Gourmet.
■ The Rubino brothers’ Japanese-fusion restaurant Ame (19 Mercer St., at John St., #ENT) closed last week. Co-owner Charles Khabouth is mum as to why, but he’s holding on to the space for a future project and will use it for as an event venue during TIFF.
■ The second Food Truck Eats event will be held this Saturday in the Distillery District (55 Mill St., #SLM) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with snacks—tacos, grilled-cheese sandwiches, chicken wings, cupcakes, poutine and ice cream—from 28 trucks and vendors. We recommend going early: The food will run out.