With theme-on décor, menu, vibe and other in-house perks, choosing a restaurant as an event location is a great way to simplify the planning process. Even better, the chance to sample the city’s vibrant culinary scene presents an enticing treat for guests. A surge in restaurants focusing on inventive, quality global flavours, tapas and shareable plates also makes for unique menu curation and pared-down dining service.
Here are seven new restaurants with tables set for group and private dining:
Location: Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen in the Entertainment District
On The Menu: A flavourful celebration of authentic Caribbean cooking using local ingredients and healthy approaches turns out delicious grilled jerk, curries and likkle bites such as Jamaican patties and pepper shrimp. The tropical drinks are awesome!
The Space: Chubby’s lively island reggae vibes fill a bright, airy two-storey 1890s Victorian townhouse. Vibrant tropical colours, patterns, textures and textiles are playful against exposed wood beams and rafters. Wicker furnishings add to the comfortable, laid-back setting. Palm tree murals embellish walls and lush greenery is everywhere. The upstairs dining room offers a large party table and a bird’s eye view of the main floor kitchen’s jerk pit grill. An intimate private dining space is also available. Warm weather fills the front and back patios.
Event Perks: Part of the Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, the eatery’s dishes are designed to share with menu customization for dish choices, spice levels and dietary restrictions.
Capacity: Main and second floor, 35 to 40 seated on each level; Second-floor party table, 20 seated; Private dining room, 12 seated; Full buy-out, 90 seated, 120 standing including patios
Location: Copetín Restaurant & Bar in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood
On The Menu: Canadian fare from celebrity chef Claudio Aprile takes its cue from Toronto’s cultural melting pot. Menus range according to seating location, with dishes like tea-smoked squab in the main dining room, grazing snacks such as chorizo tostado in the bar lounge, and inventive salad bowls on the patio.
The Space: A multi-concept restaurant, Copetín, Spanish for aperitif, encompasses a relaxed bar lounge with a private dining room, a refined dining room with a chef’s table front-row to the open kitchen, and a lively outdoor patio with its own cantina and “botanist gin bar” featuring a built-in herb garden. A different vibe and look distinguishes each space, from a blend of historic architectural elements and modern accents in the main dining room to the urban art that graces the walls in other areas. A wall of colourful vinyl records presides over the private room which connects with both the bar lounge and patio.
Event Perks: Chef Aprile, a well-known restaurateur and MasterChef Canada judge, is available for cooking demos and dining experiences. Curated menus are customized to brand and include interactive stations like a ceviche bar, taco stand and nitro ice-cream parlour.
Capacity: Dining room, 50 seated; Bar lounge, 30; Private dining room, 12; Patio, 60; Chef’s table, 6. Full buy-out, 200
Wine All Day
Location: Paris Paris in the Trinity Bellwoods area
On The Menu: Flavours criss-cross Europe and Asia. Casual day-time dining to late-night snacking items range from à la carte charcuterie choices and other shareables like fried snow crab claws with shrimp and scallop mousse to mains including piri piri roast chicken, all complemented by a thoughtful wine list.
The Space: Occupying a former art gallery, this relaxed, unpretentious wine bar takes its name from the City of Light’s Paris Paris nightclub, famous for its fun, unconventional vibe. The relaxing front-of-house area, piled high with pretty greenery, is visible through the windows of the non-assuming street-front exterior. Inside, exposed brick, a few banquettes and high tops front a curvy wood bar, and skylights pop from the raftered ceiling. Tables and chairs are easily reconfigured for various dining and reception options. Glass-paned doors lead to the open kitchen out back. The space features its own bar and dining table, perfect for intimate private events.
Event Perks: Add in a tutored wine tasting that showcases the bar’s focus on predominantly organic, biodynamic and natural vintages from small producers.
Capacity: Front bar, 45 seated; Back room, 12 seated, 25 standing. Full buy-out is available, 70 standing
Location: Goldie on King Street West
On The Menu: Elevated bar snacks receive a tapas-style twist for sharing, like lamb meatballs in a harissa emulsion and duck confit wontons with miso mayo. Cocktails span the classics plus invite sipping adventure with unique signature drinks.
The Space: Residing in a century-old townhouse, Goldie’s spare but warm design is ’70s and ’80s inspired with loads of wood paneling and plush pink and jewel-hued velvet club chairs and banquettes. The cocktail bar-restaurant commands the main level. A mirrored staircase, awash in hot-pink neon lighting, leads to a second-floor lounge served by its own bar and DJ. There’s also a swank private party room with perimeter seating. The venue is available for full buy-out, however, events are best suited to one level or the other.
Event Perks: The bar’s master mixologist will craft a signature cocktail based on event theme or brand colours.
Capacity: Main level, 75 seated, 130 standing; Second floor lounge, 60 seated, 110 standing; Private room, 30 seated
Location: Kōjin in the Financial District
On The Menu: Open-flame hearth cooking, Latin American-style, infuses local meats and seasonal produce with an incredible depth of wood-fired flavours. Shareable plates range from griddled flatbreads with unique toppings and in-house made sausage boards to premium house-aged beef cuts, grilled seafood and delicious smoke-charred sides.
The Space: Aiming to continually engage Toronto diners with new global tastes, Kōjin replaces Shōtō and Daishō restaurants on the top floor of Momofuku Toronto’s glass-cubed University Avenue home. The light-filled, third-storey space is divine. Origami-style fixtures float down from towering ceilings, and tables and comfy maroon leather booths overlook the street. In a nod to Momofuku’s roots, Kōjin is the Japanese god of hearth, which is why the wood-fire grill is centrally stationed with bar seating to watch the action.
Event Perks: Menus are customizable for cocktail or family style service. Chef meet-and-greets as well as cooking and mixology demonstrations are available. Consider a progressive dining event that includes on-site sister resto’s Noodle Bar and Milk Bar.
Capacity: Dining and bar, 90 seated, 75 seats, restaurant only; Large group seating, 9+ seating; Buy-out capacity, 120 standing
Location: Campo Food Hall/Labora Restaurant & Bar in the Fashion District
Menu: Spain flavours a trifecta of services, from takeaway counters to a food boutique and restaurant-bar celebrating authentic tapas and seafood delights. Ingredients are simple, the execution complex. Shareable items include Spanish black truffle chips, serrano ham, octopus grilled over olive wood and paella.
The Space: A black-and-white tiled floor weaves through the food hall’s bustling market to Labora’s tapas restaurant and bar. The market is a destination for fast, delicious eats and curated artisan pantry pick-ups. Beautifully presented wares line the counters of a bakery, salad bar, juice bar, churros ice cream parlour and food shop, all offering a taste of Spain. The restaurant area conjures up a true Spanish tapas bar with its lively, laid-back atmosphere, ample bar seating, moody lighting and wine bottle-lined shelves. There’s a seafood counter, chef’s table by the open-kitchen and a large harvest table for big groups. The set up and flow of the space is event flexible. Use the market’s counters as food and drink stations for cocktails and pre-dinner grazing before settling in for a sit-down.
Event Perks: Host interactive culinary experiences like cooking demonstrations, mixology classes and wine/vermouth tastings, all with a Spanish focus.
Capacity: Full buy-out, 70 seated, 120 standing; Harvest table dining, 18; Chef’s table, 12
Location: Estia in Yorkville
On The Menu: Food inspiration travels Greece, Italy and Spain with coastal-inspired cuisine like fried calamari with wild oregano aioli, Wagyu moussaka, and ricotta gnocchi. Almost everything is created using seasonal Ontario ingredients or made in house. Seafood is brought in daily.
The Space: Located in a two-storey heritage building, Estia’s interior is Old World elegant with a grand glass chandelier and teal and burgundy seating. Velvet, leather and woven rugs add richness. The dining space provides a window on the open kitchen, perfect for watching the cooking around the charcoal grill and wood-fired oven. The second-floor mezzanine overlooks the bar. Signature line drawings fill the restaurant including a curated art wall going up the glass staircase to the second level. Outside offers a large, lush terrace from which to unobtrusively people watch.
Event Perks: An on-site event co-ordinator looks after all details, including menu customization, themed wine-tastings arrangements, DJ bookings, and more. Off-site catering is also available.
Capacity: Main level front-of-house, 48 seated and back-of-house, 12 seated; Second floor, 70 seated; Patio, 80 seated. Full buyout, 200 standing, 250 with patio