One of the indicators of a popular, hot-shot city is its restaurant and dining scene. By that measure, Toronto is doing exceedingly well. The city is bursting with some of the finest eating places, and in keeping with its multicultural ethos, now boasts of several exclusive and chic restaurants that cater to niche regional cuisines.
A lot of the credit for infusing an element of glitz and panache into Toronto’s dining experience goes to dashing restaurateurs, Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji, who between them own some of the city’s best-known restaurants and night clubs. The couple has seen infinite success, and only a mild failure with their grand Japanese steakhouse, Nao that received mixed reviews when it opened two-and-a-half-years ago in the plush Yorkville neighbourhood. Equipped with long experience in the field, an unbridled passion for the hospitality business, and an admirable resilience, the duo quickly put the disappointment behind them, and decided to turn things around by putting a new plan in place. The location (90 Avenue Rd) where Nao Steakhouse stood was too good to give up. Instead, the owners wisely refurbished the place and overhauled the menu. Thus was born Estia – a high-quality Mediterranean dining place, inspired by the coastal offerings of Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain.
Estia is Getting Rave Reviews Everywhere
Both Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji are well-traveled and have such an in-depth understanding of the hospitality business that they are able to think ahead of the curve and get an accurate sense of the upcoming trends. Mediterranean cuisine is gaining immense popularity internationally due to its use of fresh ingredients, lightness, home-cooked taste, and simplicity. It is no surprise that within a short time, Estia is already a local favourite in Yorkville, with patrons being greatly impressed.
Estia has many trump cards up its sleeve. The restaurant’s big focus is on fresh, home-made, locally-sourced ingredients. The bread, cheese, butter, yogurt, pasta, sauces and desserts are cooked in-house from scratch, lending each dish a taste and savour that lingers on long after a meal is over. Most of the ingredients are sourced from Ontario farmers’ markets, while the premium fish is flown all the way from NZ and Greece. The other highlight of Estia is its traditional kitchen that uses wood-fired ovens, bringing a smoky earthiness and a nourishing, home-cooked flavour to every dish.
Fresh, Home-Cooked Flavours Define Estia
Estia encourages family-style sharing, allowing patrons to order menus in whole and half portions. The restaurant’s star executive chef Ben Heaton is especially proud of their wood-oven bread selections that include red fife, roasted red pepper focaccia, sumac crackers, and halloumi. This fresh and fabulous bread is served along with great dips and accompaniments like warm olives, crumbled feta, smoked melanzana and za’atar olive oil. This is a great start to any meal, and we recommend that you do not miss it! Remember that seafood lies at the core of Mediterranean cooking, and Estia aces this part by bringing in the freshest and choicest of fish to their kitchens daily. The one to definitely try is the Madai snapper – a minimal but insanely flavourful dish, grilled on the oven for just 4 minutes over the fire and seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and caper leaves. A great side dish is the crisp wood-oven potatoes – glazed in lemon and salsa verde or even the thyme-seasoned Yukon fries. The dessert menu is equally arresting. Try their Kataifi Tart – a nest of light semolina custard with pistachio, almonds, walnuts, and cardamom. The other top favourite is the incredibly light Yogurt Cake served with fresh Ontario strawberries, rhubarb cordial and a dollop of yogurt.
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It’s not a surprise that a chic Mediterranean restaurant like Estia is now part of the Yorkville neighbourhood. The place is ideal for those who seek a lush and adventurous cultural landscape. If you are looking to buy a house in one of Toronto’s most celebrated downtown locations, consider The Davies’ new condo project at Avenue Rd. Just nine stories tall, the condo affords an intimacy as well as privacy not easily found elsewhere. With plush indoor and outdoor amenities, and a leafy surrounding courtesy the Robertson Davies Park, the condo spells absolute luxury, convenience and serenity.
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