As winter fully sinks its claws into the city, it can be tempting to hide at home and cozy up with comfort food. But December is also one of the best times to dine out. Rather than sticking with your go-to spots, bring your holiday parties and visiting friends and family to some of the city’s newest and buzziest restaurants. Here are 5 excellent new restaurants to try out this month.



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The details: This new coastal Mediterranean restaurant is the latest from executive chef Olivier Le Calvez, the mind behind iconic Toronto spots like Casa Madera in 1 Hotel and El Catrin Destileria in the Distillery district. Located in the newly renovated and reopened Sutton Place Hotel (formerly the King Blue Hotel), Abrielle is the perfect spot for a decadent night out.

The vibe: Unlike other eateries along this part of King, Abrielle is quiet, romantically lit and spacious. The dining room, designed by Toronto firm DesignAgency, features beautiful marble tables, cushy seating and big windows that’ll transport diners to the Italian coast.

The menu: With an expansive menu, there’s something for everyone. The octopus ($42) is a highlight, served with spicy romesco sauce and soft confit potatoes. For a main, try the gianonne chicken ($44), half a roasted chicken with chanterelle mushrooms that soak up the delicious jus. And, don’t sleep on the burrata ($28): it’s served with the most delectable brown butter honey which gives the soft cheese a subtle nutty savouriness that balances the richness perfectly. Their cocktails are also fabulous—one of the best is the Sicilian ($17) which contains melon-flavoured gin for a candy-sweet buzz.

355 King St. West, @abrielleto,

BEAR Steak Sandwiches

The details: Little Italy’s newest sandwich shop already has a cult following. BEAR Steak started as a home business that sprung up during the pandemic in 2021, selling a very limited amount of sandwiches on Sundays. Their first brick and mortar location sells just two sandwiches for take-out only.

The vibe: The small no-frills shop has a nostalgic vibe, like a classic New York pizzeria with its big front window and counter. One thing to note: they close down shop once they’re sold out for the day—so get there early to make sure you secure your sando (they open at noon).

The menu: BEAR Steak Sandwiches sells, predictably, a killer steak sandwich ($18) with tangy chimichurri sauce. The only other sandwich on the menu is also a must-try: roast pork ($16) with rapini and provolone served on a sesame roll and decadent au jus for dipping.

550A College Street, @bearsteaksandwiches



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The details: Located in Bloorcourt, Mhel (which means anchovy in the Jeju dialect of Korean) serves up Korean and Japanese small plates and delicious sake. Opened up by husband and wife duo Hoon Ji and Min Yi (Hoon Ji, who’s worked at Toronto establishments like Pomette and Grey Gardens), Mhel’s ever-rotating menu focuses on local ingredients and high-quality imported products.

The vibe: Intimate and pared-down, with warm wooden furniture, the vibe at Mhel screams “comfort.”

The menu: As the menu changes nearly daily at Mhel, based on what ingredients are available, it’s hard to make recommendations. But, there are a couple dishes that are always available, like a classic, homemade napa cabbage kimchi that’s made by Ji’s mother ($8) that goes well with everything. There are also a couple of cocktails on the menu, like the ume-peach highball ($15) a sweet and tart drink to wash everything down.

276 Havelock Ave., @mhelisanchovy

Cong Caphe


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The details: Cong Ca Phe is the first outpost of this popular Vietnamese cafe chain in Toronto. Located on Bloor, in the Annex, this is sure to be your next coffee date spot.

The vibe: Decorated with vintage furniture, the Toronto location of Cong Ca Phe is designed to be reminiscent of 1960s Hanoi. The floral cushions, big wooden loungey chairs and large windows looking out onto Bloor will make it feel like you’re having a coffee at your best friend’s house.

The menu: If you’ve never had a Vietnamese coffee, opt for a brown coffee ($5.45). It’s like the classic Phin-brewed Vietnamese coffees served with condensed milk to balance out the intensity of the strong coffee. If you’re not feeling coffee, go for the Hanoi Dracontomelon ($6.65) which uses the juice from the sour dracontomelon fruit, simple syrup, muddled ginger and soda water to create a tart refresher.

424 Bloor Street West,

The Rosebud


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The details: Corktown’s newest winebar comes from the minds behind popular Beaches diner Mira Mira. Aside from a number of (obviously) great wines, The Rosebud also has an eclectic food menu, spanning from French bistro classics to dim-sum inspired dishes.

The vibe: Plush booths, a long marble bar and checkered floors come together to create an elevated, homey feeling, diner-esque space. Which makes perfect sense considering the owners’ backgrounds and the location’s past life as the Kingsbrae Diner.

The menu: Nothing goes better with a glass of wine than some shrimp cocktail ($24) which at The Rosebud is served with salmorejo, a cold soup like gazpacho. Then, try the daikon manisse ($17), a take on the turnip cakes you typically find a dim sum restaurants. For something more decadent, order the Iberico pork secreto ($38), which is served with a sweet and sour lechon jus, inspired by the crispy pork that’s common in Filipino cuisine. For drinks, the wine list rotates often, but there’s options for every palette. If you’re a cocktail girly, however, The Rosebud also has a small-but-great cocktail menu featuring a number of different gin martinis ($14).

492 King Street E.,