Matt Sullivan has spent nearly a decade-and-a-half in the kitchen, working everywhere from a Michelin-starred restaurant to his current role as the corporate chef of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. While some may say that working a corporate job has made Matt lose touch in the kitchen, that statement just makes him all the more determined to win this year’s title of Top Chef Canada.
Matt’s interest in elevating the food programs under his current title has made him pay closer attention to the modern and versatile menus out there. So when he’s not hustling in the kitchen, here are the hotspots where this chef loves to enjoy someone else’s cooking.
This decade-old establishment is so successful it doesn’t even need a website. Featuring a cozy dining room and a slew of small plates inspired by Asian and Pan-Latin cuisines, Foxley and chef Tom Thai are considered Toronto culinary masters.
“It’s a staple in Toronto. It has been for 10-plus years and it (hopefully) will be for a long time [to come],” says Sullivan. “Get the beef cheek and sea bream ceviche. The servers have all been there forever and are the best in the city.”
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Jenn Agg’s eclectic eatery features North American cuisine, a topnotch wine bar, an open kitchen and a secret sake service to boot. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the creative team has a pretty impressive resume too; chef Mitchell Bates (who co-owns with Agg) previously worked at Momofuku Ko and Shoto, which means he has the goods to back this menu up.
“[It’s] maybe the best food I had in all of 2017,” Matt says. “Mitch Bates is a Jedi and Jen Agg’s service is always on point. It’s just an amazing overall restaurant that everyone who lives in Toronto or visits here should check out.”
It’s industrial meets classic in Chef Rob Gentile’s follow-up eatery to Buca. This spinoff features seasonal small plates, skewers, bites and handcrafted cocktails that make it a great spot for small gatherings and celebrations. With an open kitchen, a beautiful dining room and a gorgeous patio, this is another hit with Torontonians and tourists alike.
“I have been so many times and never get tired of the food and service there,” Matt says. “The last time I was by myself, I spent two hours there and ate nine dishes!”
Locals have long enjoyed the house-made pasta and pizza from this favourite haunt, which features takeout or dine-in options and plenty of other Italian favourites like arancini, burrata and grilled seafood.
“Everything on the menu is awesome there — Johnny Poon is my favourite chef in the city; I can eat his food all day,” Matt says. “They also have a great wine menu and cocktails.”
There are no reservations at this fun spot, where intimate hangouts and shared experiences are pretty much required. With an ever-changing menu and special, handcrafted cocktails, the space is further elevated by a carefully curated soundtrack.
“[It’s] such a fun spot to eat at with a group of friends. The service is super professional and friendly and the food is stupid good,” Matt says.
Consider something different for breakfast today. Delicious plates starting at 8am, everyday. #barraval #breakfast #squidink #Repost @dialaskitchen with @repostapp ・・・ Barcelona bound at the end of the month, but tapas at @bar_raval especially the shrimp and romesco win my heart every time. Sharing laughs with @my.miaou over lunch has the same effect ????????