We’ve been keeping track of restaurant openings for a very long time. We try to focus on and follow the construction arcs of the ones we believe are going to be especially good or interesting on account of their concepts, locations, and the professional pedigrees of the owners and/or hired guns. The nature of the industry predetermines that not all will be capable of living up to the pre-opening hype. Presented for your ranking consideration, here are five bright and sparkling newcomers that appear to be riding in the right direction…
Kissa Tanto | 263 East Pender St. | CHINATOWN | 778-379-8078 | www.kissatanto.com | From the same people who gave us the award-winning Bao Bei, this thoughtful, second-storey Italian-Japanese hybrid is a wonderfully sultry, sexy new edition to Chinatown. Menus by co-owners/chefs Joel Watanabe and Alain Chow are tasty, confident testaments to their creative compatibility. An idiosyncratic original in every respect.
Juke Fried Chicken | 182 Keefer St. | CHINATOWN | 604-336-5853 | www.jukefriedchicken.com | They’ve been smoking busy since their opening this summer, and for good reason: their gluten-free fried chicken is fantastic, not to mention affordable ($5.50 two-piece; $16 two-piece, half-rack rib and side “Jukebox”; $5 chicken sandwich). Cafeteria style in the day and sit-down service at night, the new, fully-licensed spot is a fun, delicious blast.
Nightingale | 1017 West Hastings St. | DOWNTOWN | 604-695-9500 | www.hawknightingale.com | Chef David Hawksworth’s new restaurant stands astride the Financial District’s food and drink options like a colossus, serving up a diverse selection of Mediterranean dishes in a two-level, upscale (but not too upscale) Studio Munge-designed beauty. Spot on pizzas and pastas don’t stray far from the traditional. Superb desserts. Artful service.
Fable Diner | 151 East Broadway | MOUNT PLEASANT | (604-563-3463 | www.fablediner.com | What if a high end chef ditched the tweezers and brought refined cooking sensibilities to the diner milieu? We see it in occasional pop-ups, but chef Trevor Bird of Kits’ famed Fable Kitchen has done it for real, and it’s awesome. Decadent milkshakes? Check. Cheap burgers? Absolutely. Fried chicken? Like you wouldn’t believe.
Crowbar | 646 Kingsway | FRASERHOOD | 604-336-2769 | www.crowbareastvan.com | Excellent cocktails go without saying at this dark, diminutive, drinks-forward hideaway (ex-L’Abattoir bar manager William Johnson is a co-owner), but it’s addictive bar snacks double the appeal. In addition to tabling what just might be the best damn burger in town (off-menu), they play a surprisingly satisfactory yakitori game.
Did we miss your favourite new spot? Let us know via @scoutmagazine