TOCA by Tom Brodi

What defines Canadian food?  TOCA, in the Ritz Carlton, clears up the mystery.  It is referred to as “rustic Canadiana” which is not only demonstrated in its décor, but the menu as well.

Looking around, the ambiance is warm with the use of organic materials like natural woods.  It is balanced by the use of stone and glass to create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.  Although seemingly somewhat contradictory, “upscale casual” is a good way to sum up the space.  All of the artwork has Canadian roots (mostly Ontario artists).

Some of the features of the dining space are quite unique.  You can’t help but notice the “Cheese Cave” that houses 80% Canadian cheeses and a 20% international selection.  Similarly, the wine cellar has that percentage ratio of Canadian to international wines.  I understand this is the only exception to the restaurant’s Canadiana ideals.

There is also a private dining room that seats up to twelve guests.  The glass walls allow the diners to be a part of the restaurant environment, but the close to sound-proof room, and filmy curtains, give the patrons some privacy at the same time.

Chef Brodi insists on using the freshest possible selection of ingredients.  (the term often used is farm to table).  He has procured such local examples as honey and maple syrup with sustainability in mind.  Regarding seafood, he reaches out to his coastal contacts and brings in fresh fish on a daily basis.

To check out the menus, click here:  http://www.tocarestaurant.com/

The kitchen is spotless.  From the open space considered the “pastry corridor”, to the heart of the action, this is really the insider’s perspective.

The chef’s table has seating for up to 8 guests, and at a minimum of $1800, you can sign the wall of fame.

We took a quick tour of TOCA Bar, which is on the main level, an extension of the restaurant.  Tapas-styled dining for those who just want something to nibble on.  There is even a raw bar and caviar on offer, both which again, adhere to the sustainable dining philosophy.  Moses McIntee is the star bartender and prepares some fancy concoctions (so I’ve heard).

Walking further into the Ritz, is DEQ.  A spacious lounge with it’s very own charcuterie station.  Towards the south, a large outdoor patio space provides an excellent view of the CN Tower.

Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to eat at any of the aforementioned establishments so I cannot give any opinions on the food itself.  If you plan on going, I’m looking forward to hearing about your dining experiences at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto.

One last thing:  What does TOCA mean if you haven’t read/heard about it already?  TO is for Toronto, and CA is for Canada!

For more information on TOCA & DEQ visit the Ritz Carlton Toronto website for a full menu and hours of operation — CLICK

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