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We spent the day walking and shopping all over the city of Toronto, from the downtown core all the way through to Parkdale. With tired feet and hungry stomachs, we walked just a couple blocks more to wait in line at Grand Electric. Arriving only two minutes before opening at 6 pm, a huge line had already amassed outside its wooden doors. A good thirty to forty people had gathered in anticipation of being among the first to be seated that Saturday night. We were hopeful but dubious as to whether or not we would get in on the first round.
Foregoing dinner for the legendary Grumann tacos, our stomachs were rumbling with hunger. As soon as we spotted the bright yellow Nouveau Palais sign on Bernard street, we promptly made our way inside and eagerly made our orders. While most places with shabby exteriors repel potential customers, the Nouveau Palais does the opposite, attracting people from all across the city (we made a special trip!). The layout and the furniture of the place resembles a diner, with worn leather banquettes and booths, dim lighting and a long bar, except it also has a DJ booth, out-of-this-world food and an unmistakable cool.
Amidst a wealth of synagogues, Kosher grocery stores and smoked meat delis in Outremont sits the Bistro Le République. Advertising a deal for every day of the week, Tuesday’s special offered us $15 gourmet burgers, including two pints of Creemore Springs beer – not bad at all, if you ask me. Its enormous terrasse curves around the corner of the street, almost doubling the seating area inside. Raised on a platform, the wooden benches (softened by cushions) allow not only for a great view of the surrounding area but can also serve as an observation deck for some superb people watching (Shtreimel wearing Hasidic Jews, multiple children in matching clothes all riding scooters, well dressed and good looking youth etc).
Restaurant Jane, along with Liverpool House, Joe Beef, McKiernan and others have collectively helped revitalize Griffintown from a slowly decaying neighborhood to a trendy little borough just south of downtown. With metro stations Lionel-Groulx and Georges-Vanier close by, the area is accessible and is surprisingly full of sweet little cafes with terrasses out back and shops selling knick knacks, antiquities and the sort. With a seasonal cocktail list (the lavender martini served in the winter time is divine) and a menu that changes almost imperceptibly (different pizza toppings), Jane sticks with several core items that truly embody what the restaurant stands for and explores around them. Going for understated sophistication with its glossy dark wood tables and floors, high ceilings and small but spacious space, Jane exudes a relaxed atmosphere, playing the likes of Radiohead, the Black Keys and Sublime.