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If you’re looking for the ultimate people watching spot in New York, Cafe Gitane is it. It’s known for its unique Moroccan inspired ambiance and laid back cool but the truth is, most of the attention the restaurant gets is from its trendy clientele of celebrities, fashionistas and models. People stop by to chat and gossip, linger over coffee and spend a casual afternoon. Getting in can be difficult – depending on location, wait times can be pretty common.
“Prove that you love me and buy the next round”. Have any words rung truer than that? I think you know the answer. The cheeky little sign sticks out over the restaurant’s entrance, announcing its presence in bright red and white letters, suggesting the place itself might be where you can test that love out. Meet Hawker Bar.
Just around the corner from where I was staying in Toronto over my visiting weekend, L’Ouvrier seemed like a good bet for brunch time food. A friend had been for a party after a TIFF event and had great things to say about the space and the aesthetic of the place. Open to whatever, I was down to check it out – we ended up going for a nice brunch with a couple people.
Popping up just a couple weeks ago, Furco has managed to become wildly popular in a matter of days. Boasting a high-ceilinged, open and industrial type of space, it exudes a sort of laid back cool. It is no wonder that the owners have some connection with Buvette Chez Simone, known for their dominance in the trendy wine bar scene. Let me tell you – Furco’s emergence on the scene was sorely needed. The downtown core is in dire need of decent bars – I think I can name one other place that makes the cut.
There is a distinct New York vibe about Le Cartet. With an upscale gourmet foods boutique at the front of the restaurant, diners are encouraged to check out the goodies while waiting in line during the busy weekend brunch rush or upon leaving the restaurant during regular hours. The trendy design of the place features minimalistic art, colorful ransom lettering of select menu items on the front welcome board and long communal tables where diners sit alongside one another, strangers and friends alike. The hustle and bustle of the place doesn’t take away from the quality of service at all, contrary to what you might think – we were served promptly and courteously from the moment we walked in.
Sparrow is a lovely little bar on upper St. Laurent teeming with well dressed youth and intelligent looking people – the antithesis of Chez Serge, the mechanical bull boasting bar across the street. More along the lines of Snack and Blues, the place serves all kinds of finger foods, a list of cocktails both basic and specialty and a variety of beers. Service is friendly, people are friendly and some of the food is (vegetarian) friendly. If you want a table, I suggest going early – around 10 or 11. After that, it becomes difficult to even find a space to stand as the bar fills up quite quickly after midnight. Having become a favorite in my roster of bars to go to, Sparrow has obviously done well for itself as the owners has recently opened up a full on restaurant a block away called Lawrence. I will be going there tonight, so come back and check out the blog tomorrow!