Toronto’s Riverside Chefs ‘Hot in the Act’

It may be cold where you are but it’s hot in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood! Talented east end chefs – like Eastbound Brewing Co’s Tara Lee, Rony Goraichy of Tabule, and John Sinopoli at The Broadview Hotel’s The Civic restaurant – are cranking the heat in their kitchens and turning January into a much warmer month for Riverside with some sizzling and savoury dishes.

Whether you’re feeling like a fiery full course meal or something small and spicy, here’s how some Riverside chefs are bringing a winter warm-front to for local diners.

At Eastbound Brewing Co. (700 Queen Street East near Broadview Avenue), the hottest dish is the fork and knife fried chicken sandwich tossed in a sweet and spicy buffalo sauce made in-house with the brew pub’s own fermented hot sauce.

“This year I’d like to explore more international spice blends and flavour combinations and play with how they pair with our beers,” says Chef Tara Lee, noting Eastbound’s Fresh Start APA Simcoe and their Let’s Go Exploring IPA pair well with the fork and knife sandwich which is served on a maple bacon pancake bun with smoked cheddar and a 2-egg omelet.

On the other side of Riverside, Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine (810 Queen East near De Grassi Street) chef and partner Rony Goraichy is raising temperatures with his sweet, rich, and warm tomato garlic sauce. This thickly textured mosaic of special seasonings and spices is served with two juicy skewers of Ontario ground mixed lamb and beef with veggies and Lebanese vermicelli rice topped with onions.

In 2018 you can expect more of the same savoury dishes from Tabule’s award-winning menu.

“Fresh, made from scratch, Lebanese dishes, with more healthy vegan and gluten-free options for our guests,” says Rony.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any hotter at The Broadview Hotel, chef John Sinopoli has The Civic restaurant on fire with his Duck Confit and ‘when life gives you lemons make burnt lemon dressing’ special which also features coco bean and braised leek ragout, and pearl onions.

“It’s a classic rendition of a classic,” he says.

Here are some of the other hot dishes and where to try them this winter in Riverside:

Urban House: Thai curry sauce and chili served with pan-fried roti and flatbread are a perfect if you’re looking for a snack with a kick.

Caribbean Sunset: The jerk chicken baked in the restaurant’s homemade pepper sauce will set your mouth on fire.

Prohibition Gastro House: These smoked chicken lollipops featuring Naga Bhut Jolokia pepper, the hottest pepper in the world also known as ghost dust, may cause second-degree burns.

Lan Restaurant: Any one of the vegan, seafood, or meat lovers Vietnamese hot pots full of spicy broth and wholesome ingredients will warm your belly.

The Peasant Table: Crispy sea smelts with a side of spicy bomba are perfect for nibbling.

White Lily Diner: Take the heat home with a bottle of this restaurant’s house-made hot sauce.


Karen Lloyd is a writer, photographer and website designer in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood. This blog is part of the series giving you the inside scoop on Riverside, Toronto. Read other blogs in the series: Riverside PatiosPlaces to Stay in RiversideBrunch Spots, Health & Wellness in Riverside,  Kid-Friendly Riverside, and Event & Catering Spots