Leña Restaurante is a relative newcomer to the Toronto restaurant scene that has already made a name for itself with its innovative South American cuisine.
Located near the historic Toronto Eaton Centre in the heart of downtown, the restaurant is one of the more recent additions to the Oliver & Bonacini portfolio. Created by chef Anthony Walsh and inspired by his Argentinian mother-in-law, the restaurant is “an ode to matriarchal ideals at the table.” The beautiful lighting and warm, elegant ambiance make this new favourite locale a great choice for an elegant lunch or dinner or weekend brunch.
Walsh is the Corporate Executive Chef at O&B and a highly respected figure in the Canadian culinary scene who has cooked for countless foreign dignitaries including Princess Diana. A featured guest at James Beard House and the first chef to represent Canada at the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore, he trained at Toronto’s own George Brown College. He oversees all properties in the group’s portfolio including the highly acclaimed Canoe on Wellington Street, whose massive success (it has been ranked #3 in Gourmet magazine’s list of Top Tables) has put it on the leading edge of the country’s fine dining scene.
Quality and attention to detail is evident from the simple elegance of the shared plates menu (with items like blistered shishito peppers, quail eggs with spicy aioli and jalepeno and charred calamari). Mains are traditional yet innovative, and include Piri Piri grilled octopus with stewed chickpeas, rapini and lemon; veal Milanese with chimichurri and yuca fries; and Italian-influenced tagliatelle pasta puttanesca. The dessert menu is succinct but offers a delicious variety like churros with warm spiced chocolate sauce, burnt cheesecake with lemon syrup, and an assortment of sorbets and ice creams.
The restaurant also offers a raw bar from Wednesday to Friday featuring oysters, ceviche, and the signature “seafood tower” with branzino tartare and tanner crab legs; $1 oysters from Wednesday to Friday with purchase of a bottle of wine; and “Vino Tuesdays” with half-priced bottles. After dinner or for a different ambiance you can head downstairs to Bar Lala for Latin beats and whimsically named cocktails like Starry Eyes and The Gambler.
Just down the street from us, Leña is a great choice. Come for the flavourful food and drink, stay for the convivial ambiance.