Dobber@TIFF: Best eats on the TIFF festival circuit

Whether you’re standing for hours waiting to catch a glimpse of your favourite Hollywood star on the red carpet or running around town with a handful of tickets, you still need to feed yourself between flicks. Here are my favourite spots to enjoy a fine feast in the heart of TIFF-town.

Pai
Chef Nuit Regular has captivated Toronto’s Thai food fans with her menus at Sukothai, Khao San Road and Sabai Sabai. She recently launched Pai Northern Thai Kitchen on Duncan Street.

Dig in: The papaya salad is perfect for sharing and includes cold noodles, shredded cabbage, pork rinds and shrimp chips. Presentation is perfect with gaeng kiaw wan (green curry with bamboo shoots) served in a cracked coconut, as is khao pad saparot (stir fried jasmine rice) served in a fresh pineapple.

Byblos
Duncan Street is also home to the latest concept from chef Stuart Cameron (Weslodge, Patria). Hungry folks looking to enjoy a taste of authentic Lebanese cuisine find nirvana at Byblos. With Charles Kabouth, an import from Lebanon, running the show, the restaurant has a personality-driven appeal.

Dig in: Try the fresh fig salad adorned with orange blossom honey vinegar, ackawi cheese, kohlrabi and pistachio, or the crispy eggplant with tahini aioli, bayildi sauce and basturma. Or go for the piping hot duck kibbeh with dried fig and date molasses.

Home of the Brave
Leave your calorie counting at the door and prepare for an Americana stoner-inspired bacchanal at Home of the Brave on King Street West. Brought to you by the rag-tag-team from La Carnita, HOTB is full of fun, offering a late-night option for those craving finger-licking-good eats.

Dig in: The fried bologna sandwich features house-made American cheese, toasted pistachios and spicy sour cream, while the Kentucky-fried handshake sandwich is slathered with mayo and buffalo hot sauce.

Luckee
Chef Susur Lee adds food cred to the Soho Metropolitan Hotel with his self-described “nouvelle Chinoise” cuisine at Luckee. Toronto’s favourite celebrity chef has developed a menu that presents Chinese cuisine at its most sophisticated levels — as it is currently practised in Asia.

Dig in: Chicken cheung fun rice roll — a soft rice roll wrapped around crispy tofu, ginger and green onion — is out of this world. The signature Luckee duck is a rare treat served Peking style with Chinese crepes, fresh fixings and sweet hoisin.

Andrew Dobson, September 9, 2014