Assembly Chef’s Hall is a unique food space that opened in Toronto this year, bringing top-quality eats to the city, without restaurants having to pay the steep rent of a downtown restaurant. With so much diversity and choice in the hall, you’ll leave feeling full and satisfied.
Toronto’s top chefs, restaurateurs, and baristas assemble here to cook the best dishes. This oasis of good food is the first food court with upscale menus in a fast, yet casual setting. But categorizing it as a food court is a disservice to the Assembly. In fact, it’s much different than any food court you’ve been to. At this location, you’ll find Toronto’s best chefs presenting their signature dishes, including global cuisines from seventeen unique food and beverage vendors, along with a diverse range of craft beers and spirits. It’s a culinary experience like you’ve never enjoyed before. In this post, we prove a detailed breakdown of each restaurant covering the chef, the dishes they offer, and everything else you need to know about each restaurant in Assembly Chef’s Hall.
What Are The Different Restaurants At Assembly Chef’s Hall?
Toronto’s new 18,000-square-foot emporium is open for breakfast lunch, dinner and drinks. The hot new space under the Toronto Google building houses 18 vendors from some of the city’s top restaurateurs, with a beer hall and a wine bar, AND a patio. Here are the restaurants you’ll find at Assembly Chef’s Hall:
1. Bluenose Lobster
With an expansive selection of lobster rolls, this place will not disappoint seafood lovers. The executive chef at Little Anthony’s, Garth Legree runs this place and only serves lobsters straight from Nova Scotia. Legree seeks to provide a true, fresh lobster experience you would find in the Maritimes.
Chef: Garth Legree
Offerings: Nova Scotia lobster in the form of bisque, rolls, Thermidor, and more.
2. Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
Barbecued meats, brisket, and pulled pork- do I need to say any more?
Pitmaster Lawrence La Pianta takes a “regional approach” to his cooking and describes it as “Toronto style barbecue”. His baby back ribs are inspired by St. Louis, brisket inspired by Texas, and pulled pork inspired by North Carolina. He recommends a very light amount of sauce because the seasoning and smoky flavours are what make his meat so delicious.
Pitmaster-owner: Lawrence La Pianta
Offerings: Pit-smoked meats, including brisket, baby back ribs, and pulled pork, with classic sides like mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, etc.
This Mexican restaurant is headed by Elia Herrera. It serves the BEST tacos with tortillas made in-house. Colibri is a scaled-down version of her King St. restaurants, Los Colibris and El Caballito. Tacos, including lamb barbacoa, crispy Baja fish, and beef alambre, are placed on tortillas fresh-pressed right at the booth. You can top them off with one of eight housemade hot sauces.
Since coming to Canada in 2003, Herrera has evolved from pastry chef to executive chef at Los Colibris in downtown Toronto. You also might recognize her on the recent season of Top Chef Canada.
Chef: Elia Herrera
Offerings: Hand-pressed corn tortillas with regionally-inspired fillings and a variety of house-made salsas.
4. The Good Son Pizza
They bring thin crust authentic pizza to the financial district
All dough is made and rolled at Good Son’s location on Queen before being brought to Assembly and spread to order.
Tip: Try the crowd favourite eggplant ricotta salata pizza with fior di latte cheese, garlic, oregano, and basil.
Chef-owner: Vittorio Colacitti
Offerings: Made-to-order pizzas
Hibiscus boasts the best salads. They have been at Kensington for many years and now they’ve opened up in Assembly Chef’s Hall. Find treats like sea buckthorn ice cream and filling meals like their “42-ingredient salad” with quinoa, sweet potato, broccoli, lentil, kelp noodles, and much more.
Fun fact: Over the last four years, Chef Elena has worked to develop several unique dairy-free ice-cream flavours in gluten-free cones which appeals to sweet-toothed visitors of Hibiscus.
Chef-owners: Elena Malkov and Andrey Malkov
Offerings: Gluten-free, organic, vegan, and vegetarian dishes.
6. Little DaiLo
Offers Asian Cuisine with gourmet dishes like glazed confit duck wings and truffle fried rice. At Little DaiLo, options include crisp Peking duck wings, truffle fried rice, and Asian slaw. Specializing in New Asian Cuisine, DaiLo has gained critical acclaim in the restaurant industry, including the top ten best restaurants in Toronto.
Chef: Nick Liu
Offerings: Asian dishes made using French techniques such as truffle fried rice and Peking duck wings.
7. Little Khao
Serves Thai dishes and have partnered with Millie Creperie to create a bag of popcorn that will guarantee ultimate snack-age. With authentic ingredients imported from Thailand, Little Khao prepares each dish to order using only the freshest, high-quality ingredients.
Chef: Chantana “Top” Srisomphan
Offerings: Thai street food.
8. Love Chix
The neighbourhood favourite for crispy fried chicken with a touch of Canadian infused flavours. This place serves buttermilk fried chicken tossed in honey hot sauce. They also have a location in the Junction Triangle.
Pro Tip: Try the fried Brussel sprouts, especially if you aren’t a Brussel sprout lover. After eating these, you’ll fall in love with the unpopular vegetable.
Chef-owner: Paul Marshall
Offerings: Crispy fried chicken.
9. Mira Mira
Serves mainly vegan dishes like BBQ okra, kimchi chicken dish packed with micronutrients and deliciousness. Chef Becarevic perfectly balances healthy and flavourful.
Mira Mira has many feminine touches, such as copper lights and flowers painted over pink backdrops. The location at Assembly Chef’s Hall is decorated with fresh fruits, plants, jars of nuts and seeds, with bold colour and natural wood countertops.
Chef-owner: Amira Becarevic
Offerings: Healthy options, including matcha-chia pudding, barbecued okra bowls, and honey-kimchi chicken.
10. Ramen Isshin
A craze among Torontonians. Get your fix at this location instead of going to Little Italy to their other location. Offering a half-dozen noodle soup options, plus classic snacks like takoyaki and gyoza.
Chef-owner: Koji Zenimaru
Offerings: Authentic Ramen.
11. Resto Boemo
Gnocchi at its BEST. Ivana Raca and Chopped Host Brad Smith bring Italian to Chef’s Assembly like no other.
Fun Fact: “Boemo” means no limitations to the imagination. Resto Boemo represents the birth of a new, improved “Free’er” chef.
Chef-owners: Ivana Raca and Brad Smith
Offerings: Contemporary Canadian comfort food.
Reyna brings an array of cuisines from Lebanon, Spain, Greece, and Turkey to Assembly Chef’s Hall. It’s the little sister of Bar Reyna in Yorkville, and known as an upscale takeout spot. The menu features snackable dishes including lamb-stuffed baklava, avocado toast, crispy chickpea-topped salads, and charcuterie plates. Reyna stands out from the crowd by showcasing a massive slab of live-edge wood at their space, as well as a bright red wall with a hand-painted mural of ‘Reyna.’
Owner: Nicki Laborie
Offerings: Mediterranean sharing plates and mezze, including charcuterie and pintxos.
With many years of experience, Chef Jackie Lin brings two new concepts to Toronto, Tachi & Shari, offering Japanese cuisine consistent with his passion for excellence and authenticity.
Tip: you need a reservation to try the sample of the chef’s menu of eleven sushi pieces and one hand roll. Here, you’ll find a tasting menu-oriented counter that’s exclusively standing room only. Guests are welcomed in half-hour windows, with only eight people allowed at a time. Inside, you’ll be served one piece of extremely fresh saltwater sushi after the next at the counter. The whole experience costs around $45.
Fun Fact: Nick Liu, chef of DaiLo says his favourite places in the hall to grab a bite are Tachi (for the omakase) and Shari (for the chirashi), calling their rice the best in the city.
Chef-owner: Jackie Lin, not pictured (Shoushin)
Chef: Tsuyoshi Yoshinaga
Offerings: Sushi, every 30 minutes for eight guests at a time.
Shari serves premium fish in a more relaxed way with a service counter where you can pick up chirashi boxes featuring top-quality sushi served on a bed of the perfectly-mixed sushi rice (which means shari in Japanese!)
Chef-owner: Jackie Lin
Offerings: Chirashi sushi, assorted sushi ingredients placed over a bowl of seasoned sushi rice.
15. Bulldog Coffee
“‘Coffee is my life. It’s in my blood,’ says Stuart Ross, Ontario’s first Barista Champion and arguably the godfather of coffee in Toronto.” – Assembly
Fun Fact: Bulldog maintained its title as Best Coffee Shop for 13 years and was featured several times in various publications such as the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.
Barista-owner: Stuart Ross
Offerings: Unique espresso-based drinks, made using beans from Africa, Central, and South America.
16. Tokyo Smoke
Tokyo Smoke offers coffee for the more sophisticated smoker. This place is for the coffee lovers and weed lovers of Toronto as they serve drip coffees as well as smoking accessories. They also offer baked goods from Forno Cultura, bite-sized protein snacks, and much more.
This place is “for those who embrace high design and alternative states of mind.” – Assembly
Barista: Ali Dressler
Offerings: Coffee beverages as well as treats and sandwiches from Forno Cultura.
The original Nutbar is located in Rosedale and attracts many gluten-free and vegan Torontonians. They serve coffee, sandwiches, and smoothies that are healthy and guilt-free!
Fun Fact: Noticing a growing market for on-the-go health foods that taste great, Kate Taylor Martin left her Public Relations job to become a holistic nutritionist at Nutbar.
Nutritionist: Kate Taylor Martin
Offerings: Superfood snacks and drinks.
18. Short & Sweet Bakeshop
Calories? What calories? If you have a sweet tooth, Short & Sweet is the place for you at Assembly Chef’s Hall. You can get their signature cake service which includes sparklers, music, and a giant cake for around $50. Short and Sweet worked with Montreal street-artist Antoine Tavaglione to create a bold pink wall for their space which attracts most passbys. They imported pink Italian marble, are known for their bright neon sign that says, “Booty By Cupcakes”.
Chef-owners: Ness and Orli Levy
Offerings: Handcrafted classic desserts topped with sweet buttercream, colourful sprinkles, and Belgian chocolate shavings.
The Beer Hall
The DJ-booth equipped beer hall has space to host live events, and TVs to broadcast sports games.
The Wine Bar
The wine bar serves a selection of wines and spirits. The whole space is licensed, so guests can grab a drink at either bar and find a seat wherever they like.
Are There Gluten Free Options At Assembly Chef’s Hall?
Hibiscus is a good option if you’re gluten-free, serving organic, vegan, and vegetarian options to choose from.
Their soup and salad combo is one of their most popular orders which includes a soup of the day and a smaller portion of their 42-ingredient salad.
For dessert, don’t miss Hibiscus’ selection of organic vegan ice cream made entirely without dairy. This treat has coconut or mung bean milk to make the unique flavours like sea buckthorn and spirulina blueberry.
Another great option is Assembly’s Nutbar where you can find food made with the most natural ingredients.
What Are The Hours At Assembly Chef’s Hall?
Mon-Wed 7AM – 10PM
Sunday hours coming soon. Keep in mind that each restaurant has independent hours.
Beyond A Culinary Experience
Managing partner and lead of this food emporium, Andreas Antoniou believes, “The offerings, created by 17 of the city’s best chefs — some known, some unknown — are like a food court in heaven if God was into fried chicken, sushi, and barbecued ribs.”
He says, “It’s giving people downtown, finally, the choice to have that experience that you’d normally have to leave the core to enjoy. You’re doing it under one roof, and you’re doing it in a way that the cumulative sum of those chefs comes together to form this amazing experience.”
He explains the versatility of the food hall, “I know when I go out, it’s always a debate about what you’re going to have,” he says. “My friends who are vegan have multiple options in this space. My friends who want omakase – they’re able to do that. You can be in and out in 10 minutes – or you can have your 30th birthday here for three hours and have a cake brought over to your table from Short & Sweet.”
This exciting food hall has direct access to the PATH network of shops and restaurants. The space is shared with chefs that have spent 2 and a half years developing this concept, sharing the cost of amenities, such as janitorial services and events programming.
However, the space is not just about food, it’s also largely about design. It boasts gorgeous, dimly-lit chandeliers, dark-stained wooden tables, as well as an in-house DJ. And you cannot miss the grand 52-foot mural, painted by Toronto’s very own Kathryn Macnaughton.