Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where To Drink: TOCA Bar @ Ritz Carlton, Toronto

At HUG, we do love our hidden gems, diners and casual eats; however, there is always a time and place for the hip & urban girl to glam up and head out to the classiest place in town...we've heard it's been called something like 'puttin' on the Ritz.'

Approaching the one-year mark and revvin' up for TIFF season, the Ritz Carlton Toronto and its marquee establishments, TOCA and the TOCA Bar, are the standard in fine luxurious indulgence for seafood and cocktails.

It's not necessarily going to be your local, but a visit to the Ritz will be a treat for post-deal-closing apres work drinks, classy pre-theatre cocktails or a 'dress to impress' date location.  We've scoped out the here's what to expect from TOCA Bar:

Not as pretensious as you'd expect; rather, the atmosphere is very warm with lots of friendly smiles and doors opened for you, of course.  Be prepared for a fair share of Bay St. suits and business travellers to take up the lounge.

Be thankful for incredibly flattering lighting and chic mood music to set a tone of palpable classiness.  The tall ceilings give the bar an air of grandeur, but we'd expect nothing less of the Ritz, right? Pony up to the wood and get prime seating in front of the raw bar action and an up-close & personal facetime with the city's finest bartenders.    

The Raw Bar:
If you're in the mood for indulgence (and if you're already at the Ritz, you might as well be), the showstopping head-turner of a Seafood Fountain for Two ($81) is a decadent sight to be seen and tasted of fresh oysters, clams, lobster and Alaskan king crab legs.

All the seafood items are available a la carte and also presented in latin-inspired sharing-friendly tapas style, featuring Seafood Ceviche ($18) and Pulled Pork Tortitas ($14).  If you're going for absolute luxury, you cannot miss a tasting of sustainable caviar with choices from Canadian Sturgeon and US Paddlefish ($85).  Right off the ice, deftly shucked...seafood doesn't get rawer and fresher than this! 
The Cocktails:
TOCA Bar is the residency of undisputably Toronto's premier cocktail innovator and barman.  Moses McIntee (formerly of Ame and Paese) has crafted an ingenious cocktail program of international flavour married with homegrown appreciation for classic preparations and fresh ingredients.  Clever nods to Toronto culture 'mixed' with the classiest of classics can be seen in the 'Streetcar', made with Crown Royal, earl grey-infused Cointreau and bergamot scented sugar.

But a true taste of McIntee's innovation and palate-challenging creatvity has been recognized as one of The Grid's drinks of the summer - Chili-Lychee Collins - dressed with maple glazed chili peppers and pomegranate poached lotus root.  It's only a single example of many drinks outside of the capabilities of your home bar - more reason to leave your cocktail fate in the hands of this master barwizard.
With a throwback to 'Puttin' on the Ritz', we vaguely remember a line that describes 'spending every dime, for a wonderful time'... it's true that a trip to TOCA Bar at the Ritz Carlton Toronto is no waste of dressing your best and totally worth the splurge. We certainly deserve an indulgence every so often and a classy visit for high-quality raw bar offerings and one-of-a-kind cocktail creations are the ultimate hip & urban luxury.
TOCA Bar @ Ritz Carlton Toronto - 181 Wellington St. W. - 416-585-2500
---Michelle Tham
TOCA on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I just discovered how much I like going to hotel lobby bars. Although the drinks are pricey, they make really good ones. I stayed at Royalton in New York over the holidays and my husband and I enjoyed the drinks they had at their lobby bar.

    We plan to check out Toca Bar soon.