Alma

1194 Bloor St. W.
Toronto ON M6H 1N2

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About the Restaurant

For chef Anna Chen’s first stand-alone restaurant, she opted to open a 32 seater in the west end. Blonde wood accents the minimalist room, and soulful tunes play overhead, foreshadowing Chen’s highly elegant take on comfort food. Buoyed by her knowledge from stints at Figo and Scaramouche — plus an upbringing in India — chef has composed a seasonal menu that is distinctly her own. Everything is made in-house, from the charcuterie (salami! Chinese sausage!) to the soy sauce. Salt Spring mussels and pearls of fregola pasta bathe in tomatoey broth, spiked with fennel and Szechuan peppercorn for the occasional kick to the mouth. Addictive sweet potato gets fried in tempura batter and dusted with nori, arriving with spicy togarashi aïoli. The aforementioned soy sauce is found in one of the menu mainstays; a lotus leaf is home to chicken, shiitake ’shrooms and rice that’s cooked in shiitake broth for added earthiness. Crisp nuggets of fermented rapini finish it off. Service is insightful and warm.

By Karolyne Ellacott

Published: January 7, 2019