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Kanida Chey: top picks for best new Toronto restaurants

Monday, June 27, 2016 8:03
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Home to 2.79 million people originating from all around the globe, Toronto, Ontario has the distinction of being the most multicultural city in the world. With the most diverse population of residents of any global nation, it is no surprise Toronto’s cultural mosaic has produced some of the best restaurants in the country, and arguably the world.

Reflecting the city’s ability to amalgamate different cultures and identities harmoniously, Toronto’s food scene features an eclectic array of restaurants, food trucks and eateries where diners can find anything they desire.

In a city full of culture Toronto is also one of the trendiest cities in Canada, this also extends to the city’s food scene.

Fried chicken and its various adaptations is one of the most popular trends of late. Whether served with an Asian twist at the many Asian fusion restaurants or paired with waffles, and served in sandwiches, you can find some version of fried chicken everywhere.

Among the most popular Toronto spots specializing in fried chicken are The Dirty Bird (, Cluck Clucks (, and Taiwanese chain Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken:

Toronto native and Executive Chef, Kanida Chey, grew up in the southern Ontario city and has built a career working at some of the city’s most well-known establishments, while working alongside many of the city’s notable chefs.

Currently Chey is the Executive Chef at Branca, an Argentinean inspired restaurant he co-founded with childhood friend James Bateman. Chef Chey, who spends his days off exploring Toronto’s rich culinary scene told us his favourite restaurants, and one even serves fried chicken.


Specializing in Japanese cuisine with an American influence, Hanmoto has quickly become a popular destination in Toronto. Opened in early 2015, just west of the downtown core, Hanmoto’s owner is no newcomer to the Toronto food scene. Leemo Han owner of Hanmoto also owns OddSeoul a popular Korean inspired restaurant also in Toronto.

Featuring a fun and clever menu of items that pay homage to Toronto’s diverse culture Hanmoto is taking fusion to new heights. The newest menu addition The Karaage Kid, capitalizes on the popular fried chicken trend, but of course adds some  Japanese flare.

“Hanmoto is Just an edgy bar with great snacks and a great vibe,” said Chef Kanida Chey.


With a name that automatically brings thoughts of the Aurora Borealis, Boralia is a truly Canadian restaurant specializing in serving traditional Canadian fare. Boralia was designed to celebrate the historic origins of Canadian cuisine, while reintroducing a new generation to the traditional cuisine of the country.

The menu draws inspiration from a number of Aboriginal cooking methods and dishes, and also draws on the culinary stylings from early Canadian settlers.

Dishes like, L’éclade, mussels smoked in pine needles served with pine ash butter and cured trout grilled over cedar branches served with gin-Juniper sour cream, pickled wild onion, charred onion and roe, not only showcase traditional cooking methods they also transport restaurant goers back to Canada’s earliest days.

“I really enjoy eating here it’s such a unique experience,” said Chef Chey. “They take recipes that Canadian settlers used and reinvent them with local and modern ingredients.”


One of the most recent additions to the Toronto fusion food scene, Omaw features the culinary stylings of renowned Chef Matt Blondin, who has had a successful culinary career in the city.

“I Love this spot, the food is tasty and Chef Blondin always creates modern and progressive food,” noted Chef Kanida Chey, Executive Chef at Branca.

The menu at Omaw is a distinct blend of the American (North and South Carolina to be exact) cuisine and Canadian charm. Dishes like shrimp and grits (one of Blondin’s signature dishes) and beef short ribs are among the most ordered dishes.

“I had the pleasure working for him at Colborne Lane a few years back,” said Chey.

To this day I’m still inspired by his creations.”

In addition to the great restaurants in Toronto there is also a robust food truck scene that offers some exciting meals on the go. Over the summer months Toronto also hosts a number of food festivals and events, making it truly an international foodie’s dream city.

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