New to the Oliver & Bonacini family is Leña Restaurante, a restaurant that focuses on South American cooking. Partly at the helm of Leña is O&B Corporate executive chef Anthony Walsh, with whom this restaurant is a homage to his Argentinian mother-in-law.
Right at the corner of Queen and Yonge with entrances right into Saks Fifth Avenue, it is an aesthetically pleasing space in the main dining and bar area. If you see that the main area is completely full, not to worry… there are more seating in the lower level and upper floors.
Leña is opened for lunch, dinner, weekday breakfast and weekend brunch. Sundays however, it closes at 3:00pm so no dinner service.
Clams to share (at market pricing, $14 during our visit) – garlic, olive oil and albariño (a variety of white wine grape). We loved the size of the Manila clams, but the clams on top were a bit tad too salty and the ones on the bottom with the broth were not as salty.
Pan-seared Arctic Char ($29) – corn and fregola gachas, B.C. mussels and tarragon.
Chitarra ($29) – octopus, malbec, bone marrow and lava beans. Chitarra is a variation of spaghetti pasta. The pasta was al dente and the sauce is thick, almost a watered down tomato paste consistency. While it’s a hearty dish, the portion was quite enough for me to not feel completely stuffed.
Dessert was what we were mostly excited about. A couple sitting next to us order a churro dish with chocolate dip. We had to have it too.
Churros ($12) with melted Soma Mayan chocolate. While the churros are covered in sugar, the bitter chocolate offset the sweetness.
Leña Restaurante is a little pricey (location and the fact it’s attached to a luxury department store), but it fills the void if you’re looking for brunch (there’s a lack of brunch options in that area). Get the churros, they are so darn good.
176 Yonge St.