Toronto’s historic Senator restaurant is opening a wine bar

One of the oldest restaurants in Toronto is expanding this month for the first time in 90 years – and judging by what we know so far, it may very well have been worth the wait.

The Senator, a small but mighty diner tucked just around the corner from Yonge-Dundas Square, is opening its own “upscale French-inspired restaurant and wine bar” in just a few weeks.

Called, quite fittingly, “the Senator Winebar”, the new 24-seat dining room will sit directly atop the iconic Senator Restaurant at 249 Victoria Street – but it’s not merely a second diner.

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The Winebar will serve as a live music venue under the direction of Nicholas Jennings, led by Juno award-winning pianist Julian Fauth, every Friday and Saturday night.

“The music program, alongside the beautifully restored, historic room, which dates back to the 1860’s, will create a truly unique Toronto dining experience,” reads a press release for the new venue.

“Guests will be served dinner until 10 p.m. and then watch the room transform into an old-fashioned, late-night speakeasy.”

Dishes like duck liver mousse, cavatelli gorgonzola and braised veal cheeks by Executive Chef Paul Laforet (Ursa, The Drake Hotel) will highlight local produce and seasonal flavours alongside desserts and cocktails by Steve Song (Canoe, Aria) and Italian mixologist Lorenzo Fattò Offidani, respectively.

Cooler still will be the decor, which includes antique Parisian mirrors and doors, a 1920s Heintzman upright piano, and an actual Prohibition-period bar imported from Cleveland.

The Senator Winebar is set to open on March 15 with dinner service Thursday through Saturday and brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. all weekend long.



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