Where to treat your Valentine for dinner this Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air and the city of Toronto is one of the world’s best cities to wine and dine your significant other. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, INK Entertainment and its restaurant properties have specials and prix fixe menus sure to swoon whoever your Valentine may be.

Akira Back

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 Named one of the OpenTable 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada for 2020, it’s a no-brainer that this Japanese-Korean fusion spot should be at the top of your list for Valentine’s Day dinner. Akira Back will have a 6-course prix fixe menu for $110 a person.

 

Byblos

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 With two locations in Toronto (Uptown and Downtown), you have double the chance of snagging a table at this Mediterranean hot spot. Better hurry though – The $85 prix fixe menu features the Short Rib Kebab, Black Truffle Rice, Ras el Hanout Black Cod and more.

 

Estia

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 The Yorkville spot for Ottoman Cuisine, which embraces Greek and Turkish fare, has an $85 prix fixe menu with wine pairings for an additional $45. Featured items on the menu include Lamb Adana, Wagyu Moussaka, Cured Yellowtail and more.

 

FIGO

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 The Italian inspired cuisine restaurant will have a Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu for $75 with additional wine pairings for $35. We cannot think of a more romantic meal than pasta and wine.

 

KOST

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 The Baja Peninsula inspired spot on the 44th floor of Bisha Hotel will have a 3-course prix fixe menu for $95 a person. With this and the best view in the city, what could more romantic?

 

Patria

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 Spice up your Valentine’s dinner with this King West Spanish tapas spot. Patria will have a $85 prix fixe menu with an additional $45 for wine pairings.

 

Sofia Restaurant & Bar

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 Also named one of the OpenTable 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada, Sofia is celebrating Valentine’s Day for three nights. The Love, Sofia series happens from February 13th to 15th and will feature specials with lovers in mind. With its lush interiors and secluded aura, Sofia is also at the top of our list for some one on one time with your love.

 

 

 

 

TIFF Recap: The Personal History of David Copperfield Premiere at Weslodge

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars were spotted at ICONINK’s Weslodge last night to celebrate the world premiere of The Personal History of David Copperfield – Hosted by CÎROC Vodka. Directed by Armando Iannucci, the film stars Dev Patel, Academy Award Winner Tilda Swinton, Golden Globe Winner Hugh Laurie, Emmy Nominee Gwendoline Christie, Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw in an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic autobiographical novel. Before the screening at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the cast including Dev Patel dressed sharply in a black suit, Hugh Laurie wearing a blazer and print shirt, Aimee Kelly in a stunning white maxi gown, Morfydd Clark in a striking green silk dress, Aneurin Barnard in a red and black ensemble and Rosalind Eleazar in a stunning blue jumpsuit enjoyed specialty themed CÎROC Vodka cocktails, the Aunt Betsy and The Dickens at the modern saloon.

Guests in attendance dined on Weslodge sliders, crispy chicken sliders, mushroom arancini, vegan butter chicken, sweet potato and lentil fritters, and coconut cream tartlets and vegan chocolate fudge bites for dessert.

 

Your guide to star-spotting at INK venues during TIFF ’19

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is back for 2019 and a star-studded list of guests will flood the city for the festival’s 10-day duration. With TIFF comes the parties, events and interviews, which means the city will be on high alert for the best in celebrity sightings. INK Entertainment venues have been known to host a celebrity or two, so here are a few places in Toronto for your best chance at star-spotting.

Bisha Hotel & Residence

Home to the IMDB Studio at the Visa Infinite Lounge in previous years, Bisha is no stranger to a celebrity or two. The hotel hosts the world’s trendiest guests on the regular and the lobby bar – Mister C – been home to a few pre and after parties for TIFF films. Stars spotted in the past include Julianne Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Allison Janney and Greta Gerwig.

 

Akira Back

Located on the second floor of Bisha Hotel, Michelin-star chef Akira Back, the buzz worthy menu, private dining room and cool decor designed by Studio Munge is enough to draw any celebrity in. Canadian icons Ben and Jessica Mulroney are loyal patrons of the restaurant, as well as Jessica Biel and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been spotted indulging in Back’s signature dishes.

 

KOST

The rooftop restaurant – located on the 44th floor of Bisha Hotel – has unparalleled views of Toronto and was recently dubbed the city’s best patio by BlogTO. Already a popular and Instagrammable destination for locals and tourists, you can bet the stars will want to take in the views and fresh menu, like Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Geena Davis and Martin Short have done.

 

Sofia Restaurant & Bar

While it may not be located right in the heart of TIFF action, Sofia is a pearl nestled in Yorkville and secluded from the hustle and bustle of downtown. The fine-dining destination offers Italian-inspired cuisine and a menu curated by executive chef Rob LeClair. The luxe space holds the charm of modern dining with a dash of Hollywood glamour, as well as a private outdoor patio – This checks every box for a TIFF event. Stars spotted in past include Drake, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum and Dan Aykroyd.

 

Byblos Downtown / STORYs Toronto

Byblos and STORYs are staple spots for star-spotting during TIFF. Byblos – the award-winning Eastern Mediterranean restaurant – has celebrities flocking each night to get a taste of the incredible menu, as well as being host to a few after parties. Sharing the same space, STORYs has been home to many a pre or post screening party, as well as the RBC Lounge. Stars spotted in the past include Jessica Chastain, Brie Larson, Emma Stone, Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey and Bryan Cranston.

 

Patria

Patria is the ultimate spot on King West for private dining and party experiences for TIFF events. The Barcelona inspired restaurant is discreetly tucked away and boasts impressive Spanish flavoured menu items. It has also has been host to a bevy of premiere parties, including an appearance by Ryan Gosling.

 

Weslodge

You cannot miss the big yellow doors when you’re walking down King Street – and neither can the biggest names in Hollywood. Weslodge has been the host to many a TIFF event and has had stars such as Richard Gere and Gary Oldman spotted inside. Matthew McConaughey even booked out the venue last year for an invite-only tasting of his Wild Turkey whisky.

 

Spoke Club

The exclusive members-only club has hosted many galas and premiere parties in the past. Now under the helm of INK Entertainment, Spoke Club boasts a newly renovated private rooftop patio and bar that will be idea for all A-list guests seeking the most exclusive events. Stars spotted in the past include Penelope Cruz, Bradley Cooper, Woody Harrelson and Gael Garcia Bernal.

ICONINK readies for warm weather with Summer Series launch

ICONINK announced today its brand new Summer Series that will take place inside Toronto’s hottest dining destinations during the city’s favourite season.

“Entertaining our guests with unique and inventive experiences is our ultimate objective,” Hanif Harji, CEO, ICONINK. “Our Summer Series was specifically designed as an opportunity for our guests to enjoy our restaurants in memorable ways, including wine events, hands-on culinary classes, special spirit tastings, and more.”

Launching at the end of April, the Summer Series events will take place at ICONINK restaurants and patios:

  • An intimate evening at Mediterranean outpost Byblos Uptown (2537 Yonge Street) on Tuesday April 30th hosted in partnership with esteemed Lebanese winery, Chateau Musar. For $155.00, only 45 guests will have an opportunity to try a delicious five-course prix fixe menu by corporate executive chef Ben Heaton with back vintage Chateau Musar wine pairings. Dinner reservations are for 7PM and tickets are available through the restaurant.
  • A special dinner at the Italian-inspired FIGO (295 Adelaide Street West) hosted by Prince Edward County’s very own mother-daughter duo from Grange of Prince Edward on Tuesday May 7th . Compelling conversation and story telling will be complimented by refreshing VQA wines and chef Ben Heaton’s four-course prix fixe menu. A perfect way to celebrate mom, the event starts at 7PM and tickets are available for $85.
  • Back by popular demand, Patria’s (478 King Street West) paella party will be hitting the streets of King West this summer with personal size paella’s available for purchase.
  • For the first time ever, an intimate group of guests will have the opportunity to make their own croissants at French Made inside the Bisha Hotel (80 Blue Jays Way). Dates and further details for these events to be announced soon!

 

To learn more about ICONINK and its restaurants, head to www.iconink.com

Byblos Uptown set to open December 6th 2018

Hanif Harji, hospitality leader and CEO of ICONINK, and Charles Khabouth, Chairman of ICONINK, are pleased to announce Byblos Uptown – the third location of the brand and first uptown venture for ICONINK – will open to the public on Thursday, December 6th 2018. The new Byblos location will be at the helm of ICONINK Executive Chef Ben Heaton (Patria, Estia, Weslodge, La Societe, Sofia and KOST). 

Similar to its downtown Toronto and Miami locations, Byblos Uptown will be rooted in the cultural and regional mosaic of the Eastern Mediterranean with the sharing style menu extending the brand’s culinary philosophy. Guests can expect to see favourites Turkish manti dumplings, house-made labneh and wood-fired pides on the menu, plus new savoury dishes such as m’taabal, ras el hanout black cod and ora king salmon. A wide selection of local wines, beers and signature cocktails will be available to compliment all dishes.

“We wanted to expand our reach in the city and open a location in Toronto’s north end,” said Charles Khabouth, Chairman, ICONINK. “Not only is this a great opportunity for us to further develop our brand and establish roots in this vibrant neighbourhood, it allows our culinary team to explore new menu ideas that expand our culinary offering,” explained Hanif Harji, CEO, ICONINK.

Transforming the space from previous brand North44 is longtime interior design partner and award-winning firm Studio Munge. “Immersive scale and artisanal touches define Byblos Uptown,” says Alessandro Munge, Principal, Studio Munge. “Where traditional technique meets modern form, guests enter through a 19-foot archway and are embraced by graphic handmade tapestries from Marrakech, woven light fixtures, and dozens of authentic Persian rugs.”

Byblos Uptown will be open seven days a week: Sunday to Wednesday 5pm to 11pm and Thursday to Saturday 5pm to 1am. For more information and reservations, head to the Experience Byblos website.

Stars spotted at INK Entertainment & ICONINK venues during TIFF 2018

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars were spotted at INK Entertainment and ICONINK venues this TIFF to celebrate the premiere of their films. Between junkets and interviews at Bisha‘s IMDB Lounge, premiere parties at Patria, Weslodge, Mira, KOST and Mister C, to numerous spottings at RBC House in STORYS, TIFF stars were seen everywhere this festival.

View highlights in our photo gallery below.

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Photos courtesy of Jason Lynch, Joel Levy and Sonia Recchia (Getty Images).

Estia: Toronto Life’s #8 Best New Restaurant of 2018

Congratulations are in order for the Estia and ICONINK teams as it was just listed at #8 in Toronto Life‘s Best New Restaurants of 2018. Previously NAO Steakhouse, Estia emerged onto the restaurant scene in April of 2017 inspired by the coastal regions of Greece, Italy and Spain. The restaurant prides itself on fresh ingredients, in-house cured meats and wood-fire grilled mains.

Photo courtesy of Dave Gillespie for Toronto Life

Toronto Life’s Mark Pupo lists what he loves about Estia as “the dreamy mellowness of house-made halloumi and roasted grapes; the daily haul of Mediterranean fish, roasted in a wood-burning oven and served on a porcelain platter with a patchwork of pickled caper leaves and gremolata; lamb chops, kissed with char and slathered with tzatziki; and how, as if we were in a family-run Greek tavern in a fishing town, nearly every dish is paired with floral olive oil.” To read the full review, head to Toronto Life’s article here.

To learn more about Estia and to book your reservation, head to www.estiatoronto.com

Follow Estia: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Drake & Diddy enjoy a late-night dinner at Byblos Miami

Miami hot-spot and ICONINK property Byblos hosted a two important guests this week – Toronto’s own Drake and rap mogul Diddy bonded over a late-night meal. Sources say, “Diddy and Drake ended up being the last two people in the restaurant, leaving just before 1 AM”. The two have been in Miami spending time with mutual friend and producer DJ Khaled and rumours are swirling around whether the trio will drop a surprise mixtape.

Heading to Miami in the next few months? Check out one of the city’s top restaurants and experience a meal that will have you staying into the early hours of the morning. Reservations can be made on the Byblos Miami website. If you want to dine like Diddy & Drake, but cannot quite make it to Miami, reservations can be made for Byblos Toronto here.

Follow Byblos Miami: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram