Daily bite: Babel Restaurant opens in Toronto

The latest from Oliver and Bonacini offers vibrant hearth-based Mediterranean fare

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This weekend, Oliver and Bonacini debuted its latest restaurant concept in uptown Toronto. Highlighted by its eye-catching 12-ft. live-fire hearth, Babel Restaurant offers a cultural mosaic of vibrant Mediterranean ingredients, flavours, and culinary traditions from the mind of Oliver and Bonacini corporate executive chef Anthony Walsh

Babel aims to appeal to all the senses. The cozy, modern interior--brought to life by DesignAgency--features a yellow agate stone bar with smoked mirrors, sculptural ribbed booths in velvet and distressed green leather, and a 45-ft. wall mural by Moss and Lam studio. The menu is inspired by a variety of cuisines from countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, with many of its extensive offerings cooked over an open flame.

“Hearth-based cooking is at the heart of Babel,” says chef Walsh. “There’s no better sensation than walking into a restaurant where you can smell the smoke and see the flames. We’re excited to be able to share this sensory experience with our guests, all within a relaxed dining space.”

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In charge of executing chef Walsh’s vision is chef de cuisine Aviv Moshe, whose lifelong immersion in Israeli culinary culture--including cooking alongside celebrity chef Moshe Segev--was a perfect fit for the North York restaurant. 

“My goal is to blow guests away with flavour, whether it’s a colourful and crunchy salad with a punchy vinaigrette or a slow-cooked charcoaled lamb shoulder oozing with warmth and spice,” says chef Moshe. “This type of cooking is home for me, so I am thrilled to be able to show off what I know best.” 

Like the cuisine, Babel’s beverage selections lean heavily on Mediterranean influence, with wine varietals from France, Italy, Greece, and Portugal, beer selections such as Tuborg and Mythos, and a Turkish coffee program set to launch in the relatively near future. 

Babel offers half-priced bottles of wine on Thursdays and Sundays, specially priced Prosecco on Fridays, and specially priced wine on tap on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.