A three-level, 11,000 square foot restaurant has opened at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Canadian flagship. Operated by Oliver & Bonacini, the new Leña drink/dining experience occupies the southeast corner of Saks Queen Street/CF Toronto Eaton Centre, and gives Saks a desirable Yonge Street entrance.
Leña’s main level includes a street-level 96-seat dining/bar area with an octagonal bar constructed around an original heritage pillar with backlit etched glass, floor-to-ceiling windows and original marble-paneled walls. An 86-seat dining room is located half a flight upstairs, also accessed from an entrance within Saks’ accessories hall. The lower-level features a 70-seat lounge featuring rich leathers, black stone, brass, marble accents and furnishings. The upper level features a 44-seat private dining room. The space was created by DesignAgency with a nod to South American style, while enhancing existing art deco qualities of the former Simpson’s department store’s Richmond-Yonge Street entrance.
The concept was spearheaded by renowned Chef Anthony Walsh, paying homage to his mother-in-law, Elena. The menu showcases South American cooking with Spanish and Italian influences. “We see the food identity at Leña as an expression of matriarchal ideals at the table – an ode to the excitement and love of that style of cooking that percolates in all of us cooks,” said Mr. Walsh.
Breakfast includes a variety of sweet pastries, including Medialunas, Alfajores and Palmitos (all under $5), as well as savoury Sustancia such as Breakfast Empanadas ($17) with poached eggs and chimichurri; Seville Orange Crepes ($14) with ricotta, toasted almonds and vincotto; and Lala’s Tortilla ($6) with Yukon Gold potatoes, Spanish onion and bay leaf.
Lunch includes items such as the 12 Vegetable Escabeche ($15) with milk mayonnaise, charred and raw vegetables, and tomatillo and coriander dressing; Wellington County Butler’s Steak ($28) with grass-fed beef, fried quail eggs, sherry aïoli, chimichurri and yucca fries; and Argentinian sandwiches, including a Fugazza with fior di latte, tomato and arugula ($17); and a Pan de Miga with ham, provolone and green olive pesto ($16).
Dinner includes Chef Walsh’s take on traditional entrées, such as Pollo Doña Aurora ($27) with organic chicken, laurel, lemon and saffron braise, mushrooms and potato purée; and Ricotta Cannelloni ($22) with nutmeg, green pepper tomato sauce, and Idiazabal cheese; as well as a large selection of shareable small bites including Smoked Jamon Croquetas ($12), Blistered Padrón Peppers ($10), and Salt Cod Fritters ($11).
Leña’s all-day bar features a wine list of Argentinian, Chilean and Spanish varietals; seven taps focusing on local, seasonal, craft brews; and a selection of handcrafted Latin-inspired cocktails including the Torreón ($12), a sangria named after the most popular Temple of Light above Macchu Picchu, made of fresh watermelon juice, ginger beer and Torrontés wine; the Mobranca ($12), a “Muddle-less Mojito” made of Havana Club, lime, tonic and Brancamenta, an Italian digestif known for its minty, woody and nutty flavours; and the Leña ($16), a South American take on the Old-Fashioned.
Leña is open for daily breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. For hours of operation or to make a reservation, visit LenaRestaurante.com or call 416.507.3378.
Saks fifth Avenue’s flagship Toronto food experience will continue this fall when Pusateri’s Fine Foods opens a 25,000 square foot Saks Food Hall this fall. The concourse-level space will feature both grocery and dining options.