Victor Restaurant is a must-try in the Entertainment District
Photos: Maria Giuliana
Looking for a place to close your next deal? Where to Take Your Clients is your guide to the most delectable spots in the city. Nimble on its menu and quick to upgrade, Victor Restaurant is a tucked-away treasure in the Entertainment District.
Location: 30 Mercer Street, Toronto, ON
Must-try eats: Sample the perch almondine or the panko crusted eggplant for modern takes on traditional classics and a whole new world of flavour.
Libations: Try a drink from the refined wine and beer list that has been curated(with price and popularity in mind) over time by general manger Kasia Koziara.
Where to sit so you’re in-and-out in 60 minutes: Grab a table by Mercer Street for a quick rendezvous.
Just like it is with the stock market, it’s a good idea to diversify your revenue streams in the food industry—a lesson Victor owner Michael Sullivan took a while to learn. Starting out as a cook, and after a couple closed restaurants, Sullivan opened Savoy Bistro Lounge opposite the Ed Mirvish Theatre but traffic was too reliant on the theatre calendar.
At Victor, located in Le Germain Hotel on Mercer Street, Sullivan finally sees the value of a diversified clientele, having served everyone from the late Hugh Hefner and Julianne Moore during TIFF to a revolving door of fashion and film creatives—“It’s a fun crowd that appreciates good food”—to guests staying at the hotel.
After 12 years and about five renovations in the space, Victor has come into its own. Sullivan worked with DesignAgency on timeless upscale brasserie finishes, and the restaurant now includes a private dining space that seats 50.
(Photo: Holly Walker)
At Victor, the service is inspired by the city and it’s hunger for diverse cuisine. As the appetite has grown, so have the diversity of flavours. “A lot of these young chefs that are coming up now, that have been exposed to all of these different ingredients. You’re seeing it translated to menus around the city,” he says. At Victor, where the kitchen is nimble and the venue is small, the menu changes frequently. Executive Chef Lanny MacLeod features dishes inspired by the French Quarter in New Orleans; utilizing various spices, creating a mélange of flavours. With the right knowledge and a good palate, anything is possible. And that’s the attitude Sullivan hopes to drive home at his restaurant.
“People are great cooks at home now. With all the food shows that we have. When people do go out, they want to eat something they can’t make at home.” After all, he says, “we’re not saving lives, we’re selling food.”
Kasia Koziara went to school for winemaking, but after her experience at school, she decided she wanted to work with a customer-facing aspect of the industry. With a winemaker’s palate Koziara brings a delicate balance of flavours to Victor’s list with a wide cross-section of wines.
Behind the bar, head bartender Albert Chan has created a fun mix of cocktails that complement the menu.