Alo is the latest, and most ambitious, dining ticket to open in Toronto since Susur Lee’s eponymous gastropalace astonished diners at the turn of the millennium. Alo is a return to everything that’s no longer trendy: It’s hidden on the third story of a nondescript building in Chinatown, with a sign barely larger than an envelope. Diners sign up for a multicourse meal stretching up to 16 courses, a three-hour investment, by reservation only. And there’s no concession to “casual fine dining.” Alo serves ambitious haute cuisine, full stop. The kitchen brigade, led by chef and co-owner Patrick Kriss (former chef de partie at Daniel in NYC), is one of the country’s most talented, and the service team led by co-owner Amanda Bradley one of the most polished. The beverage program run by sommelier Christopher Sealy (formerly of Midfield Wine Bar) and assistant Toni Weber, along with an all star bartending team, leaves little to desire. The wine list is tightly edited, with no fillers, and Sealy and his crew don’t just go through the motions; they have tasted and paired each dish. Take the shima aji with Movia’s Rebula, or white asparagus with Vietti’s Roero Arneis, for example. If you can’t manage the full experience, show up early to grab a coveted space in the adjacent bar for Toronto’s best bar food and handcrafted cocktails.
163 Spadina Ave., 3rd fl. (at Queen St. West), Toronto, Ontario, Canada
John Szabo, MS, has been traveling to Hungary since the late 1970s—first to visit relatives, and later to start J & J Eger Wine Co., where he makes kékfrankos with partner János Stumpf. But his day job is writing about wine and researching the world’s best wine bars.
This story appears in the print issue of August 2016.
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