Cabana Pool Bar (416) 649-7437 http://cabanapoolbar.com/ open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner – July to September
When Charles Khabouth puts his mind to something it happens. Cabana Pool Bar captures the essence of that incredible time you had in [insert fabulous dayparty here] and recreates it here in Toronto. Formally The Docks, this 50,000 sq ft Canadian wonderland is modeled after South Beach complete with 12 private cabanas, daybeds and space for 2,500 carefree Torontonians, unlike anything you’ve seen in the city before. The sparse décor is clean with cedar and white linen cabanas eliminate the possibility of stuffiness setting in. Oliver & Bonacini’s Chef Jamie Meireles offers a succinct, seasonally inflected Latin menu that’s light and filling at the same time. The food is, with rare exception, excellent. Plates range from $12 to $150. Servers have yet to mature.
Earthy thickly-cut truffle frites ($12) dusted with parmesan cheese nicely curb the munchy craving. Watermelon salad ($18), with heirloom tomato, creamy Burrata and sliced radish is also marvelous. Served atop a paper thin taro chip Meireles’s tuna tartar ($22) is weightless, elevated by lemon and diced avocado.
Angus beef burgers ($17) are good, but the tandoori-spiced chicken burgers($16) infused with garam masala are amazing, uniquely exotic and smoky. Cherry snapper soft tacos ($5 each) delight with crunch, tang and umami.
The scallop ceviche is dynamite, crunchy corn kernels add a pop of texture. Seared salmon nicoise ($24) is artfully plated moist and thoughtfully put together – each element working together for great flavour. Edo sushi (http://www.edosushi.com/ ) supplies the sushi platters and pretty impressively I might add – the thinner the layer of rice the better.
My favorite dish of the afternoon is surprisingly the Niagara gold caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwich using artisan apple sourdough and smoked pepper ketchup – completely and utterly to die for.