Take fancy dining to a whole new level at Aera inside The Well

O&B is back with Aera, a special occasion dining venue way up in the sky at The Well, with views to rival its cocktail program and sushi and steak menu. 

Aera restaurant | A spread of food including wedge salad, shrimp cocktail and burger

Aera: What's the vibe

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that The Well opened in Toronto's Fashion District last December, bringing with it a slew of retail options, including several new places to dine out. Among the glitziest of the arrivals is Aera (pronounced 'era'), the latest and perhaps boldest concept from Oliver & Bonacini. Head up 38 floors, check your coat and slink past the mirrored walls and stunning archways in the entrance, and — of course — the unimpeded views of the CN Tower.

Choose from regular tables, hightops or one of the 16 seats at the sushi counter. Since Aera has panoramic views of downtown Toronto and the Islands, and a sunset view on the west side, most tables will afford you stunning cityscape vistas for your meal. Unlike fellow O&B spot Canoe, which also boasts incredible views, Aera invites DJs for more of a party atmosphere. With bottle service options, dishes plated with serious swagger and a closing time of 2 a.m., Aera is the place to be and be seen. 

Solid Design Creative is behind the sleek design at Aera, featuring a sexy backlit bar, a raised seating platform with velvet booths and a loungey area. Look out for a rooftop patio coming later this year, when you'll be able to get even closer to that epic view.

Aera: What's on the menu

The menu at Aera is all over the map — but that's not a bad thing. Order U.S. prime rib eye, Ontario lamb chops, Australian Wagyu alongside lobster from the Maritimes, sashimi, sushi and hamachi crudo. The one thing in common with the array of international cuisine is the stunning presentation — every dish is more artfully presented than the last, even the stunning raw platters. Aera's own sushi chef Rhett Sacdalan (Dasha, Miku) combines Japanese high-end seafood with local-where-possible catches for a bright and sustainably minded sushi menu.

Aera | Creamy tuna crunch roll with caviar

Outside the surf and turf, there are sides a-plenty, every bit as beautifully presented (and pricy) as the mains. Toronto's predilection for crispy brussels sprouts continues magnificently at Aera, and the Delmonico Double-Baked Potato Casserole is an absolute showstopper that's been scooped, dep-fried and stuffed with a delicious medley of cheese and scallions. Dessert is a similarly decadent affair, with highlights that include Sticky Bourbon Toffee Pudding and the self-explanatory Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate. 

Aera: What's on the drink menu

If you're not going full throttle with a round of cocktails at Aera, you're doing it wrong. The price might make your eyes water a little (there's nothing on the cocktail menu for less than $25), but you're paying to enjoy your libation with one of the city's best views as the backdrop — plus, they're very good.

Aera restaurant | The Amelia cocktail with vodka, st-germain liqueur, blackberry, lemon and mint

Signature cocktails like Amelia, with Belvedere Vodka, St-Germain, blackberry, lemon and mint, or dark and moody numbers like The Runway, which emerges from a cloche in a plume of smoke, are well crafted and vibe-appropriate for a bougie meal up in the sky. 

Elsewhere, you'll find Niagara wine from Cave Spring (specially made for O&B's Canoe restaurant), as well as further-flung sparkling wine from Italy and robust reds from California, plus a small selection of sakes to sip on. 

Aera: What else

Sure, the food is solid, but if you wanted a good meal, you could go to Maison Selby, The Joneses, or any other fab O&B spot. The real draw at Aera is THAT view. Expect a decent amount of suits in the dining room, but who can blame them? Aera is as good a place to hold a fancy business lunch as it is to celebrate a birthday or just an extra special Friday night.

A trip to Aera will always be a splurge, but Happy Hour is frequent, and discounts are sizeable. Head to Aera on weekdays between 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. for $15 cocktails, including their martini section of the menu, plus reduced-price wine and draught beer.

You might be making packed lunches for the rest of the month, but a trip to Aera is worth the extravagance for a dinner like no other. 

Dinner and drinks for two: around $250 before tax and tip.