What's the draw:
For the first east coast outpost of the popular chain, the Cactus Club team certainly spared no expense. This, the 29th location, takes over a massive 15,000+ square foot space in First Canadian Place and accommodates 500 seats over three levels, each with it's own focus. Kate's Bar on the main floor is designed for after-work drinks, more formal lunches and dinner are enjoyed on the second floor Rob Feenie Dining Room and Lounge while the top floor Deck comes alive at night with a DJ and features a fully-retractable roof (not only reserved for the summer, they'll come up with any excuse to open it up although their threshold is around the 2°C mark). Equally impressive is the original artwork adorning the walls - a quick walk around the rooms and you'll find original displays by Mr Brainwash, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.
What to drink:
While wine is the main focus here, you'll find a substantial drinks menu that includes signature concoctions with classic cocktails like the negroni (served on-tap) and the moscow mule. While listed on the 'classic' menu, their take on the whiskey sour is far from what we remember it to be (in a good way). The use of Jack Daniels Honey, angostura bitters and egg whites creates an easy-to-sip cocktail perfect for when that roofs comes off. Keep an eye out as certain serves are on special each night. Back to wine, the long list features a blend of Old and New World choices, with (naturally) plenty of love given to the restaurants home of B.C.
What to eat:
The man behind it all, Iron Chef champion Rob Feenie, is focussed on pleasing all palettes with a lengthy and diverse menu including everything from steak and seafood to pasta and burgers. Feenie was one of the founding members of the Ocean Wise project in Vancouver so you can feel confident that the seafood here is top notch. Items are consistent across the country including best-sellers like the fresh ceviche and the butternut squash and prawn ravioli (one bite of either and you'll see why they are so popular) while allowing a few signature dishes unique to each location. Here in Toronto, these include duck confit and Feenie’s Beef Duo - a killer combo of braised short rib and beef tenderloin. Food is served until 1am throughout the week and 130am on weekends proving that there are better options than street meat past midnight in the core.
Dinner and drinks for two: around $140
77 Adelaide Street West; 647-748-2025; cactusclubcafe.com