What’s the vibe
Named for a small lake in Michigan, Lake Inez strikes an easy balance between cozy and sophisticated. Floral wallpaper, quirky antiques and plenty of wood accents create an intimate, pub-like feel, while shimmering chandeliers and a vivid stained-glass wall mosaic lend a more upscale vibe. Seats in the large dining area get snapped up quickly almost every night of the week, with low lighting and the buzz of conversation giving the space a warm, inviting ambiance. Like its sister restaurant on The Danforth, The Wren, craft beers are a big focus at Lake Inez, with the Asian-influenced menu featuring smaller plates to snack on while sampling brews in addition to full-on dinner options.
What to drink
The 18 Ontario craft beers on tap are the star of Lake Inez’s drink selections, with local breweries from east to west across the city all well represented. The taps rotate regularly, but expect to see beers from brewers like Bellwoods, Left Field and Rainhard. The cocktail menu is small but thoughtful, featuring Asian-inspired drinks like the Tokyo Hotel Bar, a mix of Cazadores reposado, sake, yuzu, and muddled hot pepper. There’s also a short wine list, which is set to expand over the coming months.
What to eat
Chef Robbie Hojilla’s pan-Asian menu is true fusion cuisine, drawing on his Filipino heritage but also playing with a range of cooking techniques and global influences. The menu features snacks as well as small and large plates, all of which are designed to be shared (although the large plates are certainly substantial enough to order as your main course).
The spicy charred brussels sprouts are quickly becoming a fav among dinners, with their crispy anchovy topping nicely balancing the softer texture of the sprouts. The dry-aged beef lumpia is another highlight, served with pickled banana blossom and a house-made banana ketchup. The pan-seared duck leg is perhaps the dish that best captures the restaurant’s homey yet hip aesthetic: the arroz caldo (Filipino-style congee) and slow-cooked egg make the dish feel exotic, but the taste is surprisingly mild and comforting.
Dinner and drinks for two: around $85
1471 Gerrard Street East, 416-792-1590, lakeinezto.com