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Restaurant review: Calii Love

Hawaiian poké bowls, cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies are a refreshing addition to King West’s Restaurant Row

Calii Love

What’s the vibe?

Calii Love is the newest venture by Chef Joe Friday and Dan Gunam. Borrowing from Friday’s experience working at Nobu Waikiki and Hilton Hawaii Village, he introduces a Californian twist on Hawaiian staples. A welcome addition to restaurant row, a bright and clean interior reflects the eatery's menu items, named for uplifting emotions like ‘Confident’, ‘Inspired’ and ‘Adventurous’. Raw, organic ingredients feature prominently on the menu, along with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. And with fans like Gerard Butler and Jane Lynch, who stopped by during TIFF, the rest of the city is eager to get their daily dose of goodness here.

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What to drink?

There's an array of cold pressed juices and smoothies available to complement your meal or grab and go. The ‘Joyful’ smoothie, made with mango, strawberries and pineapple, lives up to its name and it’s much lighter than conventional smoothies. If you’re on a detox, check out the pressed juices from ELXR Juice Lab with cheeky names like ‘After Party’ and ‘Second Base’. And for early risers, Calii Love has a secret weapon, barista Brian Leonard, who is an absolute pro with coffee foam art (he even did our logo).

What to eat?

Hawaiian poké bowls – raw salmon or tuna marinated with flavourful shoyu, is the star of Calii Love’s menu. The fish is delivered twice everyday so only expect the freshest ingredients. If you fancy something with a bit of a kick, the ‘Hopeful’ poké bowl: salmon, avocado, wakame, jalapeños and sriracha aioli with cherry tomatoes and black rice is a winner. The flavours are light and natural with a welcome zing from the chili. Seeking something sweeter? Try the ‘Loved’ açai bowl with mango, blueberry, banana and açai topped with granola, berries and a drizzle of honey as a healthy way to kick-start your day. The menu is made up of sustainably sourced ingredients and everything is customizable.

Dinner and drinks for two: around $60.

367 King Street West; 416 792 5683; caliilove.com

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