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What it's like at the swanky, new Joni Restaurant

Joni Restaurant, inside Toronto's newly renovated Park Hyatt Hotel, brings bold flavours and art deco vibes to Yorkville. 

Joni Restaurant: What's the vibe

First things first: Forget everything you think you know about hotel lobby bars. Outfitted with cushy banquettes and hues of brown and orange, Joni embodies warmth and ambience that is an unexpected (and more than welcome) surprise in such a high-end setting.

Once you’ve settled in among the rotating artwork on display with a view of the eye-catching art deco staircase, you’ll forget all about the fact that you’re in the lobby of the Park Hyatt Hotel. 

Joni Restaurant: What's on the menu

Embodying Yorkville’s artsy history and posh atmosphere, Joni provides an apt setting for tucking into executive chef Antonio Soriano’s knock-out menu. Growing up between Lima, Paris and Buenos Aires before honing his craft in luxury hotels and Michelin Star restaurants around the world, Soriano brings his diverse cultural background to the fare at Joni.

The Hawaiian Kampachi crudo almost resembles South American ceviche, with citrusy notes coming from the sancho pepper. Each dish has a myriad of flavours. Buttery foie gras terrine gets a hint of sweetness from maple and compressed apple; beeswax-poached lobster arrives with a slice of honeycomb, and the juicy duck breast comes with pickled cherry and licorice crumble.

It’s impossible to choose a favourite, but the grilled maitake mushroom stole our hearts with its surprisingly rich, meaty flavour.

The menu may draw inspiration from around the globe, but Soriano believes in sourcing the best local ingredients. They butcher their meat in-house. And his ethos of using everything results in creative dishes like juicy Ontario lamb in a coffee glaze made from leftover grounds.

Joni Restaurant: What else 

The cocktail menu here is short and sweet, featuring refreshed takes on the classics. The real draw, however, is the lengthy wine list. More than 100 selections have been curated by hotel sommelier Tess Urbanowicz to perfectly compliment chef Soriano’s menu. Serves from France and Italy feature prominently on the menu, but you’ll find some Canadian listings, too, like Pearl Morissette’s Roselana, a beautiful blend of gamay and pinot noir.

After dinner, save some time (and some room) for a nightcap and a snack upstairs at Writer’s Room. Located on the 17th floor of the Park Hyatt, the historic rooftop bar has been reimagined into a cozy and elegant drinking den with spectacular south-facing views of the city skyline. On the menu, each thoughtfully handcrafted cocktail appears alongside a quote from a famous writer that ties into its name. 

Dinner and drinks for two: around $150. 4 Avenue Rd., hyatt.com

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