by Karon Liu | Last Updated 6 days agoTweet
THEME The Rich Kids of Instagram can only dream of joining the ranks of Oxford University’s ultra-elite Riot Club, where cute guys in fencing garb and tuxes play the “Do you know who I am?” card while drunk on privilege (and champagne) – with bloody results. Question: who would win in a money fight, the Skulls or the Riot Club?
Photo by Michael Watier
EAT AT Queen and Beaver Public House, 35 Elm, 647-347-2712, queenandbeaverpub.ca
WHY The British pub looks like a hangout for the old boys, with supple leather banquets on the main floor and a gorgeous library bar upstairs that’s packed during soccer – sorry, football – matches. Come here for craft and cask beers, sticky toffee puddings, Welsh rabbit and some of the city’s best fish and chips.
THEME This Midnight Madness mockumentary about vampires adapting to life in a modern New Zealand suburb is directed by and stars Taika Waititi and Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement. Potential for this to turn into a network sitcom starring Matthew Perry is high.
EAT AT Pho Pasteur, 525 Dundas West, 416-351-7188
WHY This popular 24-hour Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown is perfect for the nocturnal set trying to go basic. It’s one of the few restaurants that serve bún bò hue, a noodle soup similar to pho, but with cubes of coagulated pig’s blood (think maroon-coloured tofu cubes).
THEME This Argentine black-comedy anthology, acclaimed at Cannes, weaves together six stories on the theme of vengeance (and violence). Among the places where shit goes down: a restaurant, a desert road, a plane 30,000 feet in the air and a wedding reception.
EAT AT Sky Ranch, 2473 Dufferin, 416-787-0491, skyranch.sites.toronto.com
WHY Satisfy your taste for blood (tasty, beefy blood) at one of T.O.’s few Argentine restaurants. Open all day, Sky Ranch has been in operation for more than two decades, serving steaks, paella and a mixed grill platter with ribs, steak, sausages and chicken.
THEME When a divorced workaholic attends a science conference in Paris devoted to the actual weight of a kilo (fun!), she takes the measure of her own life and tries to get her groove back.
WHY The mission of this new cocktail and snack bar is to get the drinks-making down to a science with the help of a temperature-controlled room filled with gadgets you’d normally find at a university science labs – things like a centrifuge and a rotary evaporator.
THEME Based on a story by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, this pic centres on five old friends gathering in Havana to reminisce about their past and wonder about their future.
Photo By: David Laurence
EAT AT Julie’s Cuban Restaurant, 202 Dovercourt, 416-532-7397, juliescuban.com
WHY This adorable little spot in the middle of a residential neighbourhood is filled with old photos and trinkets collected over the years. Catch up with friends over Cuban coffee and plates of chorizo and calamari.
THEME A university professor revisits the ancient Korean capital to find an erotic painting he saw years ago in a café. (Hey, there have been stranger MacGuffins in cinematic history.) Along the way he falls in love with the café’s owner.
WHY This year’s City To City programming focuses on Seoul’s biggest filmmakers, and while we can’t travel to Korea, we can wander the aisles of these large supermarkets to check out what’s hot on Korea’s culinary scene. Downtown, head to P.A.T. for taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes filled with sweet red beans). Uptown, Galleria’s Korean fried-to-order chicken is ultra-crispy, covered in a sticky-spicy chili sauce and unlike anything else in the city.
THEME The closing film at this year’s TIFF features beautiful gardens, Cher-sized wigs and Kate Winslet’s accent as a landscape designer tasked with constructing Louis XIV’s grand gardens at Versailles. And it wouldn’t be a complete period piece without some sexual tension courtesy of the king’s architect.
WHY Just as the Sun King transformed the palace gardens, this new French bistro has made the former Scarpetta unrecognizable. Colette’s menu drips decadence with dishes like foie gras three ways, lobster vichyssoise and goat cheese soufflé. Get a table on the outside patio beside a small pool. For a smaller slice of luxury, an on-site bakery sells mini-cakes and macarons to go.
THEME Relive the days of the Cold War in this biopic about American chess legend Bobby Fischer (played by Tobey Maguire) going up against Russian Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber).
Photo By: Zack Slootsky
EAT AT Pravda Vodka House, 44 Wellington East, 416-366-0303, @pravdato
WHY Red stars, propaganda posters and the iconic hammer and sickle adorn this Russian-themed bar on the edge of Old Town. Choose from nearly 100 varieties of vodka from all over the world (come on a weekday between 4 and 7 pm for a $6.15 pre-movie martini) and snack on pierogie, charcuterie, caviar and vodka-cured salmon.
THEME Funny people Jason Bateman, Tiny Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll play dysfunctional-family siblings forced to reunite after their father’s death. Expect First World ennui, heart-to-heart conversations on rooftops and matriarch Jane Fonda’s cosmetically enhanced cleavage.
WHY Bond with long-lost relatives over Scrabble, or failing that, at least the board games and booze will distract everyone from the awkward silences.
THEME Feeling like she’s in arrested development, a 35-year-old woman (Sonja Bennett) pretends to be pregnant in order to fit in with her mommy friends. Also stars James Caan and Danny Trejo – who does not kill anyone.
WHY Meet stroller-pushing parents at this family-friendly ice cream shop – ideally without the fake pregnancy. (The film has a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for post-production.)