The Danforth just got a new global eatery serving up all kinds of comfort foods from around the world (think: everything from jerk chicken to sushi) with a cocktail program and DJs on the weekends.
It’s a family-run spot, withJonathan Harvey (former co-owner El Jefe) running the operations along with business partner Justin Rocha. Harvey’s father John, did the construction while brother Mike runs the bar. Red Seal Chef David Araya (El Jefe), known as “Chile,” created the menu which brings together a host of cuisines, allowing you to dine on everything from satay to bao, ceviche and tacos, to chana masala and spaghetti pomodoro, all at one table.
As a diner, you have the luxury of satiating any craving, while chef Araya “has a lot of flexibility with the menu. I can do more, evolve,” he says. Win-win.
Cooking for over 20 years, Araya is as passionate about learning about people’s cultures and foods as a new student. He researches dishes, ingredients and geographies as intensely as a grad student working on a thesis. The menu comprises “all the things I’ve learned throughout my cooking career,” he says. Chana masala, for example, is something he learned to make while working at a hotel. His modern presentation using a variety of platters and serving trays (e.g. mini sheet tray, deep wood bowl) just adds to the experience.
Cocktails too, will give you a feeling of wanderlust. Expect sour, sweet and smoky notes to hit your palate.
In addition to the global menu, the decor is part of the branding, too. The mix of dark walls, light wood floors and black and blond wood furniture is part modern, part industrial. Every location will get an actual bicycle hung on the wall, along with other bold artwork. “It’s very memorable,” Jonathan says. “People want to post cool things on their social media.” Speaking of which, the subway mural downstairs, outside the washroom, with each entrance painted as a subway door and the hallway decorated with “tiles” and station name “Nōmads,” is sure to grab your attention.
It turns out you don’t have to travel far to experience the flavours of a certain region or country. In fact, you don’t even have to travel to more than one restaurant. From boards to shareables, small plates to large ones, daily specials and desserts, crossing borders has never been easier – no passport required.
The concept isn’t just meant for the Danforth neighbourhood. In fact, Jonathan has already got another location underway in Port Credit, set to open mid-November. The dream, he says, “is to open 25 throughout Ontario,” with “10 in Toronto and the GTA.” Stay tuned.
Nōmads Restobar (699 Danforth Ave.) accommodates 64 guests, and is open for lunch, dinner, drinks, and brunch on weekends.
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