Renowned international Chef, Marcus Samuelsson said it best: “I love Thanksgiving because it is a holiday centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.”
There is only one opportunity to make a good first impression, and at the St. Regis Hotel, they have left nothing to chance. Escape the cacophony and construction of downtown Toronto on an early evening and swing into the spacious driveway of the St. Regis Toronto Hotel. Enter the sophisticated ambiance of the black marble lobby to an unusual scene reminiscent of an old black and white movie.
Sabrage! In the Astor Lounge just off the lobby, a ceremonial sabre is set on a stand. Waiting. Opening a bottle of champagne with a sabre is a time-honoured art and tradition, started by Cavalry Officers in Napoleon’s army in the late 1700’s. At 6:00pm a smartly uniformed person holds the very cold Champagne in one hand, and with a flourish, slices the top off the bottle in one neat stroke and pours the bubbly into your glass. (do not try this at home). Napoleon is known to have said, “Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it.”
Bloody Mary is the signature cocktail. Why? Because it was invented at St. Regis New York. Every St. Regis Hotel has their own unique version. The Toronto iteration is called Rouge 140, which is the number of all the languages spoken in Toronto.
The Astor is one of the most beautiful lounges in the city, and once seated in a comfy chair, enjoying my Champagne or one of the brilliantly innovative cocktails, it takes a lot of willpower to tear myself away. Especially since they have created an amazing Seafood Tower of fresh and succulent Oceanic fare: Malpeque oysters, giant crab legs, lobster, scallops, mussels, and shrimp along with an array of sauces. It’s like a complete cocktail party buffet right at my table.
Thanksgiving weekend calls for a special celebration, and that takes us up, way up to the 31st floor about the heart of Toronto, to LOUIX LOUIS Grand Bar & Restaurant. The design asks us to imagine that you’re in a whisky glass. Chandeliers are like the ice cubes, and displayed before us is the largest whisky collection in Canada. The Chef and I are on the same wavelength and I appreciate his process that blends American cuisine with a French twist. Foie gras and fresh figs, balanced on a little nest of sliced pistachios, with warm toasted brioche. Amberjack crudo resting between sliced avocado and green pepper with julienne cut radish in a citrus emulsion. 24-hour slow cooked, maple-braised tenderloin with truffle jus and lightly charred maitake mushroom. Besides the regular array of delicious choices on the menu, they’ve done a little thinking for you, and offer some Prefix Menus.
LOUIX LOUIS Thanksgiving Prefix Menu: Link to book
From seared diver scallops to turkey roulade, lobster spaghetti, toffee pudding, and more, this menu is designed to elevate your holiday experience. This culinary journey is available exclusively from October 8 to October 9. If you prefer to savour these delights in the comfort of your own space, we also offer a convenient take-out option for pickup on-site. Priced at $165 per guest.
The Royal Brunch – Extended for Thanksgiving Weekend: Link to book
*Pro Tip: The signature Kings Cake slice is a massive 13 layers of chocolate cake with 64% guayaquil ganache, hazelnut chocolate butter cream, vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. It’s very popular for sharing with someone special!
Indulge in a truly regal experience at Louix Louis, situated 31 stories above downtown Toronto. From Filet Mignon with scrambled egg and shaved truffle to mini French toast adorned with maple and crisped lardons, smoked salmon with Acadian caviar, crepes with ham, Swiss cheese, and sauce mornay, to Lobster Avocado Toast and more, every bite is a royal treat. The brunch experience includes a choice of coffee, tea, and juice. Priced at $80 per guest.
We have so much to enjoy on Thanksgiving.
Sara Waxman, OOnt, is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.