Sassafraz fire Dec 2006, closed (Mark)

100 Cumberland St.

Located right in the heart of Yorkville in an old house that was gutted and transformed into an open concept, hip,

chic, and trendy fine dining establishment. Known as “THE” celebrity hotspot of Toronto, Sassafraz is a mainstay

for celebs during the Toronto International Film Festival and throughout the year. Sassafraz offers intimate fine

dining, a shi shi poo poo brunch, an extensive wine and martini list that ranges from $50- $500 per bottle.

Spread across one dining areas and a smoking lounge/ bar, Sassafraz offers high-end cuisine in an intimate setting,

with dim lighting, surrounded by candles, blond wood paneling, extra-large plants, and ultra modern colourful vases.

There is a 24 hour reservation line so it is proper etiquette to make reservations ahead of time.

The decor is very linear with clean lines, dark oak hardwood floors, blond wood panelling, and high ceilings. The

overall ambiance is casual but upscale that seems to the right balance for Yorkville folk. In addition, there is a

revolving collection of fine art from neighbouring galleries that make the lasting touch to the room to a tee.

Patrons can ponder the lengthy wine list—with plenty to offer for those who do not have a budget (as Wendy puts it).

Appetizers range from $9-$23 in general. Some appetizers are typical favourites like

Organic Baby Greens w/roasted pecans ($14), Imperial Mushroom Salad w/Baby spinach and miso cream ($16), Baked Fig

and Goat Cheese Phyllo pastry ($18), Scallops Sassafraz ($22), Grilled Tiger Shrimp ($22), Quebec Foie Gras ($23)

Grilled Quail, marinated in cinnamon and thyme, with a vanilla-port reduction; Poached Pear and Bok Choy ($19) , and

Carpaccio of Bison Filet ($19).

There is a selection of French and Italian inspired mains that include mostly seafood, duck, bass, beef tenderloin,

lamb, venison, and bison. Some popular dishes include the Duck breast ($34), Roasted Guinea Fowl ($34), Roasted

Striped Bass ($32), Grilled Venison and Bison ($43), Lamb Shank ($39), Sterling Silver Beef Tenderloin ($39), and

the Seafood Creation/Daily Surprise ($38)

Vegetarian dishes include the wild mushroom risotto ($24) or the angel hair pasta with sautted veggies ($24). Not

many options for the veggie and portions are super small.

For my meal, I called before and requested a vegan dish. The chef made me “Vegan surprise” ($24)- a potato and herb

mish mash, made into a burger, and wrapped with thinly sliced sauteed carrot, surrounded by sauteed beansprouts and

white asparagus, and covered in a light vegetable broth. The portion was tiny so i made sure to eat SLOWLY.


ordered the Seafood Creation/Daily Surprise ($38) with a medley of a piece of lobster, shrimp, and almost raw tuna.

Her portion, although full of protein was tiny (but the plate was big). As Wendy puts it, we go for the experience,

not to be full. Service was friendly and accomodating.

Before our meal, we were brought out a mini appetizer

called “Amus de Bouche”. Wendy got a Triscuit type cracker with a piece of pate (I think) covered in a raspberry confit

(looked like jam to me!). I got a mushroom and shallot chunky pate molded into a clump and covered with balsalmic

vinegar. Although yummy, i could have eaten 10 more of these molded pate clumps. They were so good.

For her beverage, Wendy
ordered sparkling water (San Pellegrino) and they brought out with a bottle. We were worried it would cost $50 but

luckily it only cost $7. Wendy ordered a glass of wine and they brought out the whole bottle. We got scared. Were they going to charge us for the whole bottle? From our wine list,

the prices range from $50-$500 so we hoped that her wine was not priced at the $500 range. Although Wendy did only

drink one glass, she had no clue as to the cost of it. Her recommendation was made by the waiter and he did not

indicate the price. Wendy was ticked off because the waiter always refreshed my San Pelegrino water but her was not


We were ecstatic when our bill came to $95 in total. Not bad for 2 mains, wine, and a bottle of

sparkling water.

I must admit I was alittle uncomfortable the whole evening because I did not know how much things will cost and i

did not know proper etiquette at fine dining establishments. I was also worried since my Vegan Surprise did not

have a price attached. They could have charged me $50.

All teas are $5.50 (drink slowly and savour it!) and all desserts (decadent cakes, pies, fruit sorbets) are $11.

Dessert cheese are $7.00 for 40 grams (minimum of 3 cheeses to order). Wendy and I opted to skip dessert and go to

Second Cup for a Caramel Latte and a date square.

Extensive Wine and Dessert Liquor list. Plates are really large but portions are ridiculously small and be prepared

to have an open budget. Open 7 days per week. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am until 5pm, Dinner Mon-Sun 5:00pm until 11pm,

Late Night Dining Mon-Sun 5pm until 2:00am, Brunch Sat/Sun 11:00am until 4pm, and the Seasonal Patio Mon-Sun 11:30am

until 2:00am. Accepts all cards.