A new South American restaurant, Marked, has opened in downtown Toronto that “…emphasizes sustainable ingredients cooked over natural heat to bring out the true essence of each flavour.”
The large restaurant is located next to Michael’s art store on John Street between Richmond and Adelaide. The space has been vacant for some time as the new eatery finished their grand decor, finishing it with 1960s floral patterns and trinkets paying homage to Pan Am airlines and the Pan Am games.
Red, white and blue air postal strips, model planes, trophies and photographs are seen as you enter the first room, the Pan Am. A more casual space where guests are invited to have a drink while they await their tables.
Moving through the space to the next room, one enters the main dining hall, the Comedor. Several booths and individual table fill this room as well as the Tuscano private dining room with a sliding wall for privacy from the large open spaces that line each side of it.
The following room is where you can head after dinner or if you are just visiting for a drink. A hallway leads to the Corsair bar and lounge. A beautifully lit counter awaits you with a friendly face. Here you can try some of their custom cocktails or have your favourites with a spin. We tried their delicious take on a margarita.
Marked Restaurant describes their cuisine as “..a culmination of ideas, techniques, flavours and stories inspired by the adventures of Maria Morales.” A wood burning oven, fresh local ingredients and a passion for South American cuisine bring some creative and fine flavours to your table.
For some shared starters, try the dates with house bacon, pickled pepper and machego cheese. A delightful mouthful of competing and complementing flavours. Other starters include the Churrasco Oyster Mushroom with aged balsamic, parmesan and pangrattato.
For the ceviche options we tried the Marked Ceviche. Market fish, avocado, sweet potato, peruvian corn and leche de tigre. There are 4 ceviche options in total. Another is the Hamachi Tiradito. Jalenpeno, calamansi mayo, grilled clementine and malagueta hot sauce.
The remaining dishes were from their salads and their mains.
For the salad we tried the Avocado and Guava. A generous mix of house greens, guava vinaigrette, pickled pearl onion and plantain. This is a great salad to share between two as a starter or alongside your mains.
For the mains we tried the Shrimp a la parilla, the lambchetta, and the Argentinian Empanada. If you like grilled shrimp on an open flame then you may love this. It is prepared with amarillo anticucho sauce, pineapple and huancaina sauce. I always find shrimp done this way a bit dry for my liking. The moisture just drips out of them, as opposed to cooking it in ways to preserve the moisture. If you like lean meats, the lamchetta is not for you. The fatty dish is made with churrasco grilled Ontario lamb, rosemary garlic, green olive and aged balsamic. I prefer a lean lamb chop, but my friend loved this dish. It may come down to how much you love lamb, a meat I often find a lot of people have disdain for. The Empanada was my favourite of the mains we tried. Braised oxtail, castelvetrano olives and a house chimichurri make this crispy shelled dish a satisfying mid-meal bite.
There are also several rice dishes to accompany your meal. A choice between the Brazilian Coconut Rice, The Biro Biro Rice and the Feijoda, a combination of black beans, chorizo, smoked pork hock, scallion picada and garlic chips.
Visitors who are keen to check out the kitchen, a glass window displays the chefs hard at work. Looking for a patio? Marked restaurant has you covered there as well.
If you are looking for some new flavours and experiences in the downtown core, be sure to check out Marked Restaurant.