Harriet’s Toronto should be on your must-visit restaurant list – if it isn’t already.
The recent arrival of 1 Hotel Toronto has transformed the real estate at 550 Wellington Street – the former location of the Thompson Toronto – into a lush, sustainable, and sophisticated oasis for wining and dining.
The coveted rooftop space is no exception. The arrival of Harriet’s Toronto sees the property’s iconic rooftop reimagined, with a new location for the bustling bar and no shortage of greenery-inspired and sustainably reclaimed decor. What remains the same is the view-filled see-and-be-seen vibe.
The upscale Japanese spot features an open concept sushi bar, expertly made cocktails and – come the summer months – tailored poolside bottle service rituals. With low key live music and nightly DJs, this intimate gathering place has become a quick go-to for the afterwork set and local tastemakers.
We caught up with Chef Derek Powers Jr. for some inside insight about the hot new spot.
What were the main considerations in curating the menu?
The Harriet’s concept was created by The h.wood Group in partnership with 1 Hotels. For the first Canadian outpost, Harriet’s Toronto, it was essential that the culinary offerings suited the rooftop venue’s ambiance and remarkable view. To accomplish this, I used my love and extensive training in Japanese cuisine to design a menu featuring comfort foods and fresh sushi and raw bar items. Of course, sustainability, seasonality, and the sourcing of local ingredients also played a critical role in curating the menu to align with 1 Hotel Toronto’s ethos.
What have become quick crowd-pleasers on the menu?
I’ve noticed guests gravitating towards our Fogo Island Cod, which is miso-marinated with pickled cucumber. The yellowtail and salmon hand rolls from our sushi bar are also very popular. Beautifully plated and equally delicious, are the Maitake Mushrooms, which are pan-seared to release the natural moisture and then oven-roasted until perfectly crisp. They’re finished with a drizzle of maple soy, pistachio crumble and an artful brush of garlic aioli.
What’s one dish everyone should try at Harriet’s Toronto?
I highly recommend the lobster tacos. They have quickly become a fan favourite. The deliciously crisp taco shells are made from gyoza skins.
What’s the most photo-worthy dish? (we have to ask)
All of the dishes on the menu are presented to be photo-worthy. I love the beautiful and bold contrast of our colourful sushi served on natural wood boards created by Just Be Woodsy. Interestingly Just Be Woodsy, a local hotel partner, takes fallen Toronto trees and gives them a second life by turning them into one of a kind pieces. Each board is engraved with this type of tree and its origin.
What’s your favourite cocktail on the menu to accompany the food and why?
I think the Spicy Siena featuring the perfect combination of tequila, agave, fresh lime and chili is delicious. It’s one of the signature cocktails at Harriet’s and is available at all locations. We handpick chilis from our Garden Pavillion when available, ensuring we use the freshest ingredients in our cocktails. It’s the perfect complement to all our dishes, not too sweet and not too spicy.