In the contemporary reality of celebrity chefs, the Food Network, and “foodie” culture in general, even the most casual diner is more refined and informed than ever before. As a result, restaurants most adapt and evolve, in order to keep up with ever-changing tastes, trends, and a fickle marketplace. An eatery must be more than simply the offerings of its menu and the comfort of its decor. The best of restaurants are communities within communities, meeting places for family and friends, where well-earned indulgences are catered to with class and sophistication.
George and Tammy Couto—owners of Seasons, BrÜ, Corks, and Maluca in Oakville—exemplify the very notion of community. Their establishments are not simply additions to the landscape, they’re an integral part of the place they call home. Their community of eateries offer variety and experience, comfort and culinary excellence. Two decades of catering to the tastes of Oakville have made them the hallmark for Southern Ontario dining.
The Anderson Block, nestled in the heart of Oakville’s historic downtown core,
was constructed in 1887, and has been a centrepiece of the town’s commerce and community ever since. At times it has served as a bank, a police station, and Town Clerk’s office. What better place for a restaurant to continue that tradition of community service, and the perfect location for the Cuoto’s flagship establishment.
For over 18 years, Seasons has been treating the denizens of Oakville and its fortunate visitors to an ever changing and contemporary menu, just as its name suggests. Under the watchful eye of its proud proprietors, Executive Chef Doug Walker has created an ever-evolving carte du saison inspired equally by the Anderson Block’s Italianate design and Oakville’s Restaurant Row’s divine commitment to nourishing Southern Ontario with the best ingredients and delicious food.
The current incarnation of the menu boasts such exalted interpretations of classic fare such as octopus and chorizo with capers, black olives, fresh lemon, jalapeños, and beurre noisette; white lasagna with turkey ragout, spinach, mozzarella, and fresh ricotta; Chicken wrapped in prosciutto stuffed with cherries, goat cheese and baby spinach, roasted carrots, purple kale and orange preserve; and pistachio and dijon crusted rack of lamb with polenta frites, asparagus, and salt-baked beets.
Complemented by an “elegant yet warm atmosphere and extensive but moderately priced wine list,” Seasons is a prime location for an intimate meal or a celebration with friends, with the original police station cells masquerading as a wine cellar and serving as the foundation of private dining for up to 20. Tradition, history, community, and the contemporary served with delight—the epitome of dining.
Often lost in the discussion of how foodie culture has changed our dining habits is how the brewery landscape has changed. Few industries have evolved as rapidly in the past few decades as the world of beer. Gone are the days of overproduced macrobrews’ and mass-produced swill’s prominence and dominance at dinner, at parties, at the game, at the lake, on the weekend, and certainly at your favourite restaurant. And that transformation is eminently evident in our favorite pour houses, speakeasies, and pubs. Beer, in fact, is no longer an industry at all. It’s the place of artisans and craftspeople. No establishment embodies the spirit of the evolution of spirits quite like Brü.
A new addition to the panorama of Oakville’s pubs, Brü takes the very idea of the public house and adapts it to the demands of contemporary clientele and cravings. The beer list features 15 offerings from local craft brewers such as Mill Street, Lake of Bays, and Great Lakes, plus the very best in domestic and imported ales, pilsners, radlers, IPA,
stouts, and more. Contemporary cocktails and a curated wine list are also featured.
No thirst, no matter how discerning the taste, will go unquenched at Brü’s Lakeshore Road residence.
But just as wine demands pairing, so too does beer. And so Brü has taken the traditions of pub grub and adapted them for both its menu and modernity. General Tso cauliflower topped with sesame seeds and scallions; Kentucky fried calamari served with Alabama white BBQ sauce; gluten-free fish ‘n’ chips with cod and a remoulade dipping sauce; classic burgers and in-house smoked brisket complement any beverage, and suit any trip to Brü.
Spanish and Portuguese cuisines have been intertwined since before the Battle of Ourique. As old as the Reconquista, the culinary traditions of the countries have inspired and informed each other for generations. As much as they share the Iberian Peninsula, so too do they share a love of seafood, mediterranean spices, and the soul of simplicity. Born of peasant foods, Spanish and Portuguese cuisines are of and for the people, and the embodiment of that spirit is present in each dish at Corks.
Borrowing its name from the cork oak forests that populate the Spanish and Portuguese countrysides, Corks offers its fare served in the traditional tapas style. It makes for the perfect setting to enjoy time and tastes with friends, and an indulgence in the grand variety of flavour cuisine of Western Europe. The Oakville restaurant, established in 2009, celebrates people as much as food, a space for sharing and luxuriating in both the joy and experience of dining.
Corks’ seasonal menu features the regions very best in contemporary interpretations of classic Spanish and Portuguese dishes, with a Western flare and infusion. Piquillos with Spanish peppers filled with a broccoli, roasted cauliflower and manchego mousse on top of a saffron leek sofrito; Gambas Al Ajillo: pan seared shrimp with garlic, chili, herbs, smoked paprika and flambéed with brandy; Albondigas: four lamb meatballs in a minted tomato sauce, feta cheese and grilled bread; and Sopa de Marisco with clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, fresh herbs, garlic, white wine butter sauce and grilled bread. All this plus a variety of paella are sure to transport every palate back to the old country, without stepping foot outside of Southern Ontario.
Like the title of a painting, a great work of literature, or a classic song, a restaurant’s name is an introduction of sorts, a first step towards an experience or indulgence, whimsy and wine. Maluca, loosely translated, means mad, crazy, silly. But, through the filter of its Oakville Wine Bar namesake, Maluca discovers an etymology in the passionate, infatuated, and fantastic, which perfectly describes Southern Ontario’s premiere wine bar.
And just like art that inspires us, that we take with us, a good restaurant takes the essence of its name in order to impress upon its clientele the magnificence of its soul. Maluca is playful, joyful, and indulgent in both its wine list and its menu, its late night lounge and its open-concept dining room. The specifically curated wine list informs its knowledgeable staff, who will perfectly pair your food choices with one of their many wines from home and around the globe.
Maluca’s menu embodies the spirit of its name, with modern interpretations of your favourite wine bar fare. Breaded avocado fries with buttermilk garlic ranch dressing; Ovo Demônios: deviled eggs, garnished with chives, paprika, and crispy pancetta. Bison meatballs with tomato sauce, grana padano cheese, served with house made grilled sourdough; Short Rib Molho Verde: beef short ribs, garlic, chilli, parsley, cilantro, mint basil, and oil. Macarrão squid ink linguini with seafood tomato sauce, fennel, garlic, peppers, and grilled bread; contemporary takes on burgers, fries, and flatbreads; plus charcuterie boards with premium selections of cured meats and cheeses.