As the Toronto city lights blink to life around us, the 30-plus clear, geodesic dining domes welcome us with a warm glow of their own. I’m at American Express’ roving, pop-up dining experience called Dinner With A View, located in the Bentway next to Historic Fort York and under the Gardiner Expressway, a creative public space dedicated to innovative, inclusive programming for the city of Toronto.
The frameless domes are each kitted out with a midcentury modern dining table, chairs, and benches to seat six comfortably. There’s a heater in each dome for chilly nights, potted plants, an area rug, velvety pillows, and blankets to keep cozy. While our group settles in for the evening, a light show bathes the Bentway in a kaleidoscope of colours, patterns, and loungey music to set off the night. On either side of us, we have views of the city skyline, and this ephemeral village of dining domes. Event organizer Steve Georgiev’s goal is to provide guests with a dining experience like no other. “With this event, we’re really giving a unique, intimate, high-end dining experience to people,” he says. “We want to entertain our guests, wow them, and bring them closer together, all while they enjoy the food from our award-winning chef René Rodriguez.”
You might recognize Rodriguez from various Food Network appearances, including his win on season four of Top Chef Canada. He has designed the menu using mostly Canadian-sourced ingredients such as pickerel from Lake Ontario and Alberta beef. There is a choice of Land, Sea, or Vegan mains, a starter, and dessert. The menu, says Rodriguez, “reflects a bit of Canada with French inspiration, but for the most part, I call it old school, romantic French-inspired food.”
If you miss out on the geodesic fun this year, your Instagram feed can capture the new look and feel the next time around: “Every year will be different,” Georgiev promises.
Dinner With A View is on now until May 2 in Toronto and will pop up in Montreal from April 16–May 18, followed by Vancouver in November, and San Diego, California in February 2020.
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