At the unassuming Dandylion, Jason Carter can usually be found in the open kitchen, keeping an eye on the line of tables stretching out in front of him. The intimate 30-seat restaurant is four years old, but its game has never wavered: It has kept a tight menu of three appetizers, three entrees, and three desserts.
With Alo, Patrick Kriss brought the tasting menu back into the Toronto dining vernacular. When the chef opened his French restaurant back in 2015, diners had become weary of stuffy parades of plates. Kriss decided to revive the tradition but do so in his own dignified manner. A flood of accolades came pouring in, applauding
Chef Michael Caballo and partner in life and love chef Tobey Nemeth have been at their bucolic Niagara Street restaurant for a handful of years now and have consistently found themselves hovering near the top of the city’s best restaurants lists. It’s no surprise: Their menus are dictated by the whims of the season and
Toronto’s obsession with Italiana never seems to abate, and Giulietta is one of the reasons why. Chef Rob Rossi was at first pooh-poohed (the nerve to close Bestellen!) before being embraced twice over. Rossi partnered with David Minicucci (L’Unità), and they ran with their idea of serving Italian food that’s clean, simple and addictive. Pasta
Baby sis to Alo, this downstairs diner is the cool sibling — the more approachable one you want to be friends with (and actually stand a chance with). Walls are clad in sleek wood panelling, servers look jaunty in bow ties, and the food is comforting but never sloppy. The menu isn’t so much greasy
When Grant van Gameren debuted his Bar Isabel back in 2013, he was relatively green. After forging a name for himself at the Black Hoof (RIP), the chef departed, causing many a foodie to question his next move. A stint at Enoteca Sociale resulted in a partnership with Max Rimaldi and the birth of the
Montgomery’s is a true labour of love. Chef Guy Rawlings, who cut his teeth at Bar Isabel, opened the Ossington-adjacent space with his wife Kim Montgomery, who takes care of operations. (And the playlists!) Coming into its third year, the restaurant serves contemporary Canadian cuisine that’s dictated by the seasons. Last year, one of chef
In Italian, Il Covo means “the meeting point,” and that’s what this restaurant is. Unobtrusive from the exterior, the space unfurls into a warm room. Chef Ryan Campbell and biz partner Giuseppe Marchesini hopped over from Buca (where they were the first two employees!) with plenty of Italian culinary knowledge. But rather than turn out
Jonathan Poon, Jesse Fader and Gani Schqueir know what the people want. Since sashaying onto the food scene in hipsterville, Paris Paris has been welcomed with open arms. The room — light filled and unpretentious — acts as a fitting backdrop for a culinary team that is pulling weight in all corners. Chef de cuisine
Chef Ian Robinson got his first taste of Japanese cuisine as a teenager. The Japanese wife of a family member would make him homestyle food, which struck him with its simplicity and seasonality. Robinson has pursued those flavours ever since. After working for four years under the esteemed Mitsuhiro Kaji at Sushi Kaji, Robinson went
For chef Anna Chen’s first stand-alone restaurant, she opted to open a 32 seater in the west end. Blonde wood accents the minimalist room, and soulful tunes play overhead, foreshadowing Chen’s highly elegant take on comfort food. Buoyed by her knowledge from stints at Figo and Scaramouche — plus an upbringing in India — chef
“Mollusks for the masses” is the motto at this Queen West seafood restaurant. Oysters arrive regularly from both the east and west coasts, and are served raw or cooked as part of a menu that changes daily. Besides oysters, Oyster Boy also offers other shellfish as well as a selection of salads, steak frites, desserts
Found on an ever-livelier strip of Dundas West, Sakai Bar is easy to miss while walking by. But once inside, it’s unforgettable. The slender room boasts tables to one side and a bar at the back, with soft Japanese-style light fixtures and screens lending it a tranquil vibe. Leather-bound menus house a diverse sake list
At Harbord’s jewel of a sushi restaurant, Yasuhisa Ouchi serenades his patrons bite by bite. Chef can be found behind the bar night after night, carefully preparing each piece of the omakase meal. Here, $110 gets you about 20 courses, starting with apps, like the delicacy shirako, before progressing to sashimi and sushi. Each course
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a foodie in this town that hasn’t heard of Rob Gentile. It’s safe to say that the chef-restaurateur is one busy guy, palling around with Jamie Oliver, plotting foodie retreats in Umbria and heading up a food company in addition to holding exec chef duties at a handful of restos.
Local Kitchen and Wine Bar brings locally grown Italian inspired cuisine to the western fringes of Parkdale, bringing a bit of dolce vita to a neighbourhood better known for hipsters and vegan restaurants. Chef Fabio Bondi, graduate of the George Brown Culinary School and the Alma Culinary School in Parma, Italy, developed his skills at
Since opening in 2016, Miku has become the prime date night spot south of Queen Street. And beyond slim pickings in the area around Queen’s Quay, it’s no wonder why: Its main innovation, the aburi sushi, is a lightly torched morsels of fresh, creamy, and visually stunning slice of the season’s freshest catch on a
It goes without saying that Jen Agg is a polarizing figure. Love her (she’s a badass woman in a tough industry) or love to hate her (she’s snark personified), it’s hard not to fall for her restaurants. At Grey Gardens, Agg has enlisted chef Mitchell Bates and partner in crime Peter Jensen to run the
Anyone who has been to Thailand can easily conjure up sticky nights spent at food stalls. There, heaping portions of noodles seasoned with palm sugar, fish sauce, peanuts and spice are de rigueur. But at Kiin, from chef Nuit Regular and her husband Jeff, the diner is transported into a very different version of Thailand.
Grant van Gameren has done it again. Reading as a visual response to the undulating Bar Raval down the street, Quetzal feels like a nautical cathedral where everyone worships flame. Much of the kitchen is devoted to the firepit, which runs down half the room and includes a traditional comal (the griddle used to cook
Sociale is refusing to coast, and has upped its game. Still the same beloved southern Italian cooking, but better! The ultimate comfort food is the arancini — deep-fried balls of risotto stuffed with oozing mozzarella du bufula. Or try the cotechino — tender house-made pork sausage with perfect well-seasoned lentils spiked with puckery marinated and
“You’re going to eat food, that’s all I can promise,” Chris White says of the restaurant he and his good friend, Jonathan Nicolau, opened above Bay Station.The two have been working on developing the idea for a restaurant — in the end, it needed to be "casual and graceful and nice and in the centre of the city”
Holed up on an off-the-radar strip of Ossington, this contemporary Canadian restaurant turns out eye-opening fare. The level of respect chef-owner Justin Cournoyer has for the land, for the seasons and for the climate is palpable in every dish. All is local and seasonal, and the ethos permeates every aspect of the business. Asparagus is
Alobar Yorkville, the restaurant by chef and famed restaurateur Patrick Kriss, is an oasis of elegance tucked into an alley off of Cumberland Street in Toronto. The small 75-seat restaurant is a setting that is part lounge, part dining room, part bar — and all class.
If there ever were a seafood heaven, Fishman Lobster Club House is where you’ll find those Pearly Gates. The moment you walk in, you’re surrounded by mouthwatering crustaceans — tanks full of mostly crab and lobster but also a rotating cast of seasonal fish, such as Green Bass and Flounder. The Scarborough hotspot has long
There are steak houses, and then there’s Barberian’s. There’s no selfie wall or wannabe-witty hashtag associated with this joint — just a couple of Group of Seven paintings (no big deal). This is a proper old-timey dining experience and an institution in Toronto’s food scene. Now in the second generation, the family business reaches back
In French, avoir la banane means you’ve got a big grin on your face. So it’s fitting that, prior to opening La Banane, chef Brandon Olsen was known for his fried chicken and chocolates, food that tends to put smiles on faces. But at his contemporary bistro on Ossington, Olsen reaches much further in his
This contemporary Richmond Hill eatery serves a mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine with a French influence. After opening in Toronto in 1987, Saigon Star moved north to the suburbs in 1993 and has been bringing the flavours of Southeast Asia to Richmond Hill (and those making the trek there) ever since. The menu features
A stretch of Etobicoke a stone’s throw from a Costco isn’t where you’d assume one of the city’s — not to mention Canada’s — top sushi restaurants would reside. And yet chef Mitsuhiro Kaji has been sitting pretty for almost two decades, masterfully serving his omakase menu to an ever-keen array of diners willing to
Woodlot is a Canadian-inspired restaurant from Robyn Donio and David Haman, who promise simple, honest and handmade foods from the finest ingredients they can find. The kitchen revolves around a hand built wood-fired oven that pumps out a selection of sourdough bread and Canadian comfort food. Woodlot feature’s two distinct seasonally evolving menus; one vegetarian
The menu of fresh Italian-inspired eats from executive chef Rob Gentile features some of Buca’s most-loved dishes from the Portland Street and Yorkville location, with a few brand new items for good measure. Inside is a modern interior that's filled with light thanks to the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
It’s four courses for $65, and for each of the four courses there are three choices. So the choice thing is taken care of. Dinner starts with impeccable sourdough bread and two impeccable spreads: sharp goat butter sharp with chives, and ricotta with complex chimichurri.
Toronto is the perfect city for a restaurant like DaiLo — where ancient recipes are given new life, traditional Asian flavours are married to modern ones, and adventurous diners are open to new experiences. Chef Nick Liu draws on cuisines from Hakka to Singaporean to Chinese for his intriguing menu. The best way to try
Who would have thought a second after ending the Black Hoof chapter the tireless restaurateur Jen Agg would work her magic in a storied Queen West space? Well she did, and it’s the eatery equivalent of a warm embrace. The skinny room showcases its original spirit and is darkened conspiratorially, with tableside lights allowing for
The food now is classic bistro with a luxurious twist. There’s plenty of personal Boulud touches (the beignet de calamar include deft Southeast Asian flavours) and nods to Toronto (the quenelle de brochette is made with Ontario-sourced pike.) In short, the rethink worked and Café Boulud is in a class by itself.
Best known for being the subject of a vegan protest in the summer of 2018, Antler is actually a restaurant rooted in friendship, family, and above all, the forest. Chef Michael Hunter — aptly named, given the thematic congruence in his personal and professional pastimes — draws on a Canadian focus and a “forest to
Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner, and is considered as much as an art form as a style of cooking. Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto’s owner/chef Masaki Hashimoto trained for ten years in kaiseki cuisine in Japan before coming to Toronto over thirty years ago. His restaurant Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto aims to provide culinary excellence with
It’s hard to find a Torontonian who hasn’t dined out on Ossington. The west end stretch, laden with restos and bars and bars masquerading as restos, is an easy destination for a nuit on the town. But back in 2009, when Union hopped onto the scene, the strip was far less trodden. Thanks to its
People have been traveling north of Steeles in search of top-tier Chinese and Korean food for ages. But with Frilu, a tasting menu restaurant founded by Chef John-Vincent Troiano (formerly Acadia, Tutti Matti, Hashimoto), there's a new reason to go uptown.
Tucked away at the corner of Portland and Wellington Street West is Marben, one of the city’s top purveyors of Canadian comfort. Executive chef Chris Locke takes pub fare to a whole new level while showcasing local, and seasonal ingredients. Sometimes that means going deep into fermentation experiments to deliver clever accents such as kombucha
Richmond Station, located at the edge of the financial district at Yonge and Richmond — steps from busy subway thoroughfare — is a play on a train station stop for Toronto locals on their way home. Downstairs is a casual tavern-inspired space with high ceilings and white subway tile. Black and white photos of the
This financial district restaurant is the first North American location of Michelin star chefs Alfonso and Ernesto Iaccarino’s Don Alfonso 1890. Brought to Toronto by Nick Di Donato of the Liberty Entertainment Group, the Don Alfonso brand is recognized worldwide with locations throughout Italy as well as New Zealand, China, and now Toronto. It showcases
Located at the Golden Square Centre in Mississauga, Chi’s Congee and Noodle House offers both of its namesakes as well as wonton soup, dumplings, sweet and sour pork and other Chinese food favourites. The congee, which is a rice porridge popular in many Asian countries, is served in many variations including chicken and duck, shrimp,
Sometimes all one wants to do is toss on a vintage fur and embrace a snazzy eve out. Louix Louis is here for those needs, high in the clouds on the 31st floor of the luxe new St. Regis hotel. A swirling mural resembling the bottom of a whiskey-filled rocks glass oversees the gilded space. Below, folks dabble in
Parallel is a Middle Eastern eatery located on the industrial Geary Avenue, which has emerged as somewhat of a destination restaurant row in what is otherwise an industrial strip. The restaurant comes from the same family behind Ozery Bakery, famed for their Morning Rounds and Lavash products that can be found at your local grocers.
Since 1987, this East Toronto bar and restaurant, steps from Broadview station, has served up whiskey, beer, wine and food to both locals and those in the neighbourhood for a show at the adjacent Danforth Music Hall. The menu focuses on naturally-raised organic meats and Ontario produce, and is more ambitious than your regular pub
Under the direction of Paula Navarrete, Kōjin placed 49th on our list of the top 50 restaurants in Toronto for 2019. The Colombian chef rose through the ranks of David Chang’s Momofuku empire, first as sous chef at Noodle Bar. As executive chef of Kōjin, her Colombian roots and butchery skills come together around an
Despite offering a glut of cuisines from across the globe, Toronto is still lacking in the Indonesian department. Fortunately, Jennifer Gittins and chef Michael van den Winkel are doing a pretty stellar job of carrying the torch. Snacks are the name of the game here, with meats-on-sticks (think chicken satay ayam with fragrant peanut sauce)