Toronto Restaurants to Try Now
Whether it’s a farm-to-table brunch or an elegant steak dinner to remember, Toronto’s culinary scene will leave you craving more.
Savvy diners have plenty of choices when planning a meal out in Toronto. The booming food scene reflects the city’s amazing ethnic diversity by offering cuisine from every corner of the globe, while locals are famous for their ever-evolving emphasis on using regional produce in tantalizing new ways. And with acclaimed culinary artists such as French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud—of Café Boulud and d|bar at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto—in town, there’s no denying that Toronto has become an international food capital capable of attracting top talent.
With an ample mix of gastropubs, five-star dining and after-dark eateries and bars, the city’s diverse dining scene caters to whatever you’re in the mood for.
On weekends, Splendido in Harbord Village boasts the most fashionable Champagne brunch in the city, beginning with an impressive spread of homemade pastries, meats and cheeses. Decadent versions of brunch classics (think smoked salmon potato pancakes served with fried capers) follow, and seafood platters and caviar service are also available. On Yorkville Avenue, the Hotel’s casual Café Boulud offers a Sunday brunch menu stocked with French country favourites—including house-made croissants, lemon ricotta hot cakes and oeufs meurette—with “urban” touches like Cantabrian anchovies or raspberry-lemon curd. If you’re brunching in the West End, head to the café at the Drake Hotel for a plate of chicken and waffles washed down with a spicy signature Drake Caesar.
Located in Toronto’s upscale Rosedale neighbourhood just minutes from downtown, Terroni on Yonge at Price St is a local favourite, featuring Italian classics and some of the best thin-crust pizza in town. Dynasty Chinese Cuisine, just steps from the Hotel in the heart of Yorkville, offers daily dim sum and other Chinese dishes in a relaxing dining room. Over in King West, Bar Buca is an airy Italian café offering fresh-baked pastries and coffee in the morning and tapas-style snacks and drinks throughout the day.
Prepare to be pleasantly surprised at The Oxley in Yorkville, sister restaurant to the Queen and Beaver Public House, both classic British-style saloons where you can sample some of the city’s most genuine pub fare, like toe rags (dried salt cod), duck and potato pie, or a pork chop with dumplings. Also in Yorkville, just across from the Royal Ontario Museum, Museum Tavern is a bistro-style gastropub serving fancy takes on comfort food—try the truffled mushroom pierogies or butcher’s Bolognese with elk, wild boar, lamb and beef—as well as salads and sandwiches. Allen’s on the Danforth offers a traditional yet sophisticated Irish menu featuring favourites like Kerry lamb and potatoes cooked eight different ways. For pub classics in a laid-back British café setting, visit The Bristol’s new location in the historic Great Hall on Queen West to savour British-style curries, bangers and mash, and shepherd’s pie.
Overlooking the city and best experienced at sunset, Canoe sits pretty on the 54th floor of Toronto’s TD Bank Tower, offering a stellar view of the city. Frequented by bankers and foodies alike, Canoe adds impeccable service to regional Canadian cuisine unparalleled in the city, with a tasting menu that showcases local ingredients in simple, creative ways. For a sophisticated steak dinner, Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse offers one of the city’s finest, with more than a dozen choice cuts and aged varieties along with an excellent wine list. Last, but certainly not least, Edulis Restaurant, hidden away on Niagara Street, focuses its fresh, seasonal cuisine on succulent seafood, enhanced by a casual atmosphere and brilliant hospitality—the perfect mix for an unforgettable romantic meal.
Pre- or post-theatre eats
Located in the Bell Lightbox, the cultural centre that hosts the Toronto International Film Festival, Luma sits at the heart of the theatre district and offers an upscale dining experience with an emphasis on Canadian ingredients. Just steps from the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, home to the Canadian Opera Company, Nota Bene offers a contemporary setting for fine dining on Queen Street West; its pre-theatre menu caters to guests grabbing a light bite pre-opera with dishes like mozzarella di bufala or chilled sweet corn soup. For quick and casual, head to Momofuku Noodle Bar for a bowl of New York City–based Chef David Chang’s famous ramen and pork buns, or to Momofuku Daishō for a wider variety of dishes.
Drinks after dark
Maison Mercer, located in the Entertainment District, is as cool as it gets, with plenty of secluded nooks for private bottle service. For a more laid-back nightcap, savour an artisanal cocktail or craft beer at the Hotel’s d|bar.
Toronto has fully embraced the food truck trend, with a dedicated virtual hub, Toronto Food Trucks, that reports on the comings and goings of the local fleet. Check out these two standouts when you’re in need of a quick meal: Caplansky’s serves up deli dishes (smoked meat poutine, brisket sandwich, coleslaw) from a truck nicknamed Thunderin’ Thelma, while El Gastrónomo Vagabundo offers a multicultural street food menu filled with Southeast Asian dishes, tapas and gourmet tacos.
Joanna Ebbutt and Bonnie Schiedel contributed to this article.