Top 10 restaurants in Toronto
Toronto’s profusion of high-end restaurants has certainly helped elevate its cutting-edge culinary reputation. We check out the best palette-pleasing spots in a dynamic and diverse city that's often referred to as 'the most multicultural in the world.' Without further ado, here's our top 10 restaurants in Toronto.
10. Auberge du Pommier
Where: At 4150 Yonge Street, near York Mills subway station.
The scene: It’s all grown-up glamour and old-fashioned values at this fancy eatery built around the rustic vestiges of two 1860s woodcutters’ cottages. Complete with a stone-laden patio, flower-filled gardens, elegant décor and pristine white table linen, the emphasis is on cautiously classic French food with a contemporary North American kick. Equally standout is the bend-over-backwards level of service and well-chosen wines.
Signature dish: Chef Malcolm Campbell adds a distinctly modern flare to well-known staples. Mains include the Fogo Island wild cod with caviar, Northern Woods mushrooms and champagne cream, and the beef filet with garlic and parsley escargot, smoked pomme purée and Bordelaise sauce. The soufflé with Grand Marnier, orange and white chocolate sauce or the crème brulee with vanilla custard and stewed cranberry make a sublime finish to the meal.
Where: At 81 Harbord Street, near Spadina Avenue.
The scene: What looks quite unassuming with its minimalist décor, L-shaped counter, open glass icebox and 10 comfortable stools is one of the very best spots in town for fresh Japanese food. Headed up by Osaka-raised chef and sushi expert Yasuhisa Ouchi, there’s a single omakase (chef’s choice) menu that comes with a noble selection of 18 melt-on-the-tongue pieces of sushi plus dessert. It’s not cheap, but you won’t get anything less than something stellar.
Signature dish: The concept here is simple: sit back, watch the master at work, and let the artfully-crafted pieces keep on coming. The menu includes hard-to-find selections like ocean trout and real red snapper as well as toro, fluke kobujime, tuna zuke, scallop, snowcrab, sweet shrimp, sea eel, and more. Try to leave room for the popular black sesame ice cream and green tea crème brulee and don’t miss out on a sake cocktail or Japanese beer.
8. Antler Kitchen & Bar
Where: At 1454 Dundas Street West, in Little Portugal.
The scene: Characterised by log piles, exposed bricks walls, wood church pews and chairs, antler mounts and a buck skull, this rustic 40-seater pulls focus on farmed game and wild delights. The latest ‘forest-to-table’ offering from (brilliantly- named) co-owner, chef and lifelong forager Michael Hunter, the menu here is rural to its roots. Meat lovers and vegetations are both well-catered for with generous portions that hit the mark.
Signature dish: Highlights of the meat-leaning menu include the spice ash crusted rack of deer from Quebec with parsnip purée and Swiss chard, the game burger with wild boar, bison, deer, hot mustard, garlic aioli and house smoked cheddar, and the roasted duck breast with vegetable lentils and wild blueberry jus. Veggies should try the signature wild mushroom tarte tatin, the sweet potato gyoza, and the spring onion and potato gnocchi.
Where: At 11 Duncan Street in the Entertainment District.
The scene: The latest offering from Toronto’s self-styled club king Charles Khabouth, this split-level eatery is one of the newest (and priciest) for upscale Eastern Mediterranean eats from Israel, Greece, Morocco, Lebanon and Turkey. There’s a lower-level dining room with vaulted white-brick ceilings and shelves lined with decorative ceramics and an upstairs lounge with a smaller menu but huge cocktail list courtesy of celebrated mixologist Robin Kaufman.
Signature dish: The modern menu is packed with recognisable dishes that are big on flavour - but it’s the mezze that really shines. For mains, try the crispy squid, Spanish octopus, dry aged ribeye, and black cod. Don’t ignore the sides, mostly the hand-rolled couscous with brown butter, saffron and herbs, the seared cauliflower with duck fat, tahini sauce, sesame and coriander, and the roasted Brussels sprouts with halloumi, tahini and yogurt.
6. Jacobs & Co Steakhouse
Where: At 12 Brant Street, just north of King Street.
The scene: There’s a huge buzz around this 180-seater powerhouse. Spread over two floors, you’ll find a main dining room, piano bar, walk-in aging room, and show cellars housing over 850 bottles of wine. Characterised by a light and sleek décor theme accented by faux fires and dark woods, the setting is perfect for splurge-worthy meat feast that includes farm-specific steaks that are up to 75 days old.
Signature dish: The creative menu features 40-day-old striploin from Canadian Prime Hereford-Guelph, 35-day-old ribeye from VanGroningen Farms Angus-Norfolk, and a huge selection of cuts from across Canada and the US. Also impressive are the condiments and rubs, including garlic flakes, herb butter, chilli soya sauce, and chimichuri. For dessert, order the pineapple upside down cake with toasted coconut ice cream, candied coconut and lime curd.
5. The Elm Tree Restaurant
Where: At 43 Elm Street.
The scene: It’s as much about the food as the craft beers at the loaded bar at this casual-yet-classy newbie that exudes homeliness with its matador art, exposed brick walls, wooden floors, and rustic vibe. The focus is on Mediterranean and modern European-influenced cuisine at wallet-friendly prices, but it’s the kind of place that does a bit of everything. Best of all, it’s run by people so passionate about food that they are eager to share their knowledge of every dish.
Signature dish: The selection of starters (calamari and ratatouille, grilled octopus, beef carpaccio and pan seared scallops) is delicious. Equally thrilling are the mains; mostly the duck confit with wild mushroom risotto, the braised Moroccan style lamb shank with couscous, carrots, dried fig and dried apricot, and the rack of lamb with mashed potato and jus d'herbes. If you’re ordering sides, go for the roasted eggplant with onion, garlic and tomato.
4. Alo Restaurant
Where: On the third floor at 163 Spadina Avenue.
The scene: What’s been hailed as one of Toronto’s most remarkable fine dining experiences with Michelin-worthy service is former dress shop and modelling agency that’s been spiced up with elegant brass fixtures and smoked mirrors. Opened by chef/co-owner Patrick Kriss in 2015 as an ambitious tasting-menu-only restaurant, the classic-but-playful French cuisine is classically prepared and meticulously thought out.
Signature dish: The signature multi-course tasting menu allows Kriss to show off what’s seasonal - and also divvy up the obscure and pricy ingredients accordingly. Diners get a choice of options for each course, so expect highly creative offerings along the lines of Québec foie gras with sweet potato, chestnut and watercress, Nova Scotia lobster with sunchoke, Treviso and black truffle purée, and Burgundy snails with parsley, black garlic and pearl onion.
3. Canoe Restaurant & Bar
Where: On the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower at 66 Wellington Street.
The scene: This Financial District gem delivers on all fronts: sleek design, melt-in-your-mouth artisanal Canadian cuisine with thoughtfully-paired wine, and stunning views of the city and Lake Ontario from the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower. Opened in 1995, it’s made its mark for working closely with farmers and suppliers to source the finest ingredients from across the nation, and continually challenging boundaries when it comes to à la carte and tasting menus.
Signature dish: Paired with bottles from Niagara, Ontario, BC’s Okanagan Valley and the up-and-coming Prince Edward County in Ontario, the most talked-about dishes include the B.C. skate and octopus, the gin cured duck breast, the cerf de boileau venison, and the Alberta lamb saddle. For dessert, order the chocolate and Nancy’s English mint that comes with mint mousse, flourless chocolate cake, mint meringue, chocolate streusel, and mint ice cream.
2. George Restaurant
Where: At 111C Queen Street East in the Moss Park neighbourhood.
The scene: This beacon of fine dining assures a setting as rich as Chef Lorenzo Loseto’s innovative ‘Toronto Cuisine’ - think seasonal, natural, local, and sustainable food from the city’s markets. Expect eye-poppingly brilliant plates (best served up in one of their famous tasting menus), plenty of choice for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diners, and a secluded garden patio with twinkly lights that’s just perfect for summer dining.
Signature dish: Loseto’s attention to detail and conceptual brilliance is revealed in every dish. Must-try mains include the beef ribeye with potato rissole and cauliflower, the halibut with curry spätzle and English peas, and the wild boar with potato perogies and zucchini. Save room for the chocolate mousse with poached strawberry and almond, the lemon tart with apricot anglaise and raspberry, or the pistachio blondie with white chocolate and cherry.
1. Scaramouche Restaurant
Where: At 1 Benvenuto Place.
The scene: Polished service, knockout views and sophisticated cuisine with French nuances are the reason this landmark eatery has consistently ranked as one of the city’s best for over 35 years. What is actually two restaurants in one (there’s a pasta bar and grill on one side and a more refined haute cuisine space on the other) is headed up by British chef/owner Keith Froggett. There’s also a well-priced wine list with excellent organic and biogynamic options.
Signature dish: This place is at the top of its game for the freshest possible ingredients. Try either the foie gras terrine or duck pastrami for starters, followed by the rack of lamb, West Coast halibut, St. Canut Pork or European sea bass. Pasta-lovers should go for the spaghetti chittarra with Neapolitan style meatballs or the peppercorn fettuccine with beef tenderloin, oyster mushrooms, pine nuts and gruyère herb crust.