@maggieats recently messaged me on Instagram and asked about where she should eat in Toronto. This really got me to think about all the restaurants I’ve been lucky enough to try this past year.
There are so many amazing places to eat in Toronto and such a diverse range of cuisine that it’s hard to narrow it down. But for someone who is coming in from out of town I wanted to come up with a list of restaurants that not only serve great food but ones I would also give top marks in other areas like decor, atmosphere, service. etc.
So in no particular order, here are my favourite places to eat in Toronto in 2014 thus far.
10) Cafe Boulud
Chef Daniel Boulud has opened up a restaurant and bar in the newly built Four Seasons hotel in Yorkville. There is D Bar, a casual lounge on the main floor, and then up the stairs is Cafe Boulud, a nice spot for dinner. I went here during Winterlicious 2013 and was so impressed by the food that I decided to go here again just a few days ago for Summerlicious 2014. The service is ace and the artwork by Mr. Brainwash (If you’ve seen Exit Through The Giftshop, you’ll know what I’m talking about) injects the space with personality.
Fun fact: If you like the artwork you see in the restaurant, they are available for purchase.
One of many Oliver and Bonacini restaurants in Toronto. While Canoe is the crowning jewel of O&B restaurants, Luma manages to be upscale but not pretentious. You can find Luma in the TIFF Lightbox serving Canadian cuisine with flair. The dishes are always simple and clean and they can do amazing things with fresh fish.
8) Gusto 101
Might be too noisy for some as it is always packed during lunch and dinner time, but I have a soft spot for this Italian restaurant tucked away on King and Portland.I never like to order the same thing twice unless it’s really spectacular but they have a dish I keep going back to again and again: octopus salad. And trust me, with a menu that also features scallop, pork belly, and pizza, I’m all about that octopus. [Read Full Review]
This is an Asian Fusion restaurant owned by the great Suser Lee. They are only opened for dinner and dishes are meant to be shared. Make sure to order the Singaporean Slaw with seared tuna. It’s one of those dishes foodies should put on their bucket list. [Read Full Review]
A small hole-in-the-wall near the Toronto Eaton Centre. Make reservations since there are not a lot of tables available and try the Japango Roll. It has fresh scallop on top. enough said.
I’ve always said that the most important thing to me about a restaurant is the food. If the service is okay it doesn’t matter to me. But when our dinner reservations at another restaurant fell through at the last minute and we wandered into Buca one winter night, I was blown away by their excellent service and attentive staff. This is a really romantic nook with dim lighting and high ceilings. I was in a Rome last month and having had the chance to taste authentic Italian food in Italy, I still think Buca’s dishes are outstanding. [Read Full Review]
Great brunch spot. They also serve freshly made doughnuts with ingredients like maple and bacon. [Read Full Review]
3) La Societe
It was hard to choose between Le Select and La Societe which are both great spots to go to if you want to pretend you are in a French bistro but if you are like me and geek out about interior design, I think you will appreciate the rainbow glass ceiling above La Societe. It’s pretty Instagram worthy. (Note: I’ve only been here for brunch so I can’t go in depth about their lunch and dinner menu).
This is a casual spot located on St. Clair West so it’s a bit of a trek if you are coming in from downtown but worth it if you have a craving for fried chicken. It feels chaotic sometimes but their staff is always warm and friendly if you have any questions. I
f you know about a better fried chicken place in Toronto please let me know because I’ve been to a couple and nothing comes close to Stockyard’s.
If you head down to Chinatown you can find Kim across from Dragon City. It’s easy to miss this spot but they are the only restaurant in this area to serve Fukien noodles. It’s simple, cheap, and delicious. And sometimes the best places aren’t the fancy four star restaurants but the ones that remind you of home. #ComfortFood
Let me know if you end up trying any of these places. And if you live in or frequent Toronto, what are your favourite places to eat in Toronto?