Top 10 Restaurants in Toronto

Food & Drink

@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.

9) Luma

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]

7) Lee’s Restaurant 

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]

6) Japango 

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.

5) Buca 

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]

4) Beast 

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).

2) Stockyard’s 

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.

1) Kim 

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?

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Wabora…..Wellington St W, Toronto

Food & Drink

The Thompson hotel has three restaurants located on the main floor. The Thompson Diner, Scarpetta (which is only open for dinner) and sushi restaurant, Wabora. This Japanese fusion restaurant run by chef Minsoo Kim offers a dizzying array of specialty rolls. There are also Korean dishes as well.

The sleek black interior gives it more of a club feel and I love how when you walk in you can see the display of porcelain plates signed by all the famous celebrities and athletes who have eaten there.

My boss loves sushi so he took us here twice the past few months for lunch. Their lunch special is very good, letting you spend around $10-12 dollars for two specialty rolls or a bento box. Their bento boxes are enormous! I got a Sushi bento which, if I’m remembering correctly, came with fresh sushi, dessert, seaweed salad (my favourite), japchae (my other favourite) and maybe something else. The second time I went for the Wabora roll with three kinds of raw fish (yellow tail, salmon, and tuna). The fish was fresh but overall the roll was kind of dry. It only came with five pieces which was a little disappointing since I was predicting 6-8 but I felt full afterwards.

The service here is great and is what comes to mind first when I think about Wabora. The food is okay. I prefer Sushi and Bento for sushi. The quality there is better but for those more interested in the other aspects of restaurant dining like service and atmosphere, give Wabora a try.

Sushi Bento Box (Close up of the sushi)

wabora2Wabora Roll
wabor3 Open Concept Kitchen/Sushi Stationwabora

Shinobu…..Yonge St, Toronto

Food & Drink

Went here two weeks ago for my birthday dinner with the family. I’ve never been here before but I wanted to find an affordable and yummy sushi place uptown so I went over to Yelp and found a hole-in-the-wall called Shinobu. I read a review about the volcanic rainbow roll which they torch at your table so I had to try it.

The venue is small but cozy, just the way I like it. Luckily we made reservations so we didn’t have to wait.

I ordered a grapefruit cocktail which was really yummy. The waitress brought over half a grapefruit along with a plastic juicer which was cute. The seaweed salad had very little actual seaweed, it was mostly filled with other mixed greens, but all of the ingredients were very fresh.

The volcanic rainbow roll was delicious! The melt-in-your-mouth experience reminded me of the Japango Roll at Japango, but without the extra spicy kick (Shinobu’s roll uses a honey sauce). I normally don’t like to have dessert at restaurants because they always end up to be under-whelming but the green tea cheesecake here is amazing! Would definitely come back again to try their other items. Thanks Yelpers!

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Grapefruit Cocktail

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Seaweed Salad

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Udon

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Volcanic Rainbow Roll

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Green Tea Cheesecake with Ginger Ice Cream
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Decor

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shinobu 7

Sushi Legend…..Ravel Rd, Toronto

Food & Drink

Not to be confused with Asian Legend, the dim sum franchise, this restaurant is run by the same proprietor who also owns Congee Wong and 31 Kitchen. This outdoor plaza has some pretty solid restaurants and a a wide variety of Asian cuisine to choose from (Korean, Chinese, Vietnamnese, etc.) so it was interesting to see how Sushi Legend would stack up against its neighbours.

The restaurant also offers AYCE on weekdays and weekends which seems to be a popular option for many, or you can ask for the main menu. The decor is trendy with non-descriptive colorful artwork on the walls. It draws a young crowd and the atmosphere is very loud. But the service is great, waiters are always very accommodating and the food is so good! Lots of specialty rolls to choose from. I went with the My Angel Roll (Pepper Salmon, cucumber topped with salmon, eel, wasabi and eel sauce) while my sister ordered the Crazy Dragon Roll (salmon, avocado, cucumber, topped with eel, seared white tuna, salmon, wasabi mayo and balsamic sauce). When they arrived, they appeared identical so I only took a picture of one of the rolls. We also ordered unagi on rice, seafood ramen, along with seaweed salad, yuzu salmon, and rock shrimp. Not a big fan of mayo but I highly recommend the shrimp. Really delicious. The sexy summer roll is super refreshing too.

A great place for sushi lovers looking for solid and affordable japanese food uptown.

Seaweed Salad

sushi legend

Yuzu Salmon

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Rock Shrimp

sushi legend 1

Unagi on Rice

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Seafood Ramen

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Sexy Summer Roll  (Mango and Crab Salad wrapped in Rice Paper)

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My Angel Roll

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