Toronto revels in a rich multi-cultural history, especially when it comes to food. From the Brit gastro pub, Mediterranean classic and north-eastern European cuisines of the last century, to the new millennium’s embrace of Latin and Asian fusion, there’s a menu to suit every taste and budget.
Home-grown stars such as Mark McEwan (Bymark), Susur Lee (Canada’s Iron Chef), Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watchco), and Dufflet Rosenberg (Dufflet Pastries, three locations) continue to carve out the definition of Canadian cuisine with delicious results, while others raised here are setting the bar internationally - Alvin Leung of Toronto’s R&D is also behind Hong Kong’s three Michelin-starred Bo Innovation.
Paris and New York come here for dinner, too, with global culinary superstars Daniel Boulud (Cafe Boulud at Four Seasons) and David Chang (Momofuku, adjacent to the Shangri-La). And don’t forget dessert! At Richmond Station, the pastry chef wunderkind gets the city’s sweet tooth on. Need it to go? Say mais oui to Nadege Patisserie for French-inspired confections.
Our top picks
66 Wellington Street West, Level 54
A champion of artisanal Canadian cuisine, executive chef John Horne is at the helm of this flagship of the city’s popular Oliver & Bonacini restaurant group. The award-winner forges new Canuck cuisine ground on a seasonal menu basis. His food pairs perfectly with spectacular views of Lake Ontario and the glittering metropolis below. Tip: Vegans and vegetarians can call ahead for a customised tasting menu.
120 Avenue Road
This perennial hotspot is the go-to for classic Italian in the city’s tony Yorkville neighbourhood. The intimate vibe and owner-chef Marisa Rocca are magnets for celeb-spotters, families celebrating milestones, local regulars and business types having an after-work bite. The chefs are always on trend: brown rice, quinoa and spelt have made their way onto the menu. Tip: Risotto, for two.
Eat like a local
The Ceili Cottage
1301 Queen Street East
A traditional Irish pub, this affordable Leslieville spot is a neighbourhood favourite, and a draw for weekend brunch types. On Sunday, dinner is a classic hot roast, while Paddy, champion oyster shucker and Guinness World Record holder, shows off his skills nightly. Tip: Sip from more than 100 types of Irish whisky and 12 beers from around the world, only on tap.
221 Ossington Ave, 550 Danforth Ave And 155 University Ave
Award-winning chef Rocco Agostino fires up Vera Pizza Napoletana, judged authentic Naples pizza by an international association, to his bustling restaurants. The thin crust is made from Italian Caputo flour and topped with simple ingredients, many of them D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin), such as San Marzano tomatoes and fiore di latte mozzarella. Tip: Share the Piatto Grande, the house’s charcuterie plate.
503 College Street
In Little Italy, China meets France. Chef Nick Liu defines New Asian by mixing his Hakka heritage with classical training, appealing to seasoned foodies and hipsters alike. Even better, he’s partnered with much-lauded sommelier Anton Potvin, busting the myth that you can’t pair Chinese food with wine, sake or quirky cocktails. Tip: Upstairs at LoPan, dim sum and cocktails until the wee hours.