Toronto, one of the most populated cities in Canada and one of the most eminent global cities in North America, embraces its diverse and eclectic communities, with different neighborhoods of cultures spanning across the city. This mixed population and the city’s rich culinary culture is reflected in these 10 must-visit restaurants.
Under the direction of chef and co-owner Keith Froggett, Scaramouche Restaurant has remained one of Canada’s top restaurants for over thirty years. Inspired by classical French cuisine, Froggett presents a fusion of traditional and modern culinary styles. In Scaramouche Restaurant, carefully selected ingredients are creatively combined and transformed into outstanding dishes. The wine list is extensive, and the desserts all to-die-for, like the fan-favorite coconut cream pie. Booking a seat at a window table is highly recommended, as the restaurant offers a magical view of downtown Toronto.
Using only local, fresh ingredients, Pizzeria Liberetto prides itself on giving customers a true authentic Neapolitan experience in Toronto. The pizzas — perfected by Chef Rocco Agostino, who was crowned for having the third best pizza in the world at the International Pizza Challenge 2013 — include a dreamy combination of toppings, crispy crust, house-made tomato sauce and the best cheeses. Go for the ricotta gnocchi fritti and grilled calamari for starters, and follow with one of the Neapolitan pizzas like the classic Margherita or the uniquely grilled eggplant. Each pizza boasts a thin, crispy crust baked in a wood fired oven at a whopping 900 degrees.
Located at the top of the TD Bank Tower, Canoe is said to be one of Toronto’s best restaurants. Executive Chef, John Home, offers traditional Canadian cuisine which is embodied by his love for local and seasonal ingredients. The menu changes seasonally with meat and seafood dishes being standard options, like the Tamworth pork chop or the West Coast salmon, both cooked to perfection and beautifully presented. This fine-dining restaurant, luxuriously set on the 54th floor, offers a combination of tasty dishes, with an unforgettable view and impeccable service, all of which are bound to make your dining experience something special.
Head to George Restaurant to try out Chef Lorenzo Loseto’s innovative and award-winning ‘Toronto Cuisine’. George uses a range of fresh, seasonal and sustainable ingredients delivered from local and regional markets. Offering tasting menus of either five, seven, or ten courses, the restaurant’s fresh and eclectic dishes have surprising combinations on each plate, such as the beef tenderloin with shiitake mushrooms and sweet potato. It’s located in the old chocolate factory, originally built in the 1850s, and the decor is simple — a fusion of classic and modern style with European taste. Dining on their elegant patio with the surrounding beautiful garden courtyard will make for a memorable experience during the warmer months.
One of the most popular Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, Guu Izakaya opened its first location in Toronto in 2009. Guu Izakaya embodies the concept of an izakaya (Japanese pub) where you can enjoy a range of Japanese-style tapas in a vibrant atmosphere with cheerful staff and a large selection of sake. Guu Izakaya’s menu serves authentic cuisine found in Japan and features traditional dishes like takoyaki, tuna tataki and Yaki udon. A variety of sake and shochu are available as well as a long list of Japanese beers — all of which can be perfectly paired with any of the menu items.
Opened in 2008 by Chef David Lee, Nota Bene was quickly named as one of Toronto’s best new restaurants by several influential media outlets. Located in the immediate vicinity of the Four Seasons Opera House, the restaurant’s interior is designed with a chic, art deco style. Leather seats and beautiful artworks on the wall keep the ambiance sophisticated, yet still welcoming and inviting. At Nota Bene, dishes are made using fresh, local ingredients, which change seasonally. Look for the big eye tuna tartare made with citrus soya, ginger and coriander — one of the most popular dishes from the starter menu, when available — or, go for the roasted Quebec venison, a highlight of the main courses. Nota Bene is the perfect spot for a ‘pre-theater dinner’, but is worth heading to for any occasion.
Auberge du Pommier’s Chef de Cuisine, Malcolm Campbell, fuses tradition and innovation, offering modern French cuisine in a traditional setting. Inspired by nature, art, and photography, Chef Malcolm possesses a deep passion for food and boundless creativity. The menu has a seasonally rotating tasting menu option, as well as á la carte items. Go for the creamy foie gras or hand-cut beef tartare, both of which are crowd-favorites. Nestled in an 1860s cottage, this spot boasts an incredible menu and inviting atmosphere, with a lovely fireplace and beautiful terrace overlooking the garden.
Head to the trendy King West and find Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse, a popular steakhouse offering a unique culinary experience that will go beyond any expectations you may have. The elegant and stylish interior, featuring a piano bar that plays classy jazz, helps in providing a sophisticated atmosphere throughout the dining space. Chef Danny McCallum carefully selects each cut of beef, controls the climate upon which it is stored, and manages the Dry Aging Room with precise care — located in the middle of the restaurant, diners can see the beef being aged right in front of their eyes. The selection of steaks offered varies, but all are either USDA prime beef, Australianwaygu beef, Canadian beef, and of course, all cooked to perfection.
Toronto’s latest hip dining spot, Richmond Station is a laid back and trendy restaurant, and a popular choice among Toronto’s younger crowd. A chalkboard hangs with hand-written menu options and daily specials, and the open kitchen gives diners a front-row seat to what’s cooking. Opened by young chef Carl Heinrich, the winner of Top Chef Canada Season Two, and Ryan Donovan in 2012, the restaurant offers a range of meat dishes using carefully selected fresh and seasonal ingredients. At Richmond Station, the house-cured charcuterie plate is the perfect starter. Go for the Stn. Burger, one of the favorites on the menu.