Toronto: Where to Go [Dining Guide]

Whether dining with the family or looking to impress a date, here is our round up of where to go in Toronto – Canada’s Queen City.

Six of the country’s top ten best restaurants are located in Toronto, so if you are wondering where to go in Toronto for a quality dining experience, you’re spoiled for choice. This was the verdict of over 72 judges, including the country’s top chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and members of the food industry and published in the annual ‘Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants’ magazine. The city’s dining scene is reflective of its international community, attracting acclaimed chefs from around the world and offering something for every palette and occasion.

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Brunch

Carousel Bakery
93 Front Street East
stlawrencemarket.com

You cannot visit ‘Hogtown’ without trying a peameal bacon sandwich. This iconic Torontonian dish dates back to the 1900s, when the city got its porky nickname – Ontario bred around 80 per cent of the country’s hog stock. The salted cuts of loin were rolled in dried, crushed peas to preserve them – giving it a distinctive yellow crust.

If you are looking for where to go in Toronto to sample one, look no further than the Carousel Bakery on the upper level at the sprawling, indoor St. Lawrence Market. The hearty hit of inch-thick, salty meat and juice-absorbing carbs is the perfect antidote after a heavy night.

Family

Barque Smokehouse
299 Roncesvalles Avenue
barque.ca

This casual, Roncesvalles spot is the creation of childhood friends, Jonathan Persofsky and David Neinstein. Ditching his corporate job, Neinstein followed his heart, and his stomach, to Oklahoma, where he honed his barbeque skills before opening this popular smokehouse.

The menu offers something for the whole family, from more refined takes on classic Southern fare – try the mac and cheese made with handmade spinach and ricotta ravioli with tarragon and sage butter sauce – to the indulgent, 12-hour smoked brisket. All the meat is finished in the giant 500-pound capacity, stainless-steel smoker imported from Tennessee. Children will love the more manageable ‘Dinner Bites’, broken down into MOO! CLUCK! OINK! (meats) and TREES and STUFF (sides). Booking is advisable.

Barbecued meat from Barque Smokehouse.
Smoky Tennessee goodness available in Toronto.

Business

Canoe
TD Centre, 66 Wellington Street West
canoerestaurant.com

Located in the heart of the Financial District, on the 54th floor of the TD Centre, this critically acclaimed restaurant offers spectacular views of the city and Lake Ontario.

Taking its inspiration from the country’s diverse landscape and culture, the inventive menu features dishes such as wild ivory salmon, with pumpkin, chestnut panisse, caramelized yoghurt and quince aigre-doux. We recommend the tasting menu, which bills itself as a ‘culinary voyage through the history of Canada’s iconic fresh waters.’

The well-curated drinks list follows suit, featuring a strong selection of oft underpraised regional winemakers, as well as cocktails made with a uniquely Canadian twist. Make sure you try the Harvest Mule, a mix of harvest mule, Absolut vodka, crab apple cider, ginger beer, caramel and smoke and ash bitters.

If entertaining request a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows. Or for large groups, the 70-seater private dining room is sure to impress.

Wondering where to go in Toronto to impress over dinner? You can't beat the floor-to-ceiling windows at Canoe.
Wondering where to go in Toronto to impress over dinner? You can’t beat the floor-to-ceiling windows at Canoe.

Romantic

George
111C Queen Street East
georgeonqueen.ca

Led by Executive Chef Lorenzo Loseto, this intimate restaurant is situated in a former 19th century chocolate factory. Avoid the pressure of choosing from the a la carte menu and opt for the five or ten-course tasting option – a vegetarian version is also available. Couples will discover that each diner often receives different dishes for each course from the other, allowing you to sample even more of the inventive cuisine.

In the summer dine alfresco on the terrace, lit up by fairy lights and against the romantic backdrop of the trickling water wall. The restaurant is also the perfect wedding venue, offering a dedicated team, personalized menus and private dining for a variety of party sizes. There is also a spa and hotel on site.

Closed Sunday and Monday

George restaurant in the restored chocolate factory.
For the lovers; George provides an intimate dining experience.

Friends

Bar Raval
505 College Street
thisisbarraval.com

Looking for where to go in Toronto that offers a side of art and architecture with your meal? This trendy Spanish pintxos bar is not only the sister restaurant to the ever-popular, Bar Isabel, but home to an impressive interior – which takes its inspiration from Gaudi, with undulating arcs of oiled mahogany which sweep across the windows and around to form the bar.

Open from 8am to 2am, groups crowd around the bar laden with tapas, or mill around old port barrels swapping dishes and anecdotes. In the summer the party spills out onto the wraparound patio.

We recommend just trying whatever takes your fancy on the counter, as the plates change daily based on what the chef picks up fresh from the market. Make sure you save some room for the grapefruit and white chocolate donuts though. The drinks menu is equally impressive, featuring an array of cocktails and an extensive selection of vermouth and sherry.

The Gaudi-inspired interior of Bar Raval.
The Gaudi-inspired interior of Bar Raval.

 

Matt
Jenkins

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