La Cubana restaurant has plans

Restaurants Toronto Canada


Torontonians speak more than 140 languages and half of them were born outside of Canada, making this city arguably the most multicultural city in the world. Standout dining experiences include a fishmonger who remixes okonomiyaki with cured fish, a Vietnamese-born chef whose signature dish is ceviche made with yuzu, and a restaurant devoted to the cuisines of Aboriginal and early Canadian settlers. These aren't gimmicks; these are affirmations that this city is growing up and moving beyond the strict boundaries of traditional cuisines. There has never been a better time to eat and drink in Toronto.

Kensington Market, a neighborhood where many immigrants first settled in Toronto, has become a dining paradise. There, you'll find some of our best purveyors of meat, cheese, and spices. Numerous restaurants have sprouted along Ossington, making it a destination for eaters who want a taste of the city's most trendy restaurants and bars. World-class Chinese restaurants thrive in the northern suburbs, and South Asian food flourishes west of the city. Drawn from this staggering abundance, here are the 38 culinary experiences that define Toronto.

Price key:
$ = Less than 20 CAD (15 USD)
$$ = 20 - 49 CAD (15 - 37 USD)
$$$ = 50 - 100 CAD (38 - 76 USD)
$$$$ = More than 100 CAD (over 76 USD)

1 The Black Hoof

The flagship of Jen Agg's admirable collection of restaurants and bars, the Black Hoof is the place that catapulted charcuterie, offal, and Manhattans into the Toronto dining vernacular in 2008. The outspoken restaurateur is unafraid to ruffle feathers, and her influence on the local culinary scene is undeniable. In this part of the Trinity-Bellwoods neighborhood, you can hop from her Rhum Corner to the Cocktail Bar for a pre- or post-dinner drink. [$$$]

Dave Gillespie, courtesy Black Hoof

928 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, ON M6J 1W3, Canada

(416) 551-8854

2 Porchetta & Co.

Check this sandwich shop's Instagram to find out about their limited-edition sandwiches. Sometimes it's a fried chicken sandwich or, if you're lucky, soft shell crab, but regulars flock to this counter-service spot for its signature porchetta sandwiches. The house special is four ounces of slow-roasted pork with crackling, truffle sauce, parmesan, grainy mustard, and hot sauce. There is limited seating, but there are many parks within walking distance. [$]

825 Dundas St W
Toronto, ON M6J 1V4, Canada

(647) 352-6611

3 Bar Isabel

Dark and old-fashioned, this is the oddest-looking dining room in which you can find pintxos and foie gras-topped rib eye, but once you get used to loud noise bouncing off the wood-paneled walls, you'll want to stay at this Little Italy establishment awhile. The drinks list is a playground for those who want something a bit different: funky ciders, a range of sherries, and creative cocktails. Whatever you do, leave room for the Basque cake. [$$$]

797 College Street
Toronto, ON, Canada

(416) 532-2222

4 A Cappuccino at Sam James Coffee Bar

In 2009, Sam James opened his first coffee shop on Harbord and made his first mark on the city cafe scene. Since then, he has built a mini-empire with his perfect cappuccinos, expanding into small spaces dotted around downtown. He has even ventured into the Financial District, where few other third-wave coffee shops have dared go. [$]

Photo courtesy of Sam James

297 Harbord St
Toronto, ON, Canada

5 Tofu Village — House of Soon Tofu

As the name suggests, the special here is soon tofu (soft tofu in a spicy, well seasoned broth). Other Koreatown restaurants offer the dish but at Tofu Village, the tofu is silky smooth and the service more attentive. Don't overlook the other dishes: The seafood pancake is a crowd-pleasing appetizer and the bibimbap is a favorite for those who want a milder dish. [$]

681 Bloor St. W
Toronto, ON M6G 1L2, Canada

(647) 345-3836

6 Foxley

Before all of Ossington was lined with hip bars and no-reservation restaurants, there was chef Tom Thai's Foxley, which opened way back in 2007. The decor has never been trendy — little more than wooden tables and chairs in dim lighting — but Foxley has established itself as an essential Toronto restaurant for its consistent pan-Asian menu punctuated by dumplings and creative ceviche dishes. [$$$]

207 Ossington Ave
Toronto, ON M6J 2Z8, Canada

(416) 534-8520

7 Bellwoods Brewery

There is no better place for day-drinking than on the Ossington-facing patio of Bellwoods Brewery, the epicenter of cool-people-watching and hoppy-beer-drinking. Beware, many of these brews are high in alcohol, but if you have something like delicious, such as the Skeleton Key stout aged 12 months in rum barrels, you'll want to drink it slowly and savor it. [$$]

124 Ossington Ave
Toronto, ON M6J 2Z5, Canada

(416) 535-4586

8 Boralia

When two Vancouver transplants opened Boralia on trendy Ossington Ave., they surprised diners with their modern twist on historical Canadian cuisine. Pine needle-smoked mussels, rich pigeon pie, and grilled whelk with beurre blanc are just some highlights on the menu you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. [$$$]

59 Ossington Ave.
Toronto, ON, Canada

(647) 351 5100

9 Late-Night Poutine at Poutini's House of Poutine

As all Canadians know, poutine is the best and most delicious way to prevent a hangover. Go to Poutini's, where the fries are hand-cut and the cheese curds are delivered daily for guaranteed squeakiness. There are even vegetarian and vegan options. Brave the late-night crowds and your stomach will thank you. [$]

1112 Queen St W
Toronto, ON M6J 1H9, Canada

(647) 342-3732

10 Grand Electric

During the day, local families come for this Parkdale spot's quick lunch of Baja fish tacos and guacamole. As night falls, the small restaurant transitions into a louder fiesta with hip-hop at ear-splitting volumes and a long list of bourbon and cocktails at the ready. Waits for a table can be long, but food arrives quickly. [$]

1330 Queen St W
Toronto, ON M6K 1L4, Canada

(416) 627-3459

11 Takht-e Tavoos

There aren't many downtown Persian restaurants, so on weekends, expect the long lines at Takht-e Tavoos to spill into the Little Portugal neighborhood. It'll be worth the wait: after dining at Tavoos, author and former dining critic Ruth Reichl wrote that she left floating. (Tables for a late breakfast or lunch are easier to come by during the week.) Thanks to dishes like kaleh pacheh, a classic Iranian breakfast of a sheep's tongue and a hoof, the sweet-meets-savory guisavah, a dish of eggs cooked with dates and walnuts, and warm house flatbread to sop it up, you will leave floating too. [$]

1120 College St
Toronto, ON M6H 1B5, Canada

(647) 352-7322

12 Edulis

Give the house carte blanche and be treated to a meal unlike anything else in the city. The dinner tasting menu comes in two sizes: smaller (five courses) and larger (seven courses), both reflecting the owners' love of classic French and Spanish cuisine, updated with Canadian twists. Snag a coveted Sunday lunch reservation for a luxurious, drawn-out midday meal and half-priced wine bottles. [$$$]

169 Niagara St
Toronto, ON M5V 1C9, Canada

(416) 703-4222

13 Lee

If Toronto has one celebrity chef, it is Susur Lee. The Hong Kong-born chef combines Eastern culinary traditions with French techniques at all of his restaurants, but he most thoroughly explores this culinary point of view at his flagship, Lee. At this King West spot, everyone orders the Singapore Slaw, a 19-ingredient dish of vegetables, fresh herbs, crunchy peanuts and fried taro with a salted plum dressing. It has an impressively tall presentation and the polished servers are so proud of it, they actually encourage guests to Instagram it. [$$$]



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