Since writing an article on Vancouver’s best restaurants, it would only be fair to discuss the cuisine in another shining Canadian metropolis. All things considered, if you’re in Toronto, you may as well treat yourself to a fancy dinner. So here are the top ten restaurants in Toronto!
10. Nota Bene (180 Queen Street West)
Opening in 2008, Nota Bene was voted Canada’s best new restaurant. Executive Chef David Lee believes that the key to better food was fewer complications in its creation. And the food is spectacular, with opening options including tuna tartare, and charred wild sea scallops. The kitchen keeps a forager on staff, who brings in wild leeks and similar greens, and attempts to buy its supplies locally.
They offer a pre-theatre menu on days when the Four Seasons Centre has performances, providing three and four course meals before a dose of culture. Their wine list is comprehensive, and with over 170 different bottles chosen to complement the menu. They also have a luxury gin selection, complete with several fancy tonics, so you can enjoy the perfect gin and tonic in their full bar. For two to have a meal, it rounds out to about $120.
9. North 44 (2537 Yonge Street)
The first of Chef Mark McEwan’s four restaurants, North 44’s elegant and contemporary settings are designed by Yabu Pushelberg, and perfectly matching Chef Sash Simpson’s menu and the wine list.
The continental menu, offers a selection that ranges from bison to tuna, and offers a cheese plate alongside the traditional desserts. The wine list is extensive, and includes dessert wines and sakis. For two to dine on appetizers, mains and dessert will come to $160-70.
8. Chiado (864 College Street)
Under the direction of Albino Silva and Chef Manny Vilela, Chiado has become one of the best restaurants in Toronto. A Portuguese restaurant, Chiado’s seafood selection is superb, with its fish being flown in from the Azores daily.
The wine list is well-rounded, offering not only the usual reds, whites and rosés, but also ports, madeiras and muscats, for those with a sweet tooth. Aside from the menu, Chiado also sells extra virgin olive oil and organic sea salt, for people who’re interested in cooking like they do at Chiado. Chiado offers wine tastings, in several degrees of formality. Two people dining out, not counting wine, comes out to about $130-40 Canadian.
7. Canoe (66 Wellington Street West)
Canoe is nestled on the fifty-fourth floor of the TD tower, providing stunning views of the city alongside executive chef John Horne’s spectacular “artisanal Canadian cuisine”. Like Auberge Du Pommier, Canoe is part of Oliver & Bonancini’s line of restaurants, which specializes in providing fine dining experiences. Canoe offers not only full lunch and dinner menus, but also a bar menu offering snacks and cheeses alongside an impressive drinks selection.
The food is sustainable, and the meat and fish all have their hometowns listed. At the moment, they’re offering a chocolate menu, with an entire six course meal using chocolate in each course. The wine list is carefully chosen, twenty-four pages long and with sommelier’s selections highlighting the most interesting bottles. Between the stunning views and exceptional food, it’s no wonder people wave off the average meal cost of $145 as well worth it.
6. Adega (33 Elm Street)
If you’re not in the mood for French or Italian cuisine, Adega is here to help. Adega serves up a menu of Spanish and Portuguese meals, with both traditional dishes and contemporary updates. The house specializes in seafood, which is sourced fresh from all over the world. Under Chef Javier Donan’s eye, each meal is meant to wow the customer, either through the quality and freshness of ingredients or their expert preparation. Daily features take advantage of both ingredient availability and the chef’s creativity. There is also a chef’s menu available, if you don’t want to worry about pairing your appetizer with your main course. In terms of unique features, Adega has a private dining room that can be rented out as well as the opportunity to arrange private tasting sessions with the house sommelier. The wine list provides a selection of Portuguese wines, as well as a range of Ports. Dining for two, not counting wine and tip, evens out to about $90- 100 Canadian.
5. Fieramosca Trattoria (36A Prince Arthur Avenue)
Named after Ettore Fieramosca, Count of Mignano, and a folk hero for Italian independence, Fieramosca Trattoria opened in 1980, and has been serving quality classic Southern Italian ever since. A major draw is its extensive menu, which includes appetizers, salads, soups, pizzas, pastas and meat dishes, and plenty of each. The wine list is mainly Italian, but with selections from Australia, Argentina, California and New Zealand as well. The restaurant is welcoming and romantic, making it a perfect getaway for both travelers and locals. For large parties, there is the option of renting out the second floor of the building. Private dining also allows for the creation of a customized menu for the event. Dinner for two works out to around $140, not counting dessert (though, if you’re treating yourself, that treat ought to include dessert).
4. Corner House (501 Davenport Road)
In 1999, Herbert and Michelle Barnsteiner decided to pool their talents- his in the kitchen, hers in management- and open a restaurant. The result was the Corner House. The restaurant’s housed in a beautifully restored heritage house that combines elegance with a hint of country charm. Rather than focus on a particular country or region, Herbert Barnsteiner’s menu is eclectically European, with offerings ranging from crabcakes to hand rolled gnocchi with veal meatballs. Dessert choices range from the Corner House classic double baked milk chocolate cheesecake, or something from the cheese list. The winelist features whites, roses and a strong selection of red wines, as well as champagnes for special occasions. The Corner House offers a special pre-theatre menu, as well as a ‘winterlicious’ menu and several holiday-specific menus. For two to enjoy appetizers, mains and dessert, it comes to about $100.
3. Auberge du Pommier (4150 Yonge Street)
There’s French cooking, and then there’s French Cuisine, and Auberge du Pommier is the second variety. Opening in 1987, it was constructed around the remains of two woodcutter’s cottages, and retains a rustic charm in its design. The menu is designed by executive chef Marc St. Jacques, winner of the 2013 Canadian Culinary Championship, with variances due to the seasonality of ingredients, and include classically French Cuisine like foie gras and frog’s legs (tempura battered and served with almond remoulade and dill, so an updated classic). Dessert includes a selection of dessert wines, digestifs and cheeses alongside the usual creme brûlée and cheesecake offerings. The wine list is extensive, and constantly under construction, as they seek to supplement their collection with both hidden gems and instant classics. They also offer a corkage option for those who’d like to bring their own wine. Private dining rooms are available, as is the option to buy out the restaurants on weekends, for larger events. If you order a la carte, rather than picking from one of the two offered chef’s menus, the price will round out to $150-60 Canadian, assuming you don’t go for the priciest thing on the menu: a large, butter poached lobster with a black truffle vinaigrette.
2. Campagnolo (832 Dundas Street West)
Campagnolo is a relative newcomer to Toronto’s restaurant scene, opening in 2010 and voted one of Toronto’s best restaurants just a year later. Craig Harding and partner Alexandra Hutchison have created a welcoming, unpretentious Italian restaurant that combines modernity and tradition. The menu is small, just thirteen items, of which five are staples. The other eight options vary, according to ingredient freshness and availability. One of the options eagerly awaited by patrons is a recipe handed down by Chef Harding’s grandmother, a ragout of wild boar, spare rib and tripe served on polenta. The restaurant also has occasional event nights, the most recent of which was Campagnolo’s 1st Annual Trufflepalooza, where guests enjoyed a truffle-focused tasting menu with wine pairings. The average price for two to dine, comes to about $150, including a drink and tip.
1. Scaramouche (1 Benvenuto Place)
Taking its name from the Commedia Dell’Arte character, Scaramouche has been one of Toronto’s best restaurants for over thirty years. Chef and owner Keith Froggett, alongside partner Carl Korte have dedicated themselves to providing a dining experience that has both phenomenal contemporary cuisine and a welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant sources the highest quality ingredients locally, whenever possible. The menu shows a distinctive french influence, but with a modern edge, with traditional Steak Tartare given a spicy edge, or lamb given a salsa verde crust. The dessert menu’s a study in temptation, with a glance enough to make you hungry all over again. The wine list is managed by Peter Boyd, and offers the traditional red and whites to complement the meal, as well as apertifs, digestifs and dessert wines, for those who want something a little fancier to round out their meal with, as well as offering a corkage fee of $35 for those who want to bring their own bottles. Not counting the extensive options for wine, dinner for two will come out to $150-60 Canadian.
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