The Getaway
20 Essential Places to Eat in Toronto

A city as diverse as Toronto is rich with dining from all cultures. The best eats in this gem of a city take you through fine dining, casual eateries, and unique restaurants that you won't want to miss while you're here.

The restaurants on this list each offer something unique, whether it's an avant-garde approach to their atmosphere or food made unique by adding special twists. From earning Michelin Stars to simply becoming a local favorite, these restaurants will have you eating like the locals in no time.

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01 Alo

In the heart of Downtown Toronto, Alo delights its patrons with contemporary French cuisine. Pairing only the finest seasonal ingredients with its modern interior, it creates an air of luxuriousness with its unique location atop a Victorian-era heritage building. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves blind, multi-course tasting menus in its dining room, offering a little bit of everything, including foie gras and gougères. Expect high prices but even higher food standards and Instagrammable dishes.

02 Scaramouche Pasta Bar & Grill

Venture into Toronto's South Hill suburb for a taste of mouthwatering contemporary French cuisine. It's the lesser-known sister restaurant of the more upscale Scaramouche, offering a more casual experience with delicious pasta and seafood. The awe-inspiring view of Toronto's skyline elevates the taste of dishes like lobster risotto.

The high costs might deter some, but the avant-garde, modern decor inside and the chance to eat traditional dishes and the restaurant's signature coconut cream pie make it worth every cent.

03 Edulis

As the brainchild of a husband and wife team, eating at Edulis feels like coming home after a long day. It's situated in the Niagara neighborhood, serving up delectable Spanish-inspired and Mediterranean dishes in a warm, intimate dining room.

The tasting menu changes with the seasons, using fresh, local ingredients to cultivate amazing meals. Most utilize seafood, vegetables and wild mushrooms, but the offerings change so frequently that the staff don't bother keeping menus. Expect fresh eats like whole grilled Nova Scotia squid or grilled prawns. The seven-course tasting menu starts at around $85, but you'll need an exclusive reservation to get a spot.

04 Byblos

If you yearn for Eastern Mediterranean cuisine in Toronto, you can't beat Byblos. This luxurious two-story restaurant sits in the central downtown district with an inviting, modern ambiance. It's earned its rave reviews in spades by pairing classic techniques and modern cooking methods to bring the taste of warm Mediterranean beaches to this Canadian city.

Dishes like stuffed eggplant and halibut join more trendy options such as wagyu beef kofta to take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey. The meals lean on the expensive side, but as soon as you put that first bite in your mouth, you'll see why.

05 Bar Raval

Tapas, anyone? At Bar Raval, you'll get some of the best Spanish tapas in Toronto, like pintxos and conservas. Even better, they're paired with some of the most stellar cocktails and fine spirits. As soon as you step in, you're transported from Canada to Barcelona's Raval neighborhood.

Dine in luxurious style at an affordable price point you'll love with whimsical, curved shapes and windows carved into rich wood. Dishes such as boquerones and shrimp a la planxa await.

06 Patois

Prepare to dive into an unforgettable culinary adventure at Patois. Described as a fusion of Caribbean and Asian soul food, a trip here takes you into some of the top dining Toronto has to offer. Instead of quiet dining rooms, expect fanfare suitable for the culinary masterpieces that will grace your table. A colorful dining room and eager diners keep the energy high.

Every day is as much a party in this West End restaurant as it will be in your mouth when you take your first bite of the juiciest jerk chicken you'll ever try. The food is more on the average side of the price scale, but that just makes it all the more desirable.

07 Hanmoto

Sure, most restaurants try to impress with elegant dining rooms with chandeliers and crisp, white linens. Hanmoto is not one of those. Instead, you'll be treated to Japanese-style snacks and drinks, izakaya style, in what feels like a flea market. You won't want to miss the dyno wings, made with deboned chicken wings stuffed with pork sausage and deep-fried.

It's on Lakeview Avenue, but you'll have to look closely to find this star of the Toronto culinary scene. It's in a building with windows covered in cardboard. However, as soon as you step in, you'll be surrounded by bamboo accents sitting around an open kitchen. Even better, the prices are on the lower end of the scale.

08 Bar Isabel

Essential eats in Toronto look different depending on who you ask, but anyone who's enjoyed Bar Isabel is likely to say it belongs on the list. Here, old-world tavern vibes meet elegant, expertly prepared Spanish tapas to create one of Toronto's best restaurants. You won't want to miss the pork secreto, which pairs pork cheek with a honey and apple cider reduction for a mindblowing meal.

You'll be dining in what feels like a Barcelona tavern, and the food won't disappoint. Pair it with a drink from the extensive wine and cocktail list for the whole experience. It's pricey, but you're worth it.

09 Fonda Balam

The bright, modern interior of Fonda Balam in the city's Trinity Bellwoods neighborhood doesn't quite align with the food you'll find inside. Here, Mexican staples and favorite street foods evoke the experience of a home-cooked meal.

Dig into dishes like quesabirria con consume and pair them with unique desserts. You won't regret it, and you can't beat the explosive flavor. The prices are a bit on the higher side, but still reasonable for what you're getting.

10 Sunnys Chinese

Trek through Kensington Market and turn down an unassuming hallway. You might feel like you're walking into a dead end, but as soon as you open the door and feel the electrifying buzz of a lively ambiance inside, you'll know you're in the right place. Sunnys Chinese brings cuisine from across China to Toronto's most popular market.

Whether you're looking for a savory dish of tripe and beef shank for the smoky, fiery flavor or something on the sweeter side, like the Hong Kong French toast that manages to be crunchy and gooey at the same time, this is the place for you. With reasonable prices and flavors, you'll never forget that this is one place you won't want to skip on your culinary tour through Toronto.

11 La Bartola

Head chef Ivan Castro brings his native Mexico City upbringing to Little Italy's culinary scene with bold flavors and an even bolder passion. Traditional authentic Mexican dishes made vegetarian-style delight diners in the vibrant, brightly colored dining room.

Forget the notion that tacos need meat and reach for dishes substituting the chicken and steak with braised hibiscus at a price point you'll love as much as the food.

12 Dreyfus

Hop over to Harbord Village and dig into food described by the restaurant as "French-ish." Once you order, you'll see what they mean. The traditions of French cuisine pair with locally sourced ingredients.

The restaurant lacks any obvious signage and you'll be hard-pressed to catch a glimpse of anything through frosted windows. However, this cozy bistro houses pure indulgence with dishes like Norwich beef on latkes. Prices tend to be a bit higher than average here, but the food's also better than average, so it balances out.

13 The Rosebud

The Rosebud is a new addition to the Toronto food scene, but it's been embraced with open arms. This wine bar in Corktown sits in an unassuming brick building, but the food inside is absolutely stunning.

French classics feature modern twists and fusion elements as duck confit served with crepes and orange relish. Generous portions pair well with the seemingly endless wine list. You can expect to spend over $50 per person for a meal, but you won't regret it.

14 Mimi Chinese

Mimi Chinese is a lot like Sunnys' more mature big sister. This restaurant in Yorkville dresses up for an upscale occasion by taking its own twist on regional favorites. You won't want to order your own meal here—most are made to be shared among your party.

Dive into the restaurant's signature Four Foot Belt Noodle for a dish that, as the name implies, is a four-foot-long, belt-sized noodle all piled into one bowl with a pair of scissors. Traditionally prepared chashu pork will fall apart in your mouth, too. The restaurant leans on the expensive side, but every last dish is Instagram-worthy and tastes even better than it looks.

15 DaiLo

Little Italy has an Asian secret in the form of DaiLo. Dive into New Asian fusion cuisine, taking Chinese fare and giving it an unequivocally French twist. Chef Nick Liu offers the foods he grew up eating with his signature penchant for adding Western twists and local ingredients.

The interior is absolutely stunning, with soft paintings and woven screens between benches to evoke feelings of China as the chef serves his multi-course tasting menu of fresh seafood that warrants the high prices. A fan favorite is the Khao Soi, a beef rib with mindblowing flavor.

16 George Restaurant

In Queen Richmond Centre, GEORGE Restaurant demands attention. It's best-known for its unique double-blind tasting menu, where the chef customizes each course to the preferences to guarantee a phenomenal experience. You'll be seated in a dining room where the elegance fit for royalty melds with the bare brick walls for an interesting atmosphere.

A la carte dishes delight with dishes like wagyu beef paired with pesto and corzetti or rosewater cheesecake. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu, though. The prices can seem pretty steep, but the quality of the food and the customized dishes make it well worth the cost.

17 Gia Restaurant

Take a trek into more casual dining at Gia Restaurant in the Trinity Bellwoods area. This Italian restaurant does things a little differently—it's entirely meat-free. Tuck into fantastic vegetarian and vegan dishes like lions mane bistecca. A mushroom steak replaces the more traditional beef and is paired with truffle potato pave and roasted baby beets, all drizzled in a mushroom demi-glace that'll have you tempted to lick your plate clean.

Prices are a little on the higher side, but you'll have locally sourced, sustainable dishes placed in front of you that you won't be able to forget in a comfortable, low-key dining space.

18 Lake Inez

From the moment you step into Lake Inez in the Greenwood-Coxwell neighborhood, the massive, artfully crafted mosaic on the back wall lets you know that you're in for an amazing time. Asian-inspired cuisine comes to life in this eclectic restaurant.

Seasonal restaurants keep the reasonably priced menu fresh and quirky, hand-drawn menus with over-the-top names for dishes add to the charm. Take the Hand Upstream Rolls, for example, which have cured salmon covered in cream fraiche and plum sauce ready for you to wrap into strips of nori.

19 DaNico

In Little Italy, Michelin Star-style dining awaits at DaNico. With its bespoke interior that practically oozes avant-garde and its impeccably crafted menu served in equally unique dishware, it's a dining experience you can't get elsewhere, making it a must-try restaurant in Toronto.

Dine in tasting menu style with options like the Anatra All' Arancia, an Ontario mallard duck breast served with endives in an amazing blend of spices. Expect very high food costs, but with an ambiance like DaNico's, you're practically paying for the experience alongside the meal.

20 Aloette

From the team that brought you Alo, you'll get Aloette. This French restaurant is in a narrow strip of a building with a chic ambiance. Situated on Queen and Spadina, it feels more like walking through a train car than a restaurant.

Dive into comfort dishes that take a luxurious twist, like burgers crafted with wagyu beef and fried gruyere. Of course, such elevation comes with an elevation in price, but you'll forget all about the cost with the food in front of you.

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