These 30 restaurants are among the best of the best in Toronto, boasting tantalizing menus with interiors to match. Fine dining is about much more than what’s on your plate- the visual appeal of the restaurant’s interior sets the tone for your dining experience.
Award winning Toronto-based interior design firms like II by IV and Yabu Pushelberg are taking restaurant aesthetics from average to exceptional. Each of these restaurants has successfully created an eclectic space with a welcoming ambiance and stimulating energy.
Ame, which means rain in Japanese, features an extensive sushi and sashimi menu. Innovator in the Canadian nightlife scene Charles Khabouth, , brought his vision to life with the artistry of interior designers Munge Leung and graphic design partners Device222 to create a modern space that fuses Japanese tradition with a modern flare.
Dramatic and playful, Aria delights in many ways. A swirling walnut sculpture by local artist Dennis Lin weaves its way across the ceiling; a huge two-storey wine cellar full of Italian gems shoots up near the entrance; and the bustling traffic heading to and from the Air Canada Centre is in full view through the 10-metre-high windows, a glaring contrast to the cool elegance inside.
Auberge du Pommier
Constructed around the relics of two rustic cottages from the 1860’s, Auberge du Pommier has been serving modern French cuisine since 1987. Welcoming accents like their wood burning fireplaces and floral terraces give a quaint elegance to their minimal decor and neutral colour palette.
BLD – (an acronym for breakfast, lunch and dinner) is located at street level in an 1874 office building at the edge of the Financial District. The T-shaped restaurant, designed by local firm 1point0 features white, red and black decor – crimson-hued glass partitions, quartz tabletops and black banquettes. In the evening the ambience of the room shifts, taking on a sexy, jazzy vibe that is appropriate for enjoying a night out in the heart of a big city.
Blowfish (on Bay)
Architect and design guru Johnson Chou infuses old with new with metal and dark woods. Chou’s aim was to create a flow through the space that evoked a feeling of being underwater while achieving a glamorous yet refined look. The space is decked out with eye-catching accents like a “Gold Vessel” private booth and a chandelier made from crystal-filled Pyrex tubes.
The transformation of a former auto repair garage to a restaurant has been described as elegant, modest and sophisticated. Backlit curved metal wall sculptures add interest to the brick walls and the lights over the bar resemble car headlights, reminiscent of the former use of the space.
The Boiler House
Located in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, The Boiler House ago, was once home to the coal-fired boilers that powered the distillery. Two alcohol pasteurizing tanks remain as pieces of industrial artwork. Rustic-chic decor combined with 25 foot ceilings and two floors of dining space create a romantic yet industrially infused dining experience.
Brassaii features a minimalist décor mixed with exposed brick, simple leather chairs and stark bold tables, making their visual appeal the love child of modern Soho and French Renaissance. After recent renovations, Brassaii now contains a café and exposed robust wine cellar.
Elegant and vibrant ambiance paired with 20 foot ceilings, oversized mirrors and double wide velour upholstered chairs create the perfect space for Centro’s recently renovated dining room. Centro’s lower level lounge offers more relaxed atmosphere for large functions or private dining.
Colborne Lane’s modern decor consists of stripped walls, exposing the wooden columns and pillars. A chandelier made up of 40 or so separate vases cut specially for the installation, and behind the bar, there is an impressive backlit photographic motif that looks like wood-grained concrete.
Forte Bistro’s interior space is tied together with walnut and amber hues, wood panelling and blood-red mirrors. Inspired by the architecture of performance venues, an interplay of angles that flow from one end of the restaurant to the other is created using rich wood and polished steel.
Housed in an old 1850’s chocolate factory that has been flawlessly transformed, George contrasts modern and classic aesthetics. From extraordinary chandeliers and antique French doors to intricate wrought iron window treatments and rich wood floors, George provides stunning decor and enchanting ambiance.
Local design firm Munge Leung created a space with classic southern Italian flare. The space features an open kitchen with a firewood grill, garage sized windows, industrial lighting and a long leather and flannel banquette. Old license plates on cinder-block walls refer to the space’s past life as a body shop.
In 2009, Harbour Sixty had undergone a complete redesign- timeless and elegant decor mixed with modern features, thus creating a luxurious atmosphere. Located in the historic Harbour Commission building, Harbour Sixty has been noted as one of Toronto’s best steakhouses, operating for the past 11 years.
Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse
A sophisticated and timeless steakhouse- elegant and polished, with cool decor that radiates class and luxury. Experience the ambiance and fine dining at Jacobs & Co. in the main dining room or enjoy the sounds of jazz pianist Sean Bellaviti in the piano bar.
Understated style, featuring a tantalizing selection of dishes and a newly renovated modern yet inviting interior .Contemporary yet alluring lounge King West Kitchen space is narrow and dimly lit with intimate booths leads into the main dining area, which features mod red and white furniture, a long bar, DJ booth and a bulbous centrepiece of nearly three dozen hand-blown glass balls that hang from the ceiling.
What was once the Wagner Rosenbaum Gallery, is now home to the 3 floor fashionable Kultura Restaurant. The rustic appeal of exposed beams and brick, dark hardwood and luxe furnishings offer the perfect setting for embarking on a Global culinary experience.
La Societe Bistro
This Parisian inspired bistro has all the essential elements of a classic French bar. Complete with built-in-leather banquettes, raw seafood bar and ornate stained glass detailing throughout allows guests to have their own little piece of Paris without ever having to leave T.O.
Le Petit Castor
Designer Brad Denton has converted the former Thai Magic into a cozy but stylish “gastropub”. Prints of horses and hunting dogs paired with butter-coloured leather banquettes and wooden chairs add to the potentially iconic nature of Rosedale’s latest hotspot.
Designers Marc Kyriacou and John Tsoumaris have converted this massive warehouse space in Liberty Village into a sleek, Pan-Asian inspired supper club, for beautiful, hungry people. Decor elements include caramel coloured seating, Thai ceiling panels, damask wallpaper reminiscent of grand French courts, and sweeping floor-to-ceiling banquettes along marble fireplaces.
The baroque inspired ambiance paired and contemporary decor gives Nyood (pronounced “nude”) a certain je ne sais quoi other resto-lounges seem to be missing. White shelves filled with white bound books and white chandeliers (made from vintage construction lights) play on the nude theme and give the space a pallid yet eclectic appearance.
Stroudfoot’s design aesthetic is centred around the concept of sleek-decay, which is conveyed throughout Origin. Black etchings of Victorian corsets decorate the lounge. The private dining room, is decked out with a sinisterly amusing yet delicate looking toy monster chandelier.
Its hard to miss Sassafraz, set in a series of Victorian houses painted in canary yellow. After a kitchen fire in 2006, Sassafraz had undergone a 9 month reconstruction. Many of the characteristics of the little yellow house have been kept after the blaze however, new elements have been added to create a modern elegance including sleek onyx detailing and celery coloured low-backed chairs with long seats.
Scarpetta (Thompson Hotel)
Designed by Studio Gaia, Scarpetta is finished in a contemporary, luxurious and comfortable fashion; featuring a bright dining room with floor to ceiling windows, a private dining room for up to 18 and an impressive wine display of 3,800 bottles. It also features a spacious communal table patio surrounded by a reflecting pool and view on the historical Victoria Memorial Park. Once the sun sets, the windows glow, courtesy of the colour-changing LED lights that line the floor.
A design collaboration between Abdo, partner Shanker Bhardwaj and the team at Commute Home (Nyood, Colborne Lane, Briscola) resulted in Smith, a three level restaurant complete with DJ booth and a dance floor on the third level. The decor combines homey antiques and mismatched china with polished concrete floors, white exposed brick anda wall sculpture that looks like it’s made of industrial iron but is actually white-painted wood.
Spice Route Asian Bistro & Bar
In the spring of 2008, Liberty Group and INK partnered to takeover a bygone car dealership and transform the 8000 square foot lot into an Asian escape. The space is features semi-square plush booths, dark wooden tones, bamboo flooring, hand-painted photography, a granite-topped bar, and 16 foot waterfall. An entire wall was knocked down and replaced with glass, while other walls are adorned with eclectic Asian inspired art. The ambiance is competed by candlelit nooks, creating a warm and stylish atmosphere.
Stock (Trump Hotel)
Crafted by award-winning interior design firm II by IV, the 135-seat space offers magnificent views of the city and incorporates all the light and dark – “champagne and caviar” – design elements the rest of the hotel uses. Stock Restaurant, (complete with outdoor patio) is located on the 31st floor of the new Trump International Hotel and Tower in the financial district of downtown Toronto.
The Ceili Cottage
Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee) is an Irish word for a social get-together of music and dance. The Ceili Cottage is an Irish local located in Leslieville comprised of two rooms and a large sunny patio. The Cottage room, is the oldest part of the structure. The original aged look of this room was kept with church pews and small tables lining the walls
The Dining Room (The Drake Hotel)
An elegant and hip space, totally deserving of the never-ending hype. Home to a roving series of whimsical props and treasures, the décor, food, music and art all change with every new season. In addition to the The Dining Room, Drake Hotel’s Sky Yard is a must see.
The Sultan’s Tent & Cafe Moroc
Enjoy dining on plush divans under shimmering lantern lit tents while enjoying a Moroccan inspired feast. Decor derived from Moroccan traditions including beautifully decorated tents with intimate alcoves, The Sultan’s Tent evokes the setting of a traditional “diffa” (a lavish banquet) at which all are welcome and where the dining philosophy was one of abundance.