Ideally every dining experience should be unique but there are some establishments that offer something worth blogging about. As a world-class city, Toronto is increasingly attracting international restauranteurs, ushering global delicacies and bold experimental dishes in a bid for differentiation. The selection below promises to tantalize your tastebuds, dare you to try new things, and invite you to delve into well-designed, conceptually rich dining environments.
301 Front Street West
For upscale dining with an unparalleled view, the restaurant on top of the CN Tower, 360, is your choice. As a blissfully spinning observation deck (Monument to the Third Monument, anyone?) one can view the serene beauty of the city’s skyline while enjoying world-class dining. This one brings a new perspective of the city- no pun intended.
The Black Hoof
928 Dundas Street West
Beware the faint at heart – this one is for more adventurous palettes! The chalkboard menu daringly taunts you with interesting offerings, such as; tongues, lamb’s brain, pig snout or raw cow’s heart. However, foodie blogs seem to especially rave about the chacuterie plate, and the bone marrow delicacy.
The owner, Jenn Agg, encourages creativity and experimentation as she gives full reign to her young chefs by allowing them to cure their own meats.These eclectic dishes attempt to check of items from the bucket lists of those “who have tried everything”.
66 Wellington Street West
Perched high atop the TD Bank Tower, Canoe draws inspiration from its location at the heart of Canada’s biggest city. Canoe is regularly raved as possessing a potent essence of “Canadiana” with such items as Maple Torched BC Salmon, Sustainable Blue Arctic Char and birch ice cream!
Expect a refined, sophisticated fine dining experience while seated among Toronto’s elite.
133 Richmond Street West
Greek food has long been a crowd favourite, but a newly opened restaurant casts its exclusive shadow over the popular spots on the Danforth.
The owner, Marc Kyriacou, wanted to reclaim the delicacies associated with authentic Greek seafood dishes. He tore down his father’s restaurant, Mediterra, and renamed it Volos (Volos, is his father’s hometown in Greece). He enlisted the help of acclaimed critic and author Diane Kochilas with the creation of the menu.
398 Church Street
Now infamously famous, Guu Izakaya, is a must-do in the city. According to an article in The Globe and Mail, “an izakaya is a Japanese bar that also serves food. In Tokyo, they are boîtes where salarymen stop in after work to get drunk and snack before taking the train home. In Japan, office workers often hit several izakayas before heading home”.
This aura of after-work lightheartedness is convincingly created through the holistic experience while at the restaurant.
As soon as you enter the restaurant you are evermore aware of your new environment as you get a warm welcome from all the staff – in Japanese. The owner, Yoshinori Kitahara has crafted a space with unique energy and dynamism that becomes addictive. The tapas style menu prompts diners to try otherwise obscure delights guilt-free.
Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto
If one was looking for a genuine experience of Japanese formal dining, this would be the ideal location. Located inside the Japanese Cultural Centre just outside the city centre, it offers a prix menu. The chef and owner, Masaki Hashimoto, has trained in Japan for 10 years to perfect the art of kaiseki.
This 500 year old Japanese tradition is a set, fixed-price dinner with variants depending on the seasons.Much akin to the meticulous offering of Japanese Tea Ceremony, this 8-course meal does not come cheap.
With all the ingredients sourced fresh from Japan, and the limited number of seating in the restaurant expect to pay $300 dollars per head. But $300 is measly compared to a minimum of $1500 flight for the next best available option.
190 University Avenue
Critically acclaimed rockstar restauranteur, David Chang has recently brought his concept to Toronto. Attached to the Shangri-La, Daisho is housed inside the same building alongside his other restaurants Noodle bar, Nikai, and Shōtō.
What makes Daisho unique is the opportunity to share large format meals. Think of these as a large plate, served family style (reservations are taken for 4-10 people). This allows for a communal consumption among a group of friends and family – perfect for birthdays and other celebrations.
620 Church Street
Would you be okay with eating something you cannot see? At O. Noir, once you have ordered your food, you are lead by the waitstaff (who are blind themselves) into a room of complete darkness.
This concept was originally established by a blind pastor in Zurich who used to blindfold his dinner guests. He wanted his guests to share his daily experience as a blind person and notice the sudden awakening of the olfactory senses once they have been stripped of another sense.
480 King Street West
The newest edition to the King West strip, Weslodge screams for attention with its lacquered bright entrance. When inside, the modern saloon is set to make a statement with its almost overly decorated interior.
Spearheaded by Munge Leung, the dark walls are outfitted with hunting trophies, taxidermy, and complete with gun-holster wearing waitstaff. Yet, the focus remains on “the expertly mixed drinks” mostly centered around on the darker selections of bourbons and whiskeys.
609 King Street West
With a slogan like “sausage hall and other wonders” Wvrst promises to be a restaurant with warranted novelty. The concept of a German sausage hall is designed to bring a communal experience of street food into a restaurant setting.
With rows of exposed wire lightbulbs, and long wooden tables one feels they are sharing an intimate bite with close friends, and friendly strangers. The restricted menu of beers and fries leaves room to impress with the wide selection of sausages, including kangaroo meat, and wild boar.