The food scene is Toronto is full of both local and international cuisine that ranges from whimsical innovation to simple old-school classics – there’s something for everyone! Here’s our guide to figure out which places are worth making a reservation at, as well as some walk-in friendly options that won’t break the bank.
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The Best Downtown Toronto Restaurants You Can’t Miss
Naturally, Downtown is where you’ll find the finest restaurants in Toronto. This is where all the chefs’ creative ideas meet, mingle, and exquisite cuisine is born. If you love food, are looking for a romantic date idea, celebrating a special occasion or simply want to know what’s good in Toronto – these are downtown Toronto restaurants are our favourites. From high-end to simply good, the culinary scene in Downtown Toronto is yours to discover (just make a reservation!)
Momofuku is not just one restaurant, it’s a glass cube full of culinary delights. Plus, it’s just across the street from The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – another glass cube! On the ground floor is Momofuku’s most popular option – Noodle Bar – which serves up an ever-changing ramen menu, steamed buns and large format Fried Chicken meals, even offering caviar options. Next, on the 2nd floor you’ll find Milk Bar, a little shop with cookies, cakes, truffles and other sweet delights. Finally, on the third floor is their new ventureKōjin, which emphasizes using local meat and produce in its menu items.
Stylish, unique and full of art, Drake One Fifty has elegantly avoided being stuck up in a district filled with suits, all without alienating its lunchtime crowd. Stop by to take in the all the contemporary creativity that fills the space whether it’s art, decor, crafty mixology or, of course, the food – a zesty take on traditional brasserie fare. The ingredients are local, seasonal and the dishes are made from scratch, a mentality thats as admirable and ethical as it is trendy. Here, you can even order a (delicious) burger and still impress your date!
The latest project of popular Toronto Italian chain Terroni is La Bettola. Inspired by Italian hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve simple, classic meals and lots of wine, most dishes are made using three or four ingredients. They really take it back to good old Southern Italian basics, often letting the homemade pasta shine. The simple elegance means it’s a place you could comfortably bring together all the generations of your family.
Make a reservation at George to try whimsical and inventive small plates made from local ingredients with standout service the whole way through. From the fold of a napkin to a sprinkle of garnish, everything at George is always considered, intentional and executed with you in mind. They’ll consider your preferences and tastes, with vegetarian options easily available, and make sure that you feel like you can glide through the dining experience, whatever it is you seek. Try a five, seven or even ten course tasting menu, complete with wine pairings. How many times can you stand being blown away by your food? George’s style is not effortless, but enjoying it surely is.
The Copacabana dining experience is unlike any other. First off, the Brazilian steakhouse is all you can eat, which you won’t find anywhere else on this list, but after visiting the traditional buffet – or Galleria – for starters, that’s when it gets interesting. The wait staff come to your table with skewers of succulent meat which, if you decide you want that roast, they’ll carve a piece off just for you. Pace yourself though, there are a lot of amazing selections coming around such as personal favourites of Chimichurri Steak and cinnamon spiced Roasted Pineapple.
Importing authentic flavours straight from Thailand, PAI (and sister restaurant Sukhothai) serve some of the best Thai food in the city, hands down. More casual than other restaurants on this list, the decor is a funky mixture of Toronto meets Thailand, and the energy in the room is equally lively. Ultimately, it’s the exceptional, flavourful food, interesting drinks and accessible prices will make you want to keep coming back time and time again.
Assembly is a unique exploration into urban dining, bringing together 17 exceptional chefs and baristas who act as an outpost for various restaurants around the city. Together they make up a space that’s densely packed with delicious and creative cuisine. It’s open from 7am – 10pm so you can count on good food and a beer whenever it strikes your fancy. Check out Canada’s first (mural-filled) chef-driven community market for yourself – it’s kind of like a food court, but also so much more! There’s even a food & drink truck on the patio.
Alright, how’s this: Canada’s 100 Best has deemed Alo to be Canada’s Best Restaurant for 2 years in a row. What do they do to get that title? The food on the tasting menu is prepared with care and expertise, creating a modern French cuisine where perfectly balanced, refined and layered flavours play out like poetry in the mouth. Most importantly, though, you’ll find an atmosphere that can only be created by people with a true passion for what they do, from bartenders who will work with you to create your perfect drink, to wait staff that that has a rapt attention to detail, making every part of your experience effortlessly enjoyable. Book your reservation well in advance or try the drinks and an a la carte menu served in the bar room!
This restaurant is far above the rest… at 350 metres above the ground you’ll be able to dine and look out over the skyline as the whole venue slowly revolves for a full panoramic experience of the city. Their market fresh food uses regional ingredients and you’ll also be able to find the perfect wine pairing to suit your tastes from the world’s highest wine cellar. Plus, entry onto the lookout and glass floor levels of the tower is free if you order the prix fixe menu!
Striving to bring the cozy feel of a neighbourhood restaurant to downtown, Richmond Station marries familiarity, impeccable service and the freshest, finest ingredients, which they achieve in part by buying whole animals and making everything from scratch. The result is their inspired local, seasonal menu and a welcoming atmosphere that leaves room for you to be surprised with each dish. Make a reservation for the Chef’s Table and you’ll be able to watch as your own finely crafted tasting menu is prepared, selected with your restrictions and preferences in mind.
Yes, another elevated dining pick. It may not be quite as high as 360, but Canoe is at the top of its game. With interior design that brings a natural, earthy feel to the sky, this 54th floor restaurant delivers impressive views inside and out. It is a quintessential Toronto retreat for special occasions, perhaps because of its ability to embrace the city and its surroundings, and the luxury afforded by its pricier menu items. By taking local ingredients and reinventing what you thought they could do, Canoe gives Canadian food a whole new dimension.
Departing from all of the Canadian restaurants that fill the city, Leña Restaurante spices it up by serving South American cuisine with Spanish and Italian influences. Describing their philosophy as “live to eat,” vibrancy, colour, music and cheer fill the dining room atmosphere. The front room feels like a cross between a cafe, bar and restaurant, making fine dining feel casual and relaxed, with more intimate spaces available upstairs. Stop by for a special breakfast, lunch or dinner, or just to try some amazing cocktails and snacks at their cozy downstairs counterpart, Bar Lala.
While Cactus Club is a west coast chain, soon to have two restaurants in downtown Toronto, each location has its own flavour. In fact, you’ll find variation within First Canadian Place location alone. The restaurant has three levels, including a rooftop patio with a DJ, retractable roof, and even its own kitchen. Come here to enjoy colourful food from their long and varied menu, creative drinks, and an upscale experience without the outrageous price tag.
Straightforward in its approach to globally inspired food, Jump’s menu allows quality ingredients to speak for themselves. The hospitality is timeless too, from the time you enter to the time you leave you’ll feel the warm welcome of the wait staff, making for a simply elegant and relaxed dining experience. If you go around lunch and eavesdrop you might be able to overhear some corporate secrets, as its a favourite for business lunches. Plus, the courtyard patio is an oasis in the heart of bustling downtown.
Calling all sausage lovers! And sausage skeptics too, for that matter, since you might be a convert after a meal at WVRST. This German-style beer hall is a casual dining option, but that doesn’t mean the food will feel like a compromise. They do a couple things, and do them really well. You’ll find some unique menu options such as raclette, as well as an impressive selection of craft beer, dipping sauces and, of course, sausages – including vegan or vegetarian options. The duck fat fries are also irresistible!
In a city full of takeout sushi joints, Ki swims above the rest when it comes to modern Japanese cuisine. In the sleek lounge setting you’ll find a well stocked bar and creative, contemporary plates that are perfect for sharing. The particularly amazing hot and cold entrees manage to be both authentic and innovative, while their selection of sushi and rolls is sure to excite even the most adventurous palette with options such as a Beef Maki.
Canadiana is back, why wouldn’t it be! Chefs love to take inspiration from their heritage, and ours is one to be proud of. Bannock is Canadian comfort food at its finest, drawing not only from traditionally local recipes but also celebrating the country’s cultural diversity. The sit-down restaurant also doubles as a takeout counter and coffee shop, plus it’s located in the Eaton Centre, so it’s the perfect pit stop for hungry shoppers who love good food!
Another option for comfort food! The meals at the Gabardine are inspired by the world’s home cooks, and so is the atmosphere – bringing familiarity to the middle of downtown. The result is a space that is intimate and simple enough to to simply have a sandwich or burger for lunch, but retains enough old world charm to to make for a great dinner date spot. The mac and cheese or chicken pot pie will surely warm you up after skating at Nathan Phillips Square. Or, you can even simply get coffee to go.
Nestled in between the hip Trinity Bellwoods and cozy Palmerston, Little Italy Toronto is a pocket of culture in the heart of the city. It's great for walking around on bustling sidewalks and sipping espresso on a patio in the summer.