Best Restaurants in Toronto

Richmond Station | Downtown Toronto

Carl Heinrich, winner of Season 2 of Top Chef Canada, opened Richmond Station in 2012. It's downtown in Toronto's financial district at 1 Richmond Street West. He has turned his restaurant into a winner exactly like he won Top Chef- by focusing on the ingredients and keeping it simple and delicious. Every year during Nuit Blanche we make Richmond Station our stop for edible art. Some highlights from 2016 include the lamb crochette:

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Merlot

This restaurant is an escape to southwestern France right in the Kingsway. The ambience feels like you've truly left the country. Merlot has been an Etobicoke dining destination for decades- the food is fantastic.

The fragrance of the white wine, garlic, shallots and butter in the escargots Bourguignonne was a perfect way to start the meal. The snails were so tasty:

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The Beech Tree

There is a real warmth to this Kingston Road restaurant in Toronto's Upper Beaches. The atmosphere makes you feel like you're inside a Manhattan bistro in Greenwich Village. It's one of those spots that feels so good to walk into.

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The menu features the best local ingredients with plates putting a modern spin on traditional English country cooking. This approach is expertly displayed by the whey-fed Ontario pork chop with rye dumplings, brussel spouts, celeriac, apple and sage:

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Chef Jamie Newman's dinner special of quail and sweetbreads prepared sous-vide was flavourful and perfectly cooked.

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The Ontario fruit crumble with buffalo milk semifreddo and apple fritter was the perfect combination of tart and sweet:

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The flourless Equadorian chocolate cake is sprinkled with Maldon salt and topped with a dollop of unsweetened crème fraiche. It was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. This cake, along with the burger, are the only two items that have been on the menu since day one.

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A bonus of visiting The Beech Tree during the holiday season is the homemade eggnog, which is prepared with twelve eggs yolks, Maker's Mark bourbon and Remy XO cognac. The cocktail menu features classics with a twist such as the White Old Fashioned and are prepared with bitters and grenadines that are made in house.

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Owner Robert Maxwell has created a wonderful dining experience at The Beech Tree. The ambience is a perfect combination of casual and elegant without a hint of pretension. The menu is complex but not overly complicated. Details like the glasses of water with fresh mint and sliced cucumber are simple, lovely and luxurious. An amazing experience. Rosie :)

The Beech Tree on Urbanspoon

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Buca (King Street West)

Finally! Buca. Sensational. The salumi is cured onsite and the cheese and preserve selection is outstanding. Highlights include the wild boar and the ricotta di bufala.

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Lamb's brains alla saltimbocca and fried pig ears to start.

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The signature pastas are handmade. While the menu changes regularly, the bigoli is a staple and always available. The torchio-cranked duck egg pasta is tossed with duck offal ragu, venetian spices, mascarpone and basil.

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The hand-cut pork blood pasta is tossed right at the table with smoked burrata cheese.

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This double-stuffed ravioli is one of the most beautifully presented dishes I have ever seen. Each one is filled with braised goose, roasted squash, hazelnut crackle and fonduta di parmigiano.

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Milk-poached veal tenderloin.

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This was hands down the best dessert I have ever eaten- parmigiano reggiano ice cream. It was perfect. And I don't even really like ice cream.

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Executive Chef Rob Gentile does not disappoint. What an experience.

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Buca Osteria & Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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momofuku shōtō

Shōtō's multi-course dinner offering is only available Tuesday to Thursday. You sit at high stools in the open kitchen and watch the cooks prepare and plate. The serving begins as soon as you are seated with an amuse selection. Highlights from the October 8th 10-course tasting menu:

Mackerel with fennel, shiso and green chili.

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Beef tendon with eggplant, black garlic and onion.

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Halibut with zucchini, razor clam and confit tomato.

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Tamago wtih lobster, black bean and jalapeno.

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Corn ravioli with chorizo, scallion and cotija.

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Delicious and a really fun vibe, with unpretentious service. Rosie :)

Momofuku Shoto on Urbanspoon

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momofuku noodle bar

Absolutely outstanding. I love David Chang. If you don't have a lot of time, do this. Start with the pork buns, which have hoisin, scallion and cucumber:

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Then order the momofuku ramen with pork belly and shoulder, fish cake and egg. The egg in this bowl... it is what all eggs should hope to have happen to them.

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Ontario pork from Kunan Farm. Menu changes daily. An absolute must-visit. If you live in the downtown core, noodle bar now delivers within an hour. Rosie :)

Momofuku Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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Rhum Corner

Wow. I loved eating and drinking and sitting in Rhum Corner, Black Hoof owner Jen Agg's Caribbean restaurant. It's great. Accra to start, and then oxtail and boulettes (meatballs) for mains:

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An incredible selection of rum to choose from. We went with the classic rum and coke.

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We also had griot to start, which is a very popular Haitian dish of fried pork with peppers. Rosie :)

Rhum Corner on Urbanspoon

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Grand Electric

Best tacos in the city hands down. Yes, it's noisy and the wait for a table can be long. But it's worth it. Pictured below, Muskoka shrimp, pork belly, beef cheek, Baja fish and scrapple tacos.

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Just order anything off the chalk board, it all tastes delicious. The Baja fish tacos will blow your mind, as will the tuna ceviche. Rosie

Grand Electric on Urbanspoon

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Yours Truly- NOW CLOSED

It's easy to eat at Yours Truly. The five-course tasting menu focuses on a main ingredient for each dish. You have two options for each course. You pick, and the server brings, along with five amuses. There is also a wine pairing option. The wine selection is excellent. The food looks like art, and the flavours are insane. Some highlights:

Main ingredient... Uni:

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Sturgeon:

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Beef cheek raviolo:

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Duck:

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Toronto Life chose Yours Truly as the best new restaurant in 2012. Jeff Claudio has since left but Lachlan Culjak is doing just fine. Your Truly also offers a Carte Blanche menu, which is a blind tasting menu. The kitchen selects 20 courses based on your preference of meat or vegetarian.There is a limited number of Carte Blanche seatings so reserve in advance. Rosie :)

Yours Truly on Urbanspoon

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Luma

On the second floor of the TIFF Lightbox there is an Oliver & Bonacini restaurant called Luma. We went to Luma for our 10th anniversary because I love the view of the city from this spot (and the other O&B restaurant I love with a perfect city view is closed Saturday nights.) It was fantastic! Duck lettuce rolls and lamb kofta to start:

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For our mains, we had the duck confit special (as good as we've had in Paris) and the signature Luma shrimp and lobster burger with lettuce, tomato and togarashi mayonnaise.

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Dessert was outstanding. Here is the Luma chocolate bar made with soft dark chocolate and served with banana and peanut butter ice cream. The lemon tart was also amazing. Anything with chocolate and lemon are our favourite desserts.

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The view of King Street and the CN Tower is spectacular, if you go, try to get a table by the window. I can't even get annoyed about the shadows on my photos because they are from all the twinkling city lights. Rosie :)

Luma on Urbanspoon

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Chodang Soon Tofu

If you dig tofu, you have to try this little Korean restaurant. Toronto Life raved about it awhile back and I was intrigued. They make their creamy silky smooth tofu fresh in the back every morning. It is the star of the mains, which is cool as tofu is usually a filler not the focal point of the dish. The menu is traditional Korean and the tofu stews come with lots of tasty savoury sides including fried fish, bean sprouts, kimchi and cold tofu.

Cho Dang Soon Tofu sides

I wanted to try their specialty, the silken tofu, which differs from the regular tofu because it is strained through silk instead of cheesecloth, making the consistency like a creamy custard. It was delicious.

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The soft tofu stew comes with a raw egg that you break into the stew to thicken it. There is a selection of flavours to choose from including beef, pork, oyster and mushroom. We had mushroom and beef.

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The stew comes with a bowl of whole grain rice which is prepared in a separate stone pot. Hot tea then poured into the stone pot to loosen the rice. You are meant to eat this soaked rice (it's called 'burnt rice soup') after your meal to aid your digestion.

Cho Dang Soon Tofu rice

Cho Dang Soon Tofu is delicious, authentic and incredibly affordable. Two people can dine heartily, and quite healthily, for under $25. You can also get takeout and purchase their fresh tofu separately to eat later. Rosie :)

Cho Dang Soon Tofu

Chodang Soon Tofu on Urbanspoon

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NOW CLOSED: The Saint | Ossington

*The Saint on Ossington closed in spring of 2016.* I don't know why I don't hear more about the Saint. It is one of the best restaurants I've been to on Ossington. The vibe is hipster pub, but the food is inspired Jacobs Steakhouse quality (they actually use the same supplier as Jacobs & Co.) Everything is made in-house, and I love a server who is not only genuinely knowledgeable about the menu but so passionate about the food that I found myself totally excited about the wedge salad, and as Homer Simpson so wisely put it, you don't win friends with salad. I think Homer would have made friends with this one. It had delicious salty meat in it.

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We all had steak, and our server organized the most ideal cut in the kitchen to ensure an optimal meat-eating experience. It tasted like candy.

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There is a 40-ounce porterhouse on the menu, apparently it is very popular. Not surprised. The Saint is open for dinner and weekend brunch; you can reserve on Open Table. Rosie :)

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Canoe: One Of The Best Restaurants In Canada

There are a lot of luxe restaurants in Toronto, but my very favourite is Canoe. It is expensive, but justifiably so. The food and service are consistently amazing. I completely and totally get why it's considered one of the best restaurants in Canada. The view from the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower in downtown Toronto is really something special. If you are going there for a happy occasion (like your ninth wedding anniversary, just say) request a table by the window. And get the sticky toffee date pudding with passion fruit ice cream and almond foam for dessert- it isn't nearly as precious as it sounds. Rosie :)

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Canoe Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Hawker Bar on Ossington

Pictures often speak louder than words. I think that is the case when describing the food at Hawker Bar. Let's start with the son-in-law eggs.

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I like dishes that require instruction- wait 15-20 seconds then eat the whole thing in one bite. It is said that Thai mothers prepare these eggs for their future son-in-laws as a warning of what fate could befall their family jewels if they are unfaithful husbands. No idea if this is true or not, but, eek. Those eggs get deep-fried. Behave fellas.

The curry pork satay was covered in a really fresh and flavourful peanut sauce:

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Here is the laksa... OMFG. It was perfect. Rich, spicy and incredibly flavourful. I was dying to try Hawker's laksa and it did not disappoint.

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I have read complaints on foodie forums that Toronto's first spot for Singapore-inspired street food isn't authentic enough. Oh please. I have never eaten street food in Singapore but even if I had I wouldn't be comparing; I like when restaurants give tradition a twist. Rosie :)

Hawker Bar on Urbanspoon

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