Toronto’s restaurant scene rivals the best cities in the world, with more ethnicities and styles of cooking represented than practically anywhere. With so many fantastic options, it’s hard to definitively point to the best food in Toronto, but we tried.
Currently considered one of the very best restaurants in Toronto, Alo is a contemporary French outfit, helmed by executive chef Patrick Kriss, on the third floor of an elegant heritage building. The Alo bar, a 20-seater area that accepts walk-ins, features classically inspired cocktails and a sharing-style, à la carte menu. The sleek main dining room is a tasting restaurant that offers a 10-course menu with wine pairings. Even better, though, is a place at the Chef’s Table, a counter with six seats that look into the open kitchen and 16 courses along with the pleasure of seeing them made. 163 Spadina Avenue
Craig Harding, who started out with his Nona-influenced Campagnolo and branched out with the SoCal-savvy La Palma, is the chef at Constantine, the restaurant at The Anndore House that celebrates the various regions of the Mediterranean. Built around a wood-burning oven and hearth, Constantine is known for its pizzas, meat, seafood and grilled vegetable dishes. The meticulously designed wine program is also sure to impress.
With a kitchen that also revolves around a wood-fired oven, Woodlot produces a selection of sourdough breads and creative Canadian comfort food. They offer two seasonal menus: one featuring artisanal meats and a second dedicated to all things vegetarian. And their winter specials include warming soups, hearty pastas and root veggie dishes. They also have a large selection of natural wines, microbrewery beers and seasonal cocktails. 293 Palmerston Avenue
Yasu doesn’t have a menu. Instead, chef Yasuhisa Ouchi creates a new 20-item offering every day based on the freshest seasonal seafood available from around the world, from ankimo (foie gras of the sea), toro, fluke, scallop, sea eel and sweet shrimp. 81 Harbord Street
Focused on local, sustainable and hand-gathered food sources, Actinolite offers a seven-course Chef’s Menu built around hyper-fresh ingredients. Relatively recent additions are a four-course Summary Menu plus a two-course Neighbourhood Menu for walk-ins. Expect innovative, seasonally changing Canadian cooking and masterful, interesting wine pairings. 971 Ossington Avenue
Bar Isabel and Bar Raval
Blocks apart on College Street, Bar Isabel and Bar Raval, the sibling Spanish-influenced restaurants by Grant van Gameron (of Black Hoof fame), are two spots worthy of a visit. They both serve wine and cocktails along with small plates of olives, bread, seafood, and serrano and iberico jamon, and they’re equally welcoming and easy on the eyes. Both are open for dinner, but Bar Raval is also open in the daytime, from 11am. 797 College Street (Isabel) and 505 College Street (Raval)