Dasha

A combo of Chinese cuisine and karaoke isn’t unheard of, but Dasha somehow makes it seem novel – and better. Co-founded by Michelin-starred chef Akira Back, the menu pairs tastes from all corners of China with a little North American edge, resulting in a mix of both classic (traditional Peking duck) and adventurous (stir-fried lobster) dishes to excite all palates. The cocktails are a spectacle and, as for the karaoke, there are five private, themed rooms in which to get your Céline Dion on.

LOV

With a menu that’s 100 per cent plant-based, LOV is a must-visit for anyone seeking flavoursome vegan fare. Following the success of its four establishments in Quebec, LOV was introduced to Torontonians for the first time in 2019, and to much hype. Swing by for a “Blue Lavender” latte (more delicious than it sounds), a serving of Brussels sprouts and a gawp at the Instagrammable interior.

Sweet Bliss

East-end dwellers like to keep Sweet Bliss, creators of – in our opinion – the best scones in the city, their secret, but it’s too good not to share. Cupcakes, cookies, scones and more are all baked in-house and vary in flavour week on week. There’s no seating, so stop by for a sweet treat and a frothy coffee-to-go before exploring the neighbourhood.

Island Cafe

Situated on Ward’s Island, Island Cafe is a family-run outdoor restaurant a short 13-minute ferry ride from the mainland. All meals are prepared and cooked fresh using locally sourced (and, in some cases, island-grown) produce, and every so often there are pop-ups serving seafood. The café is only open from May-October, weather permitting, so aim to pop by on a sunny day and splash out on one of its incredible homemade popsicles.

Fat Pasha

It’s hard to find the words to describe just how delicious the food at Fat Pasha is. Think whole roasted cauliflower topped with tahini and halloumi chunks, succulent lamb shank and sweet, buttery puréed squash sprinkled with chopped dates. Dishes have been designed to share, so visit with someone who has similar taste preferences and split a few plates. The establishment is small, so be sure to book a table in advance.

Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice

Recognisable by the big nose that hangs outside, Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice (though known to locals as “The Nose”) dishes up generous servings of Italian cuisine – we’re talking decadent pappardelle with mushrooms, thyme and walnuts, and a – somewhat famed – giant meatball in a tomato ragu. An inconspicuous spot in the east end of the city, Gio Rana’s doesn’t attract many tourists and it doesn’t even have a website. We have it on good authority, though, that the food is some of the most authentic Italian in the city – comparable even to nonna’s cooking.

Kōst

The dishes are enjoyable, but Kōst’s biggest lure has to be the view. Situated on the 44th floor of the Bisha Hotel in the entertainment district, the restaurant enjoys panoramas over the city, offering stunning sights across Lake Ontario to the Toronto Islands as well as a close-up view of the CN Tower. Inspired by the California coastline, the menu is a little on the pricey side, but worth the extra expense for the experience of eating so high in the sky.

  • +1 437 800 5938
  • Go to Website
  • 44th floor, 80 Blue Jays Way
    ON M5V 2G3

Maha’s

Renowned among locals, Maha’s serves what is considered the best brunch in the city. It’s a family-operated joint run by head chef and namesake Maha Barsoom along with her two children, who immigrated to Toronto from Egypt in 2000, and began offering their authentic Egyptian cuisine in 2014. Dishes are hearty and comforting, including traditional foole medames (crushed fava beans) and grilled cheese with dates, but be prepared to queue for a table.

Reyna on King

Beneath a ceiling of faux foliage, diners at Reyna on King are served dishes with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African influences. Tuck into falafels, Moroccan-spiced salmon and the not-to-be-skipped shoestring fries piled with tasty toppings. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, it’s a hip hangout around the clock, but is extra fun in the evening when the lights are dipped, the 90s tunes are cranked and the cocktails are flowing.

The Green Wood

A favourite for wholesome, nutritious (and some indulgent) fare, The Green Wood, with its rustic, foliage-filled interior and a Mediterranean-meets-North American menu, has something to satisfy both sweet and savoury cravings. The “Souk Fries” (hand-cut fries topped with aubergine, halloumi and a fried egg) almost always hit the spot, and the cinnamon French toast often does the trick too. A second location has recently opened on the West End of the city, serving the same mouthwatering menu. Go easy on the homemade hot sauce, though. It’s, ahem, HOT.

Pick 6ix

The Six (“The 6ix” if you’re really down with the kids) is the name that rapper Drake popularised for Toronto – so why not appropriate it as the name of a restaurant? This place – co-owned by Toronto’s most famous musical export – is a glamorous haunt by night and chilled (ish) by day. The food straddles Korean, Japanese and Peruvian flavours that will make your tastebuds sing.

Luma

The excitement of being in the bullseye of the famous Toronto International Film Festival’s HQ and cinema, the TIFF Lightbox, really adds to a dining experience at Luma. Catch a movie (perhaps something by Jean Luc Godard?) before you chow down on the excellent snails with bone marrow.

  • +1 647 288 4715
  • Go to Website
  • 350 King Street West
    2nd Floor
    M5V 3X5

Sotto Sotto

Inject a bit of Hollywood glamour into your lunch at Sotto Sotto, which probably hosts more celebrity patrons than any other Toronto eatery. The walls are covered with photographs of the great and good eating here: Mariah Carey, John Hamm, David Beckham, Paul Rudd… and of course, Drake.

Sassafraz

Recently reopened after a full-scale refurbishment, Sassafraz brings French flavours mixed with Indian and Mexican influences to Toronto in the midst of fresh white decor that’s will brighten your mood. Their fish dishes work without having to try hard – simple wild salmon with vegetables or fish tacos are the best on the menu.

Montecito

Canuck comedy legend Ivan Reitman directed Ghostbusters and Kindergarten Cop and produced Canada’s favourite comedy, the movie version of Trailer Park Boys, as well as the recent Ghostbusters reboot. His Toronto restaurant is plastered with photographs from his films, while the Italian fare is comforting and filling. Share a huge rib-eye steak (with their renowned kale salad) and finish with speciality cheeses like “dark side of the moon”, which is coated in coffee.

Pick 6ix

Luma

Sotto Sotto

Sassafraz

Montecito

You May Also Like

City Guides

You know how you have that one incredible friend who knows their city inside out? That’s us. We take the world’s most dynamic destinations, hand-pick the best bits and give them to you in one place. This is the kind of guide that you don’t need to run by a local – it was written by one. Eat your heart out, shop until you drop, drink like a fish, dance your socks off, sleep – then repeat.

Bundles

Curate your bookcase with the full SUITCASE library. From Volume 2 through 29, we've been around the world, explored uncharted landscapes and reexamined travel perceptions along the way. We invite you to do the same; grow your collection today.

Download Suitcase App
Learn More