Toronto is a global destination for food – and with good reason. The diversity of our neighbourhoods, cultures and people makes for a true melting pot of amazing cuisine.
To me, a great restaurant is built on some basic – but critical – tenets: The food must remain consistently tasty, the staff friendly and personable and the environment comfortable, cozy and unpretentious.
So whether you’re looking to book a romantic dinner for two this Valentine’s Day, or just want to grab a bite at a new place you haven’t tried before, these are a few of my favourite places in the city!
Beloved Toronto institution with one of the largest wine collections in town. I particularly love their quaint terrasse and garden for summer lunches, but any time of the year it’s a lovely spot. Very French bistro, very Parisienne, very delicious!
In the heart of Little Italy, this intimate trattoria is a true favourite of my family. We love Italian food and Chef Jason Barato has been cooking upscale versions of classics like pasta, seafood, lamb and steak to perfection. It’s been around for over 20 years, but every plate feels fresh and totally inventive.
Like I said, my family loves anything and everything Italian! This place has the absolute best thin crust pizza in town due to their traditional wood-burning oven. Pastas are also made by hand and their pizzas are rustic, seasonal and mouth-watering. I’m getting hungry just writing this!
This is the spot you bring out-of-towners to. The family-run restaurant has been in business since the ‘60s and is considered one of the best high-end seafood spots, as well as being known for impeccable service and quality. It is a place to see and be seen – celebrities and high-profile people frequent this resto quite often – but that doesn’t mean it’s pretentious. It has a warm, welcoming vibe and the super-fresh seafood can’t be beat.
This is such a fun place! A modern Korean Japanese house (with stunning interiors), this is a fantastic spot to grab some girlfriends and have a few glasses of wine, share a few Temaki dishes, sashimi and Maki and gab the night away. A small tip: Order the Lobster Bimibab. (There are no words.)
Mamakas is an urban tavern on Ossington Ave., and owner Thanos Tripi brings a fresh, authentic approach to Aegean food. Recipes are passed down through generations, so it’s easy to imagine how inviting the plates must be. The menu is designed to be shared, which makes a perfect scenario for a couple dining out. I love the Oktapodi: grilled Octopus with Santorini fava beans, capers and pickled onions.