Toronto Restaurant Guide

A revolving door of the bests

Toronto is my current home, and also home to an ever-changing, exciting dining scene. These are not permanent or exhaustive lists, but rather a set of evergreen pages for those looking for my personal at-the-moment picks. 


For a Cup of Coffee or Two

It’s so much more than just caffeine 

Other than food, coffee may be the thing I care about the most on a day-to-day basis. My criteria for ranking these coffee shops takes into account: quality of beans and brewing processes, espresso beverage options, alternative “milk” options, good non-coffee options (tea, juices, alcohol, tonics etc.), food menu, value for price, and of course, style. I’ve recently updated the list to include potential “drawbacks” as well. 

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For a Nice Dinner

Intimate birthday party and third date approved

You need a restaurant to impress your dinner guest. Maybe it’s a third date. Maybe it’s a birthday party. Maybe it’s a business client that you want to entertain with a great wine menu. The following restaurants will ensure that you have a good time, but more importantly, that you look good for choosing it. Average price between $80-150 a person. 

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For Brunch

A hardcore tradition of the modern North American city

Brunch is an institution in Toronto largely driven by neighbourhood. The chances of you dragging your butt to Leslieville from the West End to stand in an hour-long line at 11:00 AM are pretty slim.  Let’s face it–you’re probably going to head down the street to the place you always go. Then again, if you ever find yourself on someone’s else’s turf, here’s a list of places you should give a try, even if it’s just for another take on Eggs Benny. A good brunch place should provide something interesting and fun, without being stupid. Bonus points if they can manage an efficient and generally stress-free line (or even better, reservations!). Average price between $20-30 a person.

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For A Fun Dinner

When the food is important but the vibe is key


As we all know, the dining experience isn’t just about the food. There are a few places that I’m willing to go largely to sit in their chairs, listen to their music, or generally be entertained by the spirit of the place. Of course, it helps if the food is incredible as well. Have you ever organized a birthday party for a friend at a lame restaurant and felt super guilty about it? Pick one of these restaurants for their next birthday to make up for that. Average price between $40-80 a person.

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For A Quick Bite

Drop in and eat something satisfying, with or without a drink or two

Sometimes you want a full meal, and sometimes you just need something to get you from Point A to Point B. In these circumstances, these places will do the trick. All of these restaurants feature easy, satisfying meals in a cool setting. Remember: cheap and easy doesn’t have to be mediocre. Average price between $10-20 a person.

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For Japanese Ramen

Not just a bowl of noodles

2017 was the year I finally mustered enough energy to finish my ramen tour of Toronto. Some may say that it’s incredibly difficult to make a bowl of warm salty noodles taste bad, but I would disagree. In fact, I feel so strongly against the many ramen shops producing mediocre or straight up bad noodles that I am only putting a few recommendations on this list for the time being. If you’re trying to make your own determination, look/taste for: Deep, multi-dimensional and flavourful broth, fresh, chewy and bouncy noodles, and well-cooked and well-prepared fresh toppings. If you’re trying to decide which kind of ramen to order, I would opt for a shio (salt) broth with chashu pork, which is one of the mildest and most traditional flavour profiles and combinations there is. 

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For Italian Pizza

They have can the world as long as I can have my Italian pizza

I am not sure what I would do in a world without pizza. Toronto has lots of Italian (and mostly Italian) restaurants, but I’ve narrowed down the ones that do pizza particularly well. I’m not asking for much. All I want is a bit of well-prepared dough topped with fresh, high quality ingredients, made by someone who gives a little bit of a damn about their work. Is that so much to ask? Stop eating crappy pizza, and save your calories for the good stuff, right here. Average price between $15-25 a person (for the pizza).

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For Dessert

Every meal needs a proper ending

If there is one thing that Toronto definitely needs more of, it’s desserts parlours. There are some amazing ones I’ve visited throughout the world, and we just don’t have enough of them. What we do have, however, is some high quality grab-and-go treats, especially in the gelato/ice cream and chocolate department. Average price between $5-15 per person.

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For the Vegetarians

All about that plant-based lifestyle

In Toronto, we’re lucky to be in a city that not only accepts and respects vegetarianism and veganism but also boasts many great plant-based restaurants that omnivores and carnivores alike can enjoy. In 2019, you better believe that the bar for taste and quality is set high.

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For a Unique Experience

Who doesn’t love a little novelty?

There are some dining establishments that I’ll visit for the sheer novelty of the experience (hello, themed cafes in Asia). It helps when the food is good too, but that’s really beside the point. In fact, some of these places barely have food! In any case, here’s my list of the most unique dining/drinking establishments in Toronto.

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If you want to see another list, leave a comment below or send me a message!

Last updated: February 2019