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 over a great wine menu. The following restaurants will ensure that you have a good time, but more importantly, that you look good choosing it. Average price between $60-100 a person. 

Tried and True: 

  1. Cafe Belong: It’s a little out of the way, but if you are willing to drive out to Evergreen Brickworks, Chef Brad Long has done something incredible with this place and I can guarantee you won’t regret the trip. Note that they are more casual during the day. 
  2. Edulis: Be warned, there are only two options on the menu: smaller and larger prix fixe. A cozy spot with a seasonal menu of wild and foraged foods used to create elevated Canadian dishes with a bit of Western European flair.
  3. Miku: A large-scale Japanese restaurant featuring clean lines and excellent service, this place will give you a different feeling about sushi than you’ve ever had before.
  4. Enoteca Sociale:  A very intimate and very Italian wine bar with a very edited list of small-plate (or as the Italians would say, the right size) pastas and other things. Lowly lit and very moody.
  5. Copetín: Claudio Aprile took his former Origin and transformed it into something that is totally him, and totally wonderful. A mix of cuisines fused under the umbrella of Contemporary Canadian.
  6. Leña: A breath of  fresh air attached to the Eaton Centre, this place does upscale South American food set in a beautiful, beautiful space.
  7. Mr. Flamingo: This place does Italian food in a way that doesn’t scream Spaghetti and Mario (order the burrata).
  8. Café Boulud: Daniel Boulud’s restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel has undergone a revamp and it looks and tastes better than ever.
  9. Richmond Station: Carl Heinrich’s project from his Top Chef Season 2 win is still going strong, and this place is perfect for almost any occasion. 
  10. TOCA: Ritz Carlton’s own upscale restaurant uses some of the freshest ingredients prepared with an elegant Italian focus. 
  11. Byblos: Pan-Mediterranean dishes designed to be shared, set in a beautiful space. It’s my favourite of the Iconink restaurants in Toronto.
  12. Bosk: The ultra-modern Asian-driven menu here is as beautiful as the Shangri-La Hotel in which it is situated. Can I admit that they also have some of my favourite restaurant washrooms in the city?
  13. Pukka: If you’re looking for Indian fine dining, you’ll find it here (or go to its sister restaurant Concession Road down the street for great French fare).
  14. Marben: Contemporary Canadian with a bit of Spanish flair. The architecture is also key.
  15. Boralia: For those looking for a truly unique “Canadian” experience without the poutine.
  16. Nota Bene: There are not many upscale restaurants on Queen Street West, but this one screams upper crust, in a nice way.
  17. Estia: This is another Iconink restaurant with a menu representing the upper part of the Mediterranean Coast. They have a good wine program, bread program, charcuterie program, and everything else required for a successful meal. It’s a bit “Yorkville-ish”, but you can’t deny it’s beauty.

On my Radar: 

  1. Campagnolo: A revolving menu of relaxed Italian fare offered in a shabby-chic setting, with a cocktail bar.
  2. Alo: This is literally the hottest ticket in town and all trusted friends who have been can confirm it’s greatness. Be warned: turn your volume down when visiting their website.
  3. Ardo: A relatively new Italian restaurant known for small-scale, authentic bites.
  4. Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse: The best steakhouse in the city, confirmed and double confirmed.
  5. Dandylion: Another Contemporary Canadian favourite that I hope to visit very soon.
  6. Ruby Watchco: It’s actually embarrassing that I’ve never been to Chef Lynn’s restaurant. We’ll get there sooner or later!
  7. Canis: Must. try. soon.
  8. Grey Gardens: I hear it’s one of the best things to pop up in Kensington Market in a long time.

Last updated: October 27, 2017