If you know me, you know that Toronto is my favourite city in the world but if you also know me, you know I live here and am incredibly biased. Let’s be honest though, Toronto is a great city. It’s rich with cultures from all over the world, great art, architecture, so many things to do, and fantastic places to eat.
One of my favourite things to do is go out and try new restaurants. In fact, I legit have an entire list saved in my phone of new places I want to try that are constantly being updated. Given that Toronto has so many fantastic restaurants, you could literally eat somewhere different every day for years and never run out of new places to eat. That’s why it’s incredibly hard to make a list like this because I don’t often repeat restaurants since there are so many I want to try. So I’m going to do my best to summarize some great options for you to choose from.
Located in the Beverly Hotel, centrally on Queen Street West, Ration is a fantastic spot for a tasty brunch. Their menu includes a variety of modern spins to traditional favourites. I got their eggs benny and it was a good serving size, and delicious. They also offer coffee from one of my fav coffee shops in the city, Strange Love, and they are leading the way in sustainable practices. Strange Love, so you really can’t go wrong.
I’ve never tried their dinner but apparently it is also fantastic
Two different restaurants, in different parts of the city (School is in Liberty Village, and Old School is on College) but both by the same owners and delicious. These brunch spots are staples in the city. They have unique brunch items that elevate your traditional breakfast dishes and everything I’ve ever had from both places is next-level delicious. I LOVE their pancakes, and although the menu changes, at one point they had an amazing orange-infused French toast at School that was my go-to.
Check out my full brunch guide to Toronto here
A newcomer on the brunch scene, OEB was made famous over on the West Coast of Canada but it made its way into Toronto recently. Located in Liberty Village, OEB serves an extensive brunch menu that has so many delicious options. Choose from unique items to your classic brunch favs all in one place. Their mimosa flight isn’t bad either.
I recently went to Fet Zun on Dupont Street for brunch and it was sooooo good. Fet Zun is a middle eastern, relaxed spot with a boho vibe. They have a delicious brunch menu that is a bit more “unique” than your typical eggs and bacon. The ingredients are fresh, flavorful, and I definitely can’t wait to go back.
Torontonians take brunch really seriously, meaning it’s not always easy to get a seat on the weekends. Make sure you make a reservation in advance if you can, or don’t come starving as you may need to wait.
Stelvio located centrally on Dundas West, near the intersection of Dundas and Bathurst is by far my favourite spot in the city. This rustic, yet modern restaurant serves Northern Italian cuisine and they do it incredibly well. As you sit on their patio you’ll hear everyone around you speaking Italian, that’s how good and authentic it is, even the local Italians come out to eat here. It doesn’t get better than this. The owners even own a location in Milan so they’re the real deal. Their gnocchi is my favourite but you can’t really go wrong with anything on their menu! An incredibly underrated spot, and they even do reservations so you won’t have to struggle to get a seat here.
I’ve only recently tried this spot on College but it is a notable restaurant that has been getting a lot of buzz as of lately. The reason for this is that not only has it gone a bit viral on TikTok, but its sister restaurant, Osteria Giulia, was recently awarded a Michelin Star. It is a bit hard to get a reservation here, but it’s 100% worth it. The service here is top-notch, and all the food I tried was fantastic. Opt for a bar seat if you can, and go with people you can share things with so you can try a lot more on the menu. My favs were the cacio e pepe, and insalata di cavolo.
Located in Little Italy, Tav’s is one of my boyfriend and I’s fav spots. As you can tell by its name, Tav’s serves up all sorts of gnocchi. They also serve other Italian favs like pizza, but if you like gnocchi, this is your place. With a page long of different sauces and flavors, you really can’t go wrong with this authentic spot. If you’re lucky, you’ll even have a little Italian Nona stop by your table to see how your meal is.
Gusto 101 is a cult favourite in the city of Toronto. Located just off King West on Portland Street, Gusto serves Italian favourites and is a busy spot filled with locals and visitors. What is the appeal? First off they have $1/oz house wine which isn’t easy to come by at most good restaurants in the city. Second, the mafalde ai funghi. There is seriously no pasta that compares to this anywhere else. It is next level and I wish I could eat it every single day. If you are in the east end, you can also enjoy it at their Gusto 501 location.
Piano Piano is another Italian fav for those in Toronto. They only recently opened a second location more central right near St. Lawrence Market, but their original location is on Harbord Street. Piano Piano has delicious everything. Seriously, nothing I’ve had it is bad. The restaurant itself is also really adorable and can be a great spot to celebrate a birthday with your friends. Try the canestri alla vodka if you’re in the mood for pasta, and if you visit for lunch, you can opt for their lunch special which is three courses for only $34.
Another notable mention is Piano Piano’s sister restaurant, Piccolo Piano Pizza
Last but not least my fav Italian restaurant is Oro Di Napoli. This spot is located near St. Lawrence Market and became one of my go-to places during the pandemic for take-out/delivery. I have had the chance to visit the restaurant to dine in too and although the restaurant itself is pretty basic, the food is really good. I LOVE all their pizzas but their pasta is good too.
I’m a big sushi gal and Kaka is by far the best all-you-can-eat sushi spot I’ve found in the city. Located incredibly centrally, near the Eaton Centre, Kaka offers premium sushi that is mouthwatering. What’s great about kaka is although you’ll find your sushi favs like spicy tuna rolls on the menu, they also have really unique dishes too, and since it’s all you can eat, it can be a great spot to order and try things you wouldn’t normally try at an a la carte restaurant.
I’ve recently discovered Flame Sushi as it opened up basically around the block from my house. This, again, is an elevated sushi spot. The decor is super adorable, the service was unmatched, and their menu was loaded with delicious, premium sushi. It’s a bit more expensive than a cheap, hole-in-the-wall sushi spot, but worth it! They also have a great cocktail menu to choose from.
Located on Dupont Street, from the same owner as Fet Zun, Fat Pasha is a middle eastern restaurant with a boho vibe and a great back patio. They serve both middle eastern and European Jewish dishes that are great for sharing. We got their fat salatim platter which was a mix of dips, pickled veggies, falafel, and more. It was a great sampler of their food.
Bonus! Fat Pasha was also on Michelin’s Bib Gourmands list
This is one of my fav spots for a special occasion that I’ve been to again and again. It may sound crazy, but I legit would come here just for the rice alone. It’s next level! Byblos is a bit more on the pricey end but is share plate style and all the food is next level. Seriously one of my favs.
On my list to try that come highly recommended but I haven’t made it to yet is Haifa Room on Ossington, Amal at Yonge & Bloor, and Maha’s in Little India that is famous for its brunch
Okay, I’m grouping these two together because they’re about a block away from each other in Toronto’s core, they are owned by the same owners and are equally as fantastic. There is no shortage of great Thai food in Toronto but these are two of my favs that I’ve gone to countless times over the 10+ years I’ve lived in the city. Both have fantastic, fun (but casual) vibes and are a great spot for a girl’s dinner out. The khao soi is my fav!
Queen Mother has sat on Queen Street West since 1978 and today, the restaurant situated inside an old building still serves fantastic food (there aren’t many restaurants that stick around this long in Toronto so you know it must be good). Their menu features a mix of everything but they are known for their Lao-Thai cuisine. My personal favourite is their khao soi gai, a traditional northern Laotian dish of chicken in a spicy broth filled with Thai herbs, turmeric, curry, coconut milk, egg noodles, and vegetables. It’s delicious and reasonably priced. They also have a garden patio out back!
I’m grouping these all together because they’re pretty simple restaurants that serve incredible pho. Pho is one of my comfort foods on a cold winter day, it’s also great for a hangover or when you’re feeling under the weather. A few of my fav spots are Golden Turtle on Ossington, Pho Hung in Chinatown, and Ca Phe Rang on Spadina.
This fun Thai restaurant is hidden behind a coffee shop on Ossington. They have immaculate vibes for a special occasion or girl’s night out, with a fantastic share-style menu. Literally, everything I had here was amazing and so full of the perfect combination of flavours, but definitely get the tuna ceviche and the chicken curry. They also have a great cocktail menu to choose from.
Bonus! Favorites was also on Michelin’s Bib Gourmands list
Little Sister is a Dutch-Indo restaurant on Portland Street. Again, another share-style restaurant with flavorful food. Nothing we ordered I wouldn’t order it again. Lots of unique menu items and flavour combinations that just work. There’s also a speakeasy bar located under the restaurant called XXX.
This is far from a hidden gem in the city, if you live in Toronto, it’s very likely you have gone to a La Carnita restaurant on more than one occasion. Do I think this is the best Mexican in the city? Absolutely not. However, La Carnita has decent food, great lunch specials, yummy margaritas, and a vibe that’s perfect for a casual dinner out. The fact that they have multiple locations also makes it easy to visit no matter where in the city you are staying. The Mexican street corn is a must-try!
La Bartola is a plant-based Mexican restaurant that serves authentic Mexican food for even meat lovers. I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but honestly, at La Bartola I didn’t miss the meat at all. I got their taco sampler platter and every taco was next level, bursting with flavours. I’ve done a lot of traveling in Mexico so I’m pretty picky when it comes to Mexican food, and this spot was amazing and authentic.
Bonus, La Bartola was also on Michelin’s Bib Gourmands list
A favourite grab-and-go spot in Kensington Market among locals. Seven Lives has been serving amazing tacos since 2012. There isn’t too much to say about this spot other than that you should go if you’re looking for a great, inexpensive lunch. Try one of their seafood tacos like baja fish, or shrimp.
This modernly decorated restaurant has a simple aesthetic and an amazing menu. Sara is another popular restaurant’s sister, Rasa, and offers share plates that are next level. Come with your friends that aren’t picky eaters or have any dietary requirements so you can maximize what you can try on the menu since it’s all incredible. Don’t leave without trying the infamous chopped salad, and one of their unique cocktails.
I order from Elm Street Deli all the time, but they also have a physical location you can pick up from. The Sammy Davis Jr. sandwich with pastrami is my fav sandwich in the city. It’s loaded with toppings, and totally mouthwatering. A great grab-and-go option if you are in the city.
This is a grab-and-go deli spot located near Trinity Bellwoods Park serving next-level submarine sandwiches. It’s a great spot to go and grab a sandwich from to have a picnic in the park, and for almost the same price as a Subway combo, you’ll have a premium, loaded deli sandwich that is so damn good.
This Caribbean-inspired restaurant on King West is the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion. It’s pretty big with lots of seating and serves great share plates for you and your group. They even have DJs on select nights for a fun vibe out with your friends. Everything I had here was super flavourful and good. We loved the Nuff Nuff Salad, the Jerk Chicken, and the Mac Pie!
Lastly, I can’t have a list of where to eat in the city without including St. Lawrence Market, ranked one of the best food markets in the world. St. Lawrence Market is not just a spot to buy meat from the butcher and produce from local farmers, but they also have a number of great food stands. Try the peameal bacon sandwich from Carousel Bakery, or the fish and chips at Buster’s Sea Cove.