Toronto is, without a doubt, the most diverse of cities when it comes to restaurant choices.
Managing our city’s plethora of restaurants and neighborhoods can be a foodie thrill at best and downright cheap and frightening at worst. In fact, this is perhaps the first thing both locals and visitors talk about when touting our city’s best food experiences, and followsummer is inclined to agree. Hungry? Peruse the menus of our Top Toronto Restaurant picks!
Café Boulud closed its doors two years ago for a major design and menu retrofit. Reviews and the general word on the street had been positive, but frankly, they just did not seem to be pulling a loyal crowd. I must admit being disappointed with both of my visits to Café Boulud. The food was beautiful, the service stellar but I never felt entirely comfortable in the room. Those out of date, stark, pop art posters stealing focus from that admirable food and worthy service. The room itself did not live up to the crisp, classic, clean lines made famous by the Four Seasons brand. And the food didn’t seem that French to me either. Fancy foams and risottos? Mon Dieu! After a whirlwind seven-week, 2 million dollar renovation, Café Boulud was reborn and rejuvenated with a fresh new look and brand new and very French menu.
Bar Lisa Marie:
Pop-up and food truck king Matt Basile’s ode to delicious greasy, juicy dripping oozing cheesy, crunchy, yummy, deadly delightful burger with a side of fries with gravy, our little Lisa Marie had just celebrated her third anniversary! Catch Matt’s famous Spaghetti and Meatballs, half price bottles of wine, Wednesday evening madness. Brunch? Chow down on Matt’s s’mores pancakes. Yes, that’s right: s’mores pancakes. You’re welcome.
Rob Gentile’s Buca
is like heaven to us, an Italian heaven that is, a heaven where there is incredible food, wonderful wine, and superb service. Heaven was certainly on our minds last week as four friends gathered at Buca for a Thursday evening catch up dinner and to continue month-long celebrations of my husbands 60th birthday. Recently listed at number 17 on Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants, we are greeted by a handsome front of house staff: all smiling, all attractive in a heavenly Italian kind of way, who gather our last-of-winter coats and usher us through the bustling, beautiful main dining room with soaring high ceilings, past exposed raw brick, and iron beams to our waiting table, nestled and tucked into the corner beside the hustling, open kitchen.
DaiLo: Chef Nick Liu’s #sickasianfood
We breeze into DaiLo for our 6:30 reservation and are promptly seated at the choice, beautiful mother of pearl inlay table for 6, appropriate for a rendezvous dinner with good friends in from Boston. I have wanted to eat at DaiLo since it’s opening but like Bar Raval, have just not been able to get to Little Italy to sample Chef Nick Liu’s Chinese meets French ‘New Asian Cuisine’ appropriately hashtagged, #sickasianfood. Heavily influenced by Hakka Canadian parents and ancient ancestral menus, Chef Liu updates his creations with local and sustainable fare while wisely playing to our western palates.
Frankly, I will eat Mexican anytime, anywhere, and that includes the gloppy, salty, Tacos and Enchiladas, Tex-Mex so evident here in Toronto. I have always bemoaned the fact that we have no real Mexican food here in this city so was delighted when my Wednesday group of 5 agreed to my dinner request at Los Colibris and Chef Elia Herrea‘s fresh take on some fairly classic Mexican fare. I am not talking Empanadas or even Molé here. Small bites of Carnitas, Octopus, fresh Salsa Verde and the highlight, her Cerviche, all draw the longing Mexican foodie in me.
Visited by the venerable Ruth Reichl (“So many restaurants insist that the experience is about them: their food, their ambiance, their wine. At Edulis, it’s all about you. They feed you wonderful food – but they understand that a great meal transcends what’s on the table.”), Edulis’s eclectic pairing of French and Spanish cuisines make Tobey Nemeth and Michael Caballo’s small room a delight. And the attention to detail. And the obvious love for a difficult business. Hard to get to on a cold, white February evening, but so worth the snowy effort. Go.
Ahhh Fat Pasha. Difficult to secure a place at one of their communal tables but when you do…you’ll be feted with a ton of Middle-Eastern-Meets-Your-Jewish-Bubby food with a focus on the Veg side. Did I mention a ton of food? The Fat Pashas also owns Rose & Sons and Big Crow as well so if you can’t secure a table at Fat P, try their other eats. But try to taste the Fat P.
World Traveler, Writer, and Blogger, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the followsummer.com travel blog. A former Actor, current shower-singer, and non-hipster foodie. Loves his week-end house in St Marys, Ontario. Dad to Sophia, Ariel, and Hastings three of the best cats in the world.