LGBTQ Toronto Nightlife Guide: Restaurants & Dining
Sightseeing can work up an appetite. Thankfully Toronto has no shortage of great restaurants for every type of diet, budget and cuisine. Restaurants in the city are LGBTQ-friendly – many proudly so. If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a list of 15 of the most popular queer-owned and queer-friendly restaurants that will have you coming back for more.
- Byzantium: Right in the heart of the Church-Wellesley Village, Byzantium has a chic, stylish décor and relaxed atmosphere. Its extensive martini list and diverse menu (including such unique dishes as kangaroo and ostrich) make it a great place for either a romantic date or a casual meal. Byzantium has received numerous awards from Now Magazine and Xtra Magazine, including Toronto’s Best Martini and Best Romantic Restaurant.
- Location: 499 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- FABARNAK: One part restaurant and one part social enterprise initiative, FABARNAK offers a range of culinary dishes prepared and served by members of the LGBTQ community who face barriers to employment. More than 60% of the food is locally grown and produced, so you can feel good about what you’re eating while also feeling good about helping at-risk community members. FABARNAK is owned and operated by The 519 Community Centre.
- Location: 519 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- Café California: A popular watering hole in the Church-Wellesley Village, Café California has been a fixture of the LGBTQ community for more than 20 years. See and be seen while sipping martinis and sampling delicious Mediterranean dishes in either the stylish dining room or sunny patio.
- Location: 538 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- Sambucas on Church: Sambucas on Church is renowned for having some of the best Italian food around, made from the finest and freshest ingredients. Fresh pasta, sumptuous seafood, authentic Italian pizza – pair any dish with a bottle of wine for a truly magical meal.
- Location: 489 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- Guu Izakaya: In the mood for Japanese? Check out Guu Izakaya in the Village for tapas-style Japanese food with a modern take. The loud, energetic staff and unique pairings of dishes make this an eating experience like no other. Guu Izakaya is an ideal choice for couples looking for a unique night out.
- Location: 398 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- Lola’s Kitchen: A commitment to local and independent suppliers, as well as an abundance of vegetarian and vegan dishes, make Lola’s Kitchen a favourite with environment- and health-conscious individuals. Meatless options include the kale Caesar salad and vegan tacos, while the more carnivorously inclined might enjoy the pulled pork sandwich or lamb burger.
- Location: 634 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- Hair of the Dog: Hair of the Dog is an upscale but unpretentious neighbourhood pub that boasts one of the best patios in the city. Drop by for brunch on the weekends or for a hearty dinner before hitting the clubs on Church Street for a night of dancing.
- Location: 425 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- Church Street Bistro: A mainstay in the Village, Church Street Bistro attracts crowds throughout the day for its bistro-style meals and friendly service. Spot people chowing down on delicious quality comfort foods drawing inspirations from all around the world.
- Location: 504 Church Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- The Blake House: Situated in a converted Victorian mansion in the heart of Toronto, The Blake House serves up delicious Canadian food (think: burgers, sandwiches, and steaks) in a beautiful setting. The patio is excellent in summer, while the classy, Old World atmosphere of the dining room is ideal for a hearty winter meal.
- Location: 449 Jarvis Street (Church-Wellesley Village)
- El Local Loco: Looking for an upscale Mexican resto in a fab setting? You’ll want to try El Local Loco several blocks south of the Church-Wellesley Village in the historic St. Lawrence neighbourhood. Expect local ingredients, Mexican street art, traditional flavours and the kicker – mescal (tequila’s smoky cousin).
- Location: 9 Church Street (St. Lawrence Market)
- Supermarket: With dishes like Asian fish & chips and lemongrass braised beef shank topped with Thai basil, Supermarket’s menu is a fusion of East-meets-West. Located right near two of Toronto’s most famous ethnic enclaves – Chinatown and Kensington Market – the restaurant attracts a diverse crowd of both queer and queer-friendly young professionals. Supermarket features plenty of vegetarian and tapas-style menu options and is a great place to bring a group of friends.
- Location: 268 Augusta Avenue (Kensington Market)
- Bar Italia: For the best Italian food in the city, make your way to Little Italy where Bar Italia is always a happening spot. The combination bar/restaurant features a delicious menu of traditional Italian favourites like Fetuccine Bolognese and Pollo Parmigiana and a wine list worth exploring.
- Location: 582 College Street (Little Italy)
- Sneaky Dee’s: Sneaky Dee’s is practically a Toronto institution. Part concert hall, part clothing store and part Mexican-style restaurant – with a graffiti-grunge décor – it has to be experienced to be believed. The kitchen is located on the lower level and boasts some of the best nachos in the city.
- Location: 750 College Street (Little Italy)
- Southern Accent: In the mood for something hot? Add a little spice to your life at Southern Accent. The Cajun/Creole inspired restaurant is located in a Victorian townhouse in Toronto’s Mirvish Village and features Southern favourites like jambalaya and Bourbon Street Chicken. The sights, sounds and tastes of New Orleans await in this flamboyant, inclusive environment.
- Location: 595 Markham Street (Mirvish Village)
- Queen Mother Café: This hidden gem in the Entertainment District is known for its delicious Thai food – and sinful desserts. The Queen Mum, as the restaurant is affectionately known by its forward-thinking crowd of regulars, is frequently selected as a reader favourite by NOW magazine. Chow down on Pad Thai and Ping Gai Chicken before finishing up with some Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake. Yum!
- Location: 206 Queen Street West (Entertainment District)
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