From award-winning restaurants and Michelin Star chefs to swanky hotel establishments, these are the best for an upscale dinner with your nearest and dearest.
By Krystle Ng-A-Mann
Celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a place where you can treat yourself in Toronto? These restaurants are fit for any kind of celebration all year round.
Note: All of the establishments listed were open and offered takeout, delivery or shipping at the original time of publication. Please contact them directly to confirm hours and services to avoid disappointment during the pandemic.
Winner of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants 4 years in a row, and an international distinction given to few restaurants in the world, you must experience one of Alo’s tasting menus at least once in your lifetime. If you want to dine here, reservations open in advance in 2-month blocks. The menu is primarily French with international influences and dinner here will easily be a 3-hour affair. Each course is like a work of art and delight for the tastebuds.
For a more approachable option, you can try sister restaurants, Aloette, Alo Bar or Salon. Alo at Home is now an excellent way to try a multi-course meal at a fraction of the cost of the regular tasting menu.
Giulietta is another award-winning restaurant by Executive Chef Rob Rossi (formerly of Bestellen, L’Unita, Canoe and Top Chef Canada). This eatery does classic Italian, like Cacio e Pepe and Pappardelle al Ragu, really well. Their pizzas are also stellar. If you’re looking for something hearty or to share, opt for the Costata di Manzo alla Fiorentina (ribeye steak Florentine).
For indoor dining, try to snag a seat at the chef’s bar which offers a prime view of all the action in the kitchen. Giulietta now offers takeout Thursday to Saturday, including a ‘date night’ dinner for 2, gift boxes, high-quality Italian ingredients through their pantry, bottled cocktails and other alcohol via their bottle shop.
With 2 locations in Toronto (Byblos Downtown and Byblos Uptown) and 1 in Miami, Byblos is an upscale restaurant serving Eastern Mediterranean-inspired dishes. I’ve had the pleasure of dining at all 3 locations and I’ve never been disappointed.
The menu is designed for sharing, and you’ll find everything from Turkish manti dumplings to wood-fired pide, grilled whole branzino and a variety of rices, like sweet jeweled, black truffle and Persian kale. INK Entertainment does hospitality well and Byblos is no exception. Although the downtown location is currently closed, Byblos Uptown is open for takeout and delivery.
There’s a reason this Toronto classic has been around for over two decades (they celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2020). The quality of food and service are unparalleled at Canoe, where every last detail is looked after.
Serving seasonal contemporary Canadian cuisine inspired by our country’s rich and diverse landscape, you can find both à la carte options and tasting menus at Canoe. It’s also a popular place for intimate wedding celebrations. Canoe now offers at-home dinner kits for 2 available for pickup on Saturdays and Sundays, and has recently launched Cellar 54, a curated selection of wines for delivery or pickup.
After operating what was considered an institution in Toronto, Chef Victor Barry closed Splendido and opened Piano Piano in its place on Harbord St. You’ll recognize it from the beautiful graffiti rose garden façade on the outside, which also appears at its second midtown location.
Piano Piano focuses on casual, comforting Italian food, where every single ingredient in the dish has been elevated. Go here for rich pastas, a family-style menu for sharing, and some of the best wood-fired pizzas around. Food and alcohol from both locations are now offered for pickup and delivery via Uber Eats.
Not technically a “spot”, but rather an experience, Food Dudes has just launched FARE by the Food Dudes. They offer a variety of curated experience boxes for different occasions, like “Breakfast in Bed” and “Wine & Chill”. But, in my opinion, the “Dinner Party” box is the closest thing you can get to a restaurant special occasion celebration at home.
Everything about it is outstanding—from the presentation to the food (designed for 2, but easily feeding more). Arriving in black boxes tied with ribbon, the Dinner Party experience includes the Food Dudes’ popular Rasa Chopped Salad, Beef Tenderloin with veal jus, Brown Butter Shrimp with Chimichurri and Smoked Onion Sauce, an elegant Chocolate Raspberry dessert, a bottle of red wine, and all the accoutrements.
Every little detail was thought of, with spices to make mulled wine, flowers, greenery, candles and a vase for table décor, a menu card and an easy-to-follow instruction card, complete with a Spotify playlist and QR code for additional instructions. Outside of FARE, you can also order takeout and delivery from other Food Dudes restaurants—Rasa, Sara, and Clay.
TOCA is the Ritz-Carlton Toronto’s contribution to fine dining Italian in the city, with a menu created in collaboration with a Michelin award-winning chef from Rome. Here, you’ll find a good variety of pastas, and entrées like rainbow trout and spiced rubbed striploin. When open for indoor dining, there’s a large dining room, private dining options (including a Chef’s Table), as well as a famous on-site cheese cave and wine cellar. TOCA’s current at-home offerings are among the best I’ve had this year, with no sacrifice on quality, taste or presentation.
Often touted as one of the best restaurants in Toronto, George serves globally-inspired dishes with seasonal ingredients. Main dining choices include both à la carte and tasting menus of 5, 7 and 10 courses, with optional wine pairings. Private events can be hosted in one of several Georgian Rooms or in the heated 19th-century private courtyard. 4-course tasting menus are now offered for pickup and delivery, in addition to George Kitchen Gift Boxes which have items like artisanal jams, ancho marinades and pickled vegetables.
13-layer chocolate cake covered in Guayaquil chocolate sauce and adorned with edible gold leaf? Yes, please! Louix Louis—located on the 31st floor at the St. Regis Toronto—is marked by a 2-storey Grand Bar and larger-than-life ceiling mural reminiscent of the inside of a whisky glass. Go to celebrate a special occasion or have an after-work drink. Breakfast is also served here. Order a bespoke cocktail from a selection of over 500 spirits. On the menu (now offered for takeout or in-room hotel dining): wagyu steaks and burgers, whole branzino, steelhead trout and sides like herb fingerling potatoes and charred broccolini.
Kōjin is the latest Toronto outpost from David Chang’s Momofuku culinary brand. It’s a modern Canadian restaurant inspired by Chef de Cuisine Eva Chin’s Singaporean and Hawaiian heritage. Mains include sandwiches, like the Hawaiian Wagyu Beef Patty Melt, and pan pizzas with ingredients like winter squash and mapo pork. If you’re feeding a large group, a Tiki Feast comes complete with Maui Short Ribs and Pork Belly Lau Lau.
With a name inspired by royalty, Reign is a Canadian brasserie located on the ground level of the Fairmont Royal York. The dimly lit main dining room is massive and divided into different sections, suitable for private and group dining. You’ll also find a bar and bakery here.
Reign offers buffet-style breakfast, and all-day and dinner menus with items like flat-iron steak, duck fat Pomme Frites, beef tartare and pan-seared duck. Pro Tip: After dinner at Reign, head to Clockwork—the swanky hotel lobby bar—for a nightcap.
The second in the Planta group of restaurants, Planta Queen has a completely different and more elevated vibe than the first location. Co-founded by Chef David Lee, this entirely plant-based restaurant serves Asian dishes packed with so much umami, you’ll forget you’re eating all plants. You can’t go wrong with any of the ‘sushi’ or dumpling offerings. I recommend the Dan Dan Noodles, Crispy Rice and the BangBang Broccoli, all now available for takeout.
Maison Selby is a charming bistro, café, and cocktail bar from the Oliver & Bonacini group, located in the over 135-year-old Gooderham House. Usually open for all-day dining and weekend brunch, you can order French classics like Steak Frites, Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon. Absolutely not to be missed: the Maison Selby French Onion Beef Cheek Burger. Lucky for you, it, along with other menu and grocery items from Oliver & Bonacini, are available via O&B at Home.
This Japanese restaurant chain originated on Vancouver’s shores and arrived in Toronto in 2015. Miku is one of the best places in the city to get premium quality, fresh sushi. Light pours in through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 200-seat dining room, which features a mural hand-painted by a Japanese artist. You must try their signature aburi-style sushi. The flame searing entirely changes its flavour profile and texture. Miku’s Aburi at Home can now be ordered for pickup and delivery.
Aptly named after its address at 1 Hazelton Avenue, you can visit One Restaurant on the ground level of the Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville. It’s one of several restaurants owned by the McEwan Group. Offering contemporary cuisine with international influences, book a table in the dining room or on the patio, perfectly situated for people watching in bustling Yorkville. Normally open for lunch Monday to Friday, brunch on weekends, and dinner 7 days a week, you can now order takeout via the restaurant website.
The Bisha Hotel is one of Toronto’s chicest spots. You can lounge at the Lobby Lounge of this boutique hotel, or catch some of the nicest views of the CN Tower and Toronto skyline at KÖST, its restaurant on the 44th floor and one of the top hotel rooftop bars in the city.
On the ground level of The Anndore House on Charles Street, Constantine serves up fine dining ‘Middle-terranean’ (Middle Eastern and Mediterranean) with influences of coastal Italy in its well-appointed, 145-seat dining room. Boar Shoulder, Lamb Lahmacun and Duck Liver Mousse are just a few things on the dinner menu, which was created by Executive Chef Craig Harding (formerly of Campagnolo restaurant). Is your mouth watering yet?
Top Chef Canada winner, Carl Heinrich, opened Richmond Station close to a decade ago and it’s still going strong—a true testament to its quality and popularity. Located in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District, it’s as popular for lunch as it is for dinner. They offer a good selection of share plates and appetizers and have daily specials written on their restaurant chalkboard. Their full menu is now available online for delivery and pickup.
100-layer Lasagna? Yes, it’s a thing, and one of the dishes La Palma is best known for! This all-day dining Dundas Street West restaurant (also a Chef Craig Harding and Alexandra Hutchison venture) has been a hit since it opened in 2017. The space is Venice Beach meets Toronto, and the dishes and cocktails are yummy (my faves are the Baked Eggs All’ Amatriciana and the signature “La Palma” cocktail). Takeout is now offered for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
Upon entering Reverie at the Park, you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to a whimsical world. Unassuming and easy to miss from the outside, the inside of this Little Italy restaurant and bar features eclectic and worldly decor, mismatched chairs and Moroccan lanterns. But don’t judge a book by its cover. The food is refined and thoughtful—made from sustainable local produce and ingredients. Try the beef tartare topped with a confit egg yolk, tempered to just cooked. You’ll be thoroughly impressed by the craft cocktails.
STK Toronto is part of the chain of STK Steakhouses, which has over 20 locations around the world. Opening in Yorkville in 2016, it quickly became one of the best hot spots in the city for the after-work and weekend crowds. The interior is large and impressive, with a feature ceiling that swirls through the main dining room. While the steak is definitely the main attraction, I’m a huge fan of many of their small plates, including the sliders, tuna tartare, burrata, and parmesan truffle fries. Place an order for curbside pickup any day of the week or delivery via all major delivery apps.
Grey Gardens is an elegant, cozy and vibrant wine bar in Kensington Market from famed Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg. Their extensive list features wines from all over the world, and a healthy dose of local wines, including their own Grey Gardens Skin Fermented Pinot Gris. I love the small plates here—they’re flavourful and have colours that literally pop off the plate. Their 5-course, at-home dinners are available at a reasonable price and are worth checking out.
Ardo consistently offers some of the best Italian food in Toronto. Located on King St. E., the restaurant is snug and the menu compact. Go here for a date night or intimate dinner, rather than with a large group. While concise, everything on this Southern Italian-inspired menu is delicious. I recommend the Tartufo, their house-made spaghetti tossed in anchovy butter topped with a generous amount of fresh black truffle. Pickup service is now available and includes their full menu as well as ready to make at home kits, wine and pantry items.
If you’re going out for steak, why not do it in a historic mansion dating back to the early 1900s? Located inside Casa Loma, one of Toronto’s most famous landmarks, BlueBlood Steakhouse was opened by the Liberty Group in 2017. This dinner-only restaurant is a particularly great place to head to in the winter, when the heat from the main dining room fireplace (or maybe the Baked Alaska) will warm you up. Choose from a selection of Canadian Prime, AAA and Wagyu steaks, with all the sides expected of a typical steakhouse.
Sofia Restaurant & Bar offers dining, entertainment and art in one location. You can “eat your art out” on a selection of fine Italian dishes while marvelling at the opulent interior filled with red velvet chairs, Murano glass chandeliers and Andy Warhol pieces on the walls. Brunch is offered on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. But dinner is a special experience, with live music playing on most evenings. Lastly, if you’re in the mood for more art gazing, drop by the first Canadian location of Taglialatella Galleries next door. Takeout and delivery are available.
This lively Financial District restaurant serves up Nikkei—Peruvian-Japanese fusion food. If you’re wondering about this interesting combination, it’s due to the large Japanese community living in Peru. Chotto Matte, which has locations in London and Miami, features an open kitchen, raw bar, robata grill counter, sushi bar and ample seating in its 220-seat dining room. On weekends, go for the Jungle Brunch, where you get a side of live Brazilian dancing with your meal. Chotto Matte has begun selling recipe kits online, so you can still enjoy Nikkei while at home.
If you live in Toronto and spend any time on Instagram, chances are, you’ve seen a photo of the famous pink, white and gold feature wall. Oretta is known to have one of the prettiest interiors in all of Toronto. But it doesn’t end there. You’ll find a good selection of authentic Italian cuisine on the menu. You can reserve in the main dining room and the upstairs is great for private dining and large groups. Takeout and delivery are available.
Ricarda’s is an all-day restaurant—normally open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Occupying the ground floor of the QRC West Building at 134 Peter Street, it has a spacious and beautiful 170-seat dining room, as well as an open-concept kitchen, “grab and go” counter, lounge and bar. The mainly Mediterranean menu is always evolving, so you’ll want to check back often. Ricarda’s is now one of the only restaurants in Toronto offering Experiential Dining At Home, complete with an in-home Chef + Server or Bartender and tailored menu, table settings and printed menus. Looking for a special gift for a loved one? Check out their holiday gift boxes online.
It seems Nikkei has taken Toronto by storm, with Xango opening its doors in 2019 as well! Xango’s menu is fresh and intriguing. Sample from the extensive raw and sushi bar. Try the bao al pastor. Opt for the miso black cod, the roasted hen + papas fritas, or the hot scallops with grapefruit, sweet chili sauce and creme fresh. And save room for dessert.
Always a fan fave, Bar Raval is one of several bars and restaurants in the Grant van Gameren empire in Toronto (which includes Bar Isabel, El Rey, Harry’s, Pretty Ugly and Rosalinda). This intimate bar is one of the most popular places to grab a drink and authentic Spanish tapas in the city. The Gaudi-style interior makes you feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of Barcelona. Takeout, which includes pintxos, bocadillos, meats & cheeses, tapas and a full selection of wines and spirits, is offered from noon onwards 7 days a week.
The Broadview Hotel opened its doors in the summer of 2017 (taking over from the strip club, Jilly’s, that used to occupy the space) and has been a huge hit ever since. On the ground level, there is a light and airy café, but the main attractions are the 2 rooftops, the upper rooftop being one of the most popular in the city’s east end. The Broadview Hotel’s ‘casual refined’ food can now be ordered online via Ritual.
See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door
there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.
See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.#OPENYOURCURIOSITY
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