I have found some great restaurants in Toronto; here are my top picks:
East of the Gladstone and Drake you will find many great restaurants as well. I stopped in at El Almacen, now at at 1720 Queen St. West, for a good mate latte.
Ossington Avenue is the new satellite area of West Queen, with many restaurants and bars. I enjoyed a great meal at Foxley Bistro, at 207 Ossington, which has Vietnamese and Thai influences. There is a nice outdoor seating area in the back.
I also went to Gusto 101 which is a restaurant, at 101 Portland, just south of Queen St. West and north of King St. West. I loved the great décor and great outdoor seating.
At the suggestion of The Wall Street Journal, I had lunch at the OK OK diner at 1120 Queen Street East. This is a local’s spot with a fun atmosphere. The Eggs Brunhilde were great!
Don’t miss Ed’s Real Scoop for homemade Ice Cream at 920 Queen Street East. It was perfect on a hot summer day. Nearby is Pilot Coffee Roasters, formerly Te Aro Coffee, at 983 Queen Street East, which is a good spot for a coffee or tea.
I loved Canoe atop the TD Bank Tower. I had a table with a great view of the lake and downtown. The décor was sleek and contemporary and the food really excellent. They surprised me with a taste of foie gras which was wonderful and the fish entrée with vegetables and an apple gastrique was perfect on a hot summer day. The service was really great and I enjoyed visiting with Mickey the Manager who is from Chicago. The restaurant is in the six tower complex designed by the famous architect Mies van der Rohe. Make sure to explore.
I am a big Santiago Calatrava fan, after my trip to Spain in 2012, so I enjoyed seeing his spectacular atrium at the Brookfield Center across from the TD Bank Tower at 181 Bay St. You might try Ki Modern Japanese + Bar located right off the atrium.
Nearby is Noodle Bar at 190 University Ave. I have been hearing the buzz about chef David Chang ‘s Toronto branch of his well-known Momofuku. I sat at the kitchen counter watching the chefs prepare their creative noodle dishes. The first level Noodle Bar has casual dining at long tables or at the counter. There is also a lounge, Nakai, on the second floor and fine dining restaurants daishō and shōtō on the third. The menu was very creative. I loved the smoked chicken ramen with miso, menma (fermented bamboo shoots) and egg.
Yorkville is the high-end shopping and entertainment district. There are many restaurants, boutiques and hotels. The Hazelton Hotel, at 118 Yorkville Avenue, comes highly recommended. The attached restaurant ONE, at 116 Yorkville Avenue, is also recommended.
Sassafraz Restaurant, at 100 Cumberland Street, was also recommended by a friend. Unfortunately I had to change my reservation, but will try it on a future trip. A local friend also recommended Yamato for great sushi.
I really liked the feel of the Distillery District which was a former whiskey distillery. The old buildings have been transformed into a pedestrian area with a number of shops, galleries and restaurants. Many have outdoor cafes. The area is buzzing at night.
The St Lawrence Market is not far from the Distillery at 92-95 Front Street. Don’t miss this two level covered market that dates from 1850. A market has been on the site since 1803. Here you will find produce, fresh meats, fish and cheeses, chocolates, local wines from Wine Country Merchants and Everyday Gourmet, a coffee roaster, serving good coffee drinks. I would definitely try Buster’s Sea Cove for a seafood lunch.
For Top Chef fans, Susur Lee has the restaurant Lee at 601 King St. West. You might add it to your list.
Kensington Market is fun to explore. There are narrow streets with a mix of Caribbean, Latin American, European and Middle Eastern shops and restaurants. There are secondhand and vintage clothing stores, fishmongers, produce and fruits stands and street musicians. I also loved the street art! While shopping the Kensington Market, stop in for coffee at Café Pamenar at 307 Augusta Ave, a sleek café with outdoor seating.
East of China Town is the well-known dim sum restaurant, Lai Wah Heen, at the Metropolitan Hotel at 118 Chestnut. It came highly recommended and I had some great dumplings. I highly recommend it.
My local friends just went to Bar Isabel at 797 College and had a wonderful meal!