Is Toronto North America's next fine dining destination? A look inside the city's first Michelin guide

The launch of a new Michelin guide to the city is further proof of its glittering gourmet credentials.

By Connor McGovern
Published 8 Nov 2022, 06:04 GMT
The Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square.

The Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square.

Photograph by AWL Images

Some will have wondered what took Michelin so long to visit Toronto. After all, this is a city that really knows how to eat, whether it’s Chinese-Caribbean fusion food or spectacular sashimi. It’s the first Michelin Guide to a Canadian city, and there’s plenty to whet the appetite. 

According to the guide, the 74-strong list represents Toronto’s ‘international inspiration and distinct creativity’, with 13 restaurants having received at least one Michelin star. Japanese cuisine features prominently, with the likes of Aburi Hana gaining a star for its sophisticated menu. Quetzal impressed with its Mexican dishes cooked over a wood-burning grill, while Alo earned a star for its contemporary French fare. Italian restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 was also recognised for the likes of buffalo tenderloin wrapped in Swiss chard and hazelnut parfait.

Masaki Saito’s eponymous Japanese restaurant was the only one to clinch two stars. His tasting menu — served omakase style, which means diners are led by the chef’s spontaneous creativity — doesn’t come cheap, however, costing a cool C$680 (£435) a head. 

Not all entries on the list reach the same dizzying heights of fine dining. Seventeen restaurants also bagged a Bib Gourmand, the mark of great food at affordable prices. Reflecting the city’s culinary and cultural diversity, top picks included diner The Ace, which has been plying Torontonians with brunch and dinner since the 1950s; Campechano, with its beer-battered haddock tacos; and Indian Street Food Company, whose thali platters had reviewers salivating with praise. 

What else is new in Toronto?

1. Neighbourhood digs
The Ace Hotel has opened in the hip Garment District with a brick and red-clay exterior and a soaring, light-filled lobby. Rooms pay homage to Canada’s natural beauty, with plenty of wood and an earthy colour palette. A rooftop bar, Evangeline, is also in the works. From C$356 (£230), room only. 

2. Cosmic cocktails
If you like your drinks with a view, Offworld will take you to fresh heights. The new cocktail bar on Queen Street West has futuristic decor and virtual ‘windows’, meaning visitors can sip space-inspired tipples such as the xenophauna — celery-infused gin, chartreuse, lime and demerara syrup, garnished with a fried grasshopper — while overlooking the cosmos.

3. Streets ahead
Ossington Avenue has been named one of the coolest streets in the world by Time Out magazine and we hardly disagree: there’s Latin-Asian fusion fare at Foxley, sour ales at Bellwoods Brewery and ice cream sandwiches at Bang Bang, alongside vinyl shops, boutiques and plenty of street art.

Published in the December 2022
 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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