Pigging Out in Hogtown: The Best Restaurants of Toronto

As Canada’s biggest city, and the fifth largest city in North America, it’s well worth our time to consider the best restaurants of Toronto.

But first, the title. If you’re not from around here, you may not be familiar with Toronto’s nickname (one of many, actually). The name “Hogtown” probably dates back to when the city was home to the most important pork manufacturers in the British Empire. (Anyone for Canadian bacon?) But today you’ll find a heckuva lot more than just ham on the menu.

The size and scope of Toronto and its culinary options prevents us from providing an exhaustive survey of the city’s best restaurants. But we would like to provide a quick overview , with 20 or so highlights from a variety of gastronomic categories, including fine dining, steakhouses and ethnic cuisine, as well as specialty diets such as kosher, halal and vegetarian.

Fine Dining

When you’re ready to impress or to be impressed, and money is no object, consider this short list of Toronto’s most upscale restaurants.

  • Bacchanal: Prepare to be amazed by the avant-garde entrees and the decadent desserts. 60 Sudbury St., 416-586-1188 
  • Scaramouche Restaurant: Searching for haute cuisine? Look no further for the finest in French food. 1 Benvenuto Pl, 416-961-8011
  • Bar Isabel: If you’re in the mood for Spanish delights, then prepare to Basque in the glory of the world class tapas, wines and desserts. 797 College St, 416-532-222

Ethnic Cuisine

A city of immigrants, Toronto’s selection of international cuisine is among the most impressive in the world.

  • Skippa: Probably the best sushi restaurant in the city. 379 Harbord St., 416-535-8181 
  • Kay Pacha: It’s almost as if you’ve died and gone to Machu Pichu. Come for the famous Peruvian potatoes, stay for the ceviche, the steaks and the cocktails.. 744 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-658-0568 
  • Ethiopiques: Get ready to get your hands dirty, because Ethiopian eating is a visceral experience, and one you won’t want to miss. 227 Church St, 416-623-7300
  • Kiin: Who doesn’t enjoy the classic taste of good Thai food? But this is like no other Thai food you’ve had before, this is the rare art of Royal Thai cuisine. 326 Adelaide St W, 647-490-5040 

Budget and family friendly

Sometimes keeping the kids under control can be a challenge, and keeping expenses down can be a priority.

  • Seven Lives: Mainly Mexican, with famously fabulous fish tacos. Fill your belly without emptying your wallet. 69 Kensington Ave, 416-803-1086
  • Blaze Pizza: No surprises here, just simple and satisfying pizza, in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. 10 Dundas St E, 416-979-3626
  • Sunset Grill: American style diner, with fast & friendly service, and especially wonderful breakfasts. 1 Richmond St W, 416-861-0514

Steakhouses and Seafood

For the meat lovers.

  • Hexagaon: This is no ordinary steakhouse, this is state-of-the art carnivorousness delivered with surgical precision. 210 Lakeshore Rd. E., Oakville, 905-844-1286 
  • Adamson Barbecue: If you live for the sensation of red meat coursing through your veins, then you’ve come to the right place. 176 Wicksteed Ave, 647-559-2080 
  • Michael’s on Simcoe: Steak after sizzling steak, served with skill and attention. But save room for dessert! 100 Simcoe Street, 416-260-5100
  • Joso: Portugese style seafood for the refined pallete. 202 Davenport Rd, 416-925-1903

Vegetarian

For the health conscious and more philosophically inclined restaurant-goers.

  • Hogtown Vegan: Highly rated and reasonably priced, this is the go-to for vegetarians in Toronto. 1056 Bloor St W, 416-901-9779
  • Hawthorne: Not strictly vegetarian, but their commitment to supporting local farmers and reducing waste will appeal to any conscious consumer. 60 Richmond St E, 647-930-9517, 
  • Richmond Station: Plenty of animal products on their menu, but their selection of fresh seasonal vegetables is vast and prepared to perfection. If your party can’t agree on a restaurant, consider this the solution to the omnivore’s dilemma.1 Richmond St W, 647-748-1444

Kosher

In compliance with Judaic dietary laws.

  • Aish Tanoor: Kosher done right, and the best Laffa sandwiches in the city. 994 Eglington Ave W, 647-352-5535
  • Tov-Li: Delicious pizzas, falafel, and Middle Eastern food. 5982 Bathurst St, 416-650-9800

Halal

In accordance with Muslim culinary rules. 

Photo Credit: Bacchanal.ca

About the Author:

Fred Hornaday took a road trip from California to Wisconsin for his first birthday party. Since then, his itch to travel has led him on numerous cross country and transcontinental adventures throughout North America and Europe. He met his wife in Germany, got married in Denmark, and honeymooned in Colombia. He knows a thing or two about international travel and relocation.

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