Choosing the right restaurant in a new (large) city is an art. And so although Toronto’s culinary blogs have surely written about almost every restaurant in the city, we thought we’d bring you a small selection of restaurants and an accompanying portion of their review. Check out the Dining Guides the Culinaria Research Project put together for the Conference!
Please be aware that many restaurants in downtown Toronto are not fully accessible. Some have a step or two at the entrance, and many restaurants with an accessible dining area have inaccessible restrooms down (or up) a flight of stairs. The Berks dining guide includes accessibility information provided to us by the restaurant, and we are providing a list of wheelchair accessible restaurants. We strongly encourage you to phone ahead to make a reservation and discuss your accessibility needs. Local organizations have also put together lists of accessible restaurant you may find useful. See blog TO’s, Yelp’s, and Dine here‘s lists.
AN ABBREVIATED TORONTO DINING GUIDE
Culinaria Project, UTSC
Over the last twenty years Toronto has become one of the great food cities of the world. Markets, delicatessens, fishmongers, bakeries, salumerie, patisseries, cheeseshops, chocolatieres, butchers, greengrocers, and countless other sorts of purveyors support a gastronomic culture that has very few rivals. As might be imagined, the restaurant offerings are rich and, given the multi-ethnic character of the city, varied. This extracted list is of dining sports near UofT St George. See the full guide for city.
Map of the restaurants below
$–cheaper eats, expect to pay up to $15 per person
$$–Inexpensive to moderate dining, expect to pay $20-30 per person or more depending on drinks
$$$–Moderate to expensive, expect to pay $30-50 per person
$$$$–High end, more than $50 per person, exclusive of wine or drinks.
Veg: particularly wide selection of dishes that would appeal to vegetarian or vegans. The restaurant particularly caters to vegetarians. (Unless otherwise noted, restaurants listed will have some vegetarian choices.)
$$-$$$ – 93 Harbord
This Middle-Eastern is a long-time campus favourite. It serves excellent reinterpretations of Middle Eastern foods, including well-cooked tangines, vegetarian dishes, and fish.
93 Harbord St
$$ Aguave y Aguacate
An excellent Mexican restaurant, Aguave y Aguacate was originally a food stall in Kensington Market (which celeb chef Anthony Bourdain once called “some of the most amazing Mexican takeout north of the border—any border.”) Current options include chicken tinga tostadas, flank steak salad and lengua de res—i.e. beef tongue in mole sauce. Now Toronto called it “T.O’s Best Mexican.”
35 Baldwin St.
$$ – Asian Legend (Northern Chinese)
The downtown Chinatown branch of Toronto’s northern Chinese chain offers comfortable surroundings and reasonably priced foods. Appetizers might include crisped onion pancake wrapped around hoisin laced meat. Toothy rice cakes are standouts on the noodle menus.
418 Dundas St. W.
$$-$$$ – Bar Mercurio (Italian)
Generous portions mark this campus neighbour. It is particularly known for creative pastas with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. If pastas or a smaller range of entrees and specials do not appeal, the thin crust pizzas are a good alternative. The restaurant is popular, partly because of its proximity to campus, so call ahead to grab the limited space.
270 Bloor St. W.
$$ – Barrio Coreano (Korean/Mexican)
Toronto’s take on the newly popular version of Korean-Mexican fusion. Bulgogi beef might be punched up with picled pears and tuna comes with yuzu. Known as well for creative cocktails.
642 Bloor St. W.
$$- Bedford Academy (Pub)
A comfortable, nearby pub offers a short menu stocked with British classics including fish and chips.
36 Prince Arthur Ave.
A casual Italian restaurant with an impressive menu which includes pastas, pizzas, and mains such as Cornish hen and seafood risotto. Bocca also has a large outdoor patio street-side for some people watching on a nice day.
26 Baldwin St
The ambiance at Bodega is dressy casual and the menu is mostly French and Mediterranean with an emphasis on seafood. There are lunch and dinner prix fixe menus ($23 and $35 each respectively)
30 Baldwin St.
$$$ Boulevard Cafe
This Latin American restaurant is a long-time favourite on Harbord Street, the ceviche is a must-try. The Boulevard Cafe offers good lunch deals to be add on their quiet patio.
161 Harbord Street
416 961 7676
$$-Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu (Korean)
Despite its small menu, this Korean restaurant offers a range of dishes, from bulgogi to its signature soon tofu served alongside its hot stone bowl rice. Enjoy the generous and well prepared sides.
691 Bloor Street W.
An international menu heavily influenced by Moroccan cuisine, this spot is popular for its lunch and dinner menu and its large patio.
591 Markham St.
Salads, Middle Eastern Mezes, Specialities from the Grill, and a solid brunch. A classic of the Annex Neighbourhood and the patio is a favourite.
400 Bloor Street W
416- 967- 4295
Bar and restaurant in the heart of the Village, known for dancing and exceptional cocktails…
499 Church St
$$$$ – Café Boulud (French)
Toronto’s branch of the New York chef’s international empire is set within the luxurious Four Seasons hotel. Expensive and well-cooked food adapts mostly Canadian ingredients to Daniel Boulud’s French techniques. The food is elegant and satisfying, but the corporate feel can be off putting.
60 Yorkville Ave.
$$ Cafe Lagaffe
An eclectic cafe with a French inspired menu and an extensive wine list. Menu includes breakfast, sandwiches, pizza, and there are daily specials. There is also an outdoor patio for nice days.
24 Baldwin Street
Priced more than your typical breakfast/brunch spot, but succeeds with fresh fruits and excessive portions
27 Carlton Street
The style is French café and though the space is small it features an extensive selection of crepes, savoury and sweet. Popular with students.
750 Spadina, at Bloor W.
Typical diner fare, with large portions and easy on the wallet.
399 Church Street
Chef Don proposes a great selection of original sandwiches for lunch, from coconut curry shrimp naaan to pork rillette and apple. The prix fixe dinner option and dinner specials are refined and delicate. And did we mention the dessert? They are worth the trip.
154 harbord Street
416 916 8155
This large pub close to campus can accommodate relatively large parties, especially if you call ahead. Classic and solid pub snacks are also available
36 Prince Arthur Avenue
Located in the historic Distillery District, this tapas restaurant offers exquisite modern and traditional Mexican cuisine. Incredible atmosphere, live music and patio…
18 Tank House Lane
$ El Trompo (Mexican)
One of the city’s original, and still best, taquerias. Excellent range of tacos and other Mexican dishes well prepared in the heart of Kensington Market. Their tacos al pastor, pork softened by pineapple and cilantro, is one of the city’s best versions.
Famoso specializes in thin and crispy, Napes-style pizzas, but also has a good selection of salads and desserts. No standard pepperoni here!
386 Bloor St. West
$ Flip, Toss and Thai Kitchen (Thai)
Fresh and flavourful salad rolls, curries, and daily specials. You can eat in the small room or, as most do, take out your lunch and enjoy it on one of the campus greens.
141 Harbord Street
$$$ – Frank (Canadian)
Set in the Art Gallery of Ontario, this restaurant offers competent cooking in a lovely Frank Gehry designed space. The cooking uses Canadian ingredients, and an all-Canadian wine list, in a short but approachable menu.
317 Dundas St. W.
$- Fresh (Veg.)
This popular Toronto vegetarian chain serves standard veg food, from wraps to soups, at a reasonable price. Two locations close to to campus.
147 Spadina Ave.
326 Bloor Street West
$ Future Bakery and Café (Veg, Eastern European)
This vegan friendly café was voted as having some of the best cakes in Toronto by BlogTO. You can also grab some hot items like borscht and perogies. Popular with students as it’s open late every night and often has specials for students with a valid ID.
483 Bloor St W
$-$$ – Green’s Vegetarian Restaurant (Veg. Chinese)
Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes re-interpreted in pure vegetarian and vegan cooking. A wide selection of mushroom, soups, and mock meat dishes, from mock beef to mock kidney.
638 Dundas St. W.
$$-$$$ – Guu Sakabar
559 Bloor St. W.
Guu Izakaya (Japanese)
This loud, innovative restaurants have proved as popular in Toronto as the original Vancouver incarnations. Both offer the Japanese cuisine of the izakaya, or pub restaurant. Wide selections of drinks and sakes are complemented by excellent sushi and cooked dishes. Go early or expect a wait at either location.
398 Church Street
Relaxed pub atmosphere in Church-Wellesley Village, great for breakfast and brunch.
425 Church Street
$$ – Harbord House (Pub)
This small pub provides a good beer list complemented by well-prepared, freshened interpretations of pub fare, including and beyond sandwiches and burgers.
150 Harbord St.
$$$ – Harbord Room (Canadian)
Creative use of ingredients mark this small Harbord Street restaurants. Many talk about the highly rated burger, but the menu ranges more broadly as well.
89 Harbord St
Casual dining experience with mostly vegetarian menu. “An everyday diner where vegetarians can bring their meat-eating friends”
124 Harbord Street
A popular local spot, Hey Lucy specializes in Italian classics such as fresh pasta, wood-fired pizza, paninis, and martinis! The build your own pizza option, including gourmet sauces, gives you an almost unlimited array of choices.
229 Carlton St
$-Hot Beans (Veg., Mexican)
Creative veg and vegan takes on Mexican foods. Jackfruit is a lovely stand-in for meat and cashew crema for the dairy version.
160 Baldwin St.
$ – Hungary Thai (Hungarian and Thai)
This Kensington Market institution has existed this long for its cheap eats and eclectic combination of Hungarian and Thai specialities – neither of which are particularly well cooked. But, that said, it is a Toronto institution and likely the only Hungarian/Thai restaurant anywhere.
196 Augusta Ave.
$$ – Korean Village (Korean Village)
A table top BBQ place, you prepare your own kalbi (short ribs) and many other meats. The price can be slightly above what you might pay at other places in the Koreatown.
$ – Kenzo Ramen (Japanese)
A popular example of the city’s fascination with all things ramen, the satisfying Japanese wheat noodle soups. The range of classic interpretations of ramen are complemented by a short menu of other items. Not a lot of options for vegetarians, expect to wait at peak hours and not to linger.
372 Bloor St. W.
$ – Kinton Ramen (Japanese)
Expect to sit at communal bar-top tables and food comes quickly. They specialize in pork belly or shoulder in their fresh, beautifully prepared ramen.
51 Baldwin St.
$$ L’Espresso Bar Mercurio (Italian)
Foamy cappuccinos, fresh juices, and italian panino filled with fresh ingredients. Perfect for a quick and delicious bite close to campus.
321 Bloor Street West
$$-$$$ – L’Unita (Italian)
Comfortable surroundings and an excellent (if pricey) wine list complement Italian cooking. Pastas and mains are well-cooked versions of occasionally predictable rustic fare.
134 Avenue Rd.
Popular Mexican restaurant on College. Lots of seating, loud music, young crowd. Reservations are recommended.
501 College Street
$ – La Tortilleria (Mexican)
Fresh tortillas are the hallmark of this Kensington Market standby. A small selection of foods is off-set by excellent quality.
277 Augusta Ave.
$$ Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens (Supermarket)
Landmark supermarket, great décor, walls of cheese, bakery, large deli, prepared meals, café, and LCBO
60 Carlton Street
Mainstay of the Village, Lola’s is open for breakfast and brunch. Look out for the cheesecake stuffed French toast. Lots of options, including gluten-free and vegan items.
634 Church Street
$$ – Matahari Grill (Veg., Malaysian)
This popular spot offers some of the classic laksas, rendangs, and curries from Malaysia. It offers ample choices for vegetarians.
39 Baldwin St.
$ – Mexican Salsas (Mexican)
This small Kensington Market cafe offers a range of Mexican street foods and tacos. Inexpensive, it offers little atmosphere but wonderful and often hard to find varieties. Perhaps take out and eat while strolling the market?
249 Augusta Ave.
$$$ – Mistura (Northern Italian)
Classic northern Italian cooking like house made gnocchi or Nova Scotia scallops with porchini mushrooms is offered in comfortable surroundings.
265 Davenport Rd.
$$ – Maroli (Veg., Indian, South Indian)
Freshly cooked South Asian food with a small selection of specialties from the Kerala region, famed for seafood. One of the better Indian restaurants in the downtown core, it is a small space so call ahead if coming with a larger group.
630 Bloor St. W.
The Noodle Bar, on the first floor of the Shangri-La Hotel is a casual, but polished, cafeteria styled eatery. Famed pork buns and delicious ramen on the menu. Milk Bar upstairs for dessert.
190 University Avenue
$ – Mother’s Dumplings (Northern Chinese)
This popular restaurant stands out from Chinatown noodle and dumpling restaurants for its wide range of freshly made dumplings. Some hard to find versions are served quickly, though some complain that the dumpling skin can be too thick.
421 Spadina Avenue
$$ – Museum Tavern (Pub)
A lovely bistro room across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum to enjoy trendy reinterpations of pub grub with classic cocktails and a good beer list.
208 Bloor St. W.
$-$$ – Pho Pasteur (Vietnamese)
This Chinatown favourite features ample servings of pho alongside a comprehensive menu of Vietnamese classics, including seafood, noodles, and rolls.
525 Dundas St. West
$-$$ – Pho Hung (Vietnamese)
Another longstanding Vietnamese serving large bowls of hot pho. Add in mint leaves and the bean sprouts on the side and an inexpensive bowl is a full meal.
350 Spadina Ave.
$$ – Real Thailand
A long standard on Bloor St., this modestly priced area restaurant excels with the classic dishes and has an extensive menu. Basil-chicken is a favorite, as are some of the soups and above-average curries.
350 Bloor St. W
$$$$ – Splendido (Canadian)
This long-time high end destination serves flawlessly prepared seasonal and local foods in a quiet refined room. From shared dishes to seasonal tasting menus, it engages with the best of Canadian ingredients.
88 Harbord St.
$$ Thai Basil (Thai, Veg)
The dinner menu is huge and the lunch combos are a great deal. You can eat a tonne for a decent price while enjoying the beautiful, Thai décor. Some argue it’s the best Thai in Toronto.
467 Bloor St. W. Toronto
$$$ – The Host (Indian)
This Indian restaurant offers a comfortable space and a large menu ranging from Bengal to the Punjab, explaining its popularity. Unfortunately, the cooking can be indifferent. A well-prepared sauce, for example, might be marred by tough meat.
4 Prince Arthur Ave.
Classic steakhouse in a restored mansion.
515 Jarvis Street
$$-$$$ The Oxley (British, Pub)
Excellent takes on traditional English foods in the cozy atmosphere of a well-upholstered pub. Meat pies and larger roasts take their place alongside Scotch eggs and other bar snacks. Not a particularly large selection for vegetarians.
121 Yorkville Ave.
A friendly, pub-style café that’s dedicated to locally sourced ingredients. The Vic is often cited as one of the best beer sites in Toronto with its wide selection of Ontario craft and micro-brews on tap. Head here for classic comfort foods like poutine, fish and chips, mac and cheese, burgers, and curry.
581 Markham St
$$$ – THR and Co. (Canadian, Italian)
This popular Harbord Street restaurant is well recommended for its creative take on fresh ingredients, from farm eggs graced with porcini oil and pancetta to fresh burrata accented by watermelon. Pizzas might come with nettles and ricotta.
97 Harbord St.
$$ – Tofu Village-House of Soon Tofu (Korean)
Praised for its soft tofu warmed by a spicy soup broth, this small restaurant offers a range of Korean classics and good sides. It is best known, as the name suggests, for its tofu stews.
681 Bloor West