Where To Eat & Stay In Toronto

The best spots for Egyptian brunch, vegetarian Italian, and birria.
Where To Eat & Stay In Toronto image

photo credit: Anna Haines

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and one of the most diverse places in the world. With over 230 different nationalities represented across Ontario’s capital, eating your way around the world is as easy as hopping on a red streetcar. But with seemingly endless options, deciding where to go can be the tricky part, which is where we come in. Like any major city, buzzy new restaurants pop up every month but the spots with staying power tend to get busy on the weekends. Torontonians tend to make reservations weeks in advance and will happily wait in line for an hour for brunch, so it’s best if you follow suit and plan ahead. 

Whether you're coming to the city for a weekend getaway, happen to be in town for business, or just want to try something new, we have you covered with everything from tacos to jerk chicken, as well as the best places to rest your head at the end of the day. These are our 24 favorite places to eat and stay in Toronto.


photo credit: Anna Haines



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Toronto has two Little Italys, so it might seem strange that we’re telling you to head over to Yorkville for some life-changing focaccia. But once you bite into the stracchino-stuffed Ligurian flatbread made using a recipe that’s 900 years old, you’ll quickly understand why Osteria Giulia is one of the best restaurants in all of Toronto. Besides the focaccia, you’ll want to focus on the pasta and seafood dishes like squid ink spaghetti paired with Nova Scotia lobster and sweet corn and Parmigiano cappelletti. The interior is full of blonde wood and curved limestone walls, creating an atmosphere that’s minimalistic but still ideal for a romantic date. If you can’t get a table here, there’s always Osteria Giulia’s sister restaurant, Giulietta, which offers pizzas and pasta in a cozy trattoria on College Street.

Mimi Chinese is the grown-up, fancier version of Sunnys Chinese, a casual and popular Kensington Market pop-up. The Four Foot Belt Noodle is coated in the restaurant’s signature Sichuan chili oil and comes with a pair of scissors for easy cutting, while classics like the simultaneously fluffy and crispy shrimp toast are perfect for sharing. The cocktails are equally fun, as the drinks come in ceramic mugs shaped like pandas and get filled with rum and baiji. All of it goes with the retro Chinese dinner club interior, complete with red velvet booths, black tables, and dim lighting, which is often filled with groups celebrating and ordering nearly everything on the menu.

Mira Mira Diner serves nostalgic comfort food in a sleek space that sort of feels like a retro diner, with bar stools, plush beige leather booths, and vintage plates with floral motifs. We like to come here for brunch, when you can order egg benedicts, a hot turkey sandwich with curry bourbon gravy and shaved truffles, and maple bacon french toast made with egg-dipped challah. They’re also open for dinner, but considering the sunny and bright space is full of artwork featuring eggs, take the hint and stop by for a meal full of them.

Birria Balam started as a pop-up, but has now settled into a permanent home in Trinity Bellwoods. The menu features a range of tacos, including a really good rendition of birria with an incredible consommé. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed with some outdoor picnic tables, food served on plastic trays, and a no reservations situation, but it’s a great place to start the night (especially with their solid selection of beer and cocktails) before venturing to other bars along Dundas Street.

Gia is a delicious vegetarian Italian restaurant that allows seasonal Ontario produce to shine in plates of pasta that manage to taste plenty rich, even without meat and cheese. Start with the panko-crusted vegan meatballs made with plant protein and Impossible Beef before moving on to pillowy porcini agnolotti. Finish with the olive oil cake, which is usually topped with a seasonal fruit compote like autumn-spiced pears and vegan buttercream. They also have a great wine list, with plenty of organic and sustainable wines that are mainly from Italy but also include some surprises like a local orange wine from Cave Spring winery in Beamsville, Ontario. The restaurant makes the most of its small space by packing its marble tables close together, not to mention you’ll get a great view of the chefs at work in the open kitchen in the back.


Terroni is a Toronto institution—the first location on Queen West opened in 1992, making it practically ancient in a city where new restaurants seem to open weekly. It’s the perfect choice for those evenings when you feel like getting a little dressed up for a meal of fancy pizzas and pastas. Head here with a group so you can try as many dishes as possible, like the black truffle and sausage tonnarelli, white pizza with mozzarella, gorgonzola, fresh pears, walnuts, and speck, and flourless chocolate cake for dessert. Terroni has a few locations around the city, though we prefer the one on Adelaide Street since it’s inside an old courthouse.

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Eating at the 10-seat sushi bar at Yasu is one of the best omakase options in the city. The tasting menu includes 20 pieces of sushi, each carefully put together, painted with soy sauce, and presented one by one by the chef behind the counter. On any given night that can include everything from the tuna and salmon to bonito, mackerel, and uni. You’ll need $185 and two full hours for the meal, but you’ll leave knowing you experienced something truly special.

Because of its location on the third floor of an older building, Alo feels like a secret despite being one of the city’s best fine dining restaurants. The tasting menu changes regularly, with lots of seasonal ingredients in the mix, but you’ll usually see their standard Hokkaido scallops with truffle and brown butter or a 60-day-aged ribeye on the menu. You can always expect impeccable service, great wine pairings, and beautifully plated food, but you should also know that this is somewhere you’ll have to plan ahead for—reservations open two months in advance. If you can’t snag a spot, check out their more relaxed sister bar and restaurant Aloette, which serves things like burgers, prawn tacos, and lemon meringue pie.


Pai is somewhere that’s always packed, and there are a lot of very good reasons for the constant lines: the chef is behind some of Toronto’s best Thai restaurants, this spot is located in the middle of the entertainment district, and all the dishes (especially the Northern Thai specialties) are consistently excellent. Sure, you’ll find the usual suspects like pad thai, papaya salad, and green curry, but the real highlights are the deep-fried Grabong squash fritters, which come with a tangy dipping sauce, and the tender moo ping barbecue pork skewers. The restaurant is super close to many of the city’s theaters, so it’s a great place to come with a group before going to see a show.

You could easily spend an entire day on Geary Avenue, drinking beer and hanging out at an arcade bar, but you should make it a priority to end up Parallel. The menu at this Middle Eastern spot has a lot of familiar dishes served with a twist, like their famed falafel on top of beet tahini, truffle hummus with soy mushrooms and schug, and labneh with confit garlic. Sit inside if you want to enjoy a louder, more industrial atmosphere, or head outside to the heated patio, where you can enjoy a spread of sharing plates with a beer from the nearby Blood Brothers, one of Toronto’s best craft breweries.

While Maha’s is always pretty busy at brunch, it’s worth waiting out the crowds for their Egyptian breakfast plates loaded with foole, falafel, sliced hardboiled eggs, charred balady, and salata balady. Get it all with a cardamom latte and enjoy the family knick-knacks and giant windows that look out onto the street.

Toronto’s Greektown and Little Ethiopia are right next to each other on a small stretch of Danforth Avenue, and if you’re looking for the best injera in the area, you’ll find it at Lucy. Pair the spongey bread with a vegetarian spread or sauteed meats like beef tibs, served by the friendly owners who usually come around each table to chat. And always finish a dinner here with a traditional coffee ceremony, featuring a brew made with freshly roasted beans.

Located in an 1890 row house that’s been transformed into an intimate dining room decked out with tropical plants, Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen is a downtown destination for jerk chicken and saltfish fritters. It’s a great spot for a quick late lunch after exploring downtown, especially if the cold weather calls for something hearty like a classic oxtail stew with braised butter beans or the Caribbean veggie stew served with jasmine rice. In the summertime, their back patio is the place to be for delicious tropical-inspired cocktails like the hibiscus mojito.

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Some details that make Bar Raval our favorite Spanish restaurant in town: the Gaudi-inspired wooden bar, great cocktails like the Magic City with rum, sherry, cinnamon, raspberry, lemon, and absinthe, and tapas that includes warm octopus and canned seafood. The menu is full of snacky drinking food that ranges from simple chips and olives, to (slightly) larger pintxos like a mushroom tower and jamon croquetas. It’s a nice spot for pre-dinner drinks, but if you end up staying for a whole meal, know that you’ll probably eat your whole meal standing up shoulder-to-shoulder with a stranger (who you’ll probably befriend). This is absolutely a good thing.




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On a cold night, which is basically half the year in Toronto, we love to come to Byblos and feel the heat coming out of the open kitchen, where they're cooking up Mediterranean plates like roasted lamb shoulder and truffle pide. Even though plates are meant to be shared, you’ll definitely want two servings of the sweet jeweled rice that goes with basically everything on the menu—especially the aforementioned lamb and their hummus royale with wagyu beef. The cocktails use Middle Eastern ingredients like pistachio, apricot, orange blossom, and sumac, and there’s also an excellent wine list with options from around the globe including bottles from Lebanon. Sit downstairs if you want a cozy atmosphere next to the open kitchen or head upstairs, where you’ll find high ceilings, plush booths, and bigger tables for groups.

Quetzal is another dinner spot that’s basically impossible to book, but they do take some walk-ins, or you can try and snag a last-minute cancellation—the Mexican food here is worth the effort. There’s a 26-foot-long wood-burning grill that they use for many dishes, including an excellent pastor plate with charred pineapple and caramelized onion salsa and Hokkaido scallops with green garlic butter and sea asparagus. If you’re looking for a taco, the blue masa tortillas are handmade with heirloom corn before being packed with flavorful fillings like lamb barbacoa, chorizo, and mushrooms. The narrow space is meant to feel sort of like a market in Oaxaca, with low ceilings and curved white walls, and is usually filled with couples and groups celebrating special occasions.

Dining at Edulis feels like being invited to the most exclusive dinner party on the planet, and that’s not just because the restaurant is tucked inside a quaint red house in a residential neighborhood. The husband-and-wife owners really commit to cooking seasonally—the daily-changing tasting menus mostly focus on seafood and vegetables like earthy chanterelles, Ontario white asparagus, little neck clams, and Arctic char. Inside, the restaurant feels like a tiny neighborhood bistro with wooden tables and chairs, framed local artwork, and candlelit tables (which tend to book up weeks in advance).


You’ll have to take the elevator up to the 54th floor of the Toronto Dominion Bank tower to reach Canoe, but the food and CN Tower views live up to the journey. When this restaurant first opened in the 1990s, they were one of the first places to really try and define contemporary Canadian cuisine. And while Canadians are still figuring out their culinary identity, dishes like the Ontario lake trout bathed in champagne sauce and aged ribeye with smoked bacon make the absolute most of local ingredients. The chefs are also super accommodating and can prepare pretty much anything (just don’t ask for poutine) to suit your needs, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or halal.

Chotto Matte specializes in Nikkei cuisine, but it’s specifically a great place to go for a standout savory brunch. This Financial District spot with graffitied walls and a heated patio only does brunch on Saturday, but you’ll get the rare treat of a daytime tasting menu filled with shared plates like the robata-grilled Amazonian BBQ salmon, tuna tataki, and a king oyster mushroom tostada. All of it pairs perfectly with the cocktails like the Pisco’Cha, a riff on pisco sour with a touch of matcha.

You’re trying to plan a fun night out with friends but have been actively avoiding clubstaurants since, well, your entire adult life. That’s when you head to Patois, a Jamaican/Chinese/Korean spot in Little Italy. With drinks served in pineapples and pool toys hanging from the ceiling, it’s just as much of a place to party as it is to get a really solid meal. Come hungry and order The Whole Shebang, which serves three or four people and lets you try everything on the menu from the Jamaican slaw to the Chinese “Pineapple” Bun Burger to their excellent jerk chicken.


The Drake Hotel has been a cultural institution on Queen West since 2004, but they added another wing in 2021, with 32 new rooms and a sprawling rooftop suite. Even if you don’t spend the night here, it’s worth stopping by for a cocktail at their Sky Yard rooftop bar, dinner at the Drake Hotel Restaurant, or even to catch a concert at the music venue downstairs.

With extraordinarily comfy beds and great city views, you might just want to hang out in your room all day if you stay at the Four Seasons Toronto. When you eventually leave the bed, hit up the 30,000-square-foot spa, where you can get everything from facials and massages to full body treatments. Located in Yorkville, the hotel’s Café Boulud restaurant is pretty solid if you’re looking for a good plate of steak frites. And if you’re craving something more lively, pop into dbar at street level, which is perfect for cocktails and people-watching.

In a city full of concrete and glass, it can be easy to overlook Toronto’s incredible green spaces. You can find nature-inspired installations, custom wood furniture, and plenty of plants at the 1 Hotel—even the artwork behind the bar is made from foraged elements and changes with the seasons. The hotel is super close to many of Toronto’s best places to eat, but they also have a zero-waste restaurant serving ingredients sourced within a 100-kilometer radius.

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