Toronto Restaurants
 
Background image brought to you by Yutaka Japanese Cuisine
157 Dundas St. W.
Loading Location
Reserve online at your favourite restaurants in Toronto and across the GTA. Our real-time reservation system allows you to book available tables instantly from the restaurant's electronic reservation book.

Top 10 Restaurants of 2015

December 28, 2015
review photo

As far as restaurant openings go, 2015 will go down as an impressive year. In my more than two decades of restaurant criticism, I don't recall ever awarding so many A ratings. And that made the final selection a tough call.

From a restaurant that did a complete 180 with phenomenal results to the rapidly growing in-house cured charcuteries, in the end, the decision all boiled down to two things: which restaurants dared tempt my palate and, more importantly, which restaurants would I run back to.

The Top 10 restaurants of 2015, in no particular order, are…

Cafe Boulud
Cafe Boulud
60 Yorkville Ave.
Toronto, ON

Few restaurants ever get the chance to move from bland to buzzworthy. Three years on, Café Boulud is as trendy as any hipster hangout on Ossington's restaurant row-minus the man buns--the rebirth of the brasserie. Not only did the decor make a complete 180, but the food also made a U turn, the very definition of classic French country cuisine. Imagine a rotisserie for chicken, lamb, lobster, potatoes and even pineapple, all dripping with a flavour that you can only get by cooking on an open flame in the fields of the Rhône-Alpes. The meal's stellar moments are too many to count, and that includes servers that are among the most polished and professional in town. Le wow. 

~9156.57Km away
Bar Raval
Bar Raval
505 College St.
Toronto, ON

There's only one person in this universe who can get me to stand while eating dinner and that hombre is tapas king Grant van Gameren. Much like his successful Bar Isabel, Bar Raval executes with the same exacting standards. What astonishes here is the massive menu of small bites for such a cramped space, albeit one almost entirely panelled in intricately sculpted mahogany. All around kudos to the team behind one of the most unique and authentic eateries. For years I've been reading that it's better for digestion to eat while standing. Well, since you probably will have to at Bar Raval, you may as well just add an ovation.

~9157.92Km away
Antler

You kind of expect any restaurant that claims to specialize in wild game to be almost cabin-like, a manly rustic retreat replete with hunting lodge kitsch. Instead, the quietly sophisticated Antler Kitchen and Bar looks pretty much like any bistro enhanced by white glove service that you've absolutely never seen in these parts before. Ever. Antler's nascent magician is Michael Hunter, who promotes wild food, instead of factory farming and is turning out some of this town's finest fare. Trust when I say that this Antler is pretty sharp. 

Boralia
Boralia
59 Ossington Ave.
Toronto, ON

Boralia shines a spotlight on Canada's early native settlers and subsequent immigrant populations, dating as far back as the 17th century. From the Latin word for "northern", Boralia owners Wayne Morris and Evelyn Wu have carefully curated a menu that manages to honour our past while respectfully updating heritage recipes with a decidedly modern flair. Its quaint menu promising to offer small but incredibly honed dishes that pay fitting homage to our past. Boralia is a win-win: it oozes with charm with a relaxed almost natural elegance. But its novel take on old classics is what should cram them in to sample these stellar dishes.

~9158.5Km away
Omaw
Omaw
88 Ossington Ave.
Toronto, ON

By now it's no secret that I fawn over everything the Food Dudes do like a giddy schoolgirl. Heck, my rave about Rasa was unseemly in its gush. Now add chef Matt Blondin to the mix with the new Omaw and, well, let's just say my praise overfloweth. Omaw practically hits it out of the park from the moment you enter the low-lit, lounge-like, southern US-inspired tapas bar. And no matter how tired this dining concept may be getting, it's hard to be bored by the culinary creativity on display here. The comfy curved booths at back are the perfect vantage point with which to watch chef Blondin toil away practically unnoticed behind his bar/kitchen. And something tells me that's exactly how he likes it. It's admirable when a talent like him doesn't buy into his own celebrity. And that about sums up why Omaw is a most delightful dining experience. 

~9158.54Km away
Loka
Loka
620 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON

Chef Dave Mottershall was a star long before he opened Loka. Aka Chef Rouge on Instagram, he can boast almost 40,000 followers. His Loka Snacks pop-ups gained traction with temperamental trendsters. His beautifully composed dishes often cause foodie frenzies with ingredients like fried boar face and hot sauce chicken hearts. Needing funds to go beyond pop-ups, Mottershall turned to Kickstarter. In no time flat, he found 453 backers pledging more than $40,000 to make Loka a standalone reality. To be the first restaurateur in Toronto to use Kickstarter may be legendary, but his food is indeed something to fuss over. If this is the quality of food chef Mottershall turns out after being open less than a week, I expect there are plenty more gastronomic adventures waiting to be discovered from this rising star.

~9157.42Km away
Barque Butcher Bar
Barque Butcher Bar
287 Roncesvalles Ave.
Toronto, ON

Rarely do I get the opportunity to rave both about the awesomeness of the food and the cleverness of the design, the two usually mutually exclusive. Barque Butcher Bar is one of those notable exceptions. Not only does it deliver on dinner, but during the day it operates as a neighbourhood butcher shop. Just watching the transformation from retail meatery to happening restaurant is a treat unto itself. The food is so beautiful to behold, you'll want to gaze at it lovingly for a moment before you devour it mercilessly. Barques Butcher Bar is homemade with a capital H.

~9160.94Km away
Kanpai
Kanpai
252 Carlton St
Toronto, ON

Along with specialty standalones that only sell poutine or grilled cheese or, yes, even just Japanese cheesecake, street food is everywhere in the downtown core. So it was only a matter of time before Taiwanese street food entered the foodie fray with Cabbagetown's Kan Pai. Though some may say it's only inspired by the night markets of Taiwan and not at all authentic, you will nevertheless be awestruck by how unique the food is when compared to other, more familiar Asian food. In spite of relatively minor execution issues, Kan Pai is a real gem, serving up food in combinations you've most certainly never heard of before. And that's no small thing for our jaded big city palates.

~9154.69Km away
Pisco 1641
Pisco 1641
614 College St.
Toronto, ON

For the Colombaro brothers who practically grew up in the restaurant biz, it's always been a dream to open up one of their own. And until now, you could count on one hand the number of restaurants serving authentic Peruvian food. Surprising, since Peruvian cuisine is one of the hottest culinary trends going right now. So the Colombaro fratelli opened Pisco 1641 with a focus on street food reminiscent of the home-cooking the brothers grew up with, including the Platonic ideal of ceviche. From the outside looking in, Pisco 1641 might not look like much to rave about, but please don't judge this book by its cover. Food this good is a treat no matter where it's served.

~9158.27Km away
Via Vai
Via Vai
832 Bay St.
Toronto, ON

With Italian being the default cuisine when deciding where to dine out, it's really hard to get excited when yet another trattoria or pizzeria opens up. Sure, there are exceptions, but none until now have you scarfing down spaghetti surrounded by artwork worth almost two million dollars. But the food under chef Joe Friday is the real art form here, executed with precision and plated with knowledgable flair and detail. Even something as quintessentially rustic as eggplant parmigiana is injected with an inventiveness you won't soon forget. It's so freakin' good, a choir of angels should surround the plate. Via Vai is pretty much a home run even if it had to steal home with a failed duck ragu. Between the food, the room and the prices, it's just shy of extraordinary.

~9156.1Km away
Latest Comments
New User's Image
No comments posted yet