The top new restaurants in Toronto display the full spectrum of what’s edible in our fair city. Ornate small plates and mind-bending feasts, time-honoured traditions and unique new inventions, there’s something always amazing to discover in each of the neighbourhoods that make Toronto great.
Here are my picks for the top new restaurants in Toronto by neighbourhood.
Moroccan dishes of yogurt and beets, dips and tagines are elevated at Atlas. A menu of sherries, fine wines and even a cocktail made with ras el hanout (an African spice blend).
Aficionados of the humble hand roll need look no further than Omai for all their bar snack cravings. Temaki are made in front of your eyes and meant to be consumed instantly, with fillings of squash, egg and truffle, and salmon to name a few. They also craft inventive small plates of sunomono and soon sausage.
Traditional Armenian is what you’ll find at Mayrik. Cauliflower dripping with sumac garlic aioli and tahini, luscious lamb chops, manti dumplings and more are on the menu along with great wines and cocktails inspired by Armenian ingredients like jallab syrup.
Korean bar snacks like deep fried kombu seaweed crisps, daikon potato salad, Korean-inspired orecchiette and smashed cucumber salad are on deck at Uncle Mikey’s, complemented by sake and draft Sapporo.
You’ve likely never seen ribs like James Cheese Back Ribs, served on a sizzling plate with sides and draped in an elastic-y, gooey mess of cheese. Spicy meat and creamy cheese go surprisingly well together especially when washed down with lots of beer and if you have room, paired with some sides like sliders and wings.
When Pork Ninjas moved out of Wenona Lodge recently, it meant the end of Pitmaster’s Platters and Memphis Peacemakers in the Annex. Fortunately, the Ninja himself now has Earlscourt BBQ, where he’s smoking all his brisket, pulled pork, ribs and chicken again and serving them with signature sides and sauces.
Displaced Dutch folks and those looking for a new watering hole alike will appreciate Borrel. Bitterballen, poffertjes, kaassouffle and other treats from the Netherlands can all be found here along with cocktails made with Ketel One and Advocaat.
All-day Italian spot La Palma impresses with their thousand-layer lasagna, artisanal pizzas, baked goods, cocktails, coffee and almost anything else you could want in a dreamy lunch spot.
From the folks behind Sukhothai, Pai and Sabai Sabai comes Kiin, taking cues from royal cuisine and Chef Nuit Regular’s childhood. Intricate dumplings, technicolour salads, lettuce wraps and root chips radiate a passion for the history of Thai cooking.
King Taps has two patios, over fifty beers on tap, tons of TVs, and a menu of pizzas, tacos, steak, burgers, and everything else a 9-to-5-er could ever ask for.
If you’re looking for an authentic sushi experience in Toronto, look no further than Skippa. Small plates of seafood or veg present diners with individual nigiri or a scatter of excellently prepared maitake mushrooms.
Other Thai places in town have quietly been given a run for their money Isaan Der, which serves highly authentic papaya salads, pad thai, pad see ew, shrimp rolls, and khao soi.
Drake Commissary is a larder, bakery, restaurant, and cafe all in one. Sip a cortado, tequila caesar, Labatt 50 or nice wine, and feast on a menu focused on local healthy offerings of charcuterie, smoked fish, brisket, house pastas, pizzas and salads.
Jen Agg has done it again with Grey Gardens, which serves beautiful, often changing dishes of pasta, sweetbreads, and fish like scallops with XO sauce and tuna with nori aioli. Some of the best wine and cocktails in the city underscore everything.
Claudio Aprile has flipped his Origin restaurant into Copetin, a new hangout with a Botanist gin bar out on the patio and reinterpretations of bistro dishes like beef tartare.
French bistro classics like onion soup, mussels and steak hache topped with a fried egg and anchovy are all available in style at Gare de l’Est, located in the same building with Streetcar Crowsnest theatre.
The notion of izakaya gets a brewpub twist at Godspeed Brewery. By the same person behind Dieu du Ciel!, find freshly made ales here as well as katsu sandwiches, rice balls, mushroom salad and braised beef stew.
A kitschy environment sets the stage for a night of feasting on beef and bone marrow, grilled squid and ceviche accompanied by fruit juice cocktails at Pinky’s Ca Phe.
Indigenous cuisine stars on the menu at Ku-kum, which doesn’t shy away from traditional ingredients like seal meat, elk and sweetgrass. They also do foraged brunches.
Fatty, crispy, tender lechon is the name of the game at Wilson’s Haus of Lechon. They do both chicken and pork lechon style, stuffing whole animals with lemongrass and other herbs, resulting in spectacular family style meals to eat in or take out.
Lebanese, Moroccan and other influences are brought together at Bar Sybanne. Fun cocktails accompany dishes of lebneh, fried chicken with orange blossom honey, saffron rice and crudo.
Pierogies, cevapi, herring, goulash, sausage and schnitzel: it’s all here at Tennessee Tavern. Bring your appetite and down plate after plate of pierogies and beer after beer on their curated list, or try a stronger European-imported libation.
Aloette, little sibling to Alo, isn’t far from the original restaurant and serves up fine-tuned classics like beef tartare, burgers and apple pie sundaes.
Long-awaited boutique hotel Broadview has one of the most stunning views from its rooftop bar and restaurant which serves plays on bar food like ceviche, burgers, and jerk ribs.
Epic kebabs are grilled within view of diners at Barans. A seemingly endless list of hot and cold mezzes includes baba ghanoush, sarma, mint and garlic yogurt, fried cheese pastries, served with a cloud of house bread baked in a wood-burning oven.
Peruvian street food is given new life at Kay Pacha. Pisco cocktails, beef heart skewers, and several kinds of ceviche are sure to delight diners whether familiar with Peruvian cuisine or not.
Pretty much everything is vegan at Hello 123, including cocktails made with ingredients like chaga and kombucha. Tempeh skewers, avocado veggie burgers, rutabaga fries and myriad colourful bowl options as well as brunches and smoothies all cater to hungry herbivores.
Dagu Rice Noodle bases the majority of their dishes on slurpable rice noodles and delicious pork bone broth. Get meals “Crossing the Bridge” style and combine ingredients in a DIY fashion.
Persian food is represented at Tabriz. Authentic dips, sides of rice, and proteins like fall-apart tender braised lamb shank and specialties like saffron basmati rice tahchin.
Whole roasted fresh fish with signature sauces, breads cooked in house and meats cured in house are the specialty at Estia. Draped in velvet and soft tones with gigantic art pieces and a huge chandelier, it’s as swanky and romantic as it gets.