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    Eat the city: Toronto
    We map the Queen City through its incredible, diverse food scene
    Eat the city: Toronto
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    Toronto

    Don’t let Toronto receiving its first Michelin Guide in 2022 fool you into thinking the city’s food scene is only just emerging. In fact, it has been evolving and thriving for decades. Today, the city’s eateries reflect the spirit of its people: curious, diverse and innovative. Eating your way around town is one of the best ways to experience Ontario’s capital, so here are eight restaurants that will give you a true taste of Toronto.  

    Taverne Bernhardts

    1. Taverne Bernhardts

    Come dinnertime, on a quiet side street between the trendy stretches of Dundas West and West Queen West, you’ll spot hungry patrons outside this bustling restaurant sipping cocktails on the sidewalk while they wait for their tables. Bernhardts is known for its rotisserie chicken, but their vegetarian dishes, which change based on what’s in season, have become a draw on their own. 

    Sunnys Chinese
    Sunnys Chinese

    2. Sunnys Chinese

    Your first mission with Sunnys Chinese will be finding it, since it’s located in a nondescript shopping strip in Kensington Market. But your efforts will pay off once the food reaches your table. Expect family-style dishes that explore a range of Chinese cuisines. Chopped whole chicken is dry-rubbed with floral and slightly numbing Sichuan spice, while the fried squid impressively echoes Hong Kong’s iconic typhoon shelter style. Don’t miss the house-made kefir water – it’s a low-ABV sipper with surprising complexity.   

    Lake Inez

    3. Lake Inez

    Part of the first wave of restaurants to open on the Gerrard East strip in 2017, Lake Inez draws from pan-Asian cuisine, with an emphasis on detail and flavour. Menus change constantly – memorable recent lineups have included dishes like kimchi beef tartare, a fish fry of BC trout, and an amaretto sour-inspired cheesecake. For the full dining experience, book a “mystery patio tasting” for six surprise courses, each accompanied by a cocktail or wine pairing. 

    Sugar Kane
    Sugar Kane

    4. SugarKane  

    After running a Caribbean catering company for six years, the three Charles sisters launched their first restaurant in 2019. They’ve perfected dishes from their Trinidadian and Grenadian backgrounds, such as braised oxtail, curried goat and blackened shrimp tacos, along with modern mash-ups like a jerk chicken fettuccine alfredo. Visit on a Friday or Saturday night for live DJ sets and performances ranging from R&B to Afrobeats and steel pan drums.  

     

    5. Banjara  

    Emanating from the southwest corner of Christie Pits Park, the Banjara’s iconic aroma and tandoor char of Banjara’s Indian cuisine beckons park-goers and passers-by. The Indian restaurant’s fried pakora starters are divine, while the curry menu is expansive. The lunch and dinner combos, served on a cafeteria-style platter, are perfect for getting a taste of everything when dining solo. And as there’s nothing wrong with ordering in when travelling, this spot is a favourite for delivery too.  

    Rosalinda
    Rosalinda

    6. Rosalinda

    Rosalinda is the kind of vegan restaurant where both plant-based folks and omnivores leave feeling satisfied. And it all happens within a greenhouse-inspired interior in which lush plants are contrasted with retro velvet furnishings. The At the Mexican restaurant, menu is rooted in Mexican food, and Rosa’s Nachos are the perfect starter, made with cashew crema and add-ons like jackfruit carnitas and mushroom birria. The roasted eggplant is another hit, as is their signature burger with a patty made from black bean, grains and brown rice. 

     

    7. Fat Pasha

    Anthony Rose is the chef and restaurateur who has enlivened a three-block stretch of Dupont Street with restaurants whose menus revolve around Jewish, Middle Eastern and European cuisine. Fat Pasha is quintessentially chef Rose, serving small plates of moreish garlic labneh and fried halloumi sticks alongside shareable mains like short ribs barbecued in a pomegranate molasses sauce and whole roasted cauliflower – dishes that earned the restaurant a Bib Gourmand from the newly created Michelin Guide Canada.  

    Alo
    Alo

    8. Alo

    If there’s one fine dining spot in Toronto to splash out on a meal, Alo is it. This recently minted, one Michelin-starred restaurant in Toronto modern French restaurant deserves the accolade for its attentive service, artistic plating and bold and flavourful modern French dishes. You can order à la carte, but the tasting menus are the way to go – whether it’s the six-course bar tasting menu or the full 11-course menu. Reservations are snapped up months in advance, so plan well ahead for a meal you won’t forget. If you don’t manage to get a table here, look to Alo’s off-shoot bistro Aloette or American-style restaurant Alobar Yorkville , both of which are under Chef Patrick Kriss’ Alo Group.  

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