The Required: Toronto

The Required: Toronto

A definitive guide to Toronto's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

November 11, 2020
The Required: Toronto

The Required: Toronto

A definitive guide to Toronto's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

November 11, 2020

Hello, Toronto. Welcome to The Required club.

The Required is our expert version of a "best list," comprised of the stand-out restaurants that have garnered the all-time most recommendations from our expert community. That's 5000+ all-star chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, and more–no black box of food editor committees or user surveys, just plain, crave-able cred.

Read on to plan your next trip—or just to be sure you've checked all the boxes on your home turf. 

Let's Go

Bar Isabel
With gorgeous tile floors and sweeping wooden archways, stepping into Bar Isabel feels like you've been transported to Barcelona. Known for their creative takes on authentic Spanish tapas and taking their cocktails seriously, our experts say you can't miss the whole octopus, which is grilled to perfection. The boquerones with piquillo & chips is a go-to after-service snack for many experts - it's the perfect combo of acidic anchovies and sweet & hot peppers. 

Baro
Located in Toronto's King West district, Baro has a lively atmosphere that includes a speakeasy on one floor and a rooftop patio. The food features modern spins on classic Latin flavors with a dash of Asian influences. Don't miss the OG Duck Chaufa - egg fried rice with duck confit topped with papi kung fu sauce for a perfect hit of umami, or the out-of-this-world tiradito ceviche. With an inventive cocktail list and wide range of tequilas, mezcals, piscos, & cachaças you can't go wrong.  

Beast Restaurant
This cozy downtown spot is a local and expert favorite known for its killer brunches. Think smoked fish benedicts, cinnamon cream cheese donuts, and according to multiple experts, one of the best breakfast sandwiches: the Beastwich. Featuring crispy fried chicken, sausage gravy, pimento cheese, and a fried egg on top of a buttermilk biscuit - need we say more?  

Momofuku Noodle Bar
Located in the Shangri-La Hotel, this adaptation of the popular NYC East Village staple by Chef David Chang has a smaller menu than the original - sticking to buns, noodles, and classics like chicken wings and rice cakes- but it is still sure to please. Make sure to order the pork buns served with hoisin, scallions, and sliced cucumbers; they'll melt in your mouth.  

Actinolite
A neighborhood gem that, at first glance, looks unassuming but is so much more. With a 7-course pre-fixe menu format, each meal is a journey through Canadian flavors, and Chef Justin Cournoyer's passion for locally-sourced seasonal ingredients comes through in each dish. Just leave it up to the chef, and you won't be disappointed. Actionolite is creative, local, and soulful. 

Cafe Boulud
Located in the Four Seasons Hotel with a warm ambiance that evokes classic French brasseries, Café Boulud is consistently listed as one of our expert's favorite dining experiences in Toronto. The cured meats, terrines, and pâtés are a specialty, meaning the charcuterie board is formidable and the perfect way to start a meal. For entrees, don't miss the perfectly slow-roasted rotisserie chicken with confit fingerling potatoes. 

Edulis
With a dedication to reflect the best of what is in season, the menu changes daily, but one thing is constant: the execution is flawless. Drawing inspiration from Spain and France, the dishes are rustic yet refined. An expert favorite is the Lightly Smoked Herring, with one expert saying it's the most satisfying thing they've eaten in a long time. The prix fixe Sunday lunch is legendary and great for a relaxing and delicious day off. 

Porchetta & Co.
A neighborhood spot whose name says it all. Make sure to order the Porchetta Sandwich - stuffed with porchetta, cracklings, truffle sauce, parmesan, and mustard - our experts say it's incredible. Add rapini to it to make you feel like you're doing something healthy if you want, but whatever you do, just order it. 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka 
A branch of the global chain which started in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, our experts tout it as some of the best ramen in the city. The broth is rich, silky, and savory; and the noodles are perfect. No matter which flavor you choose, you'll slurp your way to nirvana. The Miso and the Tokusen Toroniku (pork cheek) ramen are expert favorites. If you go for the Tokusen Toroniku: always order an extra side of jowl—trust us.

Terroni
With a relaxed atmosphere and friendly service, Terroni consistently serves up delicious southern Italian plates. According to our experts, the thin-crust pizzas are where it's at. Thin and crisp with just the right amount of cheese, favorites include the Polentona pizza - topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, Fontina, speck, pine nuts; and the Napoli pizza - topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, and anchovies. 

Bar Isabel
Spot
Little Italy, Toronto
$$$, Reservations, Full Bar, Tapas
7 Recommendations
Baro
Spot
Wellington Place, Toronto
$$, Modern, Latin American
7 Recommendations
Actinolite
Spot
Christie Pits, Toronto
$$, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Modern, Restaurant
5 Recommendations
Café Boulud
Spot
Midtown Toronto, Toronto
$$$, French, Full Bar
5 Recommendations
Edulis
Spot
Niagara, Toronto
$, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Full Bar, Mediterranean
4 Recommendations
Terroni
Spot
West Queen West, Toronto
$$, Pizza, Italian
3 Recommendations
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