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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The 10 most famous restaurants in Toronto

Famous Restaurants TorontoThe most famous restaurants in Toronto are all staples of sorts that we all keep coming back to. Toronto sometimes feels like a city made up entirely of food. Our city's diversity means people have brought culinary influences from so many other countries, and it means going out for dinner is never boring. Those of us who live in Toronto tend to keep coming back to a handful of mainstays, though. Over the years, these restaurants have demonstrated staying power and love them or loathe them they're arguably more well known than almost anywhere else.

Here's our list of the most famous restaurants in Toronto.

SEE ALSO: The 10 most famous bars in Toronto


People hit up Terroni to find some of the best pizza in the city. Long before the current neapolitan craze reached Toronto, the West Queen West location (opened in 1992) was serving it's famous Quattro Stagioni pizza. They've got a sturdy wine list, too, and the roster of legitimate cocktails doesn't hurt, either. Terroni's atmosphere in its three locations is Italian restaurant jacked up a couple of notches, but it still manages to keep things casual. Because the food is so good, nobody minds the fact that they don't allow for substitutions or modifications to their recipes. Or at least, nobody minds it too much.

Salad King

If you've ever been a Ryerson student, chances are you've nurtured a borderline unhealthy love for Salad King, which is generally packed with students and members of the general populace enjoying the cheap and speedy Thai dishes. The spring rolls and the golden tofu are standouts, in my opinion. This is not gourmet food by any means but it's one of the best lunch options in the area, and perfect for takeout. Plus, they've successfully withstood three location changes over the years. That must mean something.


As vegetarians and health nuts in the city will know, Fresh has been an institution in Toronto since the late '90s. Their three locations offer up a creative, protein-rich approach to vegan and vegetarian dining, many of its dishes featuring Asian inspirations. Fresh, with due cause, has become a mini-empire, with a few different cookbooks in production from the restaurant's creator. Their juices and grain bowls are some of the most popular items on the menu. My own personal favourite, the Buddha Bowl, includes roasted red pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, rice and tofu or goat cheese. This summer they're set to open their newest location near Yonge and Eg.


Scaramouche is a classically French-inspired Yorkville fixture in the lower level of a highrise building, and it's been taking care of the city's upper crust for over 30 years. For most of us, it's not an everyday sort of establishment. Scaramouche offers a true fine dining experience, with carefully crafted gourmet meals and impeccable service. You absolutely will not, for example, be left waiting for a refill of water or a replenishment of libations. Stars on the menu include choices like the filet mignon, lamb and steak tartare. They've also got an incredible view of the city to brag about.

Burrito Boyz

Burrito Boyz is largely credited with starting the burrito craze in Toronto. Before them all we had were feeble attempts at places like Mexitaco. Having survived the acrimonious split up of its founding partners (the one who left went on to start the Burrito Bandidos chain), Burrito Boyz is now well acquainted with its own identify, and sticks with what it does best. The chicken and fish burritos are the best, but they also serve up veggie burritos, and ones made with sirlion steak. Toppings are wide-ranging and customizable, prices are reasonable, and delivery is available. Burrito Boyz' ever-expanding number of locations provide many of us with satisfying lunches and post-bar snacks. They may no longer be the best burritos in the city but their reputation should carry them for years to come.


Sassafraz is a Yorkville mainstay known for its French cuisine-inspired menu, where you'll always be able to find dishes like foie gras, duck breast and Cornish hen. It's also well-known as a celebrity hangout (or so it wants you to believe) although these days tends to draw its fair share of tourists or 905ers. For those so inclined, the little yellow house is a good spot to linger over glasses of champagne and nibble on some fine cheese or caviar. The restaurant has occupied its Victorian rowhouse at Bellair and Cumberland since the '60s. It survived a major fire a few years back, but it bounced back and doesn't look to be retreating from the Yorkville scene anytime soon.

Aunties and Uncles

Aunties and Uncles is known by many as Toronto's best brunch spot. When you visit Aunties and Uncles, which is just steps from Bathurst and College, you know you'll never be left scratching your head because they didn't have your favourite breakfast food available. They've got it all, from waffles to French toast and omelettes. The dishes are simple, straightforward and satisfying, and if history is any lesson, worth lining up for.

California Sandwiches

California Sandwiches has locations all over the GTA but their original location is south of Little Italy on Claremont and it's been going strong since 1967. These sandwich shops are all about their namesake, providing the city with simple, meaty sandwiches. The favourite is unquestionably the veal and is the source of many late night arguments among the San Franceso and Mustachio loyalists out there.

Lahore Tikka House

Lahore Tikka House is most Torontonian's introduction to Little India. Alongside the requisite samosas and naan, this casual Pakistani restaurant has a long list of curries and kebabs coming out of its kitchen and more ghee in most of its offerings than you should eat in a lifetime. Nevertheless, the popularity of this spot has never waned and its legions of fans and newbies alike flock here all summer to dine al fresco on its massive, ramshackle patio.

Black Hoof

This carnivore haven on Dundas West might rightly claim to have introduced Toronto to the world of charcuterie and bone marrow and has made its proprietor and founding head chef bona fide foodie celebrities. You won't find veggie options on the menu, but you will find ear of pig and some darn tasty cocktails. The aforementioned charcuterie includes horse sausage, foie gras mousse, and duck prosciutto, among other treats, and all of it is still made in-house.

What would be on your list of famous Toronto restaurants?

Photo by Brenda Li on Flickr

by Sarah Ratchford via blogTO

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