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Friday, January 30, 2015

The top 10 hidden restaurants in Toronto

hidden restaurants torontoRestaurants within restaurants in Toronto are becoming increasingly popular, offering a secret twist to visitors looking for a novel dining experience. But the phenomenon isn't specific to eateries -- plenty of booze purveyors are offering their under-utilized kitchens to transient chefs looking to offer unique but complementary food concepts.

Here are my picks for the top 10 hidden restaurants in Toronto.

See also: The top 10 hidden bars in Toronto

CJ's Deli

The Court Jester has relocated to a new address on the Danforth and has opened a deli counter within the same space. CJ's Deli is the major daytime draw - its menu offers sandwiches, latkes and an array of schmears, which are available to-go or to stay within the pub.

Luther's Chicken

Operating out of the kitchen at Churchill on Dundas West, this concession stand serves up delectable fried chicken dinners, sandwiches and sides.

Loka Snacks

Another example of a pop-up kitchen inside a bar is Loka Snacks, located at Hi-Lo Bar. The semi-permenant fixture offers menus featuring inventive cuisines like Pig Macks, tartares, bone marrow and brownies. Order a la carte, or try the whole shebang for $50.


Tacked on to the exterior of Blowfish on King, this sleek cocktail bar serves a playful shortlist of snacks like spicy rock shrimp and single-bite wagyu gyoza.


The second floor above Dailo is home to a chic cocktail bar, complete with a yum cha snack list that features dishes like pastrami spring rolls, hakka brown wontons and truffle fried rice.


Forget that scathing review we wrote about Baju inside the Monarch Tavern a few weeks back -- Jason Rees of the Pork Ninjas has taken over the operation, and that guy lives and breathes barbecue.

Sushi Bar Sushiya

Located underneath Zakkushi on Carlton, this spin-off sushi spot deals exclusively from the raw bar presenting beautifully crafted nigiri, chirashi and sashimi preparations.

The Fifth Grill

Enter through an alley, into the pub and up a freight elevator to find this refined fifth-floor steakhouse that was previously a private members club.

Big Crow

The all-weather, outdoor mess hall shares an address with Rose & Sons and can be found by bypassing the front entrance and heading straight to the backyard. Find cocktails by the pitcher and grilled meats on the menu.

La Libre

This seasonal space behind Playa Cabana Hacienda draws inspiration from the cuisine of the Yucatan region of Mexico. The backyard venue operates only in warm weather but, when it does, it's worth it. Expect ceviches, tacos, and two-bite snack foods like perros calientes, mini hot dogs wrapped in bacon.


Smoque N Jack

There's soon to be a new late night destination on Queen St. West above Smoque N Bones. This new whisky-focused, second-floor snack bar is aiming to open in the next two months and will be accessed via back alley, red door entrance.

What did I miss? Share your favourite hidden restaurants in the comments.

Photo of LoPan by Jesse Milns

by Liora Ipsum via blogTO

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