With restaurants featuring big-name chefs, bold flavours, and jaw-dropping views, Toronto continues to earn its reputation as an exciting food town. The summer of 2022 ushered in a wave of new openings and resurrections. There are fine-dining venues serving artfully plated masterpieces, design-forward restaurants dishing out seriously high-quality fare, and casual spots serving relaxed vibes with great food. No matter what you’re craving, these must-book Toronto tables, the best of Queen City right now, offer something for diners of all stripes.
Don Alfonso 1890 (Midtown/Uptown)
Don Alfonso 1890, one of the city’s most acclaimed fine-dining restaurants, reopened in a stunning new location in July. The Toronto offshoot of the Amalfi Coast-based restaurant, which is helmed by a pair of chefs from MICHELIN-starred spots, has had several homes since first opening in Canada in 2018. But Don Alfonso’s new digs on the 38th floor of the Westin Harbour Castle are arguably the restaurant’s best location yet. The striking skyline view complements the exquisite menu, which earned the restaurant a nod from 50 Top Italy as the best Italian restaurant in the world outside of Italy. Hand-crafted crystal lights and art from notables such as Damien Hirst add hints of luxury, while an open kitchen gives diners a glimpse of executive chef Daniele Corona and his team preparing their signature tasting menu or à la carte items such as wild rose-scented tagliatelle with caviar with eel gelato or Ontario lamb agnolotti with black truffle.
Mademoiselle Raw Bar & Grill (Downtown/Entertainment District)
Known as one of the best neighborhoods in the city for a lavish night out, King West is a natural home for this swanky seafood restaurant, which launched in May. From the menu to the decor, every element of Mademoiselle channels luxe, coastal vibes. Glittering chandeliers and faux cherry blossom trees add a dramatic flourish to the restaurant’s airy, blue-and-white interior. True to the restaurant’s name, the menu focuses on raw seafood dishes (sashimi, crudo, seafood towers), as well as grilled mains including bone-in ribeye and branzino. With a private Champagne room available and numerous dishes priced north of $100, Mademoiselle is made for diners looking to splurge. Theatrical cocktails such as the cocoa chanel, which is topped with a torched marshmallow, add to the show-stopping experience.
J’s Steak Frites (Queen West)
This cheerful Queen West restaurant, which launched in May, takes inspiration from Paris’s Entrecôte steakhouses, which famously serve only one dish: steak frites. The only choice for diners to make at J’s is how they like their steak cooked. J’s prix-fixe menu starts with housemade bread and butter and a green salad dressed in a walnut and lemon vinaigrette. Up next is the star of the show: a ten-ounce certified Angus beef striploin paired with unlimited fries and housemade butter sauce. Naturally, the restaurant offers a solid wine list curated for pairing with steak. Don’t skip the dessert cart, which is overseen by co-owner Tara Tang, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef. The sweet treats available vary each day but might include pavlova with fresh strawberries or mont blanc sponge cake topped with chestnut purée and whipped cream.
Adrak Yorkville (Yorkville)
Adrak, which debuted in May, wows diners from the moment they step into its stylish interiors, designed to evoke an Indian palace. Delicate arch motifs are subtly woven throughout the dining room, while hand-carved wooden furniture, rattan accents, and a rich colour scheme enhance the restaurant’s regal aesthetic. Adrak’s culinary team, most of whom trained under chef Vineet Bhatia of the MICHELIN-starred Rasoi restaurants, draws inspiration from various parts of India. House-blended spices and clay tandoor oven preparations are common themes throughout the menu. Cocktails, too, aim to take diners on a culinary journey across India, with drinks nodding to different areas of the country with their regionally influenced ingredients. The Narangi negroni, for example, pays homage to the city of Nagpur, the country’s largest exporter of oranges, with a dose of blood orange gin.
Bouffe (Little Portugal/Dundas West)
Opened in June, Bouffe is an easygoing French restaurant that sees local celebrity chef David Adjey returning to his roots. After gaining recognition with appearances on Food Network Canada’s Restaurant Makeover and Iron Chef America, Adjey spent several years working in Bali before returning to Toronto to open his first restaurant in almost a decade in 2022. You’ll find Adjey in the restaurant’s tiny kitchen every night, preparing classic French dishes: steak tartare dolloped with creamy chicken liver pâté, chicken mornay crêpes, or rustic Marseillaise bouillabaisse topped with a hunk of grilled baguette. A French wine list and Champagne-based cocktails complete the ooh-la-la night out. For a chance to see Adjey in action, go for the Chef Table Experience, which includes a tour of the kitchen.
Soluna (Downtown/Entertainment District)
With its fresh, flavourful menu and boho aesthetic, Soluna is as close as it gets to going on a beach vacation without leaving Toronto. Led by some of the people behind popular Toronto spots such as Calii Love and Nodo Restaurants, Soluna, which opened in June, takes its name from a portmanteau of the Spanish words for sun and moon to reflect the day-to-night experience it creates. The eye-catching space, which includes a beautiful rooftop patio, channels laid-back beach resort vibes with light woods, natural fabrics, rattan, and stucco accents, along with plenty of greenery. The shareable menu draws on a range of coastal-inspired flavours, from Latin American to the Mediterranean, for dishes such as tuna tostadas with tobiko mayo and grilled branzino with adobo glaze. Fruity, colourful cocktails add to the tropical, vacation-like ambiance.
Tried them all? Check out other options here.