Toronto waiteda long time for the Michelin Guide to bring its coveted stars to the city. For years, there were rumoursof the Guide coming toawardthe best restaurants in the city, and last fall,Toronto's time to be recognized on the culinary world stage finally came.
Toronto now has 12 Michelin star restaurants, and one with two stars, but the accolades don't stop there. Along with the stars, the Michelin Guide also recognized dozens of top-tier Toronto restaurants with either a Bib Gourmand distinction or a recommended selection. Since then, two have closed (Babel shut down, and Shook for renovations), leaving the city's Michelin Guide count at 72 eateries.
With all of theincredible restaurants and amazing bars in the city, it's hard toconfine Toronto's culinary scene to one list. And many were left wondering,what gives with Toronto's Michelin Guide?
What started out as a tire company creating guides for weary road trip travellers has become the guiding light of the culinary world. According to Michelin, one star signifies high-quality cooking and worth a stop; two stars means excellent cooking, worth a detour; and the highest three star award is for restaurants with cuisine so exceptional, you could plan a whole trip around it. The Bib Gourmand recognizes “exceptionally good food at moderate prices,”which theydecidedfor Toronto isless than $60 (before tax and tip) for two courses and a glass of wine or dessert.
For the average person (and their bank account), eating their way through all the Michelin Guide recommended restaurants and Michelin star restaurants in Toronto is no easy feat. So here, we've whittled the Michelin list down to an even smaller list. These are our picks for the best Michelin restaurants in Toronto that you absolutely should add to your culinary wish list.
One Michelin star restaurants in Toronto
1. Aburi Hana
102 Yorkville Ave.
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Most seats at this Yorkville destination for Kyo-Kaiseki cuisine are located at the chef’s counter, giving you a prime viewing spot to witness the inner workings of chef Ryusuke Nakagawa’s skilled team. Watch the theatrics unfold as ingredients from land and sea (designed to showcase the changing seasons) are flame-seared, unveiled in a plume of smoke from custom-made serveware, and plated in front of you.
Be warned: This multi-course, sensory performance is not for the half-hearted diner. Guests are asked to dress appropriately, refrain from wearing strong perfumes and to turn their phones on silent. However, if you're food-obsessed and keen for an immersive and rare dining experience, we promise you’ll be giving a standing ovation by the end of the night.
163 Spadina Ave.
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Alo has all of the polish, sophistication and exceptional service that you would expect from an old-school fine dining establishment, infused with chic modern design and a contemporary atmosphere. But as high-end as this experience is, it’s not pretentious or stuffy. Reservations open up a month in advance for a two-month time period,but the pure bliss you'll experience during your visit will far outweigh the sweaty stress of trying to get a booking.
The 12-course tasting menu in the dining room or six courses in the bar room (at a slightly lower price point), is a masterclass in seasonality, flavour combinations and inventive execution. At the time of our visit, standouts included a delicate crudo and rich, buttery foie gras presented as a perfect slice of pie with a texture so smooth it could have got us into bed.
The savoury mushroom risotto was a flavour explosion unlike anything we’ve ever had before, and we nearly wept when it was finished. We opted for the wine pairings with every course, which are expertly selected to add depth to every dish. The portions are small, but this is a tasting menu, not a stuff-your-gut menu. If you’re looking for a flavour experience that verges on the sensual, Alo is well worth the price tag.
169 Niagara St.
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Snagging a reservation at the Michelin-star Edulis is like trying to get a pair of coveted concert tickets: sweaty keyboard keys, heart racing, praying your credit card works. It's exhilarating and anxiety-inducing, but so worth it — if you’re cool with paying for the whole meal upfront including tip when you book your table (not including alcohol oradditional dishesyou order at the restaurant).
Look for the charming red house on Niagara Street, which has been converted into one of the city's top tasting menu restaurants, although it still very much feels like you're dining in someone's eclectic home. They even printyour name on the menu. Inside the intimate, candle-lit space, you won't find a single ring-light in sight. Cell phones aren't cool in there and honestly flash makes things weird.
Chef-owners Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth serve exceptional seafood and seasonal delights with wine pairings so spot-on they have been known to cause people to blurt out a string of expletives. Any time is a good time to scoff fresh Canadian tuna, wild mushrooms and excellent cheese — but if we had to pick, black truffle season might be the best time to splurge on a lights-out meal here.
419 College St.
Photos by Rick O'Brien
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This alluring College Streetrestaurant has found its stride with chef Steven Molnar at the helm — and a Michelin star to boot. This is Mexican cuisine like you've never experienced in Toronto.
Once you pass through the brick-walled front, you're transported into a buzzy and inviting world under the canopy of Quetzal's striking curved ceiling, designed to emulate the white tarps over outdoor Mexican markets — but make it modern art museum.
Towards the back, the open-galley kitchen's wood-fire pit and grill spans a whopping 28 feet, providing both a challenge and an enticing kiss of char to vibrant dishes like a mouth-watering lamb barbacoa empanada, and a whole grilled sea bream with salsa roja and cruda.
5. Alobar Yorkville
57a-162 Cumberland St.
The presence of ‘bar’ in the title is a bit of a misnomer here: Alobar is a full-on restaurant with a strong showing of classic seafood options (chilled lobster, dover sole) and plenty of well-executed cocktails.
Once you’ve found your way through the Yorkville laneways and into this cozy lounge, you’ll be treated to the winning combo of chef Patrick Kriss and chef de cuisine Rebekah Bruce’s culinary expertise, and the award-winning service we’ve come to expect from the Alo Food Group. You must (MUST) end the evening with Alobar’s now-infamous raspberry-chantilly mille-feuille, which is so bewitching, it deserves its own episode of Chef’s Table.
7713 Yonge St.
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Fine dining isn’t just for downtown. Take a trip to Thornhill for a spectacular evening at Frilu, a contemporary Canadian restaurant with Japanese influences. Executive chef and owner John-Vincent Troiano and chef So Sakata have created a stunning atmosphere, where its menu(which reads like a poetry anthology) of whimsical platescome flying out of its tiny kitchen.
Frilu’sconnection with Willowolf Farm, a 15-acre property located in north western Ontario, anchors the restaurant in seasonality, while the wonderful dishes of game and vegetables smoked over Japanese charcoal is about as unique as you’ll find in a stripmall near Finch Station.
7. Don Alfonso 1890
1 Harbour Square 38th Floor.
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Don Alfonso 1890 could be considered something of a Michelin nepo baby. After all, the fine dining spot is the first North-American outpost of the legendary Michelin-starred restaurant on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. However, this one-star restaurant’s chutzpah isn’t just inherited. The menu at this fancy dining spot is every bit as lofty as its location at the top of the Westin Castle. Dishes look like works of art and you may not be entirely sure which part to eat, but every bite of eel gelato, sturgeon and aged risotto tastes incredible.
Bib Gourmand restaurants in Toronto
8. La Bartola
588 College St.
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The fairy tale of La Bartola on College Street is one of good tacos and secret dinners. The restaurant is the plant-based passion project of realtor-turned-chef Ivan Castro, a Mexico City native whose thoughtful and creative takes on Oaxacan cuisine earned him a coveted Bib Gourmand recognition.
Castro gained confidence as a chef by hosting secret vegan dinners in his home to rave reviews from those lucky enough to secure an invite. La Bartola officially began as a wildly popular taco pop-up at food festivals around the city before moving into the cozy space it currently calls home in Little Italy.
The air buzzes with energy here; latin music bursts out of speakers in the dining room, waiters scurry to and fro and a TACOS sign hovers above the bar like a neon deity. At the dining tables, guests cradle scoops of white mole topped with plantain, toasted pine nuts and a savoury cacao bonbon in handmade tortillas, or artfully decorated tetelas with Oaxacan fried beans. Art paying homage to Mexican women, the stewards of Castro’s culture and cuisine, decorate the walls.
9. Grey Gardens
199 Augusta Ave.
Jen Agg might not be a fan of the Michelin Guide, but the Michelin Guide is most definitely a fan of Agg and her brand of trailblazing restaurants. Grey Gardens in Kensington Market is a wine bar that oozes effortless charm and somehow tricks you into having a sneaky amazing dinner when you were only in the market for a glass of chardonnay. Suddenly, it’s a hop and skip from bison carpaccio and heavenly pasta into semifreddo for dessert, and you’re left wondering why on earth you’ve never been here before. Rest assured, you will be back.
10. Enoteca Sociale
1288 Dundas St. W.
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For years, Dundas West's Enoteca Sociale has answered our carb-loving prayers with heaping plates of house-made pasta that's earned them a Bib Gourmand award. Their bucatini all’ amatriciana with guanciale (juicy bits of cured pork cheek), pecorino and tomato sauce with a hint of chili heat is a dish you'll keep coming back to over and over again like a pair of fave indoor-only sweatpants. For an indulgent bite, the roasted chestnut ragu signorine (a ruffled pasta made of chestnut flour) with bianchetto truffle is truly bellissimo. When in doubt, get the tried-and-tested cacio e pepe.
11. SumiLicious Smoked Meat & Deli
5631 Steeles Ave. E., Unit 5
Photos by Hector Vasquez
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The intoxicating, peppery alchemy of smoked meat envelops you the moment you arrive at SumiLicious. On this corner of an unassuming Scarborough shopping plaza, it's all about low and slow.
Long before you first bite into Sumi's stacked Montreal-deli-style sandwich, its juicy hunks of brisket were dry-rubbed with owner Sumith Fernando's secret spice blend, left to marinate in the fridge for 10 days, smoked for 12-hours and steamed for another six.
The result? A beyond tender, buttery-tasting beauty that made us emote only in sounds and curse words until our brain caught up to our taste buds. It's no wonder SumiLicious won a Bib Gourmand award — it's also the onlyScarborough restaurant on the Michelin Guide.
After moving from Sri Lanka, Fernando cut his teeth for 17 years at Montreal's smoked-meat mecca Schwartz's Deli. It was Fernando’s and his wife Shalika's dream to open their own place, which, dare we say, Schwartz doesn't hold a candle to.
Michelin Guide recommended restaurants in Toronto
1214 Dundas St.
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Gia culinary director and executive chef Matt Ravenscroft is affectionately known by his Instagram followers as the “Bob Ross of cooking vegetables.” The plant-based chef took the helm at the Dundas West vegetarian Italian restaurant in late 2021, to resounding success — a year later, Gia was included in the Michelin Guide.
Even without any meat on the menu, Gia serves some of the most delicious Italian food in Toronto. Their lively, stylish dining room hums with exclamations of approval from guests digging into Gia’s creative, comforting plant-based fare. Start with a creamy plant-based cashew brie served with a seasonal fruit compote, then dig into pillowy ricotta gnocchi pomodoro or beefy roasted maitake mushrooms. Gia’s desserts are the fireworks at the end of your hearty meal; their soft olive oil cake is our new happy place.
18 Duncan St. and2335 Yonge St.
Pai is as beautiful as the love story between owners Jeff and chef Nuit Regular. The couple met while Jeff was backpacking through Nuit's native Thailand, and before long had plans to move back to Canada, bringing Nuit's authentic Thai cooking with them. They now own Pai Northern Thai Kitchen in the Entertainment District and Pai Uptown at Yonge and Eglinton (along with Sabai Sabai and Kiin).
The downtown location garnered aMichelin recommendation, but each Pai location has its own charm: The original, pint-sized spotis colourful and charming, with the buzzy energy of the Thai village it gets its name from, while the uptown location is a sprawling space beautifully decoratedwith lanterns and murals. At both, you'll find Nuit's delicious Thai cooking with staples like flavourful gaengpanang, creamy kaho soi and pad thai.
98 Portland St.
When the Michelin Guide came to town, it was no surprise to see this skinny Food Dudes’ space inside a rowhouse on Portland Street given some fanfare. Unlike some of the other standouts on the recommended list, Sara doesn’t pigeonhole itself with a designated style of food, giving its tasting menu the freedom to zigzag lines across global styles of cuisine. Wagyu reuben comes hot off the heels of butternut squash latkes, all followed by fried chicken and branzino. Slip your phone into the table well to avoid distractions and give yourself fully to the flavours. We recommend taking it up a notch with a splendid wine pairing — and it doesn’t hurt that the servings are very generous.
243 King St. E
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Do you ever stumble upon a restaurant and wonder how on earth you let it slip under your radar? That’s Ardo for us. This Michelin-recommend, unpretentious eatery is finally getting the attention it deserves. Located on King East, Ardo is a slice of Sicily, co-owned by husband and wife team (cuuuute), chef Roberto Marotta and Jacqueline Nicosia, who met on the Italian coast before moving to Canada to open their own restaurant together (double cute). The dishes give diners a taste of the sea and, like any good relationship, aren’t overcomplicated — even the simple house-made bread with Sicilian olive oil tastes special. Don’t miss the delicate raw tuna carpaccio with crunchy celery, capers and cucumbers.
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16. Maha’s Egyptian Brunch
226 Greenwood Ave.
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Maha'sis a family restaurant in every sense of the word.Cozy benches lined with colourful pillows; shelves brimming with trinkets and knick-knacks of all shapes and sizes; and a fridge plastered with photos, notes and magnets make the space feel more like a home kitchen than a restaurant. Settle into the comfortable space for some of the best brunch food you'll ever have.
Owned and operated by head chef Maha Barsoom and her two children, chefMonika Wahba and barista Mark, the restaurant is an extension of the family's home and their Egytpian culture. At the top of our list, thePharaoh’s Po’ Boy is a crispy shrimp sandwich drizzled with tehina; the honey date grilled cheese is the perfect combination of sweet and savoury; andMaha’s Mind Blowing Chicken Sandwich is like a shawarma wrap explosion.
17. Dil Se
335 Roncesvalles Ave.
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Roncy might just be our favourite Toronto neighbourhood, especially now that we've had the pleasure of dining at Dil Se. Follow the comforting scent of charcoal fire and prepare for an epic meal of Northern Indian dishes — around 133 items! The menu is large, but each dish, inspired by the food chef Mani Ram grew up with, is executed with precision and love. After all, Dil Se means 'From the heart' in Hindi. The prices are also very reasonable. Everything is beyond good, but some of our faves are the tandoori grilled skewers, fragrant vegetable biryani and Ram's famous chicken kamasutra braised in cashew nut gravy and saffron imported from India.
2 Trinity St.
Traverse across the cobbles in the Distillery District, wander into Madrina Bar y Tapas, and suddenly it feels like you’ve taken a Narnia-esque backdoor into Barcelona — and we’re not mad about it. You'll spot the Iberian hams first, just waiting to be carved and served on a charcuterie board.
Studio Munge's design is seamless, with cool tiled floors, brick walls and terracotta touches that work perfectly for the Gaelic vibes. Catalan chef, Ramon Simarro, is the feather in Madrina's cap. After working in many of Spain's Michelin-starred restaurants (Via Veneto and Alkimia in Barcelona), Simarro makes his Canadian debut, bringing twists on classic tapas and paella, gastronomic culinary flair and an entire gin and tonic section of the menu — order a glass and admire the dramatic tableside pour.
19. Mother’s Dumplings
421 Spadina Ave.
Sure, they have other things on the menu, but as the name suggests, the dumplings are the real draw here. One of the more wallet-friendly options recommended by the Michelin Guide, Mother's serves whole plates of piping hot dumplings for under $15. Choose from steamed, boiled or pan fried and fillings that range from the simple pork and chives to more interesting combinations like melon, tofu and vegetable noodle.