Toronto’s multiculturalism (nearly half of the population is foreign-born) informs the city’s vibrant and diverse food scene. Dining options range from adventurous to classic, with some of the best pasta you’ll find this side of the Atlantic in Little Italy, bibimbap in Koreatown, $10-and-under Chinese dumplings, high-end Spanish tapas, a mix of foods from immigrant communities in Kensington Market, and more.
Most of the city’s culinary gems are outside of the Financial District in the downtown core, which is home to a couple restaurants great for an upscale meal and lots of corporate restaurants. Explore Toronto’s neighborhoods to find all of the city’s locally owned favorites, as each neighborhood has some of the hottest and must-eat restaurants in Toronto, from trendy to places with a fun atmosphere.
Canoe $$$$ — Centrally located, Canoe is one of Toronto’s few restaurants serving Canadian-inspired fare like northern woods mushroom soup and Ontario squab. It’s on the 54th floor of a downtown building, meaning diners are treated to sweeping views of the city. Service and dishes are consistently good, and a focus on seasonal ingredients means it’s a place to go back to time and again, but expect your bill to reflect the restaurant’s status.
MomoFuku $$ — MomoFuku was started in New York City by chef David Chang, and the Fuku brand of restaurants quickly grew into a well-loved restaurant empire. Toronto’s MomoFuku has three floors that serve as two separate (but related) restaurants. The main and second floor is the noodle bar, which serves affordable ramen and side dishes. On the third floor is Kōjin, a high-end restaurant that opened in 2018. Kōjin’s menu is always evolving and uses meats and produce available from Ontario farmers like locally made sausages, seafood, and beef from cows raised just outside the city. Note that Kōjin’s prices are significantly higher than the first two floors of MomoFuku.
Gusto 101 $$ — Gusto focuses on southern Italian fare with a modern twist. Here, you’ll want to fill your belly with arancini, burrata, carpaccio, pasta, and pizza. Situated on a quiet side street, the restaurant has a wood-fired grill and a large rooftop patio, making it the perfect spot to relax on a hot summer evening. Don’t sleep on Gusto’s brunch menu, which has egg dishes, burgers, and sweet options.
La Palette $$$ — This west-end French bistro has a cozy atmosphere and charming decor that’ll transport you to France. Its open kitchen serves classic French dishes like escargot and duck confit. Accompanying the French fare is a long wine, beer, and cocktails list. La Palette is popular with locals, so be sure to make a reservation if you plan to visit on a weekend.
416 Snack Bar $$ — If you’re looking to try a number of different dishes with friends, swing by this snack bar for craft beers and share plates inspired by the cuisines of Korea, Argentina, France, and Canada. The menu features options like Korean fried chicken, trout gim bugak, and foie gras torchon. Snack Bar is all about community and is always bustling with energy. On weekend nights, expect the small space to have a lively and sociable atmosphere. Another favorite with locals, this is the perfect place to kick off your weekend.
Little India $$ — This family-owned Indian restaurant has been on Queen street for over 20 years. It offers more than 130 dishes, both vegetarian and carnivorous, and all are affordable. If you drop by for lunch, give the lunch buffet a try.
Bar Isabel $$$$ — This west-end restaurant has been a favorite among locals for years. Isabel is a relaxing spot that serves Spanish-influenced, creative plates featuring Iberico ham, Spanish cheese, and seafood that’s all meant to be shared. Sometimes characterized as a Spanish tavern, the cherrywood bar and vintage decor gives the space a cozy vibe. Around 9:00 PM, the music typically gets a little louder, and locals start swinging by for an evening drink.
Cafe Diplomatico $ — This pizzeria and restaurant is a staple of Toronto’s Little Italy. The cafe opened in 1968 and is now operated by the son of the original owner. A true family affair, Diplomatico is famous for its quintessential Italian food like pizza and pasta (as well as Italian-inspired burgers and other dishes), a large patio for outside dining, and its affordable prices.
Tondou Ramen $$ — Torontonians love their ramen. Tondou is a new addition to the growing roster of ramen restaurants, and it made a splash. The casual dining space is equipped with televisions showing Japanese news and game shows, and friendly servers ensure fast service. The ramen bowls are served in small or regular sized bowls with options like tonkatsu, shoyu, and spicy miso. Starter dishes like gyoza dumplings and takoyaki are under $5. This budget dining space is a great spot to try authentic ramen.
Dim Sum Queen $ — Come for the dim sum small plates like dumplings, rolls, congee, rice, buns, and cake. Dim Sum Queen is always bustling with locals, and brunch is served in the traditional style off of carts. Tea is an essential part of the authentic dim sum experience and will be served the moment you sit down.
Mother’s Dumplings $ — One of Toronto’s most hyped Chinese restaurants, this spot serves, as the name suggests, dumplings. The restaurant is family-owned and decorated with family photos on the walls. The owner and chef, Zhen, proudly dedicates this eatery to her mother, the person who she learned all the recipes for Mother’s Dumplings. Although the specialty is dumplings, you’ll find many other Chinese dishes on the menu, all for an affordable price.
Pho Hung $ — Pho Hung is a family-owned establishment that’s famous for its hearty Vietnamese fare. The menu primarily focuses on phở (make sure you know how to order phở the correct way) ranging from phở to bún riêu. There are also vegetarian options, making this phở spot a pleaser for everyone.
Pow Wow Cafe $$ — Pow Wow Cafe is dedicated to preserving Indigenous Canadian culture through Indigenous-inspired foods. During the day, you can swing by for tacos served on Ojibway-style frybread, and on weekends there’s a brunch with a number of dishes that also incorporate the frybread. Pow Wow has a small patio out front to enjoy the sun during the summer months.
Grey Gardens $$$ — This restaurant and wine bar offers a seasonal à la carte menu of snacks like rabbit and morel terrine and plates featuring halibut and trout, as well as a small noodle menu. Inside has a simple and chic decor, furnished with retro-style chairs, polished brass, and marble. Thanks to an in-house sommelier and well-stocked wine cellar, this is a fantastic place to sample private-order wines. Reserve in advance for a spot at the chef’s counter or in the dining room.
Rasta Pasta $ — Your one-stop shop for Jamaican-Italian fusion. This Kensington Market staple is counter-service only, save for a couple chairs outside. Rasta Pasta will likely have a line, especially in the summer months, but it’s worth the wait. The menu changes often, but jerk chicken and Jamaican-inspired pasta and paninis are consistently on offer.