Here are the 14 restaurants top Toronto chefs recommend for a summer feast.
It’s no secret that Toronto is a top foodie city. But what do professional foodies hunger for on their nights off?
We asked 10 of Toronto’s top chefs which restaurants were on their radar right now. Here for a weekend getaway or extended trip? Indulge your palate at these top chef-approved picks.
Chef Pick #1: Thai Nyyom
"I’d have to go with Thai Nyyom. It’s an owner-operated neighbourhood spot and offers great value. You can feel the love in the room and taste it in the food—it’s the type of place I like to support. Thai Nyyom is not just nourishing on a nutritional level, it nourishes your soul a little bit.” — Conor Joerin, Co-owner and cook of Sugo and Bar Sugo.
Chef Picks #2 and #3: Yasu and Sushi Kaji
"I’d pick a restaurant like Yasu on Harbord Street or Sushi Kaji on the Queensway. These spots are so special, and I think they may feel a little out of reach to a lot of people—even though it’s totally worth it because they’re amazing!” — Victor Barry, chef of PIANO PIANO the Restaurant.
Chef Pick #4: Patois
"Being a Caribbean chef of Jamaican heritage, experiencing our food, our hospitality and ultimately our culture in totally different and innovative expressions is so refreshing and inspiring.
I’d order the doubles at Patois—there is nothing better than fried bara dripping with chana and hot sauce. Trini Mac pie because… mac pie always! Then it’s a tossup between the Jerk Pork Belly Yakisoba and The Honey & Maggi Short Ribs. And, of course, a side of coleslaw because is it even a West Indian meal if you don’t get a side of coleslaw? Clearly, I would need to bring some friends!” — Lonie Murdock, Head Chef of Miss Likklemore’s.
Chef Pick #5: Kiin
"I just love everything Chef Nuit and Jeff Regular do, like their reimagination and reopening of Kiin with a new café-style Thai brunch menu with beautiful dishes and coffee-based beverages that look absolutely stunning.
With their Boat Noodles, Jhok and fresh mini donuts, I think everyone should put Kiin on their must-go places for the summer.” — Trevor Lui, Co-founder of Superfresh and Principal of Highbell Hospitality Group.
Chef Pick #6: Ca Phe Rang
“I would go to Cà Phê Rang. I love Vietnamese food—it is one of my go-to foods when I dine out—and I haven’t had a chance to go there yet, so I would love to check out Cà Phê Rang.” — Nuit Regular, Executive Chef and Co-owner of Kiin, Pai and Sukhothai.
Pro tip: impress your dinner companions with the downlow on Cà Phê Rang, a collaboration between chefs Matty Matheson and Rang Nguyen. Watch the pair visit the South Vietnamese town where Nguyen grew up in Season 2, Episode 1 of Vice TV’s Dead Set on Life.
Chef Pick #7: The Wood Owl
“I’d choose The Wood Owl. I will visit them all summer long! Great small share plates and a beautiful wine list, and the menu is very affordable and approachable. Very fresh, seasonal food done right!” — Eva Chin, former chef of Avling, chef and co-founder of The Soy Luck Club.
Chef Picks #8 and #9: Kiin (again) and Famiglia Baldassarre
"I would try Kiin: Jeff and Nuit are an amazing couple and I always love to see them. As for Famiglia Baldassarre, I would never miss a chance to have some pasta from this place: it’s simply amazing.” — Massimo Capra, Chef and Owner of Boccone and Capra’s Kitchen.
Pro tip: jet-setting through YYZ? Visit Boccone Trattoria by Massimo Capra in Terminal 1 at Pearson International Airport.
Chef Pick #10: Batifole
"It’s an intimate French bistro that serves authentic yet refined French cuisine. The dishes I create at Casa Madera remind me of my home country, while Batifole reminds me of my youth spent in France.
Batifole’s Chef Pascal Geffroy spent many years working in top culinary destinations such as Lyons and Rhone and is known to have a great relationship with his guests. He brings passion every night and his dedication to savoir faire is reflected in his dishes.” — Olivier Le Calvez, Executive Chef at Casa Madera.
Chef Pick #11: Auberge du Pommier
"I haven’t been to Auberge du Pommier before. However, it has been on my list for a while! The atmosphere and vibes I’ve always heard to be amazing, but of course, the food: I can’t wait to try it.” — Tre Sanderson, Top Chef Canada Season 10 winner.
Chef Picks #12, #13, #14: Imanishi Japanese Kitchen, Hanmoto and MIMI Chinese
"First off, Imanishi Japanese Kitchen: it’s a cute and cozy spot that serves flavourful Japanese snacks. The portions are perfectly sized, which will make you want to order one of everything.
And Hanmoto serves flavour-packed Japanese izakaya—there is nothing better than getting off work at midnight and scarfing down one of their ever-so-delicious handrolls! Truthfully, there is nothing on this menu that doesn't make you want to come back for more.
Finally, MIMI Chinese has a black-tie feel and is divine. Their shrimp toast should be the only shrimp toast allowed in the city: it has been perfected!” — Betty Chia, chef and owner of Eats by Betty at Simpl Things.
Summerlicious—Toronto’s favourite annual culinary event—is back! Book ahead to enjoy a variety of prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus at this foodstravaganza running July 7 to 23, 2023.