Celebrate globally and eat locally in Toronto, where our cultural diversity—and dynamic restaurant scene—ensure there’s almost always a holiday to celebrate with food.
Toronto is known for its cultural diversity and illustrious food scene. With over 250 ethnicities and 170 languages represented within our city limits, it’s no surprise that we are renowned for our international dining options.
Whether you’re hungry to celebrate the holidays with friends and family—or just to appreciate another culture’s culinary traditions—look no further. Here are five multicultural holidays you can explore through the menus of Toronto’s eclectic restaurant scene.
December 7 – December 15, 2023
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration that commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem and the rededication of the Second Temple. It’s also known as the Festival of Lights. Jewish families celebrate by eating fried foods like latkes (fried potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) to remember the ancient oil miracle.
Feast on modern Mediterranean Israeli cuisine at Forest Hill’s Bistro Grande. From the tartare tower to the truffle-ricotta gnocchi, it’s all good—and all kosher.
Milk ‘n Honey
Milk ‘n Honey is a North Toronto kosher restaurant and caterer specializing in Jewish comfort food like blintzes and shakshuka, alongside pizza, panzerotti and an array of sandwiches. While its hours are limited, it’s perfect for casual Hanukkah brunches.
Taverne Bernhardt’s is a rustic west-end French bistro offering up soul-warming comfort food like rotisserie chicken with local veggies. In previous years, they’ve offered Hanukkah specials, including potato latkes, cold smoked salmon and other classics.
December 16 – 24, 2023
Las Posadas is celebrated in Latin America, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba and Spain, and by America’s Latino community. The holiday symbolizes the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph as they sought shelter in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. Traditional fare includes tamales, buñuelos (fried dough fritters) and atole (a hot masa-harina-based beverage).
La Bella Managua
Just west of Koreatown, La Bella Managua offers Nicaraguan fare like bistek encebollado, carne asada and vegetarian-friendly yucca mixta—and, when the stars align: buñuelos. Rounding out the dessert menu, you’ll find homemade rice pudding, flan, and tres leches cake.
La Cubana serves meticulously prepared Cuban comfort food at its two Toronto outposts: Roncesvalles Village and Ossington Village. (Consider their sister venue, Leslieville’s Bar Habana, too.) Dig into pressed Cubano sandwiches and conch fritters while sipping crisp, house-brewed Cerveza. Looking to host a holiday shindig? Each location has a private dining space, too!
El Catrin Destileria
Festive vibes are practically guaranteed at El Catrin, a lively Distillery Historic District hotspot. The outdoor patio is heated year-round, providing a unique opportunity for an al fresco feast. Sharing plates like octopus tostadas, shredded short rib beef salpicon, and Mazatlan-style ceviche set the pace for mains like adobo shrimp or Ontario strip loin served in a molcajete stone bowl.
December 25, 2023
For Christians, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. But it’s also a winter celebration of togetherness and good cheer. A typical Canadian feast may include roast turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, with puddings and pie for dessert (don’t forget the Yule log!). But regional tweaks abound, from mac and cheese (an African American tradition) to carp (Poland).
Located on the 31st floor of downtown’s St. Regis Toronto, swanky Louix Louis is the place for an opulent festive dinner with dishes like oscietra caviar, whole truffle chicken and the restaurant’s signature King’s Cake, a 13-layer confection of 64% Guayaquil ganache, hazelnut-chocolate buttercream and vanilla ice cream.
Old Mill Toronto
This historic Bloor West Village inn is known for its annual holiday buffet. This year, the Old Mill's festive buffet promises holiday-themed appetizers, salads, hot dishes and desserts. Vegans and vegetarians will find plenty of options to keep them happy too, from a massive salad selection to veggie casseroles, pot pies and pilafs.
The Ritz-Carlton Toronto’s Italian-focused Toca is the place for a luxurious set Christmas dinner. Previous holiday menus have included selections such as pan-seared foie gras with berry sorbet, torched lobster tail, filet mignon, seafood pasta and a selection of decadent desserts.
December 26, 2023 – January 1, 2024
Kwanzaa is a seven-day African American celebration of community, family, culture and heritage. The holiday also nods to harvest celebrations in Africa that honour crops and labourers. A typical Kwanzaa-style meal could include eclectic menu items like Cajun catfish, West African groundnut stew and Caribbean mainstays like beans and rice.
African Village Bar & Grill
Head to the west end’s African Village Bar & Grill for authentic foods like jollof rice, bobolo and pounded yam. Or order up a whole grilled seabass or mackerel with a side of fried plantain.
Nunu Ethiopian Fusion
A stalwart in trendy Parkdale, Queen Street West’s Nunu is a local fave for its bountiful-tasting platters of vegan or meat dishes. Its boho-chic dining room features a bar that serves up New Orleans-style and Prohibition-era cocktails.
Upper Beaches Bourbon House
Scarborough’s Upper Beaches Bourbon House is a Cajun-Creole fast food restaurant offering spicy delicacies like jambalaya, shrimp and grits and a selection of po’boy sandwiches ranging from classic catfish to vegetarian-friendly tofu.
Lunar New Year
February 10, 2024
A major holiday and two-week-long festival in China, South Korea, Vietnam and other East Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year signals the beginning of spring (though it won’t feel like it in Toronto). In 2024, it will be the Year of the Dragon.
Harbourfront’s Pink Pearl
Harbourfront’s Pink Pearl has been a holiday staple since 1983. With panoramic Lake Ontario views, an extensive dim sum menu and Lunar New Year staples like noodles, whole steamed fish and dumplings galore, it’s a top pick for festive feasting.
MICHELIN-recognized restaurant, R&D offers a fresh, fusion take on modern Chinese, with a slick cocktail menu (consider Lost At Sea with its black tea-infused rum and kocha tea umeshu sake) and dishes like whole roasted duck and Hokkaido scallop siu mai.
Also see: MICHELIN Star Restaurants in Toronto