Your personal Toronto and Greater Toronto Area Top 10

Let’s make a top 10 list, or maybe a few top 10 lists.

Top 10 Restaurants/ Gastropubs / Pubs (emphasis on food)

Top 10 Bars / Pubs (emphasis on the drinks)

Top 10 Bakeries / Pâtisseries (emphasis on the baked goods)

Okay, I’ll start

My Pubs & Bars Top 10 (emphasis on drinks and patio , not food- food is excellent at some of them)

The Northwood
The Rebel House
The Oxley
The Queen & Beaver
Bar Hop
The Three Speed
Bar Chef
Bar Raval
Pinkerton’s
Rhum Corner

I’m avoiding Bakeries and Pâtisseries at the moment but I will give a shout-out to Emmer.

I have only been getting takeout or very casual patio meals, so I don’t have enough recent dining experiences to make a Top 10 restaurant list right now.

Based on my observation, the Covid pandemic these past two years has caused significant staff attrition or closure in a large number of businesses. As such, former favourites have had their food quality and service quality slashed. Within my area of interest and expertise, these include surprisingly, Grandeur Palace , Chi-Star, Golden Lion ( Cantonese food )…to name a few.

Currently, the following personal favourites of mine are still consistently good. They are:

  • DUO ( Richmond Hill ): Best French pastries and Viennoise north of the 401
  • WEI’S KITCHEN ( Markham ): Well execute Cantonese wok-hay stirred fry. Worthy ‘Maple Yip’
    replacement
  • VERY GOOD CONGEES AND NOODLES ( Markham ): Hands-down BEST authentic Hong Kong style
    won-ton noodles and congees in the GTA
  • CAFE BROADWAY ( Richmond Hill ): Excellent Hong Kong Cafe style food. Airy and comfy decor.
  • FRILU ( Thornhill ): Creative and delicious Nordic/Japanese ’ tasting menu '.
  • ALO ( Toronto ): Enough said of this world famous Toronto Best/Icon
  • CAFE N’ONE: Interesting Japanese style pasta and dessert…Japanese wiggly souffle cheesecake.
  • O’MEI ( Richmond Hill ): Cantonese fine dining. Consistently BEST Giant Lobster preparation in the
    GTA. Decent Norther and Southern style Dim Sum too!
  • GEORGE ( Toronto ): One of Toronto’s best ’ tasting menu ’ fine dining spot. Chef Losetto still working
    his magic after all these years.
  • BEEFING #7 ( Richmond Hill ): Hong Kong style street food with a heavy ’ beef ’ bias. Great tasting
    broth.
    -TONG HA ( Scarborough ): Well seasoned and smokey Cantonese style BBQ and roasted meat!
    -DREYFUS ( Toronto ): Lovingly prepared, rustic, comfort slightly contemporary French focused food for
    sharing.
  • CHO-SAN ( Markham ): Top notch quality, Sushi/Sashimi take-out

I’m sure with further future openings/re-openings and the arrival of the Michelin Guide, there will be more additions to these lists in the near future. Meanwhile, lets hope there won’t be more variants or future waves that might put a damper to this recovery?!

Stay safe everyone!!

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Nice list!

I always forget something when I make a list. Here goes off the top of my head:

Top 10 restaurants (in no particular order):

  1. Alo
  2. George
  3. Actinolite
  4. Grey Gardens
  5. Edulis
  6. Dova
  7. Wynona
  8. Taverne Bernhardt
  9. Little Sister
  10. Lake Inez

Top 10 bars/pubs (in no particular order):

  1. Bar Raval
  2. Pinkerton’s
  3. Bellwoods
  4. Avling
  5. Burdock
  6. Godspeed
  7. Miss Thing’s
  8. Bar Chef
  9. Broadview Hotel Rooftop
  10. Bar Piquette

Top 10 bakeries (in no particular order):

  1. Bonjour Brioche
  2. Brick St. Bakery
  3. Blackbird
  4. Forno Cultura
  5. Sud Forno
  6. Bomou
  7. Patisserie La Cigogne
  8. Harbord Bakery
  9. St. John’s
  10. Roselle
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Anyone tried La Nectarine and going to miss it?

blogTO: Celebrity chef forced to close restaurant over landlord issues opens new Toronto location.

Anyone planning to try Bouffe?

blogTO: Celebrity chef forced to close restaurant over landlord issues opens new Toronto location.

Hi Dr! You put down Patisserie la Cigogne but omitted Rahier next door?! Interesting?!

I like your lists, @DrJohn .

I still haven’t had a chance to try Dova, Taverne Bernhardt, or Wynona.

I have visited all the bakeries on your list :baguette_bread::croissant::joy:

My bakery list, only including places I’ve visited over the past 2 years:

  1. Serano on Pape: I typically buy the galatoboureko and Greek-style baklava, including a deep dish version. I like their layer cakes, especially the Chocolatina and the Strawberries and Cream. They also have a good selection of olive oils.

  2. Prairie Boy Bread
    The breads, the brownies, the cookies.

  3. Emmer
    Everything.

  4. Blackbird
    The breads. The chocolate cork. The seasonal danishes. The prepared sandwiches.

  5. Isabella’s Mochi Donuts

  6. Venezia - I am a little out of the loop for Portuguese tarts and other Portuguese pastries. I usually visit Venezia on Ossington.

  7. Dough Bake Shop. Everything I’ve tried has been excellent, for traditional Ontario-style baking.

  8. Bomou The breads and èclairs, the fancy mousse cakes ( note: I haven’t been to Rahier or La Cicogne in ages, so I can’t compare)

  9. LaLa Bakeshop the buns are delicious.

  10. Harbord Bakery I go for the Challah.

Honourable mention, since I’m already at 10: Eataly (the sesame focaccia, the apple tart, the cannoli), Fika (the Kannelbullar, the brownie, the cookies, the semla. I’ve liked every pastry or cookie I’ve tried. This is a coffee shop with good treats, rather than a full bakery)

I still want to try Brodflour and Castle and Coal. I also want to try Primrose Bagel.

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I actually haven’t been to Rahier for some time because their hours aren’t as convenient for me picking something up on the way to work. I have previously liked many of their pastries.

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Guu Izakaya for great atmosphere and izakaya
Crown Princess for great Cantonese Dim Sum – I tried several dim sum restaurants, and I like this one the best.

If you are into Dim Sum, there are a few new kids on the block that’s worth trying…Providential 9 ( Woodbine and Hwy#7 ) and Chef Elite 88 ( Kennedy & Denison ).
A ’ dark horse ’ with unexpectedly good products is ’ Destiny Asian Fusion ’ ( Bubble tea specialist ) at York Blvd, Richmond Hill!

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Crown Princess has closed, unfortunately. Crown Prince, which is located northeast of Toronto proper, is still in business.

Dynasty in Yorkville is still around.

Some of the Guus locations have changed their name. I live near the Izakaya that had been a Guu in the Annex on Bloor, and my meal last year wasn’t as good as what it had been in 2019. Imanishi on Dundas W gets a lot of love these days, and TO now has a few Japanese coffee shops and bakeries.

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I like Serano, though I prefer the galaktoboureko at Athens Pastries.

I need to get to Emmer someday.

Blackbird’s chocolate cork is a favourite.

I use to go to Venezia a lot when I lived on Ossington over 20 years ago. Beyond the custard tarts, I loved the heavy round loaves of bread.

When we want challah, we go to Harbord Bakery. Also love the bagels for that style of bagels.

I’m going to start a Greek food in TO thread, so I don’t take this on a tangent!

The 10 spots (restos/pubs/bakeries/takeout) that I’ve visited most often over the past two years plus. They range from decently acceptable - a category not to be dismissed in a chaotic industry nowadays - to pretty damn good value. Most are within a respectable drive of my little hutch in York Mills.
Belsize Public House: with a much, much better kitchen than most pubs. Solid soups, artful presentation, dee-lish flat iron steak salad, alert, playful service. Nice patio, mostly away from heavy traffic.
Descendant Pizza: the tastiest pizzas I’ve tried in Toronto, and I’ve tried almost all the good ones. Interesting flavour combinations. Takeout travels well.
Paese: there are more imaginative Italian restos downtown, I suppose, but I live uptown, and this is the best uptown Italian I’ve found up my way. Been going for years. (It helps that it has one of best, if little-known, BYOW policies in town: $0 corkage six nights a week. I’ll bring my own one time, order from the large wine list the next time.) Well run. Good, professional service.
Urban Hakka: a rather bleak dining room, but the nosh is very good from the kitchen, which I suspect is also a ghost kitchen for other restos in the neighbourhood. Reasonably game service.
Sun Star Chinese: my pick for nearby Chinese. The kitchen is just coming back to life after two years doing takeout. Takeout was acceptable, dine-in is better. Prices are up, natch, and the menu has shrunk, but it’s still pretty good.
Pantry: on Yonge north of Rosedale, a mainly takeout spot, at acceptable prices, imaginative choices, everything seems fresh and, by the time you get it home, tasty.
Domaine Mamo: on Mount Pleasant south of Eglinton. I’ve only been twice, but, if you’re prepared to pop close to $200 a couple, all in with drinks, this is a good call overall. The best cassoulet I’ve had in years. (Damn!, it’s not available again till the fall.)
Pickle Barrel: if you must go to a chain, this is the one. I go to either the original resto on Leslie south of Steeles, or the branch at Centrepoint Mall, Yonge and Steeles. Meat loaf is good.
Le Paradis: your basic French bistro. The cassoulet ain’t up to much, but most everything else is quite good, at an acceptable price. Lovely outdoor patio seating. Good service from a droll, occasionally cranky waitstaff. Easy to take wine prices.
Rebel House: my kind of pub. The grub’s good, too, particularly the sandwiches. And the meat loaf. Nice patio.

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Hi Tom!
Enjoy Sun-Star whilst you can. Heard that entire mall will be transformed into a condo project. Guess you need to drive further down to Finch and Leslie?

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Only went to Domaine Mamo once about a year ago. The execution was very good, but we thought the tasting menu was overpriced for what we got. Still, we are fans of Didier Leroy so perhaps we should try again.

Good to know Le Paradis is still good. Haven’t been in years, but did enjoy it previously.

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I’ve heard that, too. I trust the father-and-son team that owns Sun Star finds a nearby locale. Perhaps even the Finch-Leslie Centre, where it’ll provide good competition for several solid choices already in residence there. Agreed, most of the good spots are up your way, but I haven’t the patience to drive more than 20 minutes to get to any resto.

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I don’t do tasting menus - they’re just not my thing. But agreed that some of Domaine Mamo’s menu choices seem hilariously overpriced. Conduct yourself warily in there. Still, an enjoyable, well-run spot.
Le Paradis: good, so long as you’re not too, too demanding. The simplest dishes are the best. A couple of menu items that you don’t ordinarily see on other bistro menus.

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Le Paradis…my once go-to place for Veal Sweet bread and Calf’s Liver!

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