With new restaurants and shops opening up farther away from the downtown core, tourists have a lot more area to cover. We make it easy by sorting restaurants by price, cuisine, and neighborhood. Search our "Best Bets" chart for top recommendations. But good eats aren't limited to the city core.
For 2½ weeks between January and February, more than 100 of the city's best restaurants offer the Winterlicious Program, where a fixed-price, three-course lunch is C$15 to C$25, and dinner is C$25 to C$40, and the regular menu is still served. Similarly, Summerlicious runs for around two weeks in July. For more details, see www.toronto.ca/special_events.
With the exception of high-end restaurants, the dining atmosphere in Toronto is generally cool and relaxed, with patrons donning trendy and polished attire. In the more elegant and upscale restaurants, or around the Financial District, men are likely to feel more comfortable wearing a jacket. Conversely, in the Kensington Market area, casual comfort is the style of choice. In the aggressively air-conditioned summer months, women are advised to bring a light sweater or jacket when heading out, especially in the evening. We mention dress only when men are required to wear a jacket or a jacket and tie.
Because of long winters, weekends in the summer are celebrated to their fullest. What better way than food festivals to showcase Canadian culture?
The annual Taste of the Danforth Festival celebrates the mouthwatering diversity of the city as it welcomes millions to the Danforth strip each August. www.tasteofthedanforth.com.
Taste of Little Italy. A smaller event when compared to the Danforth Festival, Taste of Little Italy takes place in June on College Street, where Italian-centric cuisine and live music are celebrated. Toronto, ON. www.tasteoflittleitaly.ca.
Lunch typically starts at 11:30 or noon, and dinner service begins around 5:30 or 6. Many restaurants close between lunch and dinner (roughly 2:30 to 5:30). On weekdays, kitchens usually close around 10:30 pm. Chinatown, Yorkville, and Danforth have some late-night spots. There are few all-night restaurants in the city. Unless otherwise noted, the restaurants listed in this guide are open daily for lunch and dinner.
Reservations are always a good idea; we mention them only when they're essential or not accepted. Book as far ahead as you can. (Large parties should always call to check the reservations policy.) Many restaurants have lounges and sections for walk-ins only.
Toronto restaurants prohibit smoking, including areas outdoors under an awning or overhang. Some let diners get away with smoking in open-air outdoor dining areas.
Tipping and Taxes
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to tipping; it is optional but customary, and some restaurants include gratuities on the bill for parties of six or more. It’s common to leave 15%–20% for standard or good service and 20% or more for exceptional service. If you have brought your own wine or cake for a special occasion, it’s proper etiquette to tip more for the extra service. The percentage of tips is generally calculated on the subtotal. Goods and Services Tax and Provincial Sales Tax were combined into the Harmonized Sales Tax of 13%, meaning the tax on alcohol was lowered, and food and alcohol are no longer taxed separately.
What It Costs
Credit cards are widely accepted in Toronto restaurants though some may accept only MasterCard and Visa. Cafés and burger joints may accept debit cards as well.