The 24 best downtown Toronto restaurants and bars

There are tons of restaurants in downtown Toronto, but when we head into the core for office days, games or events, we want to make it count. These are the best restaurants in downtown Toronto.

Best downtown Toronto restaurants | The heated, covered year-round patio at Harriet's Rooftop

Nestled into every nook and cranny of the city’s beating heart, the best downtown Toronto restaurants and bars never cease to electrify us. Year after year, countless beloved favourites, swanky new Toronto restaurants and Michelin-recognized heavy hitters vie to score our reservations. As Toronto grows, its downtown food scene thrives. The variety of cuisines and experiences at restaurants in downtown Toronto is endless, and they're easily accessible by public transit — you're better off leaving the car at home unless you have the patience of a saint and wazoo bucks to spend on parking. It's totally worth it though; whether you’re a newcomer to the city, just in town for a weekend or a seasoned foodie looking to add spots to your list, downtown Toronto restaurants are where you want to be.

You’ll never be bored dining at restaurants in downtown Toronto, Canada. You’re spoiled for choice; whether you've just finished a long day at the office and are looking for somewhere to post up for budget-friendly happy hour deals or are heading to a concert or sporting event, you’re surrounded by the best restaurants and the best bars in Toronto. From seafood restaurants serving the freshest catches in the city and vibey steakhouse-nightclubs dishing fresh beats alongside buttery porterhouses to romantic date spots offering the finest sky-high views of the urban sprawl, the top restaurants in downtown Toronto have it all.

If you wanted, you could simply wander world-famous streets like King Street or Queen West, and float towards the spot with the liveliest ambience. The city’s core is so packed with stellar dining options, that you’re guaranteed to stumble into something delicious — or at least interesting. Even popular landmarks like the Eaton Centre or Rogers Centre are surrounded by some of the best downtown Toronto restaurants and bars.

There are so many restaurants in downtown Toronto offering exceptional dining and drinking experiences, it can be a hefty task to know where to start. As luck should have it, we’ve compiled a list of the best downtown Toronto, Canada restaurants to steer you in the right direction. No matter if you’re in charge of planning date night, a co-worker lunch or an al fresco night out on a Toronto patio with friends, the best restaurants in downtown Toronto will have your every need covered.

The best restaurants in downtown Toronto

1. PAI

18 Duncan St.

What do Simu Liu, Jason Momoa, M. Night Shyamalan and Scottie Barnes have in common? They’ve all been spotted at King and Duncan’s Michelin-recognized restaurant, PAI, ordering a taste of chef Nuit Regular’s Thai cuisine. Celebs seem to flock here; the list of sightings continues with big names like Mia Goth, J.Cole, Oscar Isaac and Alexander Skarsgård.

Even though there’s no guarantee you’ll spot anyone famous on your night out, PAI’s authentic Thai flavours, hearty portions and cheery atmosphere are certainly worthy of some paparazzi attention (i.e., snapping a pic for the ‘gram before digging in).

2. Marked

132 John. St.

Marked is a great spot for the pregame, that magical part of the night out when good conversations happen, and the music is still at a reasonable decibel. The South American-inspired restaurant and bar has five unique dining areas to tailor your night. Watch your cocktail arrive in a plume of nitro smoke at the velvet curtain-enclosed Corsair, voted one of the Top 50 Bars in Canada in 2022, or enjoy bacon-wrapped dates and signature cocktails in the Pan Am Lounge.

Marked also has a banging bottomless brunch, allowing you to gorge to your heart’s content from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and 6 p.m. on Sundays. Maybe you won’t reach your final destination — and that’s okay.

3. XXX

102 Portland St.

This small, funky underground drinking den below Dutch-Indo restaurant Little Sister wows with its experimental tipples. Think cocktails with black garlic-infused vodka, buttermilk and white chocolate, or actual black ants. Not to be outdone by the libations, the bar bites are a playground of big flavours and satisfying textures.

With only 20 seats available, and no reservations, it can be tricky to get a seat at XXX, but not impossible. If you’re lucky enough to be awarded a special playing card from the upstairs host while you're dining and drinking at Little Sister, you can duck under the neon “XXX” sign and enter the moody space.

4. Miss Likklemore’s

433 King St. W.

Befitting King West, Sunday brunch at Miss Likklemore’s is a glamorous, celebratory affair. Old-school dancehall and reggaeton beats, along with Motown dance hits, blast from the speakers to a room full of dresses and heels. The atmosphere goes toe-to-toe with the spice-packed Caribbean flavours infused into Canadian brunch classics.

Home fries are piled with chunks of oxtail and gravy, poached eggs and curry hollandaise, while the Full Caribbean is a traditional breakfast with a kick from jerk bacon and a cheddar-and-scotch-bonnet sausage. The floral, prosecco-forward Sunshine Spritz is offered bottomless or as a single cocktail, but our favourite serves are the sweet, foamy Dancehall Queen and the citrusy Uptown Martini.

While Sunday brunch is our favourite time to visit, Miss Likklemore's is a dinner destination first and foremost.

5. Alo

163 Spadina Ave.

There’s a reason Alo constantly receives praise and accolades. Patrick Kriss’s tasting menu is a true masterpiece of taste and texture, served in an unpretentious, elegant space and paired with some of the best hospitality in the city. You might not recognize what’s on the plate in front of you, but it won’t matter when the explosions of flavour hit your palate. It’s beyond tough to get a reservation, but it’s worth all the effort. Alo is an aspirational experience that should be on every Toronto foodie’s bucket list. Oh, and did we mention the killer wine pairings?

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6. Harriet's Rooftop

550 Wellington St. W. Suite C

Toronto loves patios, but staring into traffic and listening to endless honking can really put a damper on an al-fresco afternoon. Harriet’s is high above the city rabble on the roof of 1 Hotel Toronto. Visit at sunset for oodles of ambience. Surrounded by the twinkling lights of skyscrapers with string lights overhead, it’s a date-worthy atmosphere that turns vibey with live DJs spinning house and techno when it gets late.

Cocktails here are magnificent; they come in a range of different flavour profiles and are all well-balanced. Skip a full meal unless you’re really looking to ball out, and instead snack on decadent sushi rolls and crunchy chicken karaage sliders.

7. Restaurant 20 Victoria

20 Victoria St.

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Not all restaurant casualties have a silver lining, but Restaurant 20 Victoria is a true phoenix-risen-from-the-ashes story. The team behind Brothers Food & Wine, the critically lauded but shuttered-by-covid eatery in Yorkville, didn’t waste much time plotting out their next venture. Chris White and Jonathan Nicolaou opened their new spot in the Financial District in the summer of 2021, and before long, the small, dimly lit dining room began serving innovative seafood dishes and a menu full of local flair to enormous fanfare.

Restaurant 20 Victoria only has 20 seats inside, so you may need to book your tasting menu months in advance. It’ll all pay off once you grab a table and settle in for some of chef Julie Hyde’s seasonal, original cuisine in this white-tablecloth venue that never feels stuffy.


8. Big Trouble

460 Dundas St. W. 2nd floor

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A downtown Toronto vibe meets Chinatown pricing at the uber-cool Big Trouble. Above Dundas West, tattooed servers sling tasty Pan-Asian small plates and easy-drinking cocktails in the glow of paper lanterns and neon dragons. Wall murals and keyhole-shaped entryways to each booth complete the aesthetic.

DJs remix popular songs into electronic dance tunes, and the crowd breaks it down on weekend nights. Super spicy coconut firecracker shrimp are a must, and the crispy golden tofu is sublime. Don’t fill up on the cheeseburger house dumplings — or do.

9. Sommelier Factory Wine Bar

304 Richmond St. W.

Downtown wine bars are sometimes paired with snootiness, not smiles. But not at Sommelier Factory Wine Bar on Richmond Street West (formerly Grand Cru Deli): A warm welcome greets you when you walk into the diminutive but well-stocked space. Despite being helmed by one of the country’s few master sommeliers, Bruce Wallner, and advanced sommelier Nabilah Rawji, there’s zero pretension here.

Sit at the bar and let someone pour you something delicious from the Loire Valley, then pair it with a plate of burrata or snacks from the sea. Wine nerds looking to increase their knowledge of grapes can enroll in a foundation course upstairs at the wine school.

10. Cafe Renée

100 Portland St.

The most talked about restaurant opening (on social media and IRL) this year, Cafe Renée’s gorgeous Parisian interior has been popping up all over our feeds. With all the hype, reservations seem near impossible to get, but if you can manage to snag a bright red banquette backed by white brick and climbing vines, you’ll be treated to a menu of French-inspired pastas and a top-notch wine selection.

Sure, there are plenty of cutesy photo opps inside the Portland row house and on the back garden patio, but this place isn’t all for show — executive chef Nick Liu (DaiLo) is behind the menu, and the restaurant itself comes from the same team as Astoria Great Hall and Bar Poet. We suspect it will have lasting power long after the new restaurant frenzy dies down, but if you can get in now, you can show off to all your friends (and followers).

11. Laylak

25 Toronto St.

Follow the floating sparkle-encrusted, periwinkle butterflies and the golden script into a fine dining restaurant that will instantly enchant you. Laylak is a whimsical dream full of velvety cream banquettes and marble tables under the glow of a magnificent chandelier made up of interwoven gold leaves and white flowers. Here, the atmosphere manages to strike the perfect balance between vivacious and elegant, lively and alluring.

The menu of authentic and halal Lebanese dishes is bursting with exciting flavour and texture combinations, from the crunchy halloumi cheese rolls with watermelon to the grilled octopus on a bed of herbs. Cocktails and mocktails lean on the refreshing side, like the signature Laylak cocktail that's blossoming with lavender, elderflower, butterfly pea, lemon, mint and gin.

12. Bar Hop

Multiple Locations

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It’s a known fact that beer tastes better in the sunshine, and Bar Hop Brewco’s sprawling rooftop patio on Peter Street is just the place to soak it all in. While, in the colder months, the moodier King Street location is our go-to.

Barhop pours craft brews from all over Southern Ontario, representing the city’s big names like Bellwoods Brewery, Collective Arts, Left Field, Blood Brothers and Great Lakes. But it’s not all hyper-local; taste beer from further afield with breweries in Oshawa, Picton and as far as Czechia on the list. Bar bites like deep fried pickles, wonton nachos and a whole menu of fries (hello, kimchi) are primed for sharing, while loaded burgers and sandwiches can make a whole meal.

13. Ardo

243 King St. E.

Ardo is an unpretentious eatery on King East that gives diners a taste of Sicily. Ardo is all about the love of food with a sense of place, and it's co-owned by chef Roberto Marotta and Jacqueline Nicosia, a husband and wife team (cute) who met in Sicily before moving to Canada to open their own restaurant together (double cute).

The dishes feature the highest-quality ingredients and aren't overcomplicated — even the simple house-made bread with Sicilian olive oil tastes special. Don't miss the delicate raw tuna carpaccio with crunchy celery, capers and cucumbers.

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14. Minami

225 King St. W. Suite 100

Right in downtown Toronto, Minami might look diminutive from the outside (like its nearby neighbours on this strip of King West), but step inside and you'll find a gorgeous, sprawling Japanese restaurant. Murals of koi fish swim along the walls past Japanese maple trees and cherry blossom branches, all created by Japanese artist Hideki Kimura.

Sushi lovers will have a field day with the incredibly fresh fish here, unique maki rolls covered in sauces and the torched aburi that this restaurant group (Aburi Hana, Miku, Tora) is known for. Meanwhile, dishes like juicy wagyu sizzling on yogan stone and charcoal aburi chicken make meat eaters drool, and brussels sprouts with smoked bacon round out the offerings. Cocktails are delicious, but on the pricy side — like everything at this special occasion spot.

15. Coffee, Oysters, Champagne

214 King St. W. Basement Level 1

When it first opened, Coffee, Oysters, Champagne did three things really well — and they still do. But now they've evolved to do a lot more than just their namesake offerings. Start with tuna tartare or beef carpaccio and order the stuffed dates with double smoked bacon that strike a soul-satisfying combination of sweet and savoury. Tuck into mains like hot fried chicken or glazed pork belly.

There's an entire book of boozy cocktails for after the bubbles. And if the pretty pink atmosphere isn't your vibe, ask to see the champagne room for a more sultry, moody experience. The secret has been out for a while, but we're still keeping our lips sealed. You have to visit to see it for yourself. You'll thank us later.

16. Oretta

633 King St. W.

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It might not turn heads as the most exciting downtown Toronto restaurant, but Oretta is our old faithful. The easy, breezy Italian restaurant is massive, with super high ceilings adding to the lofty space that combines classic Italian and modern design.

Servers dressed in the cutest (ever-changing) uniforms sling crowd-pleasing plates of pasta, pizzas and salads along with easy-drinking cocktails and spritzes. In the summer, their street-side patio is sheltered from the traffic with enough hedges and string lights to make you forget you're dining on King Street. Head here right after work for their aperitivo hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays that sees food deals start at $6 and drinks start at $12.

17. Maxime's

77 Portland St.

While we're not totally jazzed about the steakhouse-nightclub trend that's popping up all over downtown Toronto, we can't deny that Maxime's dishes out an excellent vibe alongside their succulent steaks and seafood towers.

This big night out spot is seductive and sultry from the moment you walk into the mirrored glowing hallway entrance to when you take your last bite seated in the gold-detailed, red-velvet-curtained, shattered-mirror-walled space. While the DJ plays vibey techno and screen-clad pillars display trippy visuals, dig into decadent seafood dishes, pasta and steaks paired with craft cocktails and wine.

18. Melrose on Adelaide

270 Adelaide St. W. #300

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The service at this small downtown Toronto spot is never speedy, but that's not what this place is about. Melrose on Adelaide has all the sex appeal. Moonlighting as servers and bartenders by night, the staff of gorgeous models and actors might get your order wrong, but at least they'll serve it to you with a million dollar smile and a cutesy, "woopsy."

Dimly lit and decorated with fake vines and string lights, this down-to-earth drinking den is equally worthy of date night or girls’ night — especially during their happy hour. Every day from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday to Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., find food deals like the $25 charcuterie board, along with $6 beer, $8 red or white wine and $10 rosé or sparkling. On Wednesdays, bottles of wine are half-price all night. Sunday scaries are no match for buck-a-shuck oysters and $45 bottles of bubbly.

19. Canoe

66 Wellington St. W., 54th floor

Tasting menus in the city can be indistinguishable, with their teeny garnishes and puffs of foam. Ron McKinlay is making his mark with a rotating selection of dishes that showcase Canadian terroir at its finest. Canoe works with local farmers and producers to create a taste of place at the top of the TD Tower, unlike anywhere else in the city. Devour nose-to-tail lamb, a raw bar featuring chef’s daily seafood selection, 54-hour short-rib and decadent desserts from pastry chef Raffaele Stea. The food and the service will mesmerize at Canoe but don’t forget to take in the stunning lake vistas between courses.

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20. Aera

8 Spadina Ave. #3800

Up the ante for your next special occasion with a trip to Aera on the 38th floor of The Well. Aera is technically a steakhouse, but that underscores the complete offering at this glitzy restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, sushi bar and DJ nights that go until 2 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday.

The unobstructed skyline and the business deals inevitably struck in the dining room give us Mad Men vibes, so order a classic cocktail to kick things off. Each international and local dish is presented more beautifully than the last, culminating in some pretty next-level desserts.

21. La Plume

453 Wellington St. W.

O&B’s romantic new multi-level brasserie in The Well, La Plume is a love letter to the south of France. The space is stunning; designed by Solid Design Creative, magnificent chandeliers dangle from 14-foot ceilings and are complemented by Bordeaux checkerboard flooring.

District executive chef John Horne’s seasonal menu is packed with coastal flavours and showstoppers like the Giannone rotisserie chicken, which is brined for eight hours, rubbed with a spice blend and dry-aged for two days; portobello tartare with truffle cream; and three types of steak frites, served with béarnaise sauce or shallot jus. After your meal, venture upstairs to find the sultry, boudoir-inspired speakeasy, Bonne Nuit, tucked out of sight behind a bathroom stall.

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22. The Dorset

457 Wellington St. W.

The U.K. doesn’t scream beach vacation, but O&B’s newest opening at The Well hopes to change that. The Dorset, inspired by the southwest English coast and countryside, has a menu packed with nostalgic comfort classics, like scotch duck egg, full English breakfast and sticky toffee pudding, all of which have been given a chef-driven twist by O&B executive chef Ryan Lister. The proud Southerner, hailing from the eponymous Dorset, serves his contemporary classics in a stunning dining room filled with chandeliers, royal blue accents and a reimagined fox-hunting mural.

23. The Joneses

33 Yonge St.

Blowing off steam post 5 p.m. is integral to the healing process. Whether you have fussy coworkers or date-night criteria, The Joneses, at the corner of Yonge and Wellington, takes the stress out of choosing with a vast menu of American classics. Lunge across the table for the last forkful of shareable starters like calamari and cheese bread, or get stuck into deep-dish pizza, smash burgers, sushi and poke bowls. If you’re quick, you can snap up happy hour deals, like select wines and cocktails, for $9 from 2:30 to 6 p.m., and again from 9 p.m. until close. Work will have to wait.

24. Queen’s Cross Food Hall

CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Level 1, 220 Yonge St.

The second food court at the Eaton Centre has been closed for so long, we can’t even remember what the old one looked like. But the new Queen’s Cross Food Hall was well worth the wait. Unveiled early this spring, the polished space is too sleek to be dubbed a food court; it’s worth visiting even if you’re not shopping in the mall.

The 19,000 square feet of dining options and seating are home to 14 food stalls and two rotating pop-ups. Find French bistro bites, fried chicken, tacos, burgers and more. Best of all, Crossbar is a café in the morning and a full bar in the afternoon and evening — because lunching isn’t complete without cocktail and mocktail options.