15 new Toronto restaurants to add to your summer hit list

Summer is in full swing, but don't let it pass you by — book a reservation at these hot new Toronto restaurants ASAP to make the most of the easy breezy season.

Best new Toronto restaurants | Steak and wine at Daphne

Summer goes by in a second. One minute you’re dusting off your Birkenstocks and the next minute you’re panic-texting your fair-weather friend in late August to see if you can swing by the cottage before the season is well and truly over. We don’t say this to scare you. We just want to remind you that in addition to the festivals and farmers’ markets you’re currently trying to shoehorn into your schedule, Toronto has blessed us with some stellar summer restaurant openings that you don’t want to miss.

Alobar was one of the eight Toronto restaurants to snag a Michelin star this year. Patrick Kriss and his team will be hoping to do the same at the new York Street outpost, which offers the same great service and filet mignon, with the addition of some tasty tipples. Elsewhere, you’ll find custom cocktails waiting behind a doorway in the back alley at Dzô Viet Eatery’s speakeasy spot, Bar Dem. Head to Kissa, a King West listening lounge designed for spinning vinyl and sipping signature drinks.

Squeeze in as many reservations as you can this summer and see if any of the new kids on the block are giving Toronto’s best restaurants a run for their money. If your hair can handle the humidity, grab a spot on one of the hottest patios in Toronto this summer. The season is short, but there’s always room for a second dinner.

15 hot new Toronto restaurants for summer 

1. Kissa

619 King St. W.

Styled like a 1920s-style Japanese speakeasy teahouse, Kissa (pronounced key-sa) is a moody new vinyl listening lounge on King West. Snack on izakaya-style bites under Kissa’s sparkling retro crystal balls and record wall, then wet your whistle with one (or three) of the menu’s 17 craft cocktails. VIPs can head upstairs for a swanky members-only room, which will host exclusive events and experiences.


2. Laylak

25 Toronto St.

Toronto’s fine dining scene has finally matured enough to feature more than just basic French and Italian, and we’re here for it. This summer, Laylak brought Lebenese haute-cuisine to the Financial District with a menu of traditional and halal dishes made with a focus on locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients. Dine on creamy dips, fried cauliflower, grilled seafood and beef tenderloin in the ethereal space punctuated with ornate gold detailing. Signature cocktails and a Lebanese-centred wine list (with international options, too) are perfect for sipping in the posh yet comfortable space.


3. Bar Dem

Alleyway entrance behind 308 Dundas St. W.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 10 p.m., Dzô Viet Eatery transforms from a casual, modern Vietnamese restaurant into a sultry speakeasy illuminated by strings of colourful lanterns. Head to the back alley behind the restaurant (follow the lanterns) to find the new Bar Dem. 

Under a leaf-adorned skylight, bartenders shake up classic and signature cocktails like the delicious and slightly sweet Good Morning Saigon with gin, strawberry-infused Aperol, lime and elderflower. Bar snacks like phở poutine, sriracha chicken wings and crispy spring rolls are favourites from Dzô Viet’s starters menu.


4. Il Vegano

502 Queen St. W.

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Curious passersby might have noticed Il Vegano’s shuttered purple storefront on Queen West since December 2021. Finally opening its doors in late June 2023, the restaurant — helmed by celebrity chef and co-owner Francesco Comito — boasts an enticing menu of modern Italian plant-based eats. Vegans are spoiled for choice here. Fried “calamari” konjac shrimps, a vegan “egg”-bearing spaghetti alla carbonara, and an IPA-braised “lamb” stew are just some of the creative ideas on display here.


5. Kream Dessert

526 Yonge St.

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It’s not easy to think of ways to improve one of the world’s best pastries, the croissant, but Kream Dessert has somehow cracked the code. Their flaky, cube-shaped flagship take on the dessert isn’t just fodder for Instagram — it’s also pure genius. Once you’ve snapped your pic, cut (or chomp) into the golden-brown block to discover an oozing, fresh and creamy centre. Kream Bombs are filled to the brim with everything from custard to sesame cream. We’ll take two, stat.


6. Alobar Downtown

150 York St.

Alobar Yorkville has made quite the name for itself, even earning a shiny Michelin Star last year. The à la carte restaurant's latest downtown iteration on York Street is much bigger than the Cumberland location to make room for the busy lunch rush of suits and "business meetings." It certainly smells like a steakhouse inside, but bright marble countertops, geometric tiles and lots of natural light take the place of dark wood and moody vibes.

Pull up a seat at the horseshoe bar and sip on house cocktails like the best espresso martini we've ever had — made with armagnac (brandy produced in France's Armagnac region) instead of vodka for a more coffee-forward blended beauty.

The menu features classic prime chops like filet mignon with frites or standout mains like Iberico pork schnitzel with burrata and juicy confit tomatoes. You could have the ginormous twice baked potato "side" topped with melted aged cheddar and a generous dollop of sour cream as your entire meal. Save room for the banana cream pie, if you can.


7. Pigeon Café & Bar

337 King St. W.

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Between the name and the "world's worst coffee" tagline, we weren't sure what to think of Pigeon at first. Then, we saw inside: French bistro chairs and a tree decorated with twinkly lights in the middle of the restaurant. During the day, stop by the café for actually good coffee, layered iced lattes and brunch delights like Mommy's Fresh Omelette, perfectly soft in the centre (and topped with caviar, perhaps?). At night, enjoy hearty mains like truffle cacio e pepe alongside signature cocktails.


8. Dear Saigon

185 College St.

Dear Saigon branched out into a second location at 185 College Street, providing authentic dishes for downtown lovers of phở, spring rolls and Vietnamese coffee without having to board a flight. The Vietnamese restaurant founders emigrated here with the dream of taking Canadians on vacation with every slurp of bone broth or crunch into a perfectly crispy rice wrapper. With great prices, portions and flavours, we’ll gladly book a one-way ticket.


9. Ristorante Sociale

545 King St. W.

Enoteca Sociale, the beloved Italian restaurant that received a Bib Gourmand last year, now has a vibey new sister spot. Ristorante Sociale stepped onto the King West scene this summer, combining the fun and flare of the neighbourhood’s nightclubs with an Italian steakhouse-style menu. Start your Friday and Saturday nights here digging into steak and pasta while performers dance around your table, then head to the club or stay and get bottle service.


10. Yunnan Noodle Shack

43 Baldwin St.

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Dining solo is such a treat — no sharing or small talk? Count us in. At Baldwin Village's newest noodle house, solitary eating is the name of the game: Rows of long tables are separated by wooden dividers (it's giving university library). Each individual dining station comes equipped with all the tools you need to slurp your meal of Yunnan style pork-bone broth noodles and dry noodles, alone.


11. La Glace

65 Front St. W. Level B1

Vancouver’s favourite ice cream parlour has landed in Toronto for the summer. Until September 1, head to Union Spaces on the lower level at Union station to find La Glace dishing out 4 oz cups and 500 ml glass bottles of their French ice cream. Made from scratch with a crème anglaise base, their rich ice cream comes in an assortment of rotating flavours like crème caramel, lavender-infused coffee cream, and raspberry and white chocolate ganache. They serve gluten-free and vegan ice cream options, too.


12. Margo

600 King St. W.

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Once part of the exclusive club Clio, this King West spot is now opening its doors to any hoi polloi looking for a taste of Mediterranean cuisine in a glitzy atmosphere. Enjoy signature cocktails with a tableside smoke show, Egyptian street food topped with truffles or whole lobster linguine for two on the fourth floor of the private members’ club.


13. Daphne

67 Richmond St. W.

Restaurant juggernaut INK Entertainment (Byblos, Sofia, Pink Sky, Patria and many more) has added another infinity stone to their gauntlet of excellent eateries with Daphne. Set in the Financial District, Daphne is a sprawling, 8,000-square foot American restaurant and garden terrace helmed by Patois alum, chef John Chee. Chee sets out to take patrons on a U.S. culinary tour on the plate. New York striploin rubs elbows with B.C. salmon and other American classics. Daphne will be the flagship space for the Alleyway, a revitalization project for the downtown core that will convert once-dingey alleyways into cute lounge-and-snack spaces.


14. Union Market

65 Front St. W.

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If you like to snack on your commute, you’ll appreciate the growing number of grab-and-go options at Union Station. Now, the station’s new project, Union Market, will be home to a selection of Toronto pop-ups and permanent shops, opening in phases over the next little while. From specialty croissants at Hazukido to Taiwanese teas and beverages at The Alley, expect new and delicious ways to miss your train in the coming months.


15. Paris Texas

461 King St. W.

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Rock ‘N’ Horse Saloon isn’t the only rowdy equestrian in the Toronto stable anymore. In early July, sports and country bar Paris Texas saddled into the now-shuttered Arcane’s old digs on King West. Between all the two-stepping and yee-hawing, chow down on classic cowboy fare like juicy steak, fried chicken and hearty burgers.