Black + Blue is a down-to-earth luxury steakhouse with a beautiful patio

Tucked in the heart of the Financial District, Black + Blue is a modern steakhouse dishing impeccable food in a refined, yet relaxed atmosphere with a beautiful oasis of a patio.

Black and Blue steakhouse Toronto | The patio at Black and Blue

Smack dab in the middle of the Financial District, Black + Blue is one of the best restaurants in Toronto and I would even wager that it's the city's best steakhouse. Being sandwiched between office buildings has a way of sucking the soul out of restaurants in the core, leaving a compact list of the best restaurants in downtown Toronto. But somehow, Black + Blue manages to exude a youthful, sexy vibe. 

Adjunct to the Exchange Tower, the outdoor terrace is surrounded by the concrete jungle, but once we're settled into the fully enclosed space, it feels worlds away from downtown — it's easily one of the best patios in Toronto. The sheer number of suits blowing off steam after work is the only clue that we're still surrounded by the corporate world.

Black + Blue: The vibe

"Aaaah-hoooo, werewolves of London," bops out of the speakers just loud enough for us to hear. Upbeat, throwback rock hits signal that we're all off the clock, and cater to the wide spanning age range of coworkers enjoying afterwork drinks and bites. Black + Blue has a top-notch happy hour every afternoon with some very affordable drinks and bites, which has clearly drawn in a crowd. 

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Sinking into a cushy banquette under throngs of greenery floating on the summer breeze is an exhale of relief that's a full body experience. Whether through rigorous training or the utmost passion, the servers make us feel as though their only wish in life is for us to have a wonderful time this evening. Any residual stress from the workday is a lost memory at this point. It's a Thursday, and as the night goes on, the music grows louder, changing to EDM and house tracks; younger diners wearing less clothing take over the space. The atmosphere morphs from unwinding to foreplay. 

The patio itself is a beautiful oasis. Completely enclosed and heated, it's an outdoor terrace for those who want the fresh air of dining al fresco, without all the rest of it. There's no chance of nature getting in the way of a meal here. Faux leaves and flowers dangle from the ceiling, giving the ambiance of a natural setting, but cushy banquettes and hanging lamps provide all the creature comforts of sitting indoors. Tucked away from the street and hidden from the prying eyes of passersby, it feels exclusive and secret. Compared to the sprawling, modern indoor space, the patio feels quite intimate, and more relaxed than the buzzy atmosphere inside.

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Black + Blue: The menu

Ask for a meat presentation and the knowledgeable staff will give you a full display of the cuts on offer and walk you through each one. Even if you already have your order in mind, it's interesting to see and understand how marbling and other factors impact the flavour and texture. The beef options run the gamut from Canadian Prime to the ultra-rare, budget-busting Japanese kobe. 

If the wide selection of steaks doesn't impress you, there's plenty of showmanship to win you over. The tableside caesar salad isn't your typical garlicky mixture of dressing, leaves and croutons. We watch hungrily as ingredient after ingredient is mixed into the bowl: mustard, egg yolk, Tabasco, anchovies, Worcestershire. Finally the large gruyère brioche croutons (yum) and a generous helping of parmigiano-reggiano are added before the salad is tonged onto our plates. It's creamy, tangy and zesty with layers of flavour. 

While Black + Blue is a steakhouse first and foremost, their seafood and sushi options are nothing to sniff at. The spicy bluefin tuna roll doesn't hide behind over the top sauces or garnishes (like at some other restaurants that add maki rolls to their menu). Instead, the fresh, delicious fish is the star. 

A very challenging dish to make, the beef wellington for two is pure bliss. Nestled inside of a light and flaky puff pastry, the tender steak is a treasure waiting to be discovered by the slice of a knife. Our server cuts it into four pieces tableside and serves us — so there's no fighting over the portions or the last piece. It's presented alongside a family-style dish of baby heirloom carrots that are pleasantly firm and glazed in sweetness. My partner, who has often proclaimed that he hates carrots, reaches in for seconds. Creamy mashed potatoes round out the plate that's slathered in a rich truffle jus.

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Further into the patio, the tables are quite close together, but luckily, we're at a table next to a large aisle. Our server rolls a full cooking station up to our booth and pours a generous helping of Cointreau into the pan. Flames shoot up to the sky, flambéing the strawberries for our tableside crêpe suzette for two. When the show is over and it finally reaches our plates, we're drooling over the dish. Crêpes can easily be too sweet, but here balsamic ice cream and black pepper cut the sugar in while the booze adds an addictive kick to this dessert. 

Black + Blue: The drink list

I would normally opt for wine at a steakhouse (at least with the main course), and there are plenty of options, but we can't get enough of Black + Blue's cocktails. We order another and another until we realize the meal is over. 

The champagne-forward Midnight in Paris is an excellent, almost celebratory way to commence the evening. Hints of sweetness from passion fruit mingle with the dry bubbly. A stronger starter, the Black or Blue gives guests a choice between Johnnie Walker Black Label or Blue Label, given a refreshing kiss of sweet and tart lime with savoury notes of sesame.

More than a few of the cocktails are cheeky nods to the Financial District, like The Financial Advisor, a sweet (but not overly sugary) tequila creamsicle of a drink topped with a shiny bubble that bursts with bubble gum smoke. Also on the citrusy side, The Treasurer tastes like what a mimosa wants to be when it grows up.

Back on the dark and strong side, The Executive is a whisky-forward serve with plenty of orange, while the Bay Street Boys is a woodsy drink with notes of apple and a big whiff of campfire aromas before every sip. 

There's a clear divide between the cocktails that land on the strong, spirit-forward side or the slightly sweet side, but they all have beautiful, balanced flavours.

It's obvious that a lot of thought and care has gone into everything at Black + Blue, from the nuanced cocktails and the premium cuts of meat right down to every side dish and accoutrement. Nothing here is an afterthought. The exceptional service makes the evening all the more memorable and the showmanship is the cherry on top. 

Dinner and drinks for two: around $250 before tax and tip.

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