What's the vibe
While the concept of Hy's Steakhouse in Toronto is nothing new (the restaurant was previously located on Adelaide until 2018 and spent 20 years on Richmond Street West before that), this 18,000-square foot space inside a former bank is something different altogether.
With construction complete (removing old vaults in the basement took a little longer than anticipated), guests can enjoy light snacking and hotel-bar vibes downstairs. Live music is a staple every Tuesday – Saturday from 7 – 11 p.m. and weekday happy hours ensure that you won't want to budge from the 35-foot wraparound bar and booths on the ground level.
To fully immerse yourself in the experience, make a reservation and head upstairs for tablecloths and fine dining – not to mention, the best view of the entire restaurant. On your way to the washroom, sneak a peek at the wall of Hy's history, including photos of founder Hy Aisenstat, as well as some original menus from the Steakhouse's humble beginnings in the 1950s.
What to drink
As you might expect from a steakhouse whose roots stretch back to 1955, Hy's has you covered on the classic cocktail front. Choose from drinks including the Sazerac, Dark n' Stormy and Aperol Spritz or order a Manhattan at the whisky bar on the second floor. The specialized enclave features a picture of the Pink Panther, in recognition of Henry Mancini who composed the music for the films and frequented Hy's Steakhouse in Vancouver.
Those who wish to go easy on the imbibing can sip from the 'low-alcohol' or 'prohibition' side of the cocktail menu. Elsewhere, oenophiles will find plenty to love with a wine list spanning 13 countries, including a robust selection of domestic options by the glass and bottle from Okanagan, Niagara and Prince Edward County.
What to eat
There aren't many places left in downtown Toronto that still do tableside dining, and there's a feeling at Hy's that you might as well go hard or go home. Have your steak Diane flambéed inches from your seat, or order a Caesar salad and watch as your server wheels over their cart and expertly prepares the anchovy-laden dish in a giant bowl. Aside from all the top-notch food on offer, Hy's hospitality is at the top of its game, so let your uber-qualified servers guide you through their roster of Canadian prime grade steaks, craft cocktails and sommelier-selected list of wines.
Those familiar to the franchise will recognize plenty of menu items, like the iconic Hy's cheese toast and Atlantic lobster tail. However, this new location has a few special surprises for Toronto diners. Despite being first and foremost a steakhouse, Hy's has included a vegetarian meatloaf and a vegan bowl with tamarind-coconut milk and mango chutney for the herbivores. Plus, some of the classic sides, like the maple pecan carrots and crispy Brussels sprouts, were the highlight of our meal. Meanwhile, carnivores can diversify from steak with the mouthwatering Berkshire pork chop, sous vide and pan-roasted in a bourbon apple reduction.
Don't forget to save room for dessert – the key lime pie, with fresh whipped cream, is so effortlessly light, it would be rude not to.
Dinner and drinks for two; around $220
365 Bay St., 416-364-6600; hyssteakhouse.com