611 Gore Ave., Chinatown
Katie Ruddell was in charge of brand strategy and marketing at Lululemon before opening Kokomo in the heart of Chinatown—essentially to cater to her own health food cravings. The vegan fare is gluten-, dairy-, and nut-free, accommodating all dietary restrictions but without compromising on taste. The modern décor creates a pleasant lunch setting, but be sure to come early, as Kokomo fills up fast. Order the Coastal Macro Bowl (the vegan spot’s most popular dish, and for good reason), which includes brown rice, roasted squash, and edamame hummus.
1166 Dundas St., Toronto
Possibly the coolest (and most atypical) Chinese restaurant in Toronto, SoSo Food Club’s dining room is shaded in pale pink and turquoise, with abstract prints on the wall and lit by neon pink lighting once the sun sets. (The result feels like a cross between Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and Blade Runner.) The food also defies easy categorization, with twists on regional dishes from Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Hong Kong. Our favorite is the XO Lobster Mapo Tofu, a bowl of piping hot soft tofu (and a side of steamed rice), sustainably-sourced Nova Scotia lobster, blue crab, and spicy seafood XO sauce. Book a late reservation and go straight from dinner to dancing, which kicks off at 11pm every night in the dining room.
719 Rue William, Old Montreal
Step into Mélisse and you’ll feel like you’re in LA: light wood; a bright, high-ceilinged space; and lots of plants. (Also LA-like: eating on the patio, weather permitting.) Breakfast and lunch are light and focus on seasonal produce (tartines, salads, satisfying egg dishes), while dinner is full of shareable plates, like grilled veggies and charcuterie, plus more substantial items, like grilled pork shoulder peppered with cherry tomatoes and pistachios. The 100 percent organic wine list is short but brilliant.
1 Rue des Carrières, Old Quebec
The idea behind Champlain, at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, was to put forth Quebec’s finest...
1110 Rue Saint-Jean, Old Quebec
Chez Boulay is pure Quebec—by way of Scandinavia. Traditionally Nordic ingredients—elderberry flowers, juniper berries, sea buckthorn, elk, and trout—make their way onto beautifully presented plates in the most pleasing ways.
8 Rue Saint-Antoine, Old Quebec
An 1822 maritime warehouse along the St. Lawrence River is the setting of Chez Muffy, which takes classic French and...
Le Clocher Penché
203 Rue Saint-Joseph E, Saint-Roch
Le Clocher Penché, in downtown Quebec City, works with local farmers to create its veggie- and fish-heavy menu, and many of the dishes are almost too pretty to eat.
255 Rue Saint-Paul, Old Port
One of Quebec City’s more formal restaurants, Légende is worth the splurge for the chef’s six-course tasting menu. While you’re at it, spring for the wine pairing, which is beautifully curated by the sommelier and makes the whole affair next-level. Dishes are constantly changing depending on what’s freshest and in season but may include smoked Arctic char, lobster ravioli, and seared venison. The eclectic décor includes abstract paintings from local artists hanging along the exposed-brick walls.
410 Rue Saint-Anselme, Saint-Roch
The pies at Nina are as Neapolitan as you’ll get outside of Naples. Even the wood-fired oven was imported from Italy, and the restaurant’s two owners are certified by the APN (Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani, whose certification is bestowed on pizza makers who follow a strict set of guidelines). There are eighteen varieties, but our favorite is the margherita, simply but perfectly made with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.
1097 Rue Saint-Jean, Old Quebec
Paillard is the place for a quick, unfussy, utterly delicious bite. The croissants, sandwiches, wraps, and coffee are always freshly made; standouts include the mushroom soup and the daily quiche selection. Bonus: There’s often a live accordion player on-site so you might want to make your quick meal last longer than you planned.
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