Establishment neighborhood
Scarborough Bluffs
Scarborough Bluffs, Cliffside
High above Lake Ontario, about a forty-minute drive northeast of central Toronto, the Scarborough Bluffs make for an ideal outdoorsy day trip from the city in nice weather. The nine-mile-long stretch of glacial cliffs contain several parks for hiking, biking, or picnicking on a grassy lawn overlooking the water. Our favorite park, Bluffers, has direct access to the lake with a long, wide, and beautiful beach. It can get crowded during the height of summer, which makes early fall and late spring the best times to visit. Image courtesy of
18 Dupont St., Yorkville
Named after the mountain range in northwestern Africa, Atlas was opened by chef Doug Penfold opened after a trip to Morocco, where he was inspired by what he saw and tasted. His goal: to transport guests via the keftas zaalouk, and tagines (go for the duck version, with kale, celery root, and harissa) he serves in this tiny dining room in Toronto’s Midtown neighborhood. The intimate, cozy atmosphere and the tagines—meant for sharing—make this a great date spot.
163 Spadina Ave., Chinatown
A new French-American brasserie just south of Chinatown, Aloette is the creation of chef Patrick Kriss, better known for his fine-dining restaurant, Alo, which is right upstairs. Think of it as Alo’s more laid-back, free-spirited sister, where the music is a little louder and you can roll into dinner in a T-shirt and jeans but still get an exceptional meal and some excellent glasses of Syrah, Grüner Veltliner, and Chardonnay. The menu is generally seafood-heavy (tuna tartare with yuzu and lime, torched scallops with green peas and wasabi), but the meat dishes are great, too. Go for the lamb sirloin with shishito peppers, chimichurri, shallots, and parsley, or the burger, which comes with a side of perfectly crispy fries.
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen
104 Portland St., Downtown
Toronto’s diversity of ethnic communities means that you can probably pick any country on a map and find at least a handful of outstanding restaurant options specializing in its cuisine—including Jamaica. Chubby’s, in the city’s Fashion District, is known for its authentic jerk chicken and small bites, the best of which include salt fish fritters with a mango-lime-papaya salsa and spicy jerk chips made of plantains and taro. The interior is bright and cheerful thanks to tropical floral prints everywhere.
778 St. Clair Ave. W, Annex
There’s lots of competition among the top-tier Indian restaurants in Toronto, and Pukka is at the top of that list. Punjabi curries, vindaloos, paneer, and butter chicken—all the comforting hits from the subcontinent can be found here. And while the food is uniformly excellent, it’s the wine list that’s the standout. Created by sommelier Peter Boyd, it’s a mix of thoughtfully considered bottles that pair well with whichever dish you order (ask the staff for recommendations).
The Founder
1282 Dundas St. W, Little Italy
A new addition to the Dundas West neighborhood, the Founder is one of those dark, sleek, slightly industrial-looking places that seem to come straight from of a futuristic film set. Which isn’t to say it takes itself too seriously. Just take a look at the menu with its cyber- and social-media-inspired drink names, like Click Bait and OMG – Take Me Back. There are over 150 cocktails served here, so it’s virtually guaranteed you can get whatever you want in the beverage department. Then give the food a try: Small plates—mackerel and eggplant skewers, quinoa falafel, anchovy crostini—are the specialty.
The Rooftop Bar at The Broadview Hotel
106 Broadview Ave., Riverside
This indoor-outdoor bar perched on top of the new downtown Broadview Hotel is one of the better places to take in what may be the best skyline in Canada. There’s an open-air terrace with plenty of seating, so it’s a no-brainer for afternoon cocktails, but even indoors you’ll get a sense of being high above it all, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and a huge, pyramid-shaped skylight. Our favorite cocktail is an ode to Beyoncé: Becky with the Good Hair, a healthyish mix of vodka; carrot, orange, and lemon juices; coconut water; and rosemary.
Mister C Bar Room
80 Blue Jays Way, Entertainment District
Although it’s technically a hotel bar (located on the ground floor of the Bisha, downtown), the feeling here is that of a private members’ club, where guests cozy up in velvet club chairs next to a roaring fire. That’s the feeling, though, not the mandate—Mister C is open to the public. The drinks are a fine complement to the intimate atmosphere. Expect a list of expensive-but-worth-it cocktails, like a premium margarita made with Don Julio 1942 tequila and the Penicillin, with Glenmorangie Original single-malt whisky, honey, lemon, and ginger.
The Kyla Fox Centre
174 Bedford Rd., Yorkville
Licensed social worker Kyla Fox founded her outpatient center in 2012 after struggling with anorexia and exercise addiction. The program offers an autonomous experience, which means clients' recovery work is done mostly one-on-one with the center's doctors, therapists, and nutritionists rather than in group settings with other clients. The staff takes into consideration each person's life circumstances, responsibilities, and other life factors to design a custom plan that incorporates holistic healing (i.e., art therapy, yoga, acupuncture, Reiki) and clinical therapy. There is currently no waitlist for the center and they treat children and adults. The center also offers a wellness program specifically for women, as well as individual, family, and couples therapy.