Toronto’s food scene is absolutely booming, with around 7,500 restaurants across 158 neighborhoods.

To really know the T.O. foodie scene, you have to look way beyond Tim Horton’s and poutine (seriously, why do people think Canada’s only good food is poutine?)!

Toronto is full of amazing foodie spots – from spectacular fine dining experiences, to family run restaurant businesses that have built a cult following, and everything in between.

Whether you’re traveling to the city, or looking to branch out and uncover new dining experiences as a Torontonian, you should know the ‘best’ local spots aren’t on everyone’s radar – that’s where this list comes in.

From A to Z, these are the restaurants and dishes you need to know about in Canada’s biggest city – Toronto! 

A: Alo Restaurant

For fine dining fare that brings to mind Toronto’s French roots, look no further than Alo, a contemporary French restaurant and cocktail bar downtown, where some of the city’s most beautiful dishes are being served up. The barroom accept walk-ins, but for the dining room, you’ll need a reservation far in advance for this popular spot.

B: Baro

Toronto may be in the north, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have amazing choices for international cuisine, including lots of south-of-the-border flavors. Baro serves up Latin-inspired twists on contemporary and comfort foods, and everything from brunch to dinner is served here with a spicy kick that you’ll want to try over and over again.

C: Calii Love

With two amazing Toronto locations, Calii Love is an iconic staple of the city. Calii Love on a mission to nourish the community by serving their guests healthy, delicious, real food that’s inspired by the California sun and Hawaiian breeze. Meant to be a space between work and home, Calii Love is a place to catch your breath in Toronto that’s more than a restaurant or coffee shop, but a wellness hub for everyone! Plus, they also have stunning and delicious bowls that are a must try.

D: DaiLo

At DaiLo, Cantonese plates are cooked using modern French techniques, and the result is an international dining experience that is perfectly at home in Toronto. The restaurant’s signature dish, fried watermelon, has raised many an eyebrow, but once you get a taste, you’ll be a believer in the unconventional taste DaiLo is serving up.

E: Edulis

Edulis, which is Latin for edible, pretty much sums up what this Toronto hotspot offers: A revolving menu that changes extensively with each season, showcasing local ingredients that might not be familiar on your plate, but will be fresh and delicious because it’s the perfect time and place to cook them. Make sure to get a reservation during truffle season, when special menus make this rare ingredient the star.

F: Fresh Restaurants

For some of the freshest vegan fare in the city, look no further than Fresh Restaurants, with multiple locations throughout Toronto. Fresh has a mission to make plant-based living satisfying and cravable, and they’re doing it in Toronto. For the taste of Fresh at home, check out their line of cold-pressed juices, available in stores or via online order.

G: Gare De L’Est Brasserie

With the city’s French roots, it should come as no surprise that there is delicious French fare to be found in Toronto. At this authentic East End brasserie, brunch, lunch and dinner are made up of classic a la carte dishes as well as prix fixe menus.

H: Hanmoto

This dive bar and izakaya spot doesn’t even have a website, and reviewers are no holds barred about its shortcomings. But the food — mouthwatering, slightly Americanized Japanese bar food that will sop up whatever cheap drinks you wash it down with — more than makes up for whatever Hanmoto lacks in fine dining finesse.

I: Itacate

Itacate, a Spanish word for provisions, is as simple as its moniker would suggest. An unassuming, family-owned taqueria, it serves up arguably the best tacos in Toronto. They’re fast, affordable and packed with chorizo, carnitas and other traditional offerings, bringing the best of Mexican street food to the streets of Toronto.

J: Jump Restaurant

Jump is a cornerstone of Toronto’s culinary circuit, where classic New York style meets modern eclecticism. Jump’s hidden-gem courtyard patio, legendary glass atrium, and wrap-around bar is the perfect environment to enjoy the fresh and flavourful menu, and a rich selection of spirit-forward cocktails.

Oliver & Bonacini founders, Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini, first began their partnership and restaurant group in 1993 with the opening of this restaurant. Now, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality is one of Canada’s leading restaurant groups, highly regarded for their quality food & beverage, and uniquely individual properties. All the more reason you need to check out Jump to see where it all began.

K: Kanga Meat Pies

Kanga serves up an Aussie specialty: savoury meat pies with meat-and-gravy fillings wrapped in flaky, buttery pastry. On a chilly Toronto winter day, there’s nothing that will hit the spot more. With multiple locations around the city, as well as takeaway, delivery and catering, there are plenty of ways to get your Kanga fix. The only question now is which flavour pie you choose.

L: La Banane By Brandon Olsen

French food is not hard to find in Toronto, which means a French restaurant that stands out in this crowded scene is one you must try. That includes La Banane, where the menu rotates seasonally with modernized takes on classic French fare. But the real star at La Banane is Chef Brandon Olsen, who is one of the city’s most creative chocolatiers, so whatever you do, don’t skip dessert.

M: Muncheez Creperie

With now two locations in Toronto, Muncheez serves up homemade crepes with both sweet and savoury fillings, allowing them to satisfy whatever craving you might be feeling. Their crepes can also be made vegan and gluten free, meaning those with certain dietary restrictions can also satisfy their “muncheez.”

N: notch

N is for notch – that’s us! We’re the Toronto-based startup bringing the supply chain online for restaurants and distributors, so foodservice professionals can run the most efficient businesses while focusing on what matters most – guests and delicious food! Our mission is to revolutionize supply chain operations and technology in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Our home is Toronto – and we are grateful to partner with so many amazing restaurants within this city and beyond. Learn more about us here.

O: Okonomi House

This tiny, traditional Japanese restaurant has truly racked up a cult following in Toronto. It serves up Okonomiyaki, a type of Japanese savoury pancakes with a wide variety of available toppings. Outside of Tokyo, this might be the most authentic Japanese you can find. Check out their Instagram to see their delicious offerings!

P: Parallel

At Parallel, everything is inspired by the rich, nutty taste of sesame butter, which is made and bottled in-house. It forms the base for multiple flavors of house-made hummus, as well a sweet-and-salty sesame beet salad dressing. Meals here are fresh and local, made with produce and herbs grown on site, and when you’re finished, you can snag a bottle of that sesame butter and try to recreate your favorite dishes at home.

Q: Quetzal

When you hear “Mexico,” you probably think tacos, burritos, tortas. At Quetzal, meals are inspired by all the diversity of Mexico’s culinary history, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back again. You won’t find tacos on the menu, but you will find ceviche, grilled skirt steaks and seabream, all prepared in traditional Mexican ways.

R: Rose and Sons Deli

Rose and Sons brings truly classic deli fare to Toronto, with all the pastrami, matzoh ball soup and house made pickles you can eat. Everything here is no-frills — just good meat, fresh baked bread and some of the best service the city has to offer.

S: Sam James Coffee Bar

T.O. coffee lovers know the place to go for a quality cup is Sam James, where a mission to offer the best coffee in the city at an affordable price has been realized. Offerings at Sam James are simple — this is coffee for people who love the drink, and Sam James’ house-roasted blends are sure to satisfy.

T: The Butcher Shoppe

When top chefs are looking for bespoke butcher cuts to serve their guests, they look no further than The Butcher Shoppe. Established 40 years ago in Toronto’s Kensington Market, The Butcher Shoppe specifically caters to the wholesale hotel and restaurant trade, and is universally recognized for its highest quality product made the old-school way, where everything is made to order and everything is custom. You’ll find their custom cuts in many Toronto restaurants, but you can now also order directly online to get the highest quality meat right to your door! 

U: United Baker’s Dairy Restaurant

Comfort food doesn’t get much more comforting than this. At United Bakers Dairy Restaurant, get everything from breakfast to pasta to potato latkes. But the real star of the menu is the extensive list of sandwiches, all served up on fresh, house-made bread from the onsite bakery.

V: Volo

Volo is a bar, brewery and bottle shop with three locations in Toronto. Bar Volo and Birreria Volo have fantastic patios open late for for beers, wine and snacks, while their third location Bottega Volo is the bottle shop headquarters, featuring unique imports. Featuring house-brewed Italian craft beers you won’t find elsewhere, and a menu described as “unfussy southern Italian food” the Volo locations have the perfect rustic, relaxed environment for a dinner date or patio afternoon in the city.

W: What A Bagel

While we aren’t Montreal, Toronto boasts some pretty great bagel spots – and What A Bagel is a Toronto classic that has been taking over the city, boasting 11 locations around the GTA. For three generations, they’ve been making bagels from scratch, using the best natural ingredients and serving them fresh out of the oven. It’s perfect for grabbing breakfast or lunch on-the-go, but you can also sit down at these lively, family-friendly spots that attract foodies and families alike!

X: Xola Mexican Restaurant

Xola, with its airy, bright dining room, feels like you’ve been transported from Toronto to a beachside cafe in the Yucatan. And then there’s the food. Fresh, homemade, classic Mexican dishes paired with creative, tequila infused cocktails do nothing to dispel the feeling that you’re suddenly south of the border.

Y: Yamchops

Calling all the vegans and vegetarians who love plant-based comfort food and snacks! To an avid carnivore, the concept of Yamchops may seem immediately suspect: A plant-based butcher, serving up completely meat-free meat alternatives. But once you get a taste of its Beyond meat products and other specialties, you might just be a convert to the plant-powered lifestyle.

Z: Zaza Espresso Bar

After eating through the entire alphabet,, you’re going to want an espresso (and maybe some gelato?) to ward off your food coma. Head to Zaza Espresso Bar, an authentic Italian coffee bar and cafe, where a delicious cup and a light dessert awaits. Zaza uses fresh, traditional Italian ingredients to bring their flavors to Toronto, and the result is a cup you won’t be able to put down.

What spots make up your Toronto alphabet? Tell us on our Instagram! 

Bon appetit!

Whether you choose to follow the ABCs in order, or pick and choose from our list, by the time you finish the alphabet, you’ll be a Toronto food expert (and probably very full and if not, you should get checked out because that is concerning).