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Best Restaurants for Visitors to Toronto: Our 2015 Where to Dine Awards

WHERE TORONTO READERS HAVE VORACIOUS APPETITES (IT TAKES A LOT OF FUEL TO SEE AND DO EVERYTHING THE CITY HAS TO OFFER). EACH YEAR, YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE DINING ROOMS AS PART OF OUR WHERE TO DINE AWARDS. THESE ARE THE RESTAURANTS THAT EARNED YOUR ACCLAIM IN 2015.

Best Restaurants for Visitors Toronto Sultan's Tent Where to Dine Awards

The Sultan’s Tent offers a unique night out for visitors to Toronto (photo: Liam Mogan)

INTERNATIONAL
The Sultan’s Tent & Café Moroc
This richly decorated restaurant remakes Old Town Toronto as an ageless Barbary Coast encampment, where visitors dine in colourful splendour while partaking in traditional French-Moroccan hospitality (including nightly belly dancing shows). The three-course prix fixe, featuring the likes of a couscous salad, braised lamb shank and assorted tagines, is particularly popular for groups. Guests seeking a more subdued experience can savour a languid lunch or afternoon mint tea at the Casablanca-inspired, front-of-house Café Moroc.

AMBIENCE
360 the Restaurant at the CN Tower
It’s hard to argue about the atmosphere of this perennial visitor-favourite, which boasts an all-directions view of the city and its surroundings.

FAMILY DINING
The Old Spaghetti Factory
Sure it’s kitschy, but there’s a reason this Toronto institution remains a family fave: a long menu of affordable, kid- and parent-friendly pastas, served in an old-school room with a lot to look at.

ITALIAN
Terroni
Arguably Toronto’s most reliable Italian restaurant—well, five restaurants plus a bakery—Terroni is celebrated for its diverse, high-quality regional offerings. Whether you’re on Queen West, midtown or downtown, there’s a designed-to-the-hilt dining room in which to appreciate honest interpretations of traditional pizzas, pastas and more.

Toronto-Best-Restaurants-for-Visitors-Where-to-Dine-Award-2015-Drake-Hotel

Brunch at the Drake Hotel has long been a popular option when in Toronto’s west end (photo: Connie Tsang)

BRUNCH
The Drake Hotel
Weekend warriors swear by this west-end hub’s chicken and waffles, elevated eggs benny and boozy Caesars.

STEAK/SEAFOOD
The Keg
You know what you’re getting at this cross-Canada group of restaurants: quality cuts of meat plus sizeable salmon fillets, scallops and shrimp cocktails, to name but a few of the offerings. Variety, though, can also be found: each of downtown Toronto’s six Keg locations features a distinctive atmosphere, from the famed heritage mansion on Jarvis Street to the trendier, recently opened digs in the King West neighbourhood.

ASIAN
Blowfish
Always on-trend Japanese fare—plus many sake-based cocktails—is served at two chic Blowfish locations.

BUSINESS DINING
Bâton Rouge
Proficient servers, a relaxed dining room and a reliable yet varied steakhouse-style menu from have made this downtown restaurant a preferred power-lunch and –dinner spot for many years.

Toronto-Best-Restaurants-for-Visitors-Where-to-Dine-Award-2015-Canoe

After 20 years in business, Canoe remains one of Toronto’s most popular restaurants for visitors and locals alike (photo: Cindy La)

FINE DINING
Canoe
It’s a three-peat for this staple of foodie-friendly expense account dining; the Financial District focal point has been our readers’ choice in this category since 2013, and counted among the city’s most popular restaurants for the past two decades. Canoe’s kitchen is known for pushing the boundaries of Canadian regional cuisine, recently exemplified by a 20th-anniversary tasting menu featuring the likes of a “forest lasagna” with wild rabbit, matsutake mushrooms, heartnuts and caribou moss, and Quebec venison with Swiss chard, Jerusalem artichoke soubric, dehydrated grapes and an icewine jus.

CANADIAN/AMERICAN
Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder
Though it’s largely a take-out joint, barbecue master Tom Davis’s midtown smokehouse is worth the trip for its griddle-smashed burgers and best-in-town fried chicken.

WINE
Reds Wine Tavern
Its vino list may not be the city’s longest or deepest, but the ease with which one can get socially lubricated at Reds is fairly unmatched in Toronto. Two-dozen wines—selected from hundreds of bottles—are offered affordably by the glass, encouraging stress-free food pairing, not to mention an inclination to sample more than one vintage.

DRINKS/COCKTAILS
Thompson Hotel Rooftop Lounge
Bartenders mix a mean martini—plus many other contemporary tipples—at this exclusive see-and-be-seen retreat.

Toronto-Best-Restaurants-for-Visitors-Where-to-Dine-Award-2015-Hys-Steakhouse

Hy’s boasts luxurious yet contemporary steakhouse fare (photo: Craig Moy)

OVERALL SERVICE
Hy’s
Financial District high-flyers have for decades found sanctuary in the luxurious confines of this classic steakhouse, where the long-serving hosts and wait staff take pride in booking your favourite table and knowing your preferred plates. In 2015, those plates were given a significant facelift, as the Vancouver-based chain celebrated its 60th year in business.

VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY
Fresh
A huge assortment of filling, nutrient-packed fare—from Indian-style dosas to premium salads to beloved shakes, smoothies and juices—is easily accessible at this mini-chain’s four local locations. Dozens of gluten-free dishes have also helped make Fresh a preferred option for health-conscious diners.

HOTEL DINING
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Cozy is the best way to describe this subterranean dining room attached to the Hilton Toronto hotel. It’s a sizeable space that does equally well hosting larger-group functions and intimate affairs capping your most memorable trip to the city.

FRENCH
Auberge du Pommier
Notable for its designer-cottage ambience—with modern takes of Gallic classics to match. Summertime diners are advised to seek their seats on the secluded patio.

Toronto-Best-Restaurants-for-Visitors-Where-to-Dine-Award-2015-Chase

The Chase earned the respect of Les Clefs d’Or concierges for its excellent food, service and ambience (photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images)

LES CLEFS D’OR GOLDEN PLATE
The Chase
Toronto’s elite hotel concierges annually select a restaurant that best reflects their organization’s lofty standards of service and taste. This year’s honouree combines the culinary ambition and sophisticated atmosphere that visitors expect from a “world class” dining experience. Perched atop a Financial District heritage building, The Chase exudes refinement—from its plush seating and crystal chandeliers to its posh offerings like a shrimp- and red curry-stuffed avocado to pan-seared tuna with coconut braised sweet potatoes.

—Craig Moy

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