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Best New Toronto Restaurants 2013

Best New Restaurants 2013

One thousand three hundred and eight. That’s how many restaurants opened in 2012—more than triple the year before, and the year before that. Toronto is in the middle of a restaurant boom that’s changing the way we eat, drink, date, schmooze, celebrate and generally revel in the city. The shimmering Momofuku triplex has dignified business execs devouring pork ssäm with their hands, and couples happily—gratefully—shelling out $400 for 10-course tasting menus. Downtowners are piling into rowdy izakayas for after-work sake and Sapporo, while Brit pubs are, to the amazement of every Firkin-going anglophile, becoming destinations for refined dining. Canadiana is no longer just a term for moose-print sweaters and maple leaf mittens, but a bona fide big-city cuisine borne of chefs obsessed with heritage meat and wild plants, preferably foraged in the Don Valley. Yes, Toronto is so flush with new places to eat that keeping up with them has become a full-time job. This year, Toronto Life’s critics were busier than ever, stuffing our faces, snapping photos on the sly and analyzing every last aspect of the dining experience. After much debate, we winnowed down 1,308 establishments to the top 10. Here, our annual ranking of the most innovative, interesting and delicious new Toronto restaurants.


By Mark Pupo and Rachel Heinrichs, with additional reporting by Jeffrey Bercuson, Matthew Hague, Emily Landau and Simone Olivero. Photography by Dave Gillespie

  • Wendhi

    ?Where the heck is The Guild Restaurant!?

  • Amaria

    I just had dinner at Foodliner on Monday. Amazing. I highly, highly recommend it. They had amazing oysters, great drinks. The staff was super friendly knowledgeable. Everyone seemed to really love working there. Oh, and before I forget, Monday nights they have this amazing dinner special that consists of a bucket of fried chicken-but not just any fried chicken. Smoked, then fried. Incredible. It also comes with garlic collard greens and cheese and bacon grits. All for $25. My 6’2 athlete friend and I couldn’t finish it all. It was just as delicious as leftovers. I’m hoping to go back this Monday for the same thing. Go check it out!!!

  • Jared Allen

    Foodliner’s service is atrocious and they were rude when we complained. The food is try-hard, but generally decent. Nothing overly special.

  • Karl Mamer

    Is there a rule that Toronto chefs don’t smile?

  • Jared Allen

    Ps. Amaria clearly works at Foodliner.

  • Stephka


  • Nibor

    The Guild 1442 Dundas West will surely be on this list next time around. Amazing place. A must to check out.

  • Chantal Véchambre

    They try to look like rude french chefs maybe :))

  • Pierre

    I would like to know who these TL food critics are and where they received their training!!
    Our meal at Daisho was probably the worst food I’ve had in a long time. Lunch for 4 people, $300. plus. Service was cocky and slow. Not worth the visit!

  • Bill Best

    The Guild just opened. Check the list next year. :)

  • rayfood

    I have enjoyed going to David Chang’s restaurants (Noodle Bar twice and Daisho once, haven’t tried Shoto yet), but he is not responsible for the ramen craze in Toronto. I think you need to credit Japan and the many lovers of Japanese food in Toronto and Vancouver (where a lot of the recent Toronto ramen bars and izakayas originated)

  • local421

    Very surprised to read about your experience. I’ve only been there once, and it was early on in the restaurant’s life, but my husband and I had a terrific meal there. Sat at the bar where we were given warm and attentive service. Overall a very enjoyable experience that we’d like to repeat!

  • Pietro Caira

    Farmhouse rules!

  • Kate Bastien

    this spot’s in the Junction Triangle, btw

  • Diane

    Kate, you don’t know where the Junction is obviously. It is not in the Junction at all.

    Moreover, what if it was? The Junction is undergoing a tremendous rejuvination, with new shops, restos and al sorts of new and wonderful places.

    Get off your snob horse.

  • Hluhluwe33

    Farmhouse – at best – rules mediocrity. Food was average but way over-priced. Ontario-only wine list is less than mediocre. Red wine was served at room temperature (no air conditioning) in mid-summer heat. Service was poor. Someone should tell the wait staff that big goo-goo smiles do not cut it or bring the big tips.
    Service matters. We waited 20 minutes for our waitress to bring us the credit-card processor while she – in plain sight – was drying cutlery in the kitchen. TL reviewers definitely dropped the ball on this one – or did someone a big favour. Question: Why do wait staff in most restaurants assume that customers are as ignorant about wine as they are?

  • Matt Cel

    Rude doesn’ t exist in a French Kitchen

  • MarilynLastman

    Half of these restaurants opened in 2012.

  • AC

    TL food critics get paid to write good reviews

  • Sebtom

    It’s a disgrace that you would include a restaurant that serves Bluefin tuna. It is an endangered species and any consumption of it supports illegal overfishing and pushes it closer to extinction. Shame on you.

  • AlexM

    These Chef’s really need to smile. Hospitality is about being friendly, I don’t think I would try any of these places based on the comments by the reviewer. Farmhouse Tavern video was upbeat, since I like country music – the chef arrived at work at 8am and left late at night – that’s a really long day – you have to love this work to be in it. A super long day can produce the frowns we see here… : ( turn that frown upside down : )

  • Pietro Caira

    Can’t comment on the wine – I drink beer.

    Food is way above average – not sure what you ordered, but every dish I’ve had at Farmhouse (and I’ve had just about everything on the menu) is way beyond expectations.

    To each their own!

    As far as service goes, I don’t think it’s that bad but it could be better.