Winter can be a tough time to open a new Toronto restaurant. It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s bleak. That won’t stop the tidal wave of newness. Maybe it’s the picture-perfect blue skies and way above-average seasonal temps, so don’t be surprised to see your local patio opening, even briefly, soon.
TOP NEW TORONTO RESTAURANTS TO SINK YOUR TEETH INTO THIS WINTER
Black History Month is a little longer this year with a Leap Year, but it still feels too damn short. Soak up some culture from the dynamic dining options in TO to extend the warmth and embrace the talent of these local chefs and restauranteurs.
Save money and flaunt your fiscal responsibility while still enjoying a sumptuous Valentine’s Day 3-course meal. Is there anything sexier than being smart? Book a table at your local Earls (Yorkdale, Yorkville, Downtown on King W, and Etobicoke and Woodbridge) and enjoy cozy banquettes, dim lighting and only $50 for a sumptuous three-course meal.
Lunar New Year is a cause for celebration, and with it being the Year of the Dragon we suggest coming out hot! Sonya has curated the definitive guide to the Lunar New Year, from music to food and art, exploring Toronto’s deep Chinese culture is a wonderful tradition for everyone to enjoy.
Calling all gamers! Hotel X is bringing back the popular Retro Arcade for a rematch this February 16-March 17th. With over 20 games to choose from, the arcade is open to hotel guests (complimentary with stay) and the public. Featuring classics like Skee-Ball, Dance Dance Revolution, and even Mario Kart. Family-friendly on weekends, and Mario Kart competitions on Sundays.
St Patrick’s is a good excuse to drink green beer and make fun of the Irish. I’m Irish so it’s okay, we have thick skin. The biggest bash always belongs to the Guinness SPD party at 11 Polson Street. Toast and mingle at several outdoor patios, a grand solarium, and a transformed REBEL vibe.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH- NEW TORONTO RESTAURANT OPENINGS
Australia may not be in the cards this winter but don’t let that stop you from soaking up the Aussie culture. New to the bar scene is Electric Bill, on Bloor Street West. Open daily from 6pm to 2am, with Oz-inspired cocktails and a menu replete with faves like Aussie meat pies and sausage rolls. Now open!
Say my name, and if you’re SIMONA, a new Italian restaurant with sweeping lakeside views, you better scream it. With an organic Sicilian feel, SIMONA pledges to be a cinq a sept backdrop to your happy hours. A full menu with authentic dishes and old-world wines is a tribute to the real deal.
Lisbon Hotel sounds like it’s a new boutique 5-star stay. It’s quite more cost-effective (and first-date friendly), filling in as your go-to cafe and cocktail bar with a European feel. Currently, open evenings only until the spring, this 36-seat concept in Corktown is set to be your new east-end clubhouse.
It’s official, more Mandy’s have sprouted in the city, with the new Mandy’s Salads launching at The Well in early February. Sisters Mandy and Rebecca are smitten with Toronto and particularly this new neighbourhood. The Well location was the inspiration for the decor, of course, a signature custom well to welcome you to the eatery is set to be the next pic sweeping through your IG.
The Well is home to Canada’s first Prince Street Pizza. This saucy hotspot opened in October to immediate long lines, luckily, they’re tapering off a little bit. We tried it- it’s greasy goodness, with a different flex than Toronto’s standard offerings. Hangover pizza, or pre-gaming, either way, no ranch allowed.
LOCAL Public Eatery is now open on Adelaide Street. This marks the third location for TO, with several more in western Canada and the US. The smart, elevated pub grub menu pairs well with all the screens and classic cocktails.
GRETA Bar on King West is your next conquest for a big night out. The Calgary import is flexing lots of the latest and classic video games, as well as pinball for a nostalgic night out. Yes, they serve both food and cocktails. Look for a spring launch of this grownup arcade.
Blue Bovine, from Liberty Entertainment Group, is launching soon on the main floor inside Union Station. This expansive project has been in the works for years, and we are so ready for the big unveil, under Nadia’s design direction. Look for this sushi and steakhouse concept to open in February.
Mishree is a sensory journey launching soon in Mississauga. Bold Indian flavours and a luxe lounge for speciality cocktails sound like a good mix for those in the ‘sausage. Part foodie destination, part cocktail lounge, this hotspot puts this west-end city on the map. The cocktails are as luxurious as the invitation to attend the launch. It’s all in the details!
NEW TORONTO RESTAURANT IN YOUR HOOD? WE WANNA KNOW ABOUT IT- TELL US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
Craig’s Cookies may have crushed a few hearts closing Yorkdale, but swiftly restored faith with the announcement of his Union Station shop. Set to open this spring, customers can access the store directly below the Great Hall; or if coming from the TTC, they can take the escalators beside the TD Bank branch.
Mehfill Indian Restaurant is replacing Uncle Betty’s Diner on Yonge Street. The signage is just going up, so check back in late winter for the launch of this new restaurant.
Taverna Yiannis Greek Grill and Pub took over the recently shuttered The Uptown Pub on Yonge near the Lawrence subway station.
Chop Hop has had enormous success at its Commerce Court location, and uptown’s Yonge and Lawrence location is chugging along. Come for salads that eat like a meal, with unexpected add-ons and killer dressings. From the Food Dudes.
It’s true! Shake Shack is the US import we want to make the move north the most (next to Olive Garden) so we were gitty to hear of its first (of many) locations coming. Yonge and Dundas snags the first Shack, with a whopping 30+ more planning to be rolled out.
Cactus Club Cafe is still coming, we promise. The long boarded windows boasting a new location for the west-coast restaurant group feel almost like a cruel joke, but it seems 2024 will be the year for Yonge and Sheppard.
Pearl Chinese Cuisine is moving from Bayview Village Mall to the nearby York Mills Plaza where Babel once existed. The posh mall also lost another landmark restaurant with the closing of Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill which anchored the south-west corner.
The Octagon is on the move. The fire may have forced them to close back in the last century but this time it’s condos that are moving in for the kill. No word yet on closing time but word on the street is that they’re moving north for the re-do.
Fresh Kitchen and Juice Bar has shuttered its doors on Spadina. The company is going through some restructuring after joining forces with Recipe Unlimited, an actual empire that owns just about every franchise minus Tim’s in Canada.