HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Looking for WOW factor!

I am looking for a restaurant/dining experience that can provide the WOW factor. This is a special ocassion for approximately 10 guests. Perhaps a unique venue, something along that line. In the Toronto area (preferably downtown to east of the city, perhaps as far east as Port Hope).

I would appreciate hearing of any great experiences!



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I would strongly recommend booking the wine cellar room at Chiado or Adega. They are both perfect for a group your size. You should check out both to see if you like one space more than the other, but in general, I would give the food and service edge to Chiado. You could ask the chef to prepare a gourmet Portuguese tasting menu and have the sommelier match some fantastic Portuguese wines. Chiado has easily the best high-end Portuguese food in North America and has the most remarkable wine list with stuff that you'll never see outside of Portugal.

    1. The private dining room at Canoe is spectacular. There is a Chef's table at Colborne Lane, which I think can hold that many. Dinner on that patio at George is great (weather dependent of course) A lot of 10-12 person groups book at C5 for a little wow factor which everyone seems to enjoy. Maybe start with drinks on the rooftop at the Park Hyatt?

        1. re: Charles Yu

          I recommend the giant Lobster 4 ways at O-Mei, which we found from a suggestion by Charles.
          We took New York family, who dine well in N.Y., and they were "wowed" by the 8 pound lobster four ways, as well as our other seafood choices.
          Splendido is excellent, but it doesn't wow me, and would probably be a 1* equivalent (although when I was last there about a month ago, they brought the bill without being asked)...
          Eating at George may not wow, but we very much enjoy it.

        2. Someone beat me to the punch in suggesting the patio at George. My dinner companion and I spent an amazing afternoon there, in this oasis we hadn't before known existed!

          I also had a memorable meal at Tappo in the Distillery District a few months back too.

          1. Splendido and Chiado would be my recommendation.

            1. I haven't been, but that Hashimoto place sure seems unique. Not in the east end, though.

              1. If the WOW factor a combination of atmosphere and food, I will go for Canoe, where you have the view of CN tower + sunset, or facing the lake on the other side. You won't be able to see sunset at C5, just a FYI.

                Omei has great lobster and other fresh 'Live' seafood, but you may find service and atmosphere lacking if that's a concern.

                Hashimoto is unique in GTA for traditional kaiseki experience (much better than Kaiseki Sakura), but may not be appreciate by everyone.

                Splendido, Chiado and George are great choices, but did not wow me though.

                1. I agree on your theory stapler. For me it's Scaramouche hands down. We are always wowed there on all levels. Service is top notch and in my experience, food is always stellar. It's our special occasion restaurant. I find so many menus these days are overly complicated, I call it the Susur syndrome. If that's your style, you'd probably be disappointed at Scaramouche.

                  1. The team at Rain is pretty good at putting together tasting menus that have a real wow element to them. The challenge is that they don't really have a private room to my knowledge.

                    I also agree that Canoe would be a good choice as long as your dinner isn't on a Saturday.

                    Perigee can also do very unique dinners and even though the original chef has left the new one is pretty darn good.

                    I've never been to Colborne lane so can't speak to the food but the chef's table does sound very interesting.