HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Dark restaurants in Toronto ?

I have a very good friend coming from the USA on an all-too-rare pre-Christmas visit. He suffers from a chronic eye condition which makes light very painful; hence this request - what reasonably sophisticated/upscale eateries in Toronto or even the GTA offer a evening dining with very subdued lighting ? Only Hy's and La Palette came to mind, but we've been to both before, and I was wondering what other options might exist. Thanks !

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Rosebud at Queen and Bathurst. It's dark!

    1. I'm not trying to be cheeky or anything, but have you considered just going anywhere you think is good and having your friend wear shades? As long as they don't pair that with leather pants, long scarf, and an Aerosmith t-shirt they should be able to get away with that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Googs

        Haha ! I think most people - certainly my friend - would feel bizarre wearing shades in a restaurant - either faux-Hollywood mysterious look or drawing attention to a medical condition...but thanx for the good humored suggestion. And to other posters for their counsel.

      2. Try Bistro Camino, Danforth and Dawes, search for reviews on CH. The room is divided, the front half is quite good without being gloomy. No spotlights, fluorescents, halogens or the like. I don't like any of the foregoing; I don't have a problem with the light here. You can even ask the hostess to turn off a couple lights.

        Low light, low key, low prices but very nice and comfy cooking.

        1. Dark restaurants nearly make it impossible for me to take photos, so a few have stuck in my memory. I am not sure the price range you were looking for or the types of cuisines you lean towards, but here are a few recs:

          Weezie's: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/563398
          Splendido: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578152
          Le Paradis (ask to sit downstairs. Though they usually don't take seating preference requests, I am sure they will accommodate this request.
          )Linda's : http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
          Zucca Trattoria: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578128

          I am not sure if the lighting at these restaurants is sufficient, but perhaps you can do a bit of reconnaissance ahead of time?


          1. How dark is Pepe's... the downstairs space at Torito? I found Torito relatively dark, so I wonder whether the downstairs might suit? I've never been to Pepe's so it would require a bit more research, but I love the food at Torito.

            I also recall Amuse Bouche as quite dark (in a romantic sort of way).

            1. I went to Tomi-Kro a few weeks back and found it dark.

              1 Reply
              1. re: furhead

                Whoops, forgot the link

                1214 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1L7, CA

              2. Globe has pretty subdued lighting, and a decent menu.


                err, more darker than it appears on the website, to the best of my recollection. Splendido is also very dark.

                1. Pizzeria Libretto has the best pizza according to Toronto Life and is dark and quiet.

                  In my experience, killer desserts but my pizza was just okay.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stephen.p

                    I went to Pizzeria Lib around 11pm, and found it way way too bright!

                    1. re: stephen.p

                      I wouldn't say Pizzareia Libretto is dark at all, unless they've changed something in the last few moths. I recall it being quite well lit.

                      1. re: grilledcheese

                        And Madeline's is more in Bigtigger's league.

                        For bar food and snacks plus a wicked new martini known as the Naughty or Nice, the Roof Lounge in the Park Hyatt is dark and delicious. You'd have to get the candle removed from the table and have your friend face away from the fireplace. Those would be the only hazards though.

                        1. re: Googs

                          Googs, please elaborate on this martini....

                          1. re: Wahooty

                            Can't remember what was in it as much as on it. It's vodka-based with a chocolate and coconut rim. It was all I could do to not chew on the glass it was so good. It was masterfully prepared by the old guy behind the bar. Don't know his name, but whenever I see him there I know I'll be foregoing wine for martinis.

                      2. I found the Ruth's Chris on Richmond Street too dark to read the menu. Had to hold it close to the candle on the table.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Wiley

                          Harbour 60 was also very dark. Maybe it's a steakhouse thing :)

                        2. This man obviously has a disability and should wear whatever protective eyewear he wishes wherever he needs to. I don't thing a restaurant would exclude him from wearing sunglasses if he has a chronic eye condition, and if other people don't like it... Who cares?

                          1. Colburne lane is very dark as well. Food is awesome.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I found Thuet's on King W pretty dimly lit in the evening.

                              1. Interesting no one mentioned 'George'!! Dark in general but ultra dark in some areas. Don't forget they have great food as well!

                                1. Alice Resturant on College West. It's moody without overbearing, and the food was pretty good too!

                                    1. I'm curious Bigtigger. Were you able to find a restaurant that could accommodate your friend?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Googs

                                        We wanted steak, but not a chain (Hy's is dark) nor H60 (outrageous wine prices) so we went to Jacob & Co (which I reviewed in separate post) - it wasn't dark but had subdued, indirect lighting which worked fine - and the whole experience was first rate ! Thanx for asking, Googs. BTW For Xmas I was given a gift certificate to Tom Jones which is also nice and dark.