Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Oct 24, 2009 11:23 AM

Best Fine Dining in Toronto??

I want to purchase a gift certificate for my sister and her new husband for a fine dining restaurant in Toronto. I live in NYC and have not been to Toronto in ages so I am very unfamiliar with the restaurant scene. Can you please let me know what restaurants are considered the very best in Toronto? Excellent food and decor are a must! Price is not a factor.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well do you have type of cuisine in mind. Canoe, North 44 come to mind. Nota Bene is getting good reviews (I have yet to try it). Unfortunately there isn't a Michelin Guide for any cities in Canada. Mind you the dining scene in TO is not in the same league as NYC or SF in my opinion but we work with what we have got. Good Luck.

    7 Replies
    1. re: elvisahmed

      I was just looking at Colborne Lane - seems like an interesting menu and nice atmosphere. Any thoughts? I am not picky on the type of food as long as it would count as fine dining. A place with a tasting menu and wine pairings would be ideal.

      1. re: livetoeatnyc

        Colborne Lane would be a great gift for someone. The 15-course tasting menu is fun and memorable. It's not cheap ($159/person without wine), so all the more reason to give it as a gift.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Actually, my wife and I ate there a couple of weeks ago. They had a 10 course tasting menu for $99. Sign of the times I guess. However, the meal did not disappoint. If you are into an interesting dining experience (molecular gastronomy) with great combinations and presentation, this is the place. We had a very enjoyable dining experience there.

          1. re: cynalan

            Interesting! Ours was over $100 and without Foie Gras!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Ditto, Charles. Ours was $109 a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday night. Cynalan, did you go on a week night? Wonder if that's where the diff is.

              As an aside, two of our party had dietary restrictions (diff ones at that: 1 diabetic, 1 no seafood) and the kitchen accommodated masterfully. One might say at these prices they should; however, it was done thoughtfully and seamlessly.

              1. re: ghoti

                It was a Friday night. We specifically went there as I was crusing web sites looking for ideas and saw this special. Maybe the economy is picking up and the price was increased?

      2. re: elvisahmed

        Canoe looks great, but unfortunately it is closed on Saturday -- and my sister lives a few hours from Toronto so I would need the restaurant to be open on Saturday. North 44 is open so that might fit the bill.

      3. Be it Scaramouche, Canoe, George, Splendido, Colborne Lane, N44, Nota Bene...etc NYC with its impressive list of Michelin star restaurants can easily provide better counterpart or equivalent. Foodwise, even a Michelin 1* restaurant like Gramercy Tavern or L'Atelier de Robuchon is head and shoulder above the afore-mentioned Toronto list. Another fine example is your suggestion of Colborne Lane. I've just dined there two weeks ago. Sure, by Toronto standard, their offerings are pretty impressive, especially plate presentation wise. However, a side by side comparison with WD-50 or Eleven Madison Park's food would clearly reveal CL's lacking in the 'taste' department. ( though its still pretty good ).
        IMHO, the only area that Toronto's fine dining truly excels is in 'High End Cantonese cuisine' as reflected by Lai Wah Heen's current offering! As part of the Metropolitan Hotel group, I believe gift certificate is available. As far as I know, nothing in NYC comes close!

        10 Replies
        1. re: Charles Yu

          Charles, Thank you for the suggestion. I will check it out. My sister briefly lived in NYC but never went to any of the fine dining establishments. Her fiance is from Waterloo where the dining options are pretty slim I hear. That being said I think they would enjoy something really nice by Toronto standards even though the place might not compare to NYC's fine dining. Ideally a place with nice ambiance/romantic, good food would be meet my needs. Thanks again for the suggestions!

          1. re: livetoeatnyc

            Ah! Thank you for clarification. If thats the case, Colborne Lane or George would provide your relative with memorable meal in a nice romantic environment. I've dined in N44 a few times but somehow, I always find the experience a bit underwhelming. Lastly, do consider Auberge du Pommier as well! Very good French food in a nice romantic setting.

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Also, livetoeatnyc did say that his sister lives outside of Toronto so if her trip into the city takes her along the 401 Auberge du Pommier's location right at the 401 and Yonge might be significantly more convenient than the downtown options.

              1. re: Carruthers

                And not-so-painful parking! It's an odd location outside, but once you're in, it's quite lovely. I've very fond of Aubèrge du Pommier.

                I'd say Splendido if they were downtown.

       -- food. is. love.

              2. re: Charles Yu

                Charles, Thank you again for the other great suggestion. Carruthers, regarding driving in to the city, I was going to get them a night at a hotel in Toronto as well... no fun to have a big meal and wine only to have to drive 2 hrs home after it! But they could definitely drive to Auberge to or from the hotel so I will definitely look in to that as well. Thanks again to everyone for the help!

                1. re: livetoeatnyc

                  Colborne Lane or Auberge du Pommier? Both offer excellent food, attentive service and a romantic setting; both would be considered 'fine dining.' I think it depends on what kind of 'mood' you're looking for. Auberge has a more formal, upscale atmosphere; whereas CL a more relaxed ambience. I had CL's 10-course tasting menu last weekend; it was a gastronomical experience, very eclectic - and fun. Auberge offers fine French cuisine - well-prepared, well-plated (I haven't had their tasting menu - have always ordered à la carte and have always enjoyed).

                  BTW, both have easy parking: Auberge, the underground lot of the corporate complex; CL, a parking lot across the lane.

                  Good luck choosing! (But, imho, since this is a gift for what will be a special weekend, I would not let proximity to the 401 be a consideration.)

            2. re: Charles Yu

              Lai Wah Heen is not especially good and certainly nowhere worth the money.

              1. re: evansl

                I was actually looking for a Chinese fine dining restaurant in the GTA, what would you consider to be better than Lai Wah Heen?

                1. re: evansl

                  May be you did not pick the right dishes?! When did you eat there last?
                  At the helm of the new visiting executive chef from Hong Kong, the food that we had a few weeks ago was top notch and value for money!. Almost on par with some of Hong Kong's best?! This was also confirmed by skylineR33 and other 'Chinese food loving chowhounders'! Sure, some of RichmondHill/Markham's finest might offer some signature dishes that can bested LWH, however, when it comes to the total package of 'food, wine, ambience and service' for Chinese food. LWH is hard to beat!
                  May be you should elaborate on your generalized comment and give us CH'ers a more detailed heads up?!

                  1. re: evansl

                    Wow, really? I went to lai wah heen with my chef and a group of high end cooks and we all thought it was an incredible experience. In fact, outside of a tasting menu I had at Opus, I would say it was my favourite dining experience.

                2. If they like Japanese, Sushi Kaji is always a great option. Tons of food and I've seen them go an extra mile for special occasions.

                  1. The original comment has been removed
                    1. If you like Italian food I would recommend Kit Kat. Some of the best pasta I've every eaten, and you can get a really nice meal for $25/head. It's somewhere in downtown, I think off of King st.