HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Joanne Kates' Top 100 Restaurants in Toronto

  • s


This was in the latest edition of Post City, the rebranded North Toronto Post. She reviewed the top 10 in depth for the print edition, but I found a lot of her choices strange and others pretty predictable. The Black Hoof and Hoof Café both in the top 10? Scaramouche at #2 and Scaramouche Pasta Bar at #11? They're excellent places, sure, but her favourites are pretty obvious.

Also confusing is the inclusion later on in the list of Mildred's Temple Kitchen, Swatow and Burrito Boyz. Are there really so few restos in Toronto that Swatow had to be included in the top 100?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. With respect, who cares? She's not exactly Giles Coren. Until fairly recently, she seemed to think trips to the 905 required updated shots and a visa. Her G&M reviews are thankfully infrequent and seldom revelatory. Suspect she lurks around here often. It's not her age but her outlook that puts me off totally.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kagemusha

      Well, far be it from me to criticize someone published in a national newspaper (though Kates and I frequently don't get along in the comments section of her articles) but I agree with you. The reason I thought it merited posting was because it's still going to influence people one way or the other on where to eat, and if they read the list they might really believe that Pastis is the best resto in the city.

      1. re: stet

        No problem with the post, stet. I recall her glowing review of the Ruby Chinese Restaurant published the day it was padlocked by Toronto Public Health last fall:


        Talk about a "killer" review!

    2. I think the 100 restaurant format doesn't make this much of a horse race -- it basically covers most of the major places in TO (it's not like we're all that big) and then has her tinkering with the order to add a pinch of controversy (in the end she's positive on all of them). Stet - which places are missing in your view? What are the big omissions?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Arcadiaseeker

        I don't think there are any BIG omissions, but surely there are better restaurants in the city than Swatow and Burrito Boyz? Zucca Trattoria? Joso? Even Messis, or Japango. Crush Wine Bar, maybe.

        I don't know, there's something to be said for cheap, well-made food, I agree, but Swatow only satisfies one of these criteria and Burrito Boyz satisfies neither.

        1. re: Arcadiaseeker

          Given some of the inclusions, I was surprised not to see Chiado, One, Delux, Jacobs, Harbour 60 and maybe even Le Select, which are all solid performers, generally speaking.

        2. What I found funny is that she put down Ajisen Ramen and Kenzo was nowhere to be found. She thinks Ajisen is better than Kenzo???

          1 Reply
          1. re: acd123

            Kenzo is overrated. There is nothing that exciting about their noodles. We're just so starved for any authentic Japanese food that apparently Torontonians will hail mediocrity.

          2. So, Highway 61, a restaurant which seemed to unite all local hounds with a big thumbs down, made it in at #100. Kates must have been thinking "Ha, that'll really piss them off."

            1 Reply
            1. re: haggisdragon

              No, she included Highway 61 just to be sure everyone would realise she didn't expect you to take the other 99 on the list seriously.
              HWY 61? WTF was she thinking?

            2. While there is plenty to criticize Joanne Kates on (although you may find your comments even here on chowhound to be checking into the null clinic, she really is everywhere I tell you. I feel this one should just be left alone. Everyone is going to disagree with her choices but that's what I got from reading the article, they were her choices, off the record. They were her personal favourite restaurants that she rated from 1 to 100 for a neighbourhood publication. If anyone actually cares what Joanne Kates thinks, (not that they are even at the reading grade level one needs in order to read the Village Post) even they should take this with a grain of salt.

              1. I was just surprised to see some of her Chinese rankings. Big Mouth Kee, but no O-Mei or Ambassador? It's not I don't like Caplansky's - I just recommended it on another thread, but if I had to pick somewhere for an interesting and original meal, I'd pick either of those two over Zane's place, especially when she ranks it #37.

                1 Reply
                1. re: FrankD

                  North Toronto Post is one of six magazines these guys publish - the others go as far north as Richmond Hill.

                  When you know that you can understand why they would want to make sure her list includes at least a "local" place or two for each publication. Hence, Big Mouth Kee and Me Va Me, among others.

                  I'm not saying any of these places are bad or undeserving but geography might have helped...Pastis being in North Toronto didn't hurt.

                2. What is this women on?!?! Ajisen? ASIAN LEGEND?!?!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: AngelSanctuary

                    This list is seriously void of top restaurants in the city, No Canoe, no Il Mulino , yet she has 7 numbers and Frida on Eglinton. Come on Joanne , this list is way off.

                    1. re: chef2234

                      Don't worry. The G&M is going "paywall" soon.