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Chowhound's Own Top 10 Restaurants of GTA

Every year, year after year, there are lists of the top restaurants of Toronto. These lists are invariably ridiculed and dismissed by the majority of posters here on Chowhound. I was wondering whether the beginning of the year 2011 would be an appropriate time to try and come up with Chowhound’s own list of the Top 10 restaurants(understood in the broadest sense possible) in the GTA.

If we had enough contributions and a substantial number of overlaps, we can then tally up the votes and have ourselves a more or less representative list. If it does not catch on, then whatever.

As for rules, I suggest a top 10(or less) list by each poster, with no particular order. This way, we can simply count the number of appearances for each restaurant and have a top 10 list.

I start, in no particular order. I am including some unorthodox choices in order to open up the thread on a less than boring tone. I suggest this thread not be about criticizing what others include on their list, but just to add your own list, if so inclined.

Black hoof
Chiado
Jacob’s & Co.
Omei
Lai Wah Heen
George
Stockyards
Copper Chimney
Kaji
Zen

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  1. Black Hoof
    George
    Colborne Lane
    Origin
    Cava
    Hiro Sushi
    Eigensinn Farm
    Simple Bistro
    Grace
    Marben

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    Cava
    1560 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 2S9, CA

    Colborne Lane
    45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

    Simple Bistro
    619 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S2M5, CA

    Marben
    488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

    The Black Hoof
    928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: dubchild

      any particular dishes in Marben?

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      Marben
      488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

      1. re: shekamoo

        The burger, french toast, and corned beef.
        My biggest surprise with this post is how there are some places I've never heard of. I can't wait to see the totals.

    2. Black Hoof
      Blacktree
      C5
      Canoe
      Chiado
      Copper Chimney
      L.A.B.
      Lai Wah Heen
      Nota Bene
      Splendido

      16 Replies
      1. re: estufarian

        Interesting! My list was exactly identical to yours but plus 3! Sushi Kaji, George and Simple Bistro!

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        Sushi Kaji
        860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

        Simple Bistro
        619 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S2M5, CA

          1. re: Full tummy

            No Minus!! Just ask OP to increase list to Top13!! HaHaHa!!!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              Having been out of the dining scene for the past 6 months (new addition to the family - anyone got any spare sleep they can lend me???) other than a few select spots (Canoe, N44 - both were excellent, N44 was surprisingly "on", Fabbrica - pizza no good IMO)...it's interesting to see that Blacktree remains in the top 10.

              Now living in west 'sauga, I can possibly make that trek if the grandparents are stocked properly. Any highlight dishes?

              I really need to find a way to get to Copper Chimney

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              Blacktree
              3029 New St, Burlington, ON L7N, CA

              Copper Chimney
              619 Kingston Rd W, Ajax, ON L1S6L8, CA

              1. re: Apprentice

                His menu is fairly generic - most things are really 'daily specials' (although these tend to hang around for a month - most dishes change monthly, but the menu stays the same (if that makes sense - e.g. the 'Game" entry could be anything that he can get).
                And don't ignore the 'Composed Salad' - it doesn't resemble any other 'salad' you'll find.

                And I still dream about the porcini mushroom ice cream - but that is a love it or hate it dish!

                1. re: estufarian

                  Thanks. He's an accomodating chef so hopefully if the ingredients are there, and the items you mentioned are not on the menu, he'll oblige my request!

                  1. re: estufarian

                    Sorry - I lost track in this chain - 'his' is Copper Chimney?

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                    Copper Chimney
                    619 Kingston Rd W, Ajax, ON L1S6L8, CA

                    1. re: A Pointe

                      No Blacktree.

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                      Blacktree
                      3029 New St, Burlington, ON L7N, CA

            2. re: Charles Yu

              Just tell people you're not an accountant!
              I just don't 'get' sushi - have now given up. I used to like both Simple Bistro and George but both seemed (to me) to hit a rough patch maybe a year ago. BUT have tried both in the last 4 months and, indeed, they seem re-improved (OK I made the word up but it works for me).

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              Simple Bistro
              619 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S2M5, CA

              1. re: estufarian

                Do you go to Kaji for sushi ? I don't go there for sushi. I don't think they are good at it.

                My list:

                Blacktree
                George
                Lai Wah Heen
                Omei
                Sushi Kaji

                1. re: skylineR33

                  Yes! Name of restaurant very misleading!! I really think its about time Kaji change his name to something like 'Creation de Kaji'?! to reflect his excellent cooked food as well!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Estufarian, Charles and Skyline, Blacktree is THIS good? is this just for the Game dishes?

                    1. re: shekamoo

                      I hate the commute as the rush hour traffic is horrendous. But I still go 2-3 times a year.
                      For me this is the most EXCITING restaurant in GTA - sometimes the reach exceeds the grasp, but I'll take honest effort every time.
                      Reservations essential.

                      1. re: shekamoo

                        I had a very good foie gras dish at Blacktree other than dishes from it's interesting game menu.

                        1. re: shekamoo

                          Yes - Blacktree is that good. My favourite restaurant in southern Ontario. Chef Matteo dishes out unique combinations and flavours. With a monthly menu change, there is always something new to try. I had the best foie gras ever there. I wish he'd bring that one back - it was a seared foie gras served with a port/wine/cherry reduction. Manna from heaven!!!

                          -----
                          Blacktree
                          3029 New St, Burlington, ON L7N, CA

                2. re: estufarian

                  Estufarian, which dishes does L.A.B. do well? I've been meaning to try this restaurant for sometime. Is it like Colborne Lane which also dabbles in molecular gastronomy?

                  Thanks in advance for your help!
                  http://theavidbaker.wordpress.com

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                  Colborne Lane
                  45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

                3. Guu
                  Black Hoof/Hoof Cafe
                  Origin
                  Stockyards
                  Buca
                  Sukhothai
                  Amaya
                  Lai Wah Heen
                  Nota Bene
                  Splendido

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                  Lai Wah Heen
                  108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                  Splendido
                  88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

                  Nota Bene
                  180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

                  Sukhothai
                  274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                  Amaya
                  1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

                  Guu
                  398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

                  Buca
                  604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                  1. Great idea! I look forward to seeing (and visiting) all the entries.

                    1. These picks have nothing to do with GTA in general. Toronto, yes. GTA, no.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: duckdown

                        I mean them as covering GTA, if they are mostly in or closer to toronto, what can I do. Can you give us a true GTA top 10?

                        1. re: shekamoo

                          You can't do anything. Not your fault if people's lists happen to include restaurants located in Toronto proper. Here's mine. All in the city.

                          Black Hoof
                          Hoof Cafe
                          Guu
                          Splendido
                          George
                          Burgers Priest
                          Libretto
                          Ghandi
                          Stockyards
                          Chiado

                          -----
                          Splendido
                          88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

                          Chiado
                          864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                          Guu
                          398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

                          The Black Hoof
                          928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                          1. re: jamesm

                            I quess one man's "top restaurant" is another's "nightmare". Most of your faves are out for me - I will NEVER queue up for food, and I don't want to scream to be heard by my dining companion over loud music that I would never listen to at home, I don't like greasy burgers, or so-so pizza with attitude, lousey curry, diabolical service at a 5 start joint (George) .....
                            Call me old fashioned, but I like places such as Chiado that understand what dinner means to civilised people. And what the whole idea of "hospitality" means. I want no struggle whatsoever when I am laying down hard earned money to eat out. No line ups, no long waits while an unexperienced wait staff does an innefficient and inhospitable job, no "it's all about us" attitude - and above all, NO lousey food, or "food" that's too "hip" for me to understand! I understand when something is inedible.
                            My top picks for good food, good service and civilized ambience?
                            Frank's Kitchen (ifish on the soud volume)
                            Scaramouche
                            Chiado
                            Note Bene

                            -----
                            Chiado
                            864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                            Frank's Kitchen
                            588 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B2, CA

                            1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                              Okay, cool.

                              I'm curious, of that list where is the music too loud and the food too 'hip'? I have no idea what that means.

                              1. re: jamesm

                                a hip restaurant might be one that understands how to spell (as i am terrrible with my cap lock button and punctuation)-no but seriously, while this can be an interesting discussion ...as with any top 10 list if you ask 10 people there will be some crossover but little consensus....generational, cultural, experience and financial differences (as a few examples) may influence opinions as can be evidenced by the variety of posts (especially jmeggs post!)

                              2. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                Note Bene is a rather noisy place and isn't so much about the food, as much as it is about being seen - so I find it's presence slightly odd on your list given your diatribe - the service also leaves much to be desired.

                                1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                                  I so agree with your criteria of what makes a good place. I too, appreciate just good food and service over hip and trendy. That is why I am not sure how Black Hoof is on so many lists. It caters to a very specific audience, I think.

                                  -----
                                  The Black Hoof
                                  928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                            2. re: duckdown

                              I think the title says "Chowhound's Own Top 10 Restaurants of GTA". If the people who have already posted their lists happen to have their top 10 in Toronto, who's to say they're wrong? You're certainly allowed to post your own list.

                              1. re: duckdown

                                The GTA includes the City of Toronto, as well as the Regions of York, Durham, Peel and Halton. So, based on the OP, your top 10 list can include places from Canal Road to Lake Ontario and from Burlington to Clarington.

                                1. re: duckdown

                                  Blacktree mentioned a couple of times is in Burlington..

                                  -----
                                  Blacktree
                                  3029 New St, Burlington, ON L7N, CA

                                  1. re: burlgurl

                                    Not as far as Eigensinn Farm though!! Ha!