Over the past two years, we have time and time again been confronted with the word essential. Essential workers, essential businesses, essential activities and the list goes on. Besides the fact that everything is essential when it comes to a person's livelihood, restaurants have been overlooked as essential businesses to an unrelenting point throughout the pandemic. Faced with having to grapple with the influx of restaurant closures, from longstanding institutions to barely one-year-old operations, the insecurity of hospitality forces us to reckon with the prospect of potentially losing a favourite restaurant (which all of us have).
An essential restaurant might hold a roster of impressive chefs, a revolutionary menu, an insider knowledge of cooking traditional dishes, years in business, a claim to fame or all of the above. But what deciphers the essential restaurants in our eyes is the ability to capture and hold the admiration and loyalty of the neighbourhood it resides in. Essential restaurants are integral pillars of the community, entities that help define the identities of Toronto's many neighbourhoods.
As one of North America's largest cities, with an incredibly diverse and multicultural population, there is no shortage of different cuisines that comprise Toronto's unique food culture. Whether it is your first time touching down in Toronto or you are a well-versed local, our 30 essential Toronto restaurants are guaranteed to give you a taste of what Toronto has to offer.
Note: Restaurants appear in no particular order, numbers do not designate rank.