Post City 100: The best restaurants in Toronto
Two unique top 50 lists make up one complete guide for 2018
Hoppers from Hopper Hut, the number one restaurant on Corey Mintz's 50 Under $50 list
This year in the Post City 100 we combine two unique and dynamic top 50 lists into one incredible restaurant resource.
In part one, we publish our top 50 places to eat under $50 penned by acclaimed food writer Corey Mintz. For part two, we enlist 50 of the city’s top chefs such as Claudio Aprilé, Massimo Capra and Nuit Regular as our judges and guides en route to proclaiming our Chefs’ Top 50 list of Toronto’s finest restaurants.
Only here will you find a restaurant such as Alo — home to a $125 tasting menu that is revered throughout the land — share equal billing with Scarborough’s Hopper Hut, which has a fiery crab curry with roti for dipping which could be the most satisfying inexpensive meal in the GTA.
No matter your taste, destination or budget, we have you covered with the new-and-improved Post City 100. Bon appétit.
Elia Herrera, of Los Colibris and El Caballito, is one of the
chefs who placed Alo on her list of top T.O. restaurants.
POST CITY'S TAKE: There is a reason (OK, many reasons) why Alo was selected as the top restaurant by our panel of culinary experts. Elegance and discipline are the name of the game at this semi-hidden third floor Chinatown retreat. If, somehow, you manage to get a seat here, go all out. Order one of the tasting menus and let the meticulous chef, Patrick Kriss, treat you to a parade of sublime French (yet Japanese-influenced) dishes like pork belly, fresh scallops and foie gras terrine paired with expertly selected wine. Plus John Bunner's cocktail menu is a must-sip in its own right.
Stuart Cameron, of Byblos, Patria and Mira, is one of the chefs
who placed Bar Isabel on his list of top T.O. restaurants.
POST CITY'S TAKE: It’s hard to believe that Bar Isabel, Grant van Gameren’s first post–Black Hoof eatery, opened back in 2013. But let’s not get all misty-eyed — let’s just focus on the eats. It’s easy to load up on jamón and manchego and the marinated mussels escabeche, but always save room for the octopus. A menu mainstay since day one, the whole octo (or half or quarter) boasts fork-tender grilled tentacles, jazzed with grilled dandelion greens and smoky pimentón. Sip on a Rusty Peach — a buzzy tipple with gin, manzanilla sherry, the wonderfully named RinQuinQuin peach liqueur and hits of ginger — and be transported to a bustling eve in Barcelona.
Massimo Capra, of Mistura and Capra's Kitchen, is one of the
chefs who placed DaiLo on his list of top T.O. restaurants.
POST CITY'S TAKE: Toronto is the perfect city for a restaurant like DaiLo — where ancient recipes are given new life, traditional Asian flavours are married to modern ones, and adventurous diners are open to new experiences. Chef Nick Liu draws on cuisines from Hakka to Singaporean to Chinese for his intriguing menu. The best way to try the full breadth of flavours is to order the DaiLo's Choice tasting menu and have the chef send out selections. At just $65, the price belies the quality of the meal, which could include everything from torched tamari glazed beef carpaccio to a whole fried giggie trout.
There are so many good (and filling) things to eat at Hopper Hut that it's disrespectful to come here without a crew. Start with hoppers, a crepe-like batter cooked into a bowl shape, eaten with chili/coconut chutneys and curries. From there, get a bowl of mild mutton curry and blast furnace-spicy crab curry, with roti for dipping. Then move on to kothu roti, a griddle-fried hash of roti, onion, chili, egg and meat. You can order most of the dishes with a choice of mutton, beef, chicken, squid or shrimp. For the lamprais (bindle-sized packages of rice, vegetables, curry, egg and dried fish wrapped in banana leaf), whatever meat you choose will be dwarfed by the remaining ingredients.
If you're going to do one thing, do it well. Pawel Grezlikowski took that to heart and has done his thing, fried chicken sandwiches, exceedingly well. Starting with whole legs, Grezlikowski removes the bones before brining the meat, then soaking it in buttermilk. Despite demand at the high-volume, small space (his shop is 200 square feet), he won't pre-cook the chicken in batches for quick service. Instead, each piece is fried to order for approximately six and a half minutes. The shop makes their own fermented hot sauce and buttermilk sauce. The only parts of the sandwich that are outsourced are the pickles (Vlasic bread & butter) and buns (Thuet Bakery), which are intentionally just the right size to be held in one hand while the ample chicken spills out over the side. In a town ripe with the low-hanging, trendy fruit of fried chicken sandwiches, Cluck's stands out for a product with superior consistency, integrity, quality and taste. There's no room to sit. But the sandwiches are available for delivery to your table next door at craft beer mecca Birreria Volo.
The long menu at Lion City reflects the influence of the regions that surround Singapore: gado gado (salad of blanched vegetables with peanut dressing) and rendang (meat simmered in coconut milk, then pounded and fried) from Indonesia; various Thai curries; rojak (fruit salad with spicy shrimp paste dressing), hokkien mee (fried noodles) and chili crab from Singapore; nasi lemak (coconut rice served with dried anchovies and a fried egg, usually eaten for breakfast) and char kway teow (lard-fried flat noodles with shrimp and eggs) from Malaysia and Singapore. With so many rewarding choices, it's impossible not to order too much here. But go ahead. You'll take the leftovers home.