Toronto fine dining has come a long way in recent years, so why wait for an excuse to treat yourself to the best? Throw on your smart casual threads, grab that special someone, and head to one of these three splurge-worthy restaurants for a culinary feast.
Step into this Neo-Renaissance building dating back to the nineteenth century for a dinner surrounded by historical elegance. Your first sight upon walking into the Rosewater Room is the spacious bar, a buzzing hotspot for polished professionals. There you’ll find a harmonious balance between old world romance and contemporary accents like black leather stools and chic, oversized sofas. Don’t rush through to your table — instead, take some time to marvel at the lavish interior. For things will change suddenly inside the grand hall, with its hardwood floors, sky-high ceilings, and giant windows. Before you were a pretty bar fly, now you’re aristocracy in a European mansion. Sip a complimentary glass of shimmering prosecco before indulging in classic dishes like French onion soup accompanied by a rich brie fondue, and perfectly pan-seared duck breast with a mushroom and duck confit pot pie. Can’t decide on dessert? The trio of house-spun sorbets isn’t just beautifully presented, it’s perfect for sharing.
This Asian-fusion, dinner-only establishment next to the Shangri-La Hotel is led by acclaimed New York chef David Chang and promises a unique gastronomic journey. The intimate setting of black-tiled walls reveals an open kitchen surrounded by a U-shaped granite counter with 22 bar seats for sophisticated foodies like yourselves. Sure, you can play it safe with the à la carte menu, but the 10-course tasting menu steals the spotlight, allowing you to indulge your curiosity and inner adventurer. The beauty of Shōtō is that it offers not just a meal, but a dazzling performance, and you’ve got the best seats in the house. With each dish comes contrasting flavours and textures, along with a comprehensive description from the chefs themselves. The menu changes frequently, so you’ll never know what surprises await. Maybe tender fluke with turnip and sprigs of fresh dill, flavourful goose wontons with Brussels sprouts and hints of mustard, or a light hootenanny pancake with candied spice and maple orange ice cream. After a few hours, you’ll feel less like you’re in a food coma and more like you’ve had a wonderful culinary dream.
Buca Osteria & Bar
Not to be confused with its sister outpost on King Street West, Buca Osteria & Bar (a.k.a. Buca Yorkville) is the latest, and most upscale, addition to the growing empire of Italian restaurants led by celebrated executive chef Rob Gentile. As you stroll through the equally posh Yorkville neighbourhood, slip inside the Four Seasons condo tower, and you’ll find this sleek space of concrete walls, light wood, modern furnishings, and a commanding, MoMA-worthy chandelier. As you sip on a glass of fine Italian wine, take in all that Buca’s seafood-focused menu has to offer. The polpo pizza with braised octopus, the swordfish n’duja and potatoes, and scialatielli alle vongole with clams and smoked salumi di mare are exemplars of how simple comfort foods can be elevated to innovative heights. For the finale, the pistachio cream-filled zeppole with cherry sauce will end the evening on the sweetest of notes. Tip: Seeking the ultimate Buca experience? Reserve a coveted seat at the chef’s kitchen-front counter for a tasting menu that will whisk you away to foodie paradiso.