The Rise of Toronto as a Michelin-Star Destination

Canada’s largest city, Toronto, recently gained a spot on the Michelin Guides world map after 13 of its restaurants received stars.

The Michelin Guides have recognized 13 restaurants in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, with Michelin stars for the first time, emphasising the city’s significance as a top-notch culinary destination.

The awards ceremony, which took place on September 13, was held at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto and featured Canadian oysters, champagne, and hors d’oeuvres prepared by several nominated restaurants. A two-star rating was awarded to Chef Masaki Saito’s restaurant, Sushi Masaki Saito, which serves 18-course omakase menus for CAD$680. The tire company, which has been doing guides for more than 100 years, also named 17 Bib Gourmands. Michelin has recommended a further 44 restaurants in Toronto in its online guide.

Chef Masaki Saito’s restaurant, Sushi Masaki Saito.

Toronto’s Emergence as a Culinary Capital

Canada has finally earned a place on the Michelin Guide with Toronto taking the lead, surprising many with its first-ever Michelin star ratings. This recognition highlights the city’s emergence as a leading culinary capital. The city has long been recognised for its diversity, and it is evident in its culinary scene. Toronto’s eclectic mix of international cuisines has come to symbolise its food scene, which features everything from haute cuisine to street food, making it an ideal destination for all kinds of food lovers.

Quality Over Quantity

It is easy to associate Michelin stars with big cities such as New York and London, where a plethora of restaurants can be found. In contrast, Toronto has relatively few high-end restaurants, but those that are present are of the highest quality. These restaurants offer exceptional quality in their dishes, which has attracted international attention.

Toronto’s First Michelin-Star Restaurants

Of the 13 Michelin-starred restaurants, Chef Masaki Saito’s Sushi Masaki Saito earned two stars, while 12 others were awarded a single star. Chef Patrick Kriss’ Alo and French bistro Alobar, which opened in 2018, were two of the most notable restaurants to receive Michelin stars. Alo is a contemporary European restaurant with an excellent wine selection, while Alobar, a more cocktail-focused spot, features dishes like chilled lobster with lime aioli.

Chef Patrick Kriss’ Alo and French bistro Alobar.

Other noteworthy restaurants include Quetzal, an upscale Mexican restaurant in Kensington Market with a 26-foot-long wood-burning grill, and Osteria Giulia, an Italian eatery that also won Michelin’s Exceptional Cocktails Award. Enigma Yorkville, which serves molecular cuisine like smoked foie gras, and West End seasonal restaurant Edulis, which won the Michelin Service Award for its husband-and-wife chef team, Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth, were also among the recipients. Aburi Hana, Don Alfonso 1890, Frilu, Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto, Shoushin, and Yukashi round out the list of Toronto’s single Michelin stars.

Quetzal, an upscale Mexican restaurant in Kensington Market.

Toronto’s Bib Gourmands

Michelin also awarded 17 Bib Gourmands, which are restaurants where you can eat a two-course meal and a glass of wine or dessert for under CAD$60. They represent excellent value for money, and travellers on a last-minute trip to Toronto may want to consider visiting one of them. The list includes local favourites such as Bar Raval, a pintxos bar with Gaudi-like decor, and Fat Pasha, which serves Middle Eastern dishes like roasted cauliflower with pomegranate and pine nuts. There are also cheaper options, such as Chica’s Chicken, which serves crispy Nashville-spiced chicken sandwiches bathed in buttermilk ranch, and SumiLicious, a food truck that specialises in Japanese cuisine, including sushi rolls and rice bowls. It’s a great spot for those looking for a quick and delicious meal on-the-go.

Vancouver is also known for its vibrant culinary scene, with world-class restaurants, food trucks, and farmers’ markets. With its rich natural resources, multicultural population, and emphasis on sustainability, Vancouver is expected to attract many foodies and gastronomes.

Michelin’s arrival in Canada is a testament to the country’s growing reputation as a luxury travel destination. With its vast landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, and diverse cultural offerings, Canada has become a top choice for discerning travellers seeking unique and authentic experiences. From skiing in Whistler to exploring the Rocky Mountains, from whale watching in Tofino to stargazing in the Yukon, Canada offers a wide range of activities and attractions for all ages and interests.

As part of this trend, luxury lifestyle brands have also been expanding their presence in Canada, offering high-end products and services to affluent consumers. From luxury hotels and resorts to fashion boutiques and fine jewellery, Canada has become a hub of luxury commerce, attracting brands from around the world. With the addition of Michelin-starred restaurants, Canada’s luxury landscape has become even richer, offering visitors and locals alike a chance to indulge in world-class dining experiences.

Final Thoughts

Canada’s first Michelin-starred restaurants mark a significant milestone in the country’s culinary history and showcase the growing sophistication and diversity of its food scene. With 13 restaurants receiving stars and 17 Bib Gourmands, Toronto has firmly established itself as a world-class dining destination, attracting foodies and gastronomes from around the globe. The arrival of Michelin in Canada also signals the country’s growing reputation as a luxury travel destination, with its vast landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, and diverse cultural offerings. As Canada continues to develop its luxury lifestyle industry, we can expect to see more exciting developments in the years to come, further enhancing Canada’s position as a top choice for discerning travellers seeking unique and authentic experiences.

Have you tried any of the Michelin-starred restaurants in Toronto? Do you think the city deserves its newfound place on the world culinary map? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. And with Vancouver set to receive its own guide soon, what other Canadian cities do you think should be recognised for their dining scenes?

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