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Toronto travel guide: Our editors pick the city's hot spots

Author: Elle Canada

Travel

Toronto travel guide: Our editors pick the city's hot spots

The Toronto skyline. Image courtesy of torontowide.com.

ELLE Canada editors know the city like the back of their hands. Read on to discover their picks for best restaurants, bars, boutiques, hotels and spas in the city of Toronto. ELLE Canada editors giving their expert opinion are:

Noreen Flanagan—Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Canada

Laura deCarufel—Executive Editor

Vanessa Craft—Beauty Director at ELLE Canada

Christina Reynolds—Managing Editor at ELLE Canada

Ciara Rickard—Production Editor at ELLE Canada

Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington—Senior Web Editor at ELLE Canada

Noah Lehava—Web Editor at ELLE Canada

Ava Baccari—Web Writer at ELLE Canada

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WHERE TO DINE

NOVE TRATORIA
1406 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T 1Y5
(647) 345-5848
novetrattoria.com
Noreen: “If I'm craving pasta—not a rare occurrence—I go to Nove Tratoria. I also have dreams about their melanzane parmigiana.”

SKIN BONES WINE BAR
980 Queen St. E. Toronto, ON M4M 1K1
416-524-5209
skinandbonesto.com/
Laura: "The 'skin' refers to grape skins—fitting because the wine list is excellent and extensive, ranging from super affordable to well, not. My favourite part are the 'bones' - the meat-based dishes (like beef cheek bourguignon!) created by chef Matthew Sullivan, one of Toronto's most exciting new food talents."

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LESLIE JONES
1182 Queen St. E. Toronto, ON M4M 1L6
(416) 463-5663
lesliejones.ca/#home
Vanessa: “A tiny little restaurant on Queen East, it always blows my mind to watch the chefs whip up such culinary masterpieces (like my favourite, the braised beef brisket with dark ale, rosemary, paprika and caramelized onion) from a kitchen smaller than my bathroom. Yes, you'll have to go to the gym the next day but it's worth it. The perfect date night dining spot.”

LA CARNITA
501 College St. Toronto, ON M6G 1A5
(416) 964-1555
lacarnita.com/
Christina: “Who doesn't want to eat a fish taco called In Cod We Trust?”

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Read on to the next page to discover more dining, drinking and shopping destinations in Toronto...

toronto-hot-spots-patria.jpg The dining room at Patria. Image courtesy of Patria.

PATRIA
478 King St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 3M4
(416) 276-8875
patriatoronto.com

Noreen: “If I'm up for wandering a little further from my home base, I love eating at Patria—especially the Sunday brunch. Must have dish: Huevos cocidos y salsa brava.” 

KHAO SAN ROAD

326 Adelaide St. W, Toronto ON M5V 1P7
647-352-5773
khaosanroad.ca/
Christina: “The best Thai food I've had outside of Thailand. Must order: The Gra Bong (squash fritters), the Gaeng Massam with beef and the Khao Soi noodles with chicken.”

GRAND ELECTRIC
1330 Queen St. W. Toronto, ON M6K 1L4
(416) 627-3459
grandelectricbar.com/
Ciara: “The hip hop in this tiny restaurant may be ridiculously loud, but the tacos are ridiculously good. Even if the place had been silent the last time I was there, the conversation would have stopped when the food arrived—all our mental energy was engrossed in the amazing flavours. The fish taco is a must, and the cauliflower taco is a surprise winner.”

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PIZZERIA DEFINE
321 Roncesvalles Ave. Toronto, ON M6R 2M6
(416) 534-4414
pizzeriadefina.com/
Jennifer: “Their thin crust pizzas are my favourite in the city — plus they have some unusual combinations like potato and red cabbage.”

DAISHO

190 University Ave. Toronto, ON M5H 0A3
647.253.8000
momofuku.com/toronto/daisho/
Jennifer: “The vegetables at this Momofuku restaurant are the stars — especially the sunchokes! Plus it's next to the Shangri-la hotel which is great for post-dinner drinks.”

GUSTO 101
101 Portland St. Toronto M5V 2N3 (416) 504-9669
Noah: “Gusto is one of my fave spots in the city, with an infectious cool vibe that justifies the wait. Not to mention the fare is delicious -- I could eat their oyster mushroom and truffle fettuccine every day of the week. Oh, and wine by the ounce? Yes please!”

THOMPSON DINER
550 Wellington St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 1P7
thompsondiner.com/
Ava: “My Happy Days-inspired happy place that's cool enough to serve peanut butter and jelly (on gluten-free toast) and chocolate shakes at all hours.”

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WHERE TO DRINK

BAR CENTRALE
terronicentrale.com
1095 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W 2L7
(416) 504-1992
Noreen: “To feed my latest TV addiction (Justified) I've been adopting a Kentucky accent and ordering Il Sorpasso cocktails at Bar Centrale. This bourbon-based sipper gets the lady-lady finish with touch of honey and sparkling lemonade.”

MUSEUM TAVERN
208 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON M5S 3B4
416-920-0110
museumtavern.ca
Laura: "This speakasy-style bar is the city's coziest, coolest place to grab a handcrafted cocktail. The creative drinks list is enticing, but I always end up ordering the same thing: the French Tonic, an elegant sour-sweet mix of Cointreau, aromatic bitters and tonic. Deadly, but beyond delicious."

TOWN CRIER PUB
115 John St. Toronto, Ontario M5V 2E2
416) 204-9588
towncrierpub.ca/index.html
Vanessa: “I like pretending I'm in an English soap opera and this lovely is my local pub.(I try not to speak with a bad accent but sometimes it can't be helped.) Dark wood everywhere, good fish 'n chips, (grab a spot by the fireplace upstairs or on the patio outside, season permitting) and the bartenders really know their stuff. I always get a strawberry beer, but they have 49 others to choose from. Cheers!”

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Check out the best shops and hotels in Toronto on the next page...

0-0-0queen-street-credit-tourism.jpgShopping on Queen Street West. Image courtesy of Tourism Toronto.

WALLFLOWER
1665 Dundas St. W. Toronto, ON M6K 1V2
647-352-5605
Ciara: “This cozy watering hole is on that strip of Dundas West (between Ossington and Lansdowne) that used to be sketchy but is now suddenly a trendy hipster paradise. Floral wallpaper and old wooden tables give it a vintage feel, and fairy lights ensure you're always bathed in a flattering glow. Kitschy retro snacks (like devilled eggs with shrimp and avocado) add to the fun.”

EAT MY MARTINI
648 College St. W. Toronto, ON M6G 1B8
(416) 516-2549
eatmymartini.ca/
Noah: “Over 100 different types of martinis. Enough said.”

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WHERE TO SHOP

SHOESETTE
1566 Yonge, Toronto, ON M4T 1Z7
(416) 920-6122
shoesette.com/
Noreen: “As soon as I found out they carried Osklen (my Brazilian fashion crush), at Shoesette I knew I had found a special shop in the city. As the name implies, you can find shoes from chic and hard-to-find Italian and French lines. (Fratelli Rossetti, Rusconi and Accessoire Diffusion (one of my fave Parisian shoe dens.) The fashion collections are equally eclectic and covetable.”

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PHILIP SPARKS
162 Ossington Ave. (side entrance off Foxley Ave.) Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7
647-348-1827
philipsparks.com
Laura: "I've been a Philip Sparks fan for years—I love his mix of indie and preppy style for both men & women (especially women!). Plus, it's always so exciting to see a Canadian fashion designer open their own retail location! Philip's store celebrated its first anniversary this spring."

I MISS YOU
63 Ossington Ave. Toronto, ON M6J 2Z2
(416) 916-7021
Noah: “I love finding a unique vintage piece and I Miss You Vintage's curated selection rarely disappoints. With labels like Chanel, Jil Sander, and Fendi to name a few, I've found my fair share of sartorial gold.”

WHERE TO STAY

THE RITZ CARLTON

181 Wellington St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 3G7
(416) 585-2500
ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Toronto/Default.htm
Noreen: “I rarely spend the night in a hotel in Toronto—but I once spent a weekend at The Ritz and I now know why some people chose to live in hotels. Perfectly posh yet low-key.”


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0000-puresimple-spa-002.jpgThe Pure & Simple Spa. Image courtesy of the Pure & Simple Spa.

TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL & TOWER TORONTO
325 Bay St Toronto, ON M5H 4G3
(416) 306-5800
trumphotelcollection.com/toronto/
Vanessa: “I love the Trump! Aside from the extremely elevated approach to service and style, I can't get enough of the little details they serve up - like the "pillow menu" you can order for the best night's sleep and the mini purse stands they set up next to your table when you're dining at the gorge your purse when dining at Stock on the 31st floor. They also make children feel extra special with kiddie cocktails, books and board games—and wait for it, their own business cards with the Trump address.”


THE WINDSOR ARMS
18 St Thomas St . Toronto, ON M5S 3E7
(416) 971-9666
windsorarmshotel.com/
Jennifer: “It's the perfect mix of a boutique hotel with all the service that comes along with that, but so perfectly located next to great shopping on Bloor Street. Plus, their afternoon tea is my favourite in the city.”

WHERE TO SPA

CHI SPA
1 Balmoral Ave. Toronto, ON M4V 3B9
(416) 515-8288
chispa.ca
Noreen: “I love to go to my neighbourhood Chi spa. Quiet, intimate and steps away from home—it's a hidden little sanctuary in the city.”


THE SPA AT FOUR SEASONS TORONTO

60 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M4W 0A4
(416) 964-0411
fourseasons.com/toronto/
Vanessa: “Rather than being hidden away in a basement, the spa is on the 9th floor, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the city. Service is top notch and the changing room feels like you're crashing a luxury slumber party at the most sumptuous apartment in town. Get the Anje organic facial, it's life changing.”

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HAMMAM SPA
602 King St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 1M6
(416) 366-4772
hammamspa.ca/
Jennifer: “My go-to facial spot because they use Dermalogica products — and you can't been the traditional Turkish steam rooms.”

PURE & SIMPLE SPA
41 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2G3
(416) 924-6555
Ava: “The storefront is stocked with rows of natural cosmetics and skin care lines, so I come in extra early to browse—and end up spending way more than I intended before my appointment even begins. Totally worth it.”

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Toronto travel guide: Our editors pick the city's hot spots