Toronto travel guide: Our editors pick the city's hot spots
ELLE Canada editors round up the best places to shop, dine, stay and spa in Toronto.
by : Elle Canada- Apr 18th, 2013
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
WHERE TO DINE
1406 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T 1Y5
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
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."
1182 Queen St. E. Toronto, ON M4M 1L6
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.”
501 College St. Toronto, ON M6G 1A5
Christina: “Who doesn’t want to eat a fish taco called In Cod We Trust?”
Read on to the next page to discover more dining, drinking and shopping destinations in Toronto…
The dining room at Patria.
Image courtesy of Patria.
478 King St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 3M4
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
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.”
1330 Queen St. W. Toronto, ON M6K 1L4
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.”
321 Roncesvalles Ave. Toronto, ON M6R 2M6
Jennifer: “Their thin crust pizzas are my favourite in the city — plus they have some unusual combinations like potato and red cabbage.”
190 University Ave. Toronto, ON M5H 0A3
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.”
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!”
550 Wellington St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 1P7
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.”
WHERE TO DRINK
1095 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W 2L7
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.”
208 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON M5S 3B4
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
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!”
Check out the best shops and hotels in Toronto on the next page…
Shopping on Queen Street West. Image courtesy of Tourism Toronto.
1665 Dundas St. W. Toronto, ON M6K 1V2
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
Noah: “Over 100 different types of martinis. Enough said.”
WHERE TO SHOP
1566 Yonge, Toronto, ON M4T 1Z7
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.”
162 Ossington Ave. (side entrance off Foxley Ave.) Toronto, ON M6J 2Z7
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
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
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.”
Read on to the next page to find the best spas to get pampered in Toronto…
The Pure & Simple Spa. Image courtesy of the Pure & Simple Spa.
TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL & TOWER TORONTO
325 Bay St Toronto, ON M5H 4G3
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
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
1 Balmoral Ave. Toronto, ON M4V 3B9
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
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.”
602 King St. W. Toronto, ON M5V 1M6
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
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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