Hotel restaurants and bars have been known to offer more of a convenient meal than one that makes a lasting impression. Fortunately, a number of Toronto’s hotels are home to inventive menus, top-notch cocktails, and Michelin-starred chefs that have not only impressed guests, but attracted local regulars, too. Here, we share five noteworthy hotel restaurants and bars that are worth checking out—even if you’re not checking in.
Bloor-Yorkville’s newest boutique hotel introduces the neighbourhood with its main restaurant, Constantine. The polished space’s main drawing feature is a central open-concept kitchen where culinary director Craig Harding’s punchy Middle Eastern– and Italian-inspired cuisine is prepared which you can watch from your seat at the chef’s bar or from one of two maroon velvet dressed dining areas flanking its sides.
Indulge in the Lebanese “dirty rice”, a blend of aged basmati rice, beluga lentils, celery root, and coriander, or a Roman-style pizza made in a wood-burning oven and topped with lamb merguez, coriander, and labneh. The Beverly Creek Farms lamb burger nestled between halves of a house-baked pain au lait bun is a comforting choice, while the whole grilled sea bream finished with capers and Greek olive oil is a stunner. Should you feel overwhelmed by the number of enticing options, leave your meal in the hands of the kitchen and they will create a family-style meal fit for any crowd.
At his eponymous restaurant within the Bisha, executive consulting chef Akira Back introduces the city to contemporary Japanese cuisine with Korean ingredients and flavours. Alongside traditional preparations of sushi, sashimi, and maki is a liberal dusting of luxe ingredients including foie gras, caviar, truffle paste, and wagyu on the share-friendly menu. Pull up a seat in the sleek Studio Munge–designed room at either the glowing rear sushi bar or a cozy alcove under a curved watercolour ceiling inspired by Back’s mother’s artwork. Try the celebrated chef’s playful signatures like the addictive tuna pizza featuring a crisp tortilla-like crust and near-translucent sheets of tuna sashimi.
Though Back has multiple institutions of the same name around the world, the Toronto outpost stands out for its nods to Canadian flavours—think ketchup powder (inspired by the exclusively Canadian chip flavour) on the seared tuna and crispy rice appetizer and the 14-oz Canadian prime ribeye with Kizami wasabi butter. Pair with a premium sake or infusion-based cocktail such as the Yasuke Sour: a blend of green tea-infused bourbon, yuzu, lemon, egg white, and charcoal.
Having shaken off its storied past as a low-income boarding house, the heritage property is now Riverside’s crowning jewel, bringing renewed energy to the changing Queen East strip. Those passing through the 127-year-old landmark’s iconic façade are welcomed by the DesignAgency’s blend of vintage details and modern finishes which extend to the on-site Civic restaurant. The menu here changes on a monthly basis, offering up hyper-seasonal dining inspired by Ontario’s homegrown flavours. Here, chef de cuisine Dave Couse serves dishes like maple-glazed beef rib with potato mousseline in the leather and wood dining room. Ascend to the seventh floor to the Rooftop Bar, and you’ll be greeted by an unimpeded 360-degree view of the Toronto skyline. Besides ample outdoor terrace seating in the summer, there’s coveted indoor space that offer guests the chance to sip on signature cocktails and wines while enjoying snacks like blistered shishito peppers, ceviche, and crispy smelts sided by harissa mayo.
A fixture in Yorkville, the Toronto flagship is home to two Daniel Boulud–run spaces circa 2012 that have recently been refreshed. Besides serving its signature rotisserie chicken in the warm and sophisticated mid-century Martin Brudnizki–designed brasserie, Café Boulud’s French countryside cuisine now features delicious additions like the quenelle de croc het—cloud-like northern pike dumplings dressed with a cognac Nova Scotia lobster sauce—or Grand Marnier soufflé. Meanwhile, the street-level d|bar dons an elegant blush-tone redesign that sparkles in rose quartz and brass details. It’s here that guests can wash down bites of tuna crudo or master charcutier Gilles Verot’s not-to-be-missed artisan charcuterie (pro-tip: don’t miss the benchmark-setting pâté en croute) with signature cocktails like the rose-infused Yorkville Affair.
It’s hard to put a label on Bosk. Thoughtful and globally-inspired, the seasonally changing menu uses fresh and sustainable regional ingredients that match the Hong Kong–based brand’s Asian hospitality, Eastern aesthetics, and Western sensibilities. Harder still is in choosing what to drink. With more than 600 international labels and rare vintages in their cellar, including a number of rare champagnes displayed in the city’s only custom champagne wall. Thankfully, the vaulted, marble-lined Lobby Lounge is the perfect setting to sip well-balanced signature cocktails while soaking in the live daily musical performances on a custom Fazioli piano. In addition to intimate table seating and fireside couches are red velvet sofas sandwiched between two new vitrines filled with vintage couture fashion by Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace, and Yves Saint-Laurent.
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