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Best of Toronto

The Best Steakhouses in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / February 28, 2014

Best steakhouses torontoThe best steakhouses in Toronto are a throwback to a more indulgent time, when a juicy hunk of red meat was guilt-free proposition. There's an unabashed masculinity that still defines the steakhouse - what with its dark walls, low lighting, and plush seating - such that even the most modern of restaurants on this list can be fitted within their generic confines about two seconds after one passes through the front door.

To a great extent, this almost anachronistic element is their very charm. Creamed spinach, Caesar salads made table-side, butter-soaked green beans, over-sized portions, bartenders who don't flinch when you order an Old Fashioned - these are the little delights one luxuriates in at a quality steakhouse. Well, that and well aged beef. Be it wet or dry aged, these steakhouse take top notch beef, cook it at impossibly high temperatures, and serve it in a way that you just can't replicate at home.

Here are the best steakhouses in Toronto.

See also:

The best steak frites in Toronto
The best steak tartare in Toronto
The best Caesar salad in Toronto
The best Martinis in Toronto

Jacobs & Co.

Jacobs & Co.

Dry-aged beef. That's what the folks at Jacobs & Co. will tell you sets them apart from most other Toronto steakhouses. And, for the most part, it's true. By reducing the moisture in the meat, the beef flavour is intensified to a point that verges on the magical. I'd say skip the Wagyu offerings and go for the 14 oz. Rib Eye ($50), a steak that's so powerful you'll make strange, socially awkward noises as you consume it. Bonus points for an interior that gestures to the steakhouses of the past without looking like a relic. More »

Michael's on Simcoe

Michael's on Simcoe

Opened by former Harbour Sixty GM Michael Dabic, this lower level Italian steakhouse does both dry and wet aged beef in a hyper-modern setting. Located across the street from Soho House, it's not much of a surprise that Michael's draws a healthy celebrity quotient. The USDA prime dry-aged porterhouse ($64) is a carnivore's dream, spilling its pink juices over the plate. You won't find the widest selection of steaks here, but the quality is undeniable. More »

Barberians

Barberians

This is the room you go to when you want to soak up old school Toronto. Barberians has been a fixture on Elm Street for over 50 years. The warmth-exuding decor is dated, to be sure - but everything just feels perfect, right down to the red carpeting. Throw in well-prepared classic cuts of steak, a jaw-droppingly well-stocked wine cellar, and the theatrics of table-side service, and you've got the recipe for your own personal Mad Men night. More »

Harbour Sixty

Harbour Sixty

Located in the stately Harbour Commission Building, Harbour 60 is packed with suits on nights that the Leafs are in town, but the appeal of the place goes beyond the degree of importance one gets when dining here. This is just a very good steakhouse that does the classics as well as any other place on the list. With a menu that also places emphasis on a variety of seafood offerings, this might just be the premiere destination for surf and turf in Toronto. More »

Hy's

Hy's

Another Toronto throwback (though you'll also find locations in other cities), Hy's has been catering to the Financial District since the 1960s. Not much has changed about the place since then, including menu items like creamed corn and wedge salad. The steak cuts are classic, ranging from New York Strips to Filet Mignon, Rib Eye and Porterhouse, all of which come from 28-day aged Canadian beef. Seafood options abound for those not taken with steak. More »

Morton's

Morton's

Impeccable service, understated decor, and steaks thick enough to sink a small ship, Morton's will please those looking to luxuriate in meat and potatoes. I'm serious, with no less than seven potato preparations, this humble starch reaches new heights in the hands of these chefs. That's not to diminish the quality of the steaks (they're damn good too) but to point out that this is a place where you'll want to nix dessert plans and order as many sides as you can stomach. More »

Ruth's Chris

Ruth's Chris

While the restaurant does feel altogether too corporate, the USDA Prime steaks on offer here are consistently top notch. They arrive at the table unfathomably hot (courtesy of the super high temperatures at which they're cooked) and virtually bubbling in butter. So they'll take a few years off your life, but who cares? It's worth it. The dimly lit wood-paneled room gets the mood right, even if it's a bit predictable. Try the cowboy rib steak ($62.95). It's absolutely enormous. More »

Bestellen

Bestellen

Bestellen is the only restaurant on the list that doesn't neatly fall into the steakhouse category, though it is every bit of one when you get right down to it. If there's a dish that was made to foster the primal feeling that's often associated with grilled hunks of meat, it's the 32 oz. Cote de Boeuf ($98), which could feed three comfortably and makes for all-out indulgence when a pair go at it. Like Jacobs & Co. the beef here is dry-aged and oozing with salty deliciousness. More »

Smith Brothers

Smith Brothers

This Scarborough steakhouse does top quality 28-day wet aged steaks at surprisingly good prices. It's not particularly swank or even altogether that old school decor-wise, but the important stuff is done right. Served with your choice of potato (go for the match stick fries or the mashed), the steaks are well salted, juicy as hell and typically under $30 bucks. More »

Discussion

44 Comments

lister / February 28, 2014 at 09:51 am
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Old school: Barberians.

New school: Jacob's & Co.

That is all.
tom / February 28, 2014 at 10:00 am
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FYI Michael's does not have the same chef as when the review was published. The food is not as good anymore.
Andrew / February 28, 2014 at 10:04 am
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agree with lister comment
Melanie / February 28, 2014 at 10:39 am
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Does anyone know what happened to the chef who worked at Carmen's a few years back?! After it closed, a piece of me died on the inside. It was a family staple- used to go every year for steak and KILLER garlic bread.
chris / February 28, 2014 at 10:48 am
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Ruth's Chris is a tourist trap nightmare. Probably my worst steak experience. I expect a lot of "Hey, your forgot so-and-so" replies here.
Dicko / February 28, 2014 at 11:03 am
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Uhhhhhhhh, Hipster free since its not Organic.
Brandon / February 28, 2014 at 11:08 am
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No Steak Queen?!?!
kobe / February 28, 2014 at 11:11 am
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Jacobs and Co. is the best upscale, no kids ever found here. Sometimes the service is hit and miss. The servers are young and some lack confidence and the experience to think fast on their feet.

Ruth's Chris is best overall. Everyone can feel comfortable dining here, including kids. The service is friendly, unpretentious, professional and relaxed enough for injections of humour. The hosts, however, are again, young and lack life skills. They try but fail to exude confidence and sophistication which hinders their ability to serve authentically. Generally, not as pleasant as the more mature experienced wait staff.

Barbariens is in an old dingy, creepy house. The food quality is mediocre and tasteless. DO NOT waste your time and money here.

Harbour 60 is so overrated!! Too expensive for the quality. Good for corporate expense accounts and that is it. Not for the true foodie.
akswun / February 28, 2014 at 11:12 am
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Better off buying some Grass fed Grain finished cuts at a good butcher or even a place like McEwans and do it your self and save yourself a ton of money.
kobe / February 28, 2014 at 11:13 am
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Bestellen uses the cheapest cuts of meat. Your jaws will hurt at the end of this meal. How they got on this list is a wonder.
Sacha / February 28, 2014 at 11:14 am
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Jacobs & Co is an overpriced ripoff. The steaks are fine, but there's absolutely no thought put into the presentation. And $12 for a side of fries?

I'd rather go to The Keg, thanks.
Sprat / February 28, 2014 at 11:19 am
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Took wife to Michael's for VIday...best steak I've ever had.
lister replying to a comment from akswun / February 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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Yes agreed assuming you know how to cook it right.
Arthur / February 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm
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Haters gonna hate. I really liked the Keg.
Cassandra / February 28, 2014 at 12:13 pm
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Black Angus on Bloor St. in Etobicoke. The staff are true, old-school professionals, and the charcoal grill is located right at the front when you come in, and you can watch the steak-porn from your table as your meat is cooked. It's obvious that most of their clientele are regulars - generational regulars - but the staff aren't in any way snobby. Rather, they know that if they treat newcomers with the same warmth, they too may become regulars.

They've recently renovated, which is a bit of a shame because the original 1960s layout arranged tables in cozy, private clusters. Now it's modern and open, which results in a noisier atmosphere.

And yes, the food is very good.
law / February 28, 2014 at 04:13 pm
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+1 for Black Angus. Certainly worthy of mentioning on this list, in my opinion. All in all a great list. Lots to ponder.
Jack / February 28, 2014 at 06:13 pm
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Tom Jones at King and Church
Charlie Bravo / February 28, 2014 at 08:09 pm
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What's the deal with steakhouses using USDA meat... Ruth's Chris, sure it's an American chain.

But the rest...?
BillyO / February 28, 2014 at 09:56 pm
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Having been to the best steakhouses in NYC and Vegas I can honestly say Jacob is on par with them and definitively deserves top spot in Toronto. I agree with the first comment for old school classic style steakhouse dining hard to argue with Barberians.
Opensource1111 / March 1, 2014 at 02:58 am
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@kobe: exactly what type of confidence and ability to think on your feet does a waiter need to fulfill your dining needs? You read the menu. You tell the waiter your order. He brings it to you. What else is there? It's not a 12 course tasting menu that needs explanation.
Trevor / March 1, 2014 at 11:59 am
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I love meat and prefer the deer and moose steaks from my hunting trips. We always say you can't grill it if you don't kill it! Do any of these establishments offer wild game on the menu or are these places beef only?
KOBE IS WRONG replying to a comment from kobe / March 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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It's quite clear that your taste in restaurants is horrible.

How you can rate Ruth Chris, which is essentially a steak sitting in boiling butter, the best overall shows how little you know.

Barbarians is by far the best of the bunch.
Sizzle / March 1, 2014 at 03:56 pm
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House of Chan!!!!!!
Xpat / March 1, 2014 at 05:27 pm
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Harbor Sixty is terrible. Doesn't belong this list.. Overpriced. Terrible service. Mediocre food
Michael / March 2, 2014 at 02:25 am
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Unfortunately I've only tried one place from this list (Barberians) but it was incredible.
Mike / March 3, 2014 at 03:59 pm
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Took my GF to Hy's a few weekends ago. I haven't been in about 10 yrs, but it still impressed me.

While I like Bestellen a lot (their burger is fantastic), I wouldn't call it a steakhouse (even though you mention that already). Not sure it should've made this list, but whatever.
Steven / March 7, 2014 at 09:43 pm
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@Sizzle - Yeah, House of Chan, the best steaks!!!

Better go back soon before Metrolinx tears it down to build a station there.
Fallerboy replying to a comment from Charlie Bravo / March 14, 2014 at 11:42 pm
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In my humble opinion, USDA just tastes better. Prefer the consistency and the marbling;fat tastes like butter. Angus just doesn't compare.
howard / March 19, 2014 at 11:04 am
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No black Angus? And Ruth Chris made it? R u kidding me?
Eric / March 21, 2014 at 04:40 pm
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Ruth's Chris disappoints consistently. Only go if I'm forced. Black Angus, House of Chan, Sorrento North
Steakman replying to a comment from KOBE IS WRONG / March 25, 2014 at 03:30 pm
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Ditto to everything you just said, was about to reply the same thing to Kobe.
Kobe Yashi / March 29, 2014 at 01:01 pm
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Ko ni chi wa. Best steak is make yourself. You go butcher. Get nice tbone. Take small small pepper and salt. You marinate few hours. Then you need skillet. You put skillet on stove high high heat. And you sear steak both sides. You take off heat. Put in oven 375 for couple minutes 10-15. After you try and make steak like this you no go to expensive restaurant. Be a smart people. Chef no trust other person who make steak. You make yourself. Good stuff. Next week we teach you make Ropa De Viaje Cuban way, make in slow coocker. Ari Gato.
Ken Stephen / April 15, 2014 at 03:24 pm
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Rather partial to Quinn's. NEVER ever again at the Keg. The last time I went there my filet mignon had a big strip of gristle on one side. Anyone who can't trim a filet mignon any better than that deserves to be out of business. Everyone saying to make your own, you are missing the point, which is precisely to relax and let someone else do the work for you as a change of pace!
Rico replying to a comment from Charlie Bravo / May 2, 2014 at 10:50 am
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The powers that be in Canada have almost ruined our beef here in Canada. They try to protect us by holding our hands at every corner, thinking they were "voted in" to protect us from ourselves. Because there's nothing like an ineffective politician or swivel servant to tell me how to live my life, since they're so wonderfully successful at it.

About 20 years back, Ruth's Chris opened in Toronto, and articles came out about the USDA beef available there. Shock ensued, then complete praise, then articles about why this has happened. We were frogs in increasingly hot water. We had no clue our beef had changed so dramatically. Ruth's Chris Toronto location is the most successful of them all. They were clients of mine back then.
Rico replying to a comment from Kobe Yashi / May 2, 2014 at 10:52 am
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Sorry, but your theory behind searing in juice is just wrong. I reverse sear steaks, not fry them. I agree with the complete difference between going out and cooking at home. They are different experiences and should be approached as such.
Garlic / May 3, 2014 at 10:34 am
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Melanie, did you find your best Carmen's replacement? I'm on the same hunt!!!
Jack / May 15, 2014 at 07:38 pm
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Surprised to see Ruth Chris on here but not Tom Jones.
Vanessa replying to a comment from Kobe Yashi / May 15, 2014 at 08:33 pm
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Agree! Once I was taught how to cook steak really well (similar to your explanation but I do a couple of other things too) I never looked back. Highly recommend using Barbarians seasoning and adding some Worcester sauce (just a bit) on both sides during the searing stage. Big hit with every guest I've had! P.s. of the steakhouses, have been to a few including Ruth's Chris and like it for the amazing BBQ shrimp app. I make that at home now too!
Scott / May 16, 2014 at 08:44 am
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Definitely missing Le Castile in Etobicoke. Reminded me of Carmen's the minute I walked in. Had a great Ribeye there just this past weekend...
James / May 16, 2014 at 05:26 pm
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I've been to them all and they're very good ... However for my $$$ I love the Rib Steak at the Keg Mansion with the Twiced Baked Potato - Side Loaded ... and the new Carrot Cake for dessert. Yum ... I think I'll go tonight.
Steven Rodriguez / May 26, 2014 at 11:18 pm
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Nope, sorry. #1 is Harbour 60 and #2 is Barberians. This list is rubbish.
Ian / June 3, 2014 at 10:52 pm
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Found Jacobs to be pretentious and the prices were obscene. For $125 just for the cut of meat I expect to be blown away and I wasn't. Have had steaks for a third of the price at other places in TO that were more than comparable. Nothing screams a-hole like offering a side of sautéed mushrooms for $16. $500 dinner for two with spotty service to boot. Have fun with that.
Kevn / June 4, 2014 at 05:51 pm
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Octagon is in Thornhill just over the border however it was always great .
Wit Dickman / June 6, 2014 at 07:07 pm
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Nothing wrong with bacon wrapped filet from the Keg IMO. Never had a bad meal there.

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