important restaurants toronto

The 10 most important restaurants in Toronto

The most important restaurants in Toronto help define the cuisine of our city by either looking back at how we got here or instigating enduring trends. These restaurants are a mix of high and low, new and old, one-off concepts and sprawling chains.

Here are my picks for the most important restaurants in Toronto.

Black Hoof
The restaurant on Dundas West was among the first to popularize offal; transforming what were once the least desirable offcuts into prized treasures that diners clamour for.

The bastion of fine dining has long played its part in elevating the culinary credentials of Canada. The O&B restaurant puts premium Canadian products on a pedestal and showcases homegrown talent.

The restaurant on Ossington is like an edible history lesson and dining here offers a chance to time travel back to when Canada was just a fledgling nation.

416 Snack Bar
The low lit bar known for an always evolving menu of utensil-free foods can be credited with kicking off the whole snack bar trend.

Rose & Sons
The trail-blazing restaurant helped refresh this sleepy stretch of Dupont while also reviving interest in Jewish cuisine.

Playa Cabana
The chain of cantinas made Mexican food mainstream and then gradually started introducing Toronto to the nuances of regional and homestyle cuisines plus playful fusions.

Burger's Priest
The original location on Queen East ignited Hogtown's lust for gourmet burgers and has since spurred a frenzied expansion that can be felt across Toronto's burger landscape.

Khao San Road
Before KSR, Thai food in Toronto felt a little one note and that note was predominantly ketchup. It also set a new standard that newer Thai eateries have tried to emulate.

The long running vegetarian eatery is still bustling at brunch, lunch and dinner. It helped introduce Torontonians to rice bowls, sweet potato fries and smoothies.

Bellwoods Brewery
The brewpub on Ossington wasn't the first to introduce beers and bites all made under one roof, but it arguably inspired many of the brewpubs that followed.

What did I miss? Add your picks for the most important restaurants to the comments.

Photo of Khao San Road by Hector Vasquez.

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