The first edition of the MICHELIN® Guide Toronto has been revealed today, with inspectors honoring 12 one-MICHELIN-Star restaurants and one two-MICHELIN-Star restaurant. Toronto becomes the first Canadian city to be featured in the MICHELIN Guide.
“Toronto shows it’s deserving of being the first MICHELIN Guide selection ever in the Great White North,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides. “The diversity of the selection reflects the cosmopolitan soul of this exciting city. With 27 cuisine types, from Japanese Kaiseki to Italian, Mexican or contemporary cuisine, there’s something to please every foodie here. Toronto already was a multicultural place where people meet to enjoy architecture, arts and nature, and now it becomes a world-class destination for gourmets too.”
Sushi Masaki Saito, led by Chef Masaki Saito, received two MICHELIN Stars. Here’s what the inspectors had to say about it:
Sushi Masaki Saito (Japanese/Sushi cuisine)
Only here will you find shirako boldly skewered and grilled over binchotan, and only here will you eat melting slabs of chutoro buried under a blizzard of white truffles. Fish comes exclusively from Japan, and for the nigiri, assistants are quick to bring him his prized rice from Niigata prefecture, warm and tinged with his special blend of vinegars, after every round. Laughter fills the air, thanks to Chef Masaki Saito and his jovial team, and for a few blissful hours, the world outside melts away.
Here are the one-MICHELIN-Star restaurants, with inspector notes from each (inspector comments in full on the MICHELIN Guide website and mobile app):
Aburi Hana (Japanese/Kaiseki cuisine)
Chef Ryusuke Nakagawa presents a modern take on the history-steeped Kyō-Kaiseki menu. His cooking is deeply personal and intricate but never overwrought. Each course outdoes the last. The maguro flower, a rose made from pieces of akami and chutoro, is stunning, and kurobuta kakuni, simmered pork belly over foie gras, is dazzling.
Alo (Contemporary cuisine)
Everyone has a good time at Chef Patrick Kriss’s beloved Alo. The talented beverage team offers spot-on suggestions from the well-chosen wine list. The kitchen team seamlessly merges European and Asian sensibilities onto a single tasting menu with dishes like creamy Koshihikari risotto boosted with porcini emulsion or rack of lamb with Thai green curry.
Alobar Yorkville (French cuisine)
Seafood figures prominently, and, as one might expect from Chef Patrick Kriss and Chef de Cuisine Rebekah Bruce, product is first-rate and technique exemplary. From chilled lobster with lime aioli to rack of lamb with niçoise olive, the kitchen delivers a kind of refined approachability that suits all occasions. Desserts like mille-feuille with raspberry chantilly are show-stoppers.
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto (Italian cuisine)
Chef Daniele Corona’s dishes echo the contemporary sophistication of the dining room. Eel gelato plated with a tangle of wild rose-scented tagliatelle, pulverized egg yolk and sturgeon caviar delivers a wonderful mix of flavors; tender and vibrant agnolotti are stuffed with Ontario lamb for a rich and meaty filling and doused in a decadent cheese sauce that packs a punch.
Edulis (Contemporary cuisine)
The pride and passion of the husband-and-wife owners and their staff is undeniably evident throughout this spot. Settle in for a set, multicourse menu inspired by the Mediterranean. The kitchen eschews fluff, focusing instead on creating harmonious (and delicious) dishes. Freshly carved Spanish ham, cheese and dessert are available as add-ons. The menu proudly hews to the season.
Enigma Yorkville (Contemporary cuisine)
Chef Quinton Bennett's resume is as varied and glittering as the tile mosaics that stretch across the ceiling of this Yorkville looker. Using molecular techniques, he puts his worldly view on the plate, playing on diverse textures and surprising combinations like brassicas with smoked foie gras and dehydrated parmesan or tuna with sheets of beetroot and fermented daikon.
Frilu (Contemporary cuisine)
There is a saying that we should dance like nobody’s watching. This adage feels true of Chef John-Vincent Troiano, who cooks to his own rhythm in Thornhill. Smoke, game and refined sauce-work figure prominently on what might be the only tasting menu for several kilometers. A tiny space packed with talent, the sparsely decorated nook leaves everything on the plate, with high-quality product from their own farm coupled with an intriguing Japanese element that feels natural.
Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto (Japanese/Kaiseki cuisine)
Chef Masaki Hashimoto's traditional kaiseki eight-course menu showcases the seasons while celebrating Japanese ingredients. It's all about focus over flash with a refined intricate style and attention to detail that borders on reverence. Shii-zakana is a signature dish composed of fried soba noodle-wrapped shrimp, but it's the stunning radish crane that you'll remember.
Osteria Giulia (Italian cuisine)
It seems nearly impossible to have a bad time at Chef Rob Rossi’s Italian stunner. Many Italian menus can look the same, Rossi narrows in on the seafood-rich traditions of Liguria. A deep Italian wine list and an especially talented cocktail program round out an experience that is as accomplished as it is hospitable.
Quetzal (Mexican cuisine)
Almost everything on this tight menu passes through the kitchen’s 26-foot-long wood-burning grill that actively roars and smokes. At the end of the line is a single chef at the earthenware comal, who prepares tortillas from heirloom corn that is nixtmalized and ground in-house. Lamb barbacoa packed into griddled, blue masa tortillas and charred maitake mushrooms set in a crema poblana highlight the transformative magic of fire, while dry-aged amberjack aguachile flexes the kitchen’s delicate side.
Shoushin (Japanese/Sushi cuisine)
Jackie Lin leads the young team with care. The seasonal sushi omakase is especially delightful. Grilled cutlassfish, rarely seen on many menus, is served hot and flaky. Striped jackfish with a kiss of green onion is flavorful; golden eye snapper is nicely aged. From lean bluefin tuna with mountain yam and tart kohada to excellent baby seabream with lime, it's hit after hit.
Yukashi (Japanese/Kaiseki cuisine)
Chef Daisuke Izutsu has cooked for royals, dignitaries, and you, if you're one of the lucky 15 who has secured a seat at the intimate Yukashi. Firmly rooted in seasonality, this kaiseki-style menu is highly original and personal. The otsukuri, with slices of shima aji with yuzu zest, toro with pickled turnip and hay-smoked hamachi delicately arranged atop a white marble base, is a work of art.
The MICHELIN Guide inspectors found 17 restaurants worthy of the Bib Gourmand designation, which recognizes great food at a great value. These are restaurants where one can have two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for less than $60 CAD.
In addition to the highly anticipated Bib Gourmand and Star distinctions, the Guide announced three special awards. The Michelin Service Award, presented by Air Canada, went to the team at Edulis, led by husband-and-wife chefs Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth. Sommelier of the Year was awarded to Christopher Sealy and his team at Alo. And the Exceptional Cocktails Award was earned by the team at Osteria Giulia.
The MICHELIN Guide Star Revelation event is presented with the support of Capital One.
The full MICHELIN Guide Toronto selection is available free of charge on the MICHELIN Guide website and app. The restaurants join the MICHELIN Guide selection of hotels, which features the most unique and exciting places to stay in Toronto and throughout the world.
Every hotel in the Guide is chosen for its extraordinary style, service, and personality — with options for all budgets — and each hotel can be booked directly through the MICHELIN Guide website and app. The selection for Toronto currently features the city’s most spectacular hotels, including sustainability pioneers like 1 Hotel Toronto, standouts from the “Plus” collection like the Soho Hotel, and design-forward boutiques like The Drake.
The MICHELIN Guide is a benchmark in gastronomy. Now it’s setting a new standard for hotels. Visit the MICHELIN Guide website, or download the free app for iOS and Android, to discover every restaurant in the selection and book an unforgettable hotel.