Walking across the red-and-gold carpeted floors at Salvatore’s Restaurant, a quick view explains why the fine dining spot was first known for its over-the-top decor. Chandeliers, racks of fine wines, heavy red drapes, and white linens splash across the various rooms. Even the ceiling appears to twinkle. And guests sitting at the patio don’t miss out on the decor, either: white linens paired with high-backed black chairs make the patio feel more elegant than most formal dining rooms.
The menu is equal parts decadence and comfort. Steaks are aged 36 days then rubbed with sea salt, black pepper, and fresh rosemary, and broiled to order. Then, homemade steak butter tops it off, plus grilled asparagus drizzled with balsamic and orzo. Italian specialties and seafood also abound on the menu, from prosciutto tortellini and lobster ravioli to sea bass and yellowfin tuna. And if you’re concerned about drink pairings, brace yourself: the wine list is 17 pages long.
Amaretto Bistro produces a menu of Italian-centric dishes that feature rich and simple ingredients. Housemade venison link sausage and mussels seasoned with white wine and butter serve as preludes to Amaretto's entrees, which include fresh pastas, seafood, and steak such as the bone-in rib eye with radish-chive compound butter. For lighter fare, the kitchen churns out goat-cheese salad tossed with green-apple and raspberry-chianti vinaigrette.
After deciding at a young age what he wanted to do, Red Canoe Bistro’s chef Tobias Pohl-Weary wasted no time getting started. By age 12 he was assisting chef Jamie Kennedy during a New Years Eve meal at the Palmerston Restaurant, and by 17 he apprenticed under chef John Higgins. After managing some of Canada’s finest restaurants, chef Pohl-Weary decided to pour his considerable knowledge and experience into Red Canoe Bistro.
Favouring a hyper-seasonal menu, Tobias builds dishes that give voice to regional Canadian ingredients, wild edibles, and local game. Diners might feast on naturally raised beef and pork belly burgers with wild leek aioli, chuck steak chili with local habaneros, or pan-seared scallops with a spiced carrot puree and goat’s milk yogurt drizzle. Local ingredients mingle with flavours from India, Asia, and Italy to create robust entrees that helped earn Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for 2012. Tobias and his team of culinary savants are always willing to change their recipes to accommodate vegans, and people with allergies or specialty diets upon request.
On a nondescript St. Lawrence Market District street corner, one of the area's top fine dining establishments hides inside a historic brick building. Lucien's almost industrial-looking facade is a stark juxtaposition to an interior where chandeliers and velvety red curtains contribute to a refined yet welcoming space. Customers dine flanked by an elegant marble-topped bar and a sectioned wall behind which the kitchen staff can be spied conjuring up the restaurant's acclaimed dishes, all made form locally sourced ingredients.
Experienced restaurateur Simon Bower crafted the eatery's attitude and decor while chef Etienne Lemieux created the menu, which stars such gems such as grilled bincho octopus and red deer bresola. Lucien's genial milieu exudes the elegance of fine dining in an unstuffy, cozy setting. The establishment has won numerous awards for its overall quality, being praised as "the city's best new restaurant" by Toronto Life magazine and placed among enRoute magazine's top 10 restaurants in Canada. Meals can be capped off with an artisanal cheese plate ($17) or sake cherries jubilee ($12).
With glimmering wine glasses, white napkins, and fresh flowers scattered across its wooden tables and countertops, Bistro 243 personifies a cozy-yet-stylish French bistro. The intimate restaurant serves elegant lunch and dinner dishes daily, with entrees such as mushroom risotto and chicken stuffed with spinach and brie further channeling European pleasures. On weekends, diners stop by to sip on mimosas from the full bar while enjoying brunch selections ranging from omelettes with smoked salmon to sandwiches with pulled pork.
Amid the chandeliers and cream walls of a historically designated building, La Maquette Restaurant’s ensemble of culinary wizards whips up lunch, dinner, and dessert menus replete with dishes that fuse French, Italian, and Caribbean flavours. Midday munchers can sink teeth into lunch entrees such as a Cajun seafood risotto ($21), which floods mouth caves with maritime treasures including mussels and shrimp. A dinner entree of pan-seared ostrich ($46) whisks taste buds away on a unique gustatory sojourn tempered by sides of roasted purple potato and sun-dried cranberries, and La Maquette’s vegetarian wellington ($24) snuggles a vegetable-and-rice julienne into a puff pastry gilded with leek-cream sauce. To conclude feasting, eaters can inhale a dulcet postprandial treat, such as the Deconstructive tiramisu ($12), based on the writings and postmodern recipes of Jacques Derrida.