Toronto kitchens led by women

Torontonians east to west know well that they have the privilege of being surrounded by some of Canada’s most lauded kitchens. What they may not know is that a growing number of those kitchens are home to some of the most critically acclaimed female chefs in the country. If you’re looking to do some tasty reconnaissance, here are some of the top women-led kitchens to visit in TO.

Ruby Watchco

1
730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H2

East enders have fallen hard for celebrity chef Lynn Crawford’s brick and mortar in Riverdale. The famed host of Pitchin’ In (where she stops in at different farms and learns how our most beloved ingredients are harvested) unleashed one of the city’s most successful prix-fixe dining experiences in 2010. A daily changing menu of locally sourced Canadian-inspired innovations promises an experience of spontaneity for the taste buds, while the gorgeous restaurant is a delight for the eyes. The kitchen is also headed by Chef Lora Kirk.

L'Unità Restaurant

2
134 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2H6

Miriam Echeverria heads up beloved Italian osteria L’Unita, a Yorkville fixture for modern-Italian and some urban-in-the-best-way vibes. The Mexico-born chef has won critics and diners’ hearts alike with L’Unita’s dazzling menu, stacked with burrata, meatballs and polenta, fior de latte, unique charcuterie, and intriguing pizza and pasta dishes. Seasonal meat and fish plates with locally sourced vegetables (think: braised lamb shank with cannellini beans and bufala yogurt, and arctic char, black kale and almond gremolata) round out the secondi dishes. Interior? Old world charm in the way of exposed brick, chandeliers, and intimate twosome tables.

La Cubana

3
392 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2M9

Husband-and-wife duo Corinna Mozo and Victor Coelho head up this now-famed Cuban eatery in Toronto, originally opened on Roncesvalles Avenue and with a newcomer on Ossington (where their own Delux used to be). Not only does the spot offer one of the best happy hours in town (daily food + cocktail specials like pork belly and a daiquiri – ideal for those who didn’t make it to the beach this winter). Must-tries include the Medianoche sandwich, the deep-fried donuts, and Cuban cocktails that spotlight Havana Club and fresh fruit.

The Black Hoof

4
928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1W3

One of Toronto’s most notable culinary gals about town, Jen Agg is the woman behind famed brasserie Black Hoof, Caribbean-inspired Rhum Corner, and date-night-central Cocktail Bar, all conveniently located within paces of one another. It’s bustling and compact in the best way at this Dundas resto-bar, known for its unique selection of game meats and signature cocktails to match. That the sole signage is an awning bearing the word “charcuterie” is a testament to how proudly this spot stands behind its meat and cheese platters, a must-sample on your next dinner date.

Spice Route Asian Bistro & Bar

5
499 King St W, Toronto, ON M6N 1H7

Executive chef Winlai Wong is the woman behind this Chinese-, Thai-, and Indian-inspired eatery on King West, ideal for an intimate dinner date or a group work function alike. Wok is one of Wong’s specialties, making menu items like the seared teriyaki sirloin with shitake and king oyster mushrooms a must-try. Although sprawling, the low, amber lighting and warm Asian décor create relaxed vibes, while a cocktail menu with spiked teas (chai tea and Grand Marnier, anyone?) and Asian-inspired martinis make it an ideal spot for your end-of-the-week wind down.

Colette

6
550 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2V4

Ladies rule the kitchen of this King West bistro and patisserie, among the most awe-inspiring spaces in the city, no less. Pastry chef Leslie Steh keeps it oh-so-classy with such delights as petits fours, macarons and tarts, baked in-house daily. Chef de cuisine Amira Becarevic and sous chefs Felicia DeRose and Jane Macdonald can be found rendering the café’s gorgeous weekday lunch and weekend brunch buffets, as well as sit-down lunch and dinner dishes like escargot, tartare, duck confit, and lobster thermidor.

Mildred's Temple Kitchen

7
104-85 Hanna Ave, Toronto, ON M6K 3S3

Famed cookbook author and restaurateur Donna Dooher opened this Liberty Village mainstay in 2008 with partner Kevin Gallagher. The expansive, modern resto-bar is not only home to what is arguably Toronto’s most famed stack of pancakes, but it’s landed itself on city best-of lists for everything from romantic dates to dinner parties for large groups (host your wedding there, for instance), and cozy weekend brunch with pals.

Pai

8
18 Duncan St, Toronto, ON M5H 3G8

One of Toronto’s sole destinations for Northern Thai cuisine, Pai is headed by renowned chef Nuit Regular, who offers her may-we-say stellar interpretations of authentic Thai fare (she’s also one of the culinary minds behind the lauded Sukhothai). The cozy-yet-spacious subterranean eatery at Duncan and Adelaide boasts a menu stacked with hot pot soups (think: hot and sour with lemongrass and prawns), and spicy meat and rice dishes like pork belly or oxtail with ginger curry and jasmine rice.

Our talented brewmasters are among the most beloved makers in the city, having carved out Toronto’s status as a destination for award-winning craft beer. Although the culture is home-grown and goes way back, post 2011, a slew of new spots have popped up across the city. Here are the stories behind both our famed microbreweries and innovative newcomers on the scene. [Photo credit: Celine Kim]
From second-storey terraces to canopy-covered courtyards, 2016 has been a good year for Toronto’s patio game. We’ve got the goods on the brand-new brewery on Roncesvalles and the Lakeshore’s most recent party-worthy spot. East to west, these resto-bar newcomers have created inspired outdoor spaces so you can start patio season off right. [Image credit: iStock.com/Sean Pavone] 
On Sunday May 1st 2016, the Artscape Wychwood Barns hosts TO’s largest festival for gluten-free foodies. With workshops led by gluten-free experts and over 65 food vendors to sample from, this event is a must-attend for wheat-sensitive Torontonians. From cupcakes to malt beer and cider tastings, the Gluten Free Garage is where to snack up and stock up this weekend. [Photo by Franco Deleo; courtesy of the Gluten Free Garage]
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