13 Underrated Toronto Restaurants You Need to Visit

underrated toronto restaurants

Luna Café (Image: Instagram/@lindsayrhee)

Tired of the same old same old? We’ve rounded up a list underrated locales that serve great food. 

With so many “Best Of” lists, sometimes we forget the restaurants that are still tried-and-true amazing. Perhaps they’ve been around for a while or are just too up-and-coming, but that’s no reason to miss some of the city’s best eats!

We’ve helpfully broken this list up into meal type, but in no particular order, so you can plan and eat accordingly. Declutter your mind and consider these spots for your next culinary night out.

Breakfast + Lunch

Luna Café
181 Dovercourt Road 
Tucked into a side street of West Queen West, this breakfast and lunch café’s menu focuses on wraps, eggs Benny options, and hearty breakfast bowls. With the open concept kitchen, it’s a thrill to smell and see how everything is made while you wait and salivate.

Hello Darling
827 Lansdowne Ave
Located near Lansdowne and Bloor West, this hidden gem provides ample options for both meat and vegetarian eaters. Portions are very filling and a chalkboard menu means the dishes are ever-changing, constantly bettering themselves. Mint green tabletops also help make this place an uber-Instagrammable destination.

underrated toronto restaurants

Hello Darling (Image: Instagram/@katessmaclachlan)

Dinner Only

Montgomery’s
996 Queen Street West
This place opened semi-recently, and they’ve since hit their stride with the menu, operating hours, and pricing. Now offering just dinner service, this Canadian-first cuisine comes from the highly sought-after Chef Guy Rawlings and his wife, Kim Montgomery. Expect a menu that changes with the seasons, house-made everything, and the type of stellar service that holds your hand into new culinary delights.

Julie’s Cuban
202 Dovercourt Road
A mini light box on Dovercourt, there lies Julie’s Cuban with her romantic patio dolled up with fairy lights. Here you’ll find bright and satisfying Cuban food, including coconut shrimp and “Tostones Rellenos”, a plantain cup filled with avocado, shrimp or picadillo.

underrated toronto restaurants

Julie’s Cuban (Image: Instagram/@rawyogaco)

Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice Restaurant
1220 Queen Street East
Tenderly referred to as “The Nose” by locals thanks to its sign outside, this Leslieville spot is a treasure of an Italian resto. Italian staple dishes, great service, many regulars and all for a really, really nice price point. Where else in the city will you get a delectable Involtini dish of ribeye steak stuffed with pulled pork, goat cheese, and jus for just $15.95?

Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

The Ace
231A Roncesvalles Ave
This scrumptious and original booth-sporting neighborhood restaurant is a hub for good cheer. The seasonal menu, insanely tasty and inventive daily specials, brunch service AND kids’ menu provide overwhelming options for any eater. Right about now, the people of Roncesvalles are screaming because we’ve let their secret out.

underrated toronto restaurants

The Ace (Image: Instagram/@justinewilde)

Le Palette
492 Queen Street West
In a sea of trendy restos that constantly turn over on Queen Street West, Le Palette stands proud. The stunning Parisian atmosphere feels relaxed, not trite and you can count on the food every time. Here you’ll find French cuisine with exotic meats, fresh fish, and perfectly executed classics.

The Senator
249 Victoria Street
This is literally the oldest restaurant in Toronto! They don’t reinvent the wheel but they are as solid and sturdy a brunch or dinner option as ever, aging like a fine wine. The heartiest challah toast and diner favorites make the weekend line-ups worth it.

underrated toronto restaurants

The Senator (Image: Instagram/@jordankarkoulas)

Bairrada Churrasqueira
1000 College Street West
One might walk into this establishment during the winter and not realize the depth that Bairrada Churrasqueira  possesses. Literally, the back patio goes on for days, decked out with picnic tables to host your dinner of rotisserie chicken and flaming sausages.

The Ceili Cottage
1301 Queen Street East
The East-enders know what’s up. The Celtic pub with Irish fares features specialties like a weekly roast and beautiful, shucked-to-order oysters. Their food is the ultimate comfort and the whisky list is long, just how we like it.

underrated toronto restaurants

The Ceili Cottage (Image: Instagram/@shuckerpaddy)

Nazareth
969 Bloor Street West
This place is madness! In jungle-like decor, you can eat like a king for under $20, sometimes under $10. Platters of meat and vegetable dishes are on offer and the portions will satisfy any appetite. If you don’t know, know you know!

Bannock
401 Bay Street
Living in a sea of banks and chains, Bannock is really a diamond in the rough! You can almost always get a table here for lunch, brunch or dinner, while during those times, it seems pleasantly full. And even though they may currently be stuck under some construction, that’s not going to stop us from grabbing a roast duck poutine “pizza” on bannock bread anytime soon.

underrated toronto restaurants

Bannock (Image: Instagram/@@ltrans2)

Hawthorne Food & Drink
60 Richmond St. East
With a menu that changes 8-10 times a year, Hawthorne Food & Drink is a farm-to-fork restaurant that’s anything but boring. Executive Chef Ricky Casipe executes a menu that is bright, artful, and delicious. Dishes like Roasted Squash with Filipino Ginataan dressing or the Carbonara with schmaltz, smoked chicken, free range yolk, and crispy chicken skins embody exactly what Canadian, or more specifically, Toronto food is: exciting dishes that use locally sourced ingredients and are infused with flavors from the cultures that make up the city.

Carbonara from Hawthorne Food & Drink (Image: Sarah May)

Carbonara from Hawthorne Food & Drink (Image: Sarah May)

RELATED LINK: New Toronto Restaurants: November 2016

Did we miss any of your favourite local restaurants? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe

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Vv Magazine is the new and improved extension of View the Vibe. We strive to give you great stories with different perceptions, opinions and viewpoints while also covering the latest trends in food, fashion and beauty. Stationed in Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary are coming soon!
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  • John

    Went to Bairrada Churrasqueira on Dundas several times until it became too dangerous to eat there. Shards of bones in chicken sandwich. The rice had grains that were hard as a rock and I nearly broke a tooth. They regularly run out of chicken, don’t accept debit, and their tomato salad is made from the worst quality, tasteless tomatoes.