Birthdays are a time when you can be as selfish and spoiled as you want, and no one can say anything about it. And unless you’re one of the Kardashians, that kind of pampering is a rarity. So take advantage of your special day by celebrating it at a restaurant that cares enough to commemorate it. We’ve compiled a list of restaurants segmented into categories to help you find the perfect spot for you to ring in another year with friends! (updated Nov. 2018)
Fun and Interesting Restaurants to Eat for Your Birthday in Toronto
Fancy Sit-Down Dinners:
Money no object? Whether you’re looking to relax in a cool lounge or enjoy a romantic dinner for two, these sophisticated restaurants are the epitome of elegance. Go on and splurge – after all, your special day only comes around once a year.
Byblos is a true “Middle”terranean (Mediterranean/Middle Eastern) eatery in Toronto, and it shows in everything from the hand-rolled couscous to the duck kibbeh to their chargrilled Cornish hen. The basmati rice dishes are ideal for sharing and absolutely fantastic, made with all sorts of Eastern Mediterranean flavourings (we love the Sabzi one, just FYI). With delicious vegetarian dishes like fig salad and cheese acharuli, the herbivores at your party will definitely be satisfied, while the carnivores can devour delicious dry aged ribeye, and steak tartare.
Byblos has a private event space on the upstairs floor, and can split bills up to four times. There is a minimum gratuity fee of 18% for groups of 7 or more. For groups of over 12 people, they will only do their set group menu.
This vintage-inspired brasserie is home to some of the best French cuisine in Toronto. Bright, gold lights hang from the ceiling, leather booths are full of beautiful people, and the plates are decorated with an intricate combination of luxurious delicacies. For bragging rights, order the 30 Day Dry-Aged 10 oz Strip Loin with sauce béarnaise, pommes frites, gem lettuce and shallot dressing, and prepare to wow guests. If you’re not up to it, try any of their rotisserie options and enjoy chicken, lamb, lobster and more, cooked on an open flame – everything on the menu is outstanding. And for dessert, may we recommend either the profiteroles with vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate sauce and candied pecan (that’s OMG good), or the rotisserie golden pineapple with rum-caramel, raisins and coconut sorbet.
Café Boulud has a private room that can seat a maximum of 10 people. There is a minimum gratuity fee, but they can split bills. Strongly recommend reserving a week in advance; if booking for a Friday or Saturday night, book even further in advance.
When fans of Victor Barry’s restaurant Splendido found out the space was closing, they wondered what would be taking over. Barry decided to re-brand and keep the space and opened it as Piano Piano, a casual Italian eatery. While it’s not as high-end as its former self, you’ll find mains (from pizza to pasta) on the menu being served from $22-$56. The space has bright and colourful, with splashes of pinks and larger floral designs on the wall, which is due in large part to interior designer Tiffany Pratt being involved. A beautiful spot to celebrate with Italian done right.
For private events, Piano Piano seats up to 80 guests while Piccolo Piano, the playful kid-friendly lower level, seats up to 28. Reservations are required for groups of 7 or more.
Since we’re pretty proud of our country’s regional cuisine, this next restaurant also specializes in contemporary Canadian dining. Canoe’s casual elegance is matched only by its mouthwatering dishes – we’re particularly fond of their tea smoked duck breast and beef tenderloin tartare. A meal is meant to be savoured and remembered, and the chefs here understand that. Every plate is artfully prepared and every ingredient carefully selected to create a feast for both your taste buds and your eyes. And for your birthday, they’ll bring a decorated plate with a nice message and candle – pretty much the stylish equivalent of chain restaurant waiters yelling “happy birthday” at you.
Canoe has a private dining room that can seat a maximum of 60 people. There is a minimum gratuity charge, and they don’t split bills. Reservations required and recommend calling as far in advance as possible.
The beautifully adorned Bar Reyna is one of Yorkville’s latest imports, with Meditterean dishes that are perfect for sharing. Spend your cake day indoors on lush leather seats or outdoors on Bar Reyna’s year-round patio. We suggest ordering the Cataplana; a Le Creuset pot packed with lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, monkfish, and crispy Reyna Fries, which come in 5 different varieties; Greek, Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian (you’ll certainly want one of each). And because no birthday dinner is complete without drinks, a sampling of Bar Reyna’s cocktails are a must. The Reyna Sangria is ideal for splitting, while Her Royal Highness – a blend of rum, vodka, Saffron, Cardamom & rosewater syrup, grapefruit, and citrus – is a true celebration libation, served in a pineapple tumbler fit for a queen (or king).
Bar Reyna has a variety of options for large or small parties. The second floor, year-round back patio and entire space are available for reserve. Reservations are available for all group sizes and can be booked online or by phone (required for groups of 6 or more). An 18% gratuity is automatically added to a bill for groups of 8+ and diners have the option to split the bill in as many as 5 ways.
The Chase has a private room for up to 20 people, and can seat large parties in the dining room or semi private spaces. Parties of 12 or more guests are booked with Chase Hospitality Group’s event department to ensure that all of your Birthday wishes are fulfilled. There is a minimum food and beverage spend and the final bill can be split among guests.
Birthday on a Budget:
Celebrating your special day doesn’t have to mean emptying the entirety of your wallet. If you’re looking for high-quality food without the equally high price, check out these next few restaurants.
Gusto means “tasty” in Italian, and that’s exactly what this little joint is. Of course, there are plenty of delicious Italian restaurants in Toronto, so what makes this one any different? Firstly, the menu is a fresh take on Southern Italian classics, with a few surprising twists – you’ll find Moroccan and Caribbean flavours layered into some of the dishes. Also, their wood-fired grill results in some especially delicious pizza and meats, and best of all, everything is affordable.
For parties of up to 20 guests, you can choose to sit in a barrel-lined wine cellar or sanctioned-off rooftop spot. There’s a minimum spend required depending on the headcount, and they do ask for a deposit. They are primarily a walk-in restaurant but do set aside seating for online reservations for groups of 8 people or more.
Located in Toronto’s St Lawrence Market area, True True Pizza opened its doors in February. With individual sized thin crust pizzas, made to order with a variety of toppings or pre-made toppings such as the Aloha Smoke or Hunt & Peck. Also available are salads, soft-serve gelato, espresso and the most important, beer and wine. A dinner for two would be under $40, including tax and tip. The space itself is super cute as well, with Pencil Design overseeing the redesign. Bringing in custom made stone and leather pieces and lots of vibrant and fun pink highlights that stayed true to the brand.
True True doesn’t have a private room and they do not take reservations but there is plenty of seating on weekends as this spot typically serves the during-the-week working crowd. Bills can be paid separately as True True is a counter-service restaurant.
If you’ve seen this place on King West, you’ve probably admired it’s beautiful design aesthetic. But how do the tacos measure up? Well, fairly well – actually. This casual eatery is wholly devoted to providing fresh food, done right while serving up quick service and yes, they have alcohol. If that doesn’t sound like a win, then I don’t know what is. The menu includes old favourites like tacos ($4.25) and burritos ($9.75) and has multiple share plates. A dinner for two, including tax and tip, should amount to $40. Get there early in the evening though, it tends to fill up quick!
Wilbur Mexicana doesn’t have a private room and they do not take reservations. Bills can be paid separately as Wilbur Mexicana is a counter-service restaurant.
Sansotei has been featured in many lists as having the #1 best ramen in all of Toronto, and we can personally verify that no other ramen joint deserves the honour more. The atmosphere is friendly and cozy, and their signature Tonkotsu broth is made with fresh pork bone delivered daily. Their Yonge Street location also offers booth seating for more privacy. For those of you who’d like to spend your birthday slurping away on the thickest and creamiest ramen you’ll ever have, it really doesn’t get better than this.
Sansotei doesn’t have a private room, but can split bills and doesn’t require a minimum gratuity charge. They do not take reservations.
This relaxed spot is our go-to for tacos and guac. All salsa and tortillas are made in-house, and each dish is bursting with a modern take on Mexican fare. If you feel like being a culinary daredevil, try the grilled octopus tacos or the ancho-braised steak barbacoa topped with a 27 chiles-and-nuts mole.
Playa Cabana doesn’t have a private room, and charges a minimum gratuity fee if there are more than 8 people. They will split the bill depending on the size of the group. Can accommodate reservations for groups of 8 people or more, which they’ll hold for 15 minutes.
If you’re still trying to find a piece of heaven on earth, the appropriately named Utopia promises to deliver. Their homemade food comes in heaping portions, so you’ll definitely be getting enough bang for your buck. If you’d like a nice birthday brunch, we recommend their gourmet poutine with sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese, or their ultimate breakfast burger with poached eggs, bacon, and aged cheddar. For dinner, their wide array of grilled paninis and burritos are sure to satisfy.
Utopia doesn’t have a private room, but will split bills and doesn’t require a minimum gratuity fee. They do not take reservations.
Booze and Bites:
If you’d prefer to spend your birthday getting mildly intoxicated (read: completely wasted), these pubs and bars are fully stocked with whatever your preferred poison may be and serve bite size food to help you pace yourself.
CC Lounge and Whisky Bar is located in the heart of Downtown Toronto, in the beautiful St. Lawrence Market neighborhood. Designed to emulate the opulence of the 1920’s, this Prohibition themed lounge and bar is masterfully on point. 4000 square feet, equipped with stunning original brick walls, a cascade of sparkling crystal chandeliers, and lush velvet drapery. High energy and upbeat nightlife, in an elegant and sophisticated environment. Drink, dine and dance the night away.
Ask them about booking their whiskey tasting through the underground secret passage inspired whiskey tunnel created by Hiram Walker, the founder of Canadian Club Whisky originally built in 1891.
With its location in the historic (and fabulous) Distillery District, El Catrin is a convenient destination for pumping you full of apps and cocktails while enjoying vibrant Mexican tunes. Their authentic Mexican cuisine makes use of both traditional and modern takes on tapas, and their shared plates come in a large variety that will appeal to even the pickiest of your party guests. Take a seat on their heated patio, snack on some tortillas, tacos, or chorizo sausages, and take your pick from one of the many options on their drink menu.
El Catrin has two semi-private dining rooms; La Bodega can seat a group of 18 while El Balcona can seat 14. There is a minimum gratuity charge past a certain headcount. Reservations required and recommend reserving 3 weeks in advance.
Really, there’s absolutely no way you can have a bad birthday if you choose to spend it at Indie Ale House. The staff is professional but always very friendly, and the attention paid to the drinks menu hasn’t in any way compromised the attention paid to the food. Another reason to love Indie Alehouse is their diverse menu: there really is something for everyone. Whether you’re feeling like lighter apps – their DIY chilled shrimp lettuce wraps and prosciutto wrapped local burrata are delicious – or traditional pub favourites like Southern fried chicken, we can guarantee any and all cravings will be satisfied here.
For groups of over 5, a minimum gratuity will be included, and bills can’t be split. They do not take reservations for Friday and Saturday nights (after 5pm).
A quick walk from Toronto’s iconic CN Tower and Rogers Centre, Firkin on Harbour is the place to be if you’re looking to celebrate your birthday in a vibrant cool vibe. Opened just a couple of months ago, this comfortable yet trendy local pub features stunning Brit style furnishings, a beautiful waterfall-facing patio and twenty draught beers to keep you hydrated on those dry summer days. They’ve also got a food-and-drink special every day of the week, so you don’t have to spend your birthday crying about your rapidly-thinning wallet. If you’re looking to enjoy a fun and laid-back birthday with your friends, definitely consider spending it at Firkin on Harbour.
Firkin on Harbour doesn’t have a private room, and charges a minimum gratuity for parties of over 8. They will split bills. Reservations will not be accepted on Fridays after 5pm. No reservations will be accepted for the patio, this is strictly on a first come first serve basis. For parties of over 10, or if booking on the same day, they require reservations by telephone as opposed to through their website.
Named as one of the best new restaurants in Toronto, Bar Isabel focuses on making both high-quality food and high-quality drinks. If you’re feeling like a fun vibe with Spanish-inspired tapas, Bar Isabel should be your destination. Think bite-size deliciousness including roast bone marrow, patatas bravas or get creative with spicy fried squid, crispy tongue, and kale. A foodie’s heaven, they also make killer cocktails to pair with your tapas. For those of you feeling a little adventurous, we definitely recommend you try their signature “Isabel Fashioned” cocktail with bacon infused bourbon and orange zest.
Bar Isabel doesn’t have a private room, but also doesn’t have a minimum gratuity charge. They will split bills. They can accommodate a maximum of 10 individuals. Recommend reserving 3 weeks ahead if day of choice is Sunday to Wednesday. If Thursday through Saturday, they recommend calling 6 weeks ahead.
Sure, sharing a round of drinks over a nice dinner is the tried-and-tested formula for a nice birthday, but for those that want something more than just nice, these themed restaurants are packed with fun events that’ll take you out of your comfort zone and on an unforgettable ride.
If you’d like to spend your birthday listening to some smooth, live jazz, we can’t recommend Jazz Bistro enough. Firstly, despite its plush and classy décor, this fine dining establishment is completely unpretentious. The atmosphere is always fun and friendly, especially on the beautiful rooftop patio. It’s the perfect place to gather with friends and enjoy an excellent live jazz performance, some delicious cocktails, and elegantly prepared food. And if you’re looking for something a little extra, don’t forget that there’s karaoke on Wednesdays and cabaret on Sundays!
Jazz Bistro has multiple private spaces available, including their beautiful “Jazz Cellar” rooftop patio on the third floor. There is a minimum gratuity fee, and bills can’t be split past a certain headcount. They recommend reserving at least a week in advance.
With multiple locations across Toronto, Copacabana is the perfect birthday location for the meat lover in your family. This all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse not only will give you the meat sweats but on weekends offers samba and aerialist silk performers for a little extra ooh laa laa.
Private and semi-private space is available for groups of 30-200. When reserving for larger parties, you have the option to stick with Copacabana’s Rodizio style menu or have them create a unique meal package. Reservations can be made by phone (mandatory for groups of 20+) or online. Gratuity is added to bills for parties of 6 or more.
With events like salsa, burlesque, aerial performances, live comedy and karaoke, Round Venue pretty much guarantees an interesting and immersive dining experience. Best of all, it’s located in Kensington Market, arguably one of the most fun and hip areas of Toronto. This restaurant should definitely be at the top of your list if you want to be wowed watching half-naked girls fly through the room while noshing on some damn good French-influenced food. Their signature Kensington fried chicken and Round burger with “pont-neuf” frites provide good sources of comfort food, while their deep fried Mars bar is a great finale to what is without a doubt going to be one of the more interesting nights of your life.
Round Venue doesn’t have a private room. They can split bills, and there is no minimum gratuity fee. They take reservations through their website. May need to book weeks in advance, depending on the event.
It’s time to break out those dancing shoes! Lulu Lounge injects a bit of latin flavour into the dining out experience. You can eat from their authentic pre-fixe menu selections and then either take part in their beginner salsa lessons or sit back and watch the live show yourself. It’s entirely up to you and so much fun either way. With live music and great food – you’ll have an unforgettable birthday experience.
Lula Lounge accepts reservations of all sizes, however, for parties of 9+, they require a credit card number and will charge $10 for each spot reserved and not used. Changes to reservations can be made up until 2pm on the day before the party. They do not offer separate bills for parties larger than 12. 17% gratuity is added to tables of 6 or more. On Friday and Saturday nights, they only accept reservations for their dinner package.
Laugh at this one all you want, but watching men charge at each other with maces while on horseback is actually incredibly entertaining. We understand that the act of shoving roast chicken and potatoes into your mouth with bare hands might not be for everyone, but for those that don’t mind getting a little down and dirty on their birthday, Medieval Times can make a great party destination. You even get a plastic crown, so you can truly feel like discount-store royalty. Which is pretty close to the actual thing, right?
And because Medieval Times is dedicated to making you feel like a monarch, they’ll even split bills for you! And, you can even get free admission on your birthday with the purchase of one regular-priced admission, provided you sign up for the Birthday Fellowship online. However, if your band of jesters and ladies-in-waiting exceeds more than 10 people, there will be a minimum gratuity charge. Because seating is limited and shows are usually full, reservations are strongly recommended. Groups of 15 or more should book with the individual castle Group Sales Department as far in advance as possible. To take advantage of the Birthday Fellowship, must sign up online.
For the Ultimate Birthday Experience
We get it, theres a whole lot of decisions to be made in life, and picking a restaurant for your birthday dinner is the last thing you need to add to that. Luckily the Assembly Chef’s Hall is a great place with a roundup of some of the city’s hottest restaurants. Satisfy multiple cravings, and dietary preferences, and get them all under one roof — and then up-the-ante!
Assembly Chef’s Hall offers #TheBirthdayExperience (pictured in the feature image), and it is just that. If you’re looking to make a splash this year, they have different packages depending on how deep your pockets are. From a $99 mini cake and a prosecco package, to the “Birthday Baller” offering a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, “The Birthday Experience” cake from The Bake Shop, their dubbed “Balloon Wonderland” and a $30 giftcard per person up to 5 people to spend at the different restaurants — all for a whopping $395, plus tax of course. Pair that with a tight group of close friends, and the night is young.
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