12 Underrated Toronto Restaurants You NEED to Visit

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

1. 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.

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2. Pizza e Pazzi

1182 St Clair Ave W
On the upper west end, this hidden gem provides ample options for Italian food lovers. Portions are very generous. Very homestyle fresh made daily pastas and pizzas and much more. Their Duck Ragu Bolognese is epic. Definitely worth the trek uptown.

Dinner Only

3. 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.

4. 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)

5. 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

6. 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)

7. 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.

8. 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)

9. 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.

10. 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!

11. 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)

12. 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, what Toronto food is. Exciting dishes 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 View The Vibe know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe