12 of Toronto’s outstanding spots for celebrating special occasions

Quetzal, a Mexican-inspired spot in Little Italy, serves festive, wood-fired fare. | Credit: Quetzal

Torontonians come from all corners of the world. So it’s only natural that the special occasion restaurants in Canada’s largest city have global sensibilities. 

Celebrate a relationship milestone at a hidden, French countryside escape in Midtown. Take a group gathering to a lively King West karaoke spot with Sichuan-inspired plates. For an epic birthday dinner, head to a Harbourfront Italian icon that was just awarded a MICHELIN star. 

Queen City’s restaurants are ready to host your next anniversary, family reunion, or promotion. Read on for a list of Toronto’s top 12 special occasion spots to book now.

Enigma Yorkville (Yorkville)

The dining experience at Enigma wows from start to finish. It begins with the striking interiors, lined with mosaic tiles that glitter like tiny jewels. Dishes feature seasonal ingredients, European techniques, and exquisite plating—all while showcasing chef Quinton Bennett’s passion for molecular gastronomy. The blind format tasting menu means that diners are treated to delightful surprises emerging from the restaurant’s open kitchen. Plates might include British Columbia king salmon with pickled wild coho salmon roe, Tajima wagyu with shiitake and kelp, and matcha and pistachio opera cake. Bennett’s imaginative culinary approach earned the restaurant a MICHELIN star this September. 

Auberge du Pommier (Midtown/Uptown)

The entrance to Auberge du Pommier. | Credit: Allison Woo

This lush and quaint haven was once a pair of woodcutter’s cottages and date back to the 1860s. Today, the upscale French restaurant, a special occasion gem, remains a hidden paradise in an otherwise nondescript pocket of midtown Toronto. The rustic and homey decor is enhanced by pristine French fare that can be enjoyed a la carte or via a tasting menu. Decadent, celebration-worthy creations include anise-cured hamachi, seared scallops with beluga lentils, and baked apple mousse for dessert.

Baro (King West)

The flavors of South America, from Colombia to Argentina, are on display at this fiesta of a restaurant. Baro spans four festive floors: at the ground-level dining room, order à la carte or from the chef’s recommended spread including the “big ass steak,” pollo a la brasa (Peruvian roast chicken), duck chaufa, and more. After dinner, head upstairs for some cocktails in the speakeasy. The rooftop patio exudes liveliness and serves a more shareable menu, ideal for group gatherings.

Canoe Restaurant and Bar (Financial District)

The interiors at Canoe Restaurant and Bar. | Credit: Cindy La

Woo someone special with the views of the Toronto skyline at this fine-dining restaurant on the 54th floor of the TD tower. Canoe, a decades-old spot that recently underwent a $2 million dollar facelift, has established itself as a special occasions stalwart. Snag a seat by the window facing the CN Tower to watch the sunset and feast on dishes that showcase Canadian-sourced ingredients. Top choices include tender Baffin Island turbot and Atlantic salmon with birch syrup ash-rubbed and larded beef filet. Up the ante on a special evening by choosing the seasonally rotating tasting menu and wine pairing option.

Quetzal (Little Italy)

Tres leches cake at Quetzal. | Credit: Quetzal

A 28-foot wood-fire grill is at the heart of both the menu and the space at Quetzal, a restaurant made for special birthdays and anniversaries. Owned by Grant van Gameren, it’s no coincidence that the curved ceiling evokes the wavy architectural details of his nearby restaurant, Bar Raval. Quetzal recently acquired a MICHELIN star and much of the credit goes to executive chef Steven Molnar, who previously worked at Bar Raval and Bar Isabel (another van Gameren spot). Quetzal’s impeccable menu draws on diverse Mexican culinary influences to offer sikil pak verde, a Mayan pumpkin seed dip; tlayuda, a crunchy, housemade tortilla topped with chorizo; and whole sea bream with salsa rojo. 

Dasha (King West)

Conceived by award-winning chef Akira Back, this sprawling space evokes the chic vibes of a Chinatown speakeasy. Dasha’s second-floor karaoke rooms are especially well-suited for celebrations. Dine on juicy Peking duck with wafer-thin crispy skin, wasabi prawns, and feisty “angry chicken” tossed with Sichuan peppercorns and chiles. The whimsical cocktails are also noteworthy, as is the extensive range of wines, Champagne, spirits, and beer. 

Don Alfonso 1890 (Harbourfront)

A dazzling view from Don Alfonso 1890’s latest location. | Credit: Ben Rahn: A-Frame Studio

Don Alfonso’s original, MICHELIN-starred location on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is headed by acclaimed chefs Alfonso and Ernesto Iaccarino. The restaurant’s celebrated Toronto outpost was recently recognized with its own MICHELIN star. With its luxurious dining room, sophisticated Mediterranean menu, and much-lauded tasting menu, Don Alfonso 1890 delivers everything you could ask for on a celebratory night out. Views dazzle diners from all sides: the Toronto skyline charms from the floor-to-ceiling windows; in the open kitchen, spot executive chef Daniele Corona artfully preparing dishes such as seared Quebec Muscovy duck breast and risotto with Buffalo burrata.

Lee (King West)

This restaurant, helmed by celebrity chef Susur Lee, has called the King West area home since 2000. Celebrate any occasion in style in its seductive and moody dining room—think exposed bricks, teal seats, an island bar, and street art. Should you wish to dine in privacy, the restaurant offers three event rooms that accommodate different occasions and party sizes. No matter where you sit, order the chef’s tasting menu, where Lee chooses the dishes and wines to pair. Other top choices include the chef’s signature Singapore-style slaw (featuring over 20 ingredients and tossed tableside), cheeseburger spring rolls, curry roasted chicken (originally created on the fly for Food Network’s Top Chef), and slow-braised beef with potato leek puree.

Louix Louis (Financial District)

Image caption: The golden interiors at Louix Louis | Credit: Louix Louis

This restaurant, ideal for a splashy night out, is unabashedly luxe with its gilded accents, whiskey-inspired ceiling mural, and pristine marble bar. On the 31st floor of The St. Regis hotel, the space exudes opulence and the dishes follow suit. The food is a modernist blend of new French and American cuisines, displayed in plates such as burrata with basil pistou, wagyu steak with herbed butter, and whole truffle chicken served two ways with wild garlic and truffle jus. Saving room for dessert is a requirement here: the 13-layer chocolate cake, gilded with edible gold, is a straight-up show stopper. 

Osteria Giulia (Yorkville)

After perfecting their refined approach to Italian cuisine through previous ventures such as Giulietta, chef Rob Rossi and restaurateur David Minicucci received a MICHELIN nod for their latest restaurant, Osteria Giulia. The two bring elegance to both Giulia’s menu and interiors (light-filled, lots of clean lines) with delicate northern Italian dishes including burrata drizzled with asfodelo honey and hand-braided pasta with wild squid. Drinks are as delicious as the food—another reason why this spot deserves a place on your special occasions list. Osteria Giulia offers a lengthy list of top-notch Italian wines and expertly executed cocktails that draw influence from the flavors of the Italian countryside.

Yukashi Japanese Cuisine (Mount Pleasant)

Yukashi has flown under the radar since quietly opening in 2018. But thanks to a recent star from MICHELIN, flocks will now head to this Japanese stunner. Led by chef Daisuke Izutsu, who cooked for the Japanese royal family, among other world leaders and celebrities, Yukashi is a hushed spot ideal for intimate occasions. Izutsu’s nine-course tasting menu celebrates seasonality, and he pays as much attention to plating as he does to ingredient selection, resulting in visually striking dishes with layers of rich, nuanced flavors.

 

Library Bar – Fairmont Royal York (Financial District)

Set in the Fairmont Royal York hotel, one of Toronto’s grandest dames, the Library Bar regained its status as an iconic celebration spot after a 2021 makeover. Overflowing with the rich textures of velvet, marble, and leather, the Art Deco interiors nod to the hotel’s heritage. The refreshed food menu also pays homage to the Fairmont’s origins with nostalgic dishes such as oysters Rockefeller and steak frites with béarnaise sauce. The birdbath martini is a must-order: made with gin or vodka distilled exclusively for the hotel and served tableside with pickled red onions and olives, it’s a cocktail to amplify any special occasion. 

 

Jessica Huras is a Toronto-based food and drink writer. Eat your way across the city (and beyond) with her on Instagram @waysofwanderers

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