Toronto is known for its vast and extravagant food scene. It seems like every day, dozens of new “it” spots are popping up, with line-ups around the block for those buzzing to see what all the hype is about.
But amongst the many food neighbourhoods in Toronto, there are more than a few hidden gem restaurants that Toronto keeps more secretive.
While we’ve previously written about the best coffee shops in Toronto that are considered hidden gems, sometimes a cup of joe just doesn’t cut it, and you need something substantial. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant that will wow your friends, or just your next best comfort-food joint, here are some of the best-hidden restaurants Toronto has to offer.
Located within the fashion district, off of Spadina and Wellington, Mira is a restaurant known for showcasing the rich and diverse food culture of Peru. Mira’s name is influenced by the Miraflores region in Lima, and their chefs use ingredients directly sourced from Peru.
Mira’s entrance is blink-and-you’ll miss it, with an alleyway entrance that runs the side of the restaurant. When you enter the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by a host, who will escort you to the dining floor of the restaurant. Once entering the dining floor, you’ll see the exciting atmosphere of the bustling open kitchen, working away in sight of the dining patrons.
Mira offers a wide range of bold and authentic Peruvian-inspired dishes: Tostada Mordo, Corzaon Anticucho, and Mousse de Lucama are all staples on the menu.
Ceviche lovers will be thrilled with the range of options available at Mira, such as the Altamar Ceviche, which is made from red snapper, kumquat, passionfruit, sweet potato, and aji Amarillo.
Mira also has a bar set with dim lights and smoky mirrors, creating the perfect atmosphere for indulging in authentic Latin American-inspired cocktails, such as the Maracuyano: cucumber-infused pisco with passionfruit liqueur, ginger beer, lime, and syrup.
12 Tables is owned by Chef Piotr Przykaza, a professional restauranteur of over 30 years who set his sights on opening a European restaurant on Avenue Road and Lawrence west, roughly 15 minutes northwest of the Yonge and Eglinton area.
12 Tables is a love letter to European restaurants and seamlessly blends together inspirations from Spain, France, Italy, and Poland. At 12 Tables, the family-run restaurant prides itself on using natural and fresh ingredients and never taking shortcuts.
The pasta, for example, is made fresh and includes a wide range of options, such as the Frutti Di Mare: a spaghetti infused with an assorted mix of fresh seafood like calamari, mussels, shrimp, and scallops.
Other staple items at 12 Tables are the slow oven-roasted duck, which is doused in a caramelized orange and apple topping, and served with truffle oil fingerling potatoes.
The authentic Italian comfort food Ossobuco is also a must-try menu item. Ossobuco is a dish made from slowly braised veal, served with vegetables, broth, and wine.
Hidden away in Delisle Court plaza of the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood, Ambiyan is an authentic Indian restaurant that serves inspired dishes that range from the north of India to its coasts.
Ambiyan literally translates to fresh, green mango, an ode to its fresh take on Indian cuisines. Ambiyan uses organic and locally sourced ingredients in all of their dishes, which span from poultries to seafood, as well as extensive vegan and vegetarian options that all can enjoy.
Lamb roganjosh, coconut prawn curry, butter chicken, and an assortment of sizzling tandoori tikkas are all staple items on the menu at this hidden gem restaurant.
Ambiyan splits its menu between casual lunch specials and elevated evening mains, making it the perfect restaurant for both casual and more refined dining options.
If you’re looking for something a little sweet after your meal, the pistachio kulfi is a staple. Kulfi is Indian-style ice cream served with a ricotta-stuffed rasmalai and two gulab jamun (fried dough) balls.
Goods and Provisions
Goods and Provisions is an eclectic restaurant that is a well-guarded secret in the Leslieville area, with one avid google review stating, “This place is a hidden gem. If you know, you know, and if you don’t, it’s your loss.”
The atmosphere at Goods and Provisions mimics a Prohibition-era speakeasy, from the dark floors, globe lights, and dark stained oak accents. While the cozy 30’s tavern atmosphere may lead you to believe traditional pub-fanfare is the menu, this isn’t the case.
Goods and Provisions has a refined yet simple menu consisting of items like a duck rillette, cured pork belly, Korean tacos, and a house salad containing caramelized shallots and champagne dressings.
Oddseoul is an Ossington restaurant that is the definition of not judging a book by its cover. While the outside of the restaurant looks a little rough around the edges, the inside of the Toronto hidden gem restaurant is surprisingly modern and young in the atmosphere.
Owned by brothers Leeto and Leemo Han, Oddseoul offers Korean-inspired food while paying tribute to their upbringing in Philadelphia. Décor, for example, features Korean movie posts for both The Terminator and Rambo.
With red-brick interior walls, rustic floors and metal barstools, this humble and dimly lit restaurant offers a menu of sharable plates and small bites, such as tempura chicken and deviled eggs, Bulgogi Cheesesteak, and “The Loosey,” a griddle-smashed slider containing short rib, kimchi hollandaise, and challah.
The deconstructed Ssam Platter is another stand-out menu option, containing a mixed spread not typically found on North American style platters, such as a beef short rib, condiments like kimchi and bean curd chilli sauce, and egg-topped fried rice.
Work with Harvey Kalles
At Harvey Kalles, our team of experienced Toronto realtors can help you find the hidden-gem home of your dreams. With over 65 years of experience, our agency is one of the most trusted names in real estate across the GTA from. Whether you’re looking for your next dream home or looking to sell your current property, we are here to help you every step of the way.