100 Top Restaurants: #1 – Alo

Patrick Kriss’s aerie above the helter-skelter of Queen and Spadina—now three years old and showered roundly with accolades—stands firmly atop Toronto’s fine-dining pyramid, home to one of the most singular restaurant experiences in this city or any other. The wines range deep into small-producer, sustainable vintages. The servers are effortlessly polished and warm. And the menu of 10 courses, plus the occasional spontaneous addition, is a relative bargain at $135 (there’s also a slightly longer, more expensive menu for those who want counter seats at the open kitchen). One night this past summer started with an amuse of Raspberry Point oysters dotted with plum vinegar and wild chamomile petals, and a gold mirrored plate of savoury petit four. Matters grew only more exquisite: fluke sashimi lightly cured with a yuzu dressing and studded with a few flecks of coriander stem; meatier chunks of amberjack spritzed with finger lime and garnished with curling, finely julienned cucumber and radish; summer niblets, Saltspring mussels and chanterelle in a broth of smoked butter and a yukon gold espuma; Wagyu rib cap, competing in richness with a pool of black sesame, dashi and roasted eggplant; plus a series of desserts, the highlight a bowl of strawberries four ways: a dry-roasted sheet, macerated, a jelly, and a swirl of ice cream. By the end, as the elevator delivers you back to reality, you’ll be planning your return.