Four of Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs

Dinner, Party

Four resto-clubs where you can fuel up and then boogie down—all without leaving the premises

By Jessica Huras
| January 31, 2024

Ultra Restaurant & Supper Club

12 St. Clair Ave. E., ultra-toronto.com The crowd: Deep-pocketed 30-plus types from nearby Rosedale and Forest Hill The dress code: High-fashion but funky to match the decor, which is inspired by the work of British designer Alexander McQueen The food: Pan-Asian dishes with an emphasis on seafood The soundtrack: A DJ-driven blend of old school and new The entertainment: Roving dancers with over-the-top outfits that are equal parts haute couture and Halloween The splurge: The Snake River Wagyu striploin with charred kimchi for $142
Dancers, diners and a DJ at Ultra Restaurant & Supper Club
Photos by Ebti Nabag, courtesy of Ink Entertainment
A reinvention of the Queen West nightclub of the same name, which closed in 2012, Ultra has matured with its clientele and is now giving affluent midtowners a place to party. The velvet-draped restaurant’s gilded details, woven throughout its design in both subtle and extravagant (mostly extravagant) ways, would make King Midas proud. There’s a delicate golden finish on serving chopsticks as well as an over-the-top all-gold main dining room. The Pan-Asian plates (some of which are garnished with flakes of edible gold) are pretty and perfect for pairing with bottle-­service champagne, which starts at $275. Entertainers wearing elaborate costumes—think wigs and chrome headpieces—emerge around 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, often accompanied by live musicians, including the odd saxophonist.
Pan-Asian plates at Ultra Restaurant & Supper Club
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
The lounge at Ultra Restaurant & Supper Club

Ristorante Sociale

545 King St. W., sociale.ca/ristorante-sociale The crowd: 20- to 60-somethings, depending on the night The dress code: Casual or dressy but always fashionable The food: Italian steakhouse plates and house-made pasta The soundtrack: Peppy retro Italian beats The entertainment: Costumed performers The splurge: A 42-ounce porterhouse for $300
A woman dances wearing a lampshade on her head at Ristorante Sociale
Photos by Ashley van der Laan, courtesy of the subject
This is the sassier sister spot to Little Portugal’s Enoteca Sociale, which recently earned Bib Gourmand status from Michelin—and the food here is of the same award-worthy calibre. Guests dig in to porterhouse steaks and the cacio e pepe that draws diners to the original restaurant—but it’s a secret menu item here, and it comes with a side of pizzazz. Bedazzled performers in fringe-draped lampshade hats start sashaying around the tables during dinner service on Fridays and Saturdays, encouraging diners to join in as the plates are cleared. The music is loud, the tables are arranged so there’s ample room to cut a rug and bottle service is big. Despite all this, Ristorante Sociale feels low-key (in a good way) relative to the usual King West bacchanal, with prices that aren’t budget-blowing, a relaxed crowd and a free welcome snack of olives, taralli and Piave cheese for each table.
A dish at Ristorante Sociale
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
A porterhouse steak at Ristorante Sociale

Maxime’s

77 Portland St., maximestoronto.com The crowd: 20- to 50-somethings looking to see and be seen The dress code: Smart casual (it’s enforced) The food: Steakhouse staples presented with dramatic flair and fancy finishes The soundtrack: Hypnotic EDM and house The entertainment: DJ sets after 8 p.m. and people-watching all night The splurge: The “Smoking Hot” seafood tower for $295
The interior of Maxime’s
Photos by Joshua Best, courtesy of the subject
With a surf-and-turf lineup and a subsection of the drink list dedicated to martinis, Maxime’s menu reads like that of an old-school steakhouse—but don’t go looking for any brass accents or cozy fireplaces. Instead, the kitchen plops chophouse dishes into a venue that exhibits all the hallmarks of a nightclub: velvet everything and screens looping trippy visuals like undulating waves. Theatrical presentations involving dry ice, smoke and fire bridge the gap between dinner and a show. Dishes are meant for sharing, and indulgent finishes—think caviar-­topped beef tartare—add enough extravagance to match the setting. Guests sway to chill house music while ogling themselves in the many mirrors between bites of striploin or turn their gaze outward to people-watch. Anyone perched at the bar with some oysters and an ice-cold martini is in for an interesting evening.
The bar at Maxime's
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
The decor at Maxime's

Kissa

619 King St. W., kissatoronto.com The crowd: A stylish collection of audiophiles downstairs; 20-something club kids upstairs The dress code: Trendy and polished; mandatory business-casual The food: Artfully plated Japanese-inspired dishes The soundtrack: Live DJs who mix everything from disco to funk The entertainment: Dance floors on two levels plus a small karaoke room The splurge: The A5 Wagyu katsu sando on Hokkaido milk bread for $70
The interior of Kissa
Photos by Katrin Usmanova
Named for the vinyl listening bars that were popular in Japan during the 1960s and ’70s, Kissa has a glamorous retro aesthetic that makes a show-stopping first impression. Illuminated shelves of vinyl records back a custom-made DJ booth, emerald-green seating and the glitter of hanging disco balls reflected in mirror-lined walls. The space is intimate yet cool enough for Post Malone and LeBron James, who have each hosted parties there. Its prime King West location and striking design alone would make Kissa a hit, but it also offers very good Japanese-inspired snacks and excellent cocktails, like the Back in Black, a scotch-based drink served in a cloud of smoke under a glass cloche. The space is laid out for dining in the main-floor listening bar and dancing in the upstairs lounge—although people start shimmying at their tables halfway through dinner service.
The bar at Kissa
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
Toronto's best, most lively new resto-clubs
The dance floor at Kissa
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