Food & Drink

Toronto’s top chefs reveal their favourite spots for pizza, sushi, sandwiches and after-work drinks

The 25 chefs and restaurateurs taking part in June’s fourth annual Taste of Toronto festival put together a list of 150 of the city’s best places to shop, snack and unwind. They’ve shared with us 20 of the top tips, from where to buy the best turmeric to where to find a cocktail bar in the backroom of a barber shop.

Victor Barry

Executive chef of Piano Piano

Favourite sushi spot

“The best sushi in Toronto is Yasu, and we’re lucky to have it right across the street from Piano Piano. You sit down at the sushi bar and the chef feeds you whatever he’s making that day. There are no choices, there are no California rolls, and it’s incredible.”

Best pizza

“Pizza’s tough—you’ve got to break it down into categories. So I would say, the best deep-dish pizza is Descendant—hands down. For Neapolitan pizza, I’m going to give myself a little shout-out here because I love Piano Piano’s, I think the dough that we make is incredible. And for the best takeout pizza? Maker Pizza. It’s like crack.”


Alexandra Feswick

Chef de cuisine at the Drake Hotel

Best sandwich shop

“One of my favourite places for sandwiches is a little butcher shop in the Junction called When the Pig Came Home. It’s awesome—they even name sandwiches after some of their regular customers.”

Best-kept secret

“One of my favourite secret places in Toronto—okay, maybe not so secret—is The Gift Shop. It’s a bar in the back of Barber & Co. on Ossington. Everyone should go there and try the Willy Wonka cocktail.”

Best butcher

“One of my favourite butchers in the city, is Roast up on St. Clair West. They spend a lot of time sourcing all of the products that they have, and everything there is delicious.”


David Lee

Executive chef of Nota Bene and Planta

Best market

“The Stop Farmers’ Market at Artscape Wychwood Barns is my go-to market in the city. There are so many farmers there and god, I love them all. Whether it’s the organic chickens—rare breeds that you’ve never seen before—or the rare types of eggs, there’s just so much on offer.”

Favourite bar for an after-work drink

“My favourite place to go to after work would have to be Rush Lane on Queen West.”


Rob Gentile

Executive chef of Buca, Buca Yorkville and Bar Buca

Best place to buy condiments

“I would say there’s no better one-stop shop with the most incredible ingredients, produce, Italian imports, cheeses or meats, than the Cheese Boutique. Everything is in one building and it’s all the best.”


Sylvain Assié

Chef de cuisine of Café Boulud

Best after-work bar

“Sometimes after work, I go to the Oxley in Yorkville with my sous chef or the whole team. It’s a very cozy bar and the staff are always so welcoming.”


Michael Hunter

Executive chef of Antler

Neighbourhood hidden gem

“I think the best hidden gems in Little Portugal near Antler are definitely A Lota and Pavao. A Lota is a small seafood spot right across the road from us, and Pavao is a butcher shop just a few doors down from it.”



Trevor Lui

Co-owner of Kanpai Snack Bar

Best family restaurant

“If it’s a casual dinner, we might go somewhere like Congee Queen, which we love because it’s quick, fast and there’s always a ton of food. If it’s for a more formal occasion, like if it’s Mid-Autumn Festival or Chinese New Year, you might find us at LHL. It’s a hidden gem on the second floor of a Chinese plaza at Brimley and Sheppard. It has tremendous seafood and dim sum.”


Grant van Gameren

Favourite guilty pleasure

“My guilty pleasure, which I indulge in four times a week, would be ordering pizza from Pizza Gigi: thin crust, well done, pepperoni, bacon, onion, two Cokes, two garlic dipping sauces. That’s kind of my routine and I’m known for it.”


Elia Herrera

Executive chef of Los Colibris

Best bar for after-work drinks

“The place that I usually go to after work is Roxy. It’s a bar on just down the street from Los Colibris, and I like it because the atmosphere is nice—young and energetic—and they serve very good wine.”


Ted Corrado

Corporate executive chef for the Drake

Last meal in Toronto

“That would be my guilty pleasure—late-night nachos at Sneaky Dee’s. It’s kind of a staple food if you grow up in the city. If I was going to splurge, though, I love what Rob Gentile is doing at Buca on King Street.”

Favourite family restaurant

“My girls are pretty into ramen these days, so any ramen place. Santouka’s is one of my favourites, though.”


Michael van den Winkel

Executive chef of Little Sister and Noorden

Best place to buy spices

“We use a lot of turmeric, and the best turmeric at the best price is at Iqbal Halal Foods in Thorncliffe. At $3.49 a pound, it’s pretty cheap compared to other places.”


David Neinstein

Executive chef of Barque

Best snack bar

“I like to go to 416 Snack Bar. It’s really cozy. The food’s always great if I’m hungry and if not, the drinks are always great as well!"


Sonia Mondino

Executive chef of Pray Tell

Best restaurant

“I love Beast, I think it’s awesome. As someone in the industry, I just appreciate what they do so much. It’s unbelievable food that’s also affordable for everyone.”


Alec Martin

Executive chef of Hawker Bar

Best after-work drinks

“I’m a very big fan of Opera Bob’s Public House which is just at Ossington and Dundas. It’s just aa great little hole in the wall.”



Mark McEwan

Corporate executive chef for Fabbrica, North 44, Bymark

Favourite hangout

“A place that’s really nostalgic for me is Rodney’s Oyster House. Twenty-five years ago, when I used to finish the pass at North 44, we’d head to Rodney’s—that’s when it was down on Adelaide by George Brown College, in a speakeasy-ish spot underground. We would sit at the bar, eat two dozen oysters, lobster, crab, drink a bottle of wine, and unwind after a crazy service. I have so many great memories of it, and when I pop into his King Street location, it still feels the same which is wonderful.”


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