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    Toronto City Guide

    Local expertise and information for the business traveller.


    You may find the following information useful if you’re travelling on business in Canada. We asked the country’s top food writers to provide their most current recommendations for restaurants, hotels and other essential data.


    By Lesley Chesterman (Montreal), Anne DesBrisay (Ottawa), James Chatto (Toronto), Christine Hanlon (Winnipeg), John Gilchrist (Calgary), Mary Bailey (Edmonton), Andrew Morrison (Vancouver) and Steve Dolinsky (Chicago).





    Great place for a business dinner

    The Fifth

    Twenty years old this year, The Fifth is still one of Toronto’s most original and sophisticated restaurants. One rides up in a freight elevator, emerging in a candlelit loft of discreet luxury and suave service. Iconic French chef J P Challet is in the kitchen; smart customers ask him to cook whatever he wants for them and to match the wines. The result is exquisite, lightweight, delicious, sometimes classical, sometimes more avant-garde French cuisine. A lighter menu and more of a cabana décor can be found out on the terrace. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday only.

    225 Richmond St. W. 416 979 3005


    Great place for Canadian cuisine


    Here’s a remarkably civilized little restaurant on Ossington’s usually noisy strip with first class service, comfortable booths and a busy vibe that still allows for conversation. Owners Evelyn Wu and Wayne Morris are both highly accomplished chefs with a passion for taking culinary ideas from Canada’s past and turning them into suave, utterly delicious, contemporary dishes. Intended for sharing, each one is an adventure for the imagination as well as the palate. Not to be missed: mussels served in pine-needle smoke; silky parfait of venison liver and foie gras with blackcurrant gastrique; pigeon pie like a delicate domed tourtiere with the squab’s crimson beast alongside; superb duck.

    59 Ossington Avenue, 647 351 5100


    Great modern Italian

    Buca Yorkville

    Chef Rob Gentile’s Buca has long been a delicious haven for meat-lovers; his Yorkville location specializes in seafood with a thoroughly contemporary Italian flavour. It’s fascinating to watch the brigade at work in the open kitchen, plating octopus salami with preserved lemon, grilled black sturgeon or the magnificent crudo misto of raw seafood, designed to serve four. A cleverly collated wine list is full of obscure treasures from Italy. High noise levels are the only negative.

    53 Scollard Street, 416 962 2822,


    Great new restaurant

    Piano Piano

    Owner-chef Victor Barry has transformed the uber-sophisticated Splendido into a jovial Italian restaurant with a delightfully casual vibe. Pizza is his lifelong passion (who knew?), hence the monster wood-burning oven recently installed in the open kitchen. It is his personal station and the pizzas he creates are superb (ask for the ’nduja-mozzarella). The rest of the menu offers modern Italian cooking – suave carpaccio with anchovy, foie on toast, sturdy pastas, delectable pulled lamb with grilled octopus – even veal parmesan offered with nostalgia rather than irony. There are good things on the tiny wine list.

    88 Harbord Street, 416 929 7788,


    Great place for a business lunch


    The cool, modern restaurant in the Shangri-La hotel is busy for breakfast and weekend brunch, an ideal spot for a suits’ rendezvous after work and one of the city’s best-kept-secret dinner destinations. The outdoor patio is protected from the University and Adelaide sidewalk by high glass walls – it’s a fashionable place for cocktails and features an eclectic, well-executed bar menu. Inside, the tan marble, pale wood and white metal décor is a tad cold but still elegant. Chef Damon Campbell proposes a varied menu including a fine burger or deliciously tender flank steak. Asian notes are deftly achieved if someone prefers sashimi or Thai coconut soup.

    Shangri-La hotel, 188 University Ave, 647 788 8294,


    Great hotel bar for food and drink

    d | bar

    On the ground floor of the new Four Seasons Hotel, this elegant, spacious bar is calm at lunchtime, busy after work. The upstairs restaurant, Café Boulud, oversees a cosmopolitan menu of charcuterie, cheeses, excellent house-made sausages, salads and small plates, offered til midnight. Unique cocktails are almost as imaginative as the hotel’s breathtaking floral arrangements.

    60 Yorkville Ave.


    Great place for a working breakfast

    Café Boulud at the Four Seasons Yorkville

    Toronto’s grand hotels remain the likeliest venue for the modern power breakfast. The trick is finding one with first-class food. Café Boulud ticks that box with everything from the healthiest, lightest options to such treats as eggs poached in red wine with braised short rib or duck confit hash. Columns divide the airy, light-filled space into areas of discretion or the private dining room is available for confidential business discussions. Complimentary wifi.

    60 Yorkville Avenue, 416 963 6000


    Great place for political networking

    Gallery Grill

    Three storeys up in the portrait-hung neo-Gothic clerestory above Hart House’s Great Hall, chef Suzanne Baby offers one of Toronto’s most delectable lunches of clever local-seasonal dishes. Civil servants and MPPs are frequently lured there from nearby Queen’s Park (Tories and NDPs outnumbering Liberals, for some reason) to hobnob with academics by the fire in the bar. Open September through June.

    Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, 416-978-2445


    Great place for a business lunch


    The mauve-furnished room is delightfully calm and civilized with well-spaced tables for discreet conversation and a courtyard for outdoor lunching in the summer. Deft servers can be relied upon for great wine recommendations, and Chef Lorenzo Loseto’s food is the real deal – suave, detailed, not too heavy but packed with flavour and righteous local ingredients. A short tasting menu may be the best way to go.

    111C Queen St. E., 416 863 6006,


    Another great place for a business lunch


    It’s rare that the top restaurant for a business rendezvous is also one of a city’s gastronomic superstars – thank chef Anthony Walsh’s suave, edgy Canadian cuisine. A recent reno has polished the look of the place to a luxe, modern sheen. The view from the 54th floor encompasses Niagara at lunchtime, equally stunning with a lobster sandwich in the long bar or from the room’s power table (number six, in the corner). By night the mood is more mellow. Closed weekends.

    Toronto Dominion Tower, 66 Wellington St. W., 416-364-0054.


    Great place for after-business drinks


    Chef Mark McEwan’s glamorous restaurant and bar, tucked under The Hazelton Hotel, spills out onto a sidewalk patio in the summer months, building social momentum to a September climax during the Toronto International Film Festival. Indoors, the bar has its own Manhattan-style intensity, but there are quiet corners for conversation, cocktails for connoisseurs (a fine lime-muddled gin and tonic) and a wine list full of rare temptations.

    116 Yorkville Ave., 416 961 9600


    Great place for after-work drinks


    It looks like a glass box left on the lawn of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s TD Centre, containing plush leather sofas and a decor of dramatic woods. The blackBerry brigade crowd in after work, then spill out onto the courtyard during the summer. Classic cocktails and a bar menu from the restaurant beneath til 2:00a.m.

    66 Wellington St. W., 416-777-1144


    Great place to dine alone

    Nota Bene

    Sit at the bar if you feel like conversation, up in the main dining room if you prefer your own company. Chef David Lee and his partners have judged the mood of the room perfectly – smart but not fussy, modern but comfortable. The menu is seasonal, reasonably priced and many dishes benefit from an Asian nuance or two to take everything out of the ordinary. Great charcuterie; awesome burgers.

    180 Queen St. W., 416 977 6400,


    Great place to relax, eat and watch the game

    Real Sports Bar & Grill

    Why did ESPN vote it the #1 sports bar in North America? Size helps. That’s 25,000 square feet of fun, including the 39-foot HD big screen and 199 HD TVs, 126 draft taps, and the chance of glimpsing real Raptors in the VIP area. The dinner menu is similarly over the top – 14 kinds of wings, a dozen burgers, pages of more sophisticated bar food – as is the claim that every sport played on a pitch, court or ice is broadcast here.

    15 York St., 416 815 7325,


    A Great Place for a Business Lunch

    The Chase Fish & Oyster

    Go to The Chase on the fifth floor for utter opulence; the street-level fish and oyster restaurant is where suits drop by for a more easy-going but equally delicious lunch amid hip, high-ceilinged, open-brick decor. The raw bar raids the whole continent; a sly richness adds yummy heft to yellowtail cured in soy sauce and Meyer lemon. Ticking all the boxes (service, wine list, dazzling desserts, digestivi), this is suddenly one of the city’s top two or three fish restaurants.

    10 Temperance St., 647 348 7000,


    Great place to stay

    Hôtel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square

    In the vibrant new neighbourhood beside the Air Canada Centre, Le Germain’s latest boutique hotel is the model of modern elegance and discreet luxury. Rooms have extensive work areas (rooms 732 and 832 also each have a circular bed with a ninefoot diameter), iPod docking and many environmentally conscious details. Staying here is also a way to get tickets for the Leafs or Raptors games next door, and a guaranteed post-game reservation at Real Sports Bar.

    75 Bremner Blvd., 416 649 7575


    Another great place to stay

    Thompson Toronto

    Downtown’s brand-new boutique hotel is a five-minute cab ride from the island airport. Modern and luxurious, it has many amenities including a skating rink (in season), a great gym and a 16th-floor rooftop lounge with outdoor infinity pool. New York chef Scott Conant has opened a branch of his star-studded Scarpetta restaurant in the lobby. A 24-hour diner offers food in a more casual idiom.

    550 Wellington St. W., 416 640 7778


    A Great Place to Take Friends for Dinner


    Uptown, casual and hugely popular, Pukka presents a sophisticated, modern Indian menu full of light textures and subtle spicing. Spiced duck breast with tamarind, lime and grapes is sweet-sour heaven; gunpowder prawns on tempered moong bean salad is as irresistible as a side dish of fiddleheads tossed in a wok with paneer and garam masala. Contemporary cocktails and a clever wine list work well with the food; room must be left for dessert.

    778 St. Clair Ave. W., 416 342 1906,



    The Hazelton Hotel

    118 Yorkville Avenue
    (416) 963-6300


    Four Seasons Toronto

    60 Yorkville Ave
    (416) 964-0411 or (800) 268-6282


    Le Royal Meridien King Edward

    37 King Street East
    (416) 863-3131 or (800) 543-4300


    Park Hyatt Toronto

    4 Avenue Road
    (416) 925-1234



    SoHo Metropolitan

    318 Wellington Street West
    (416) 599-8800


    Windsor Arms

    18 St. Thomas Street
    (416) 599-8800



    Limo/Car and Driver

    Rosedale Livery

    (905) 677-9444


    Park Lane Livery

    (416) 488-3888


    Hazelton Limousine

    (416) 830-7443



    Scaramouche Restaurant

    1 Benvenuto Place
    Toronto, ON M4V 2L1
    (416) 961-8011


    Jacob's & Co. Steakhouse

    12 Brant Street
    Toronto, ON M5V 2M1
    (416) 366-0200


    Frank Restaurant (at the AGO)

    317 Dundas Street West
    (416) 979-6688




    Teatro Verde

    100 Yorkville Avenue
    (416) 966-2227


    The New Leaf Florist

    577 Church Street
    (416) 967-5511



    381 Richmond Street East
    (416) 350-2020


    San Remo Florists

    1151 St.. Clair Avenue West
    (416) 652-1822


    Wild Thyme

    1112 Queen Street East
    (416) 440-2614



    Blossoms Rosedale

    1 Rowanwood Avenue
    (416) 960-8903



    Health & Fitness

    Toronto Athletic Club

    79 Wellington W
    Toronto, ON M5K 1J5
    (416) 865-0900


    The Boulevard Club

    1491 Lake Shore Boulevard West
    (416) 532-3341


    The Yorkville Club - Hazelton Lanes

    87 Avenue Road
    (416) 961-8400


    The Yorkville Club - Uptown

    101 Eglinton Avenue East
    (416) 484-6200


    Totum Life Science

    445 King Street West
    (416) 979-2449


    Moksha Yoga Studios

    Various Locations in Toronto


    Hair Salons & Spas


    Olympic Athletic Club

    212 West 1st Avenue
    (604) 708-9441


    Truefitt & Hill

    Scotia Plaza
    40 King Street West
    (416) 214-4646


    The Spa at the Windsor Arms

    23 St. Thomas Street
    (416) 971-9666





    Great dry cleaners

    A word of caution...

    People often choose their dry cleaners on the basis of convenience, but there is a hierarchy of quality in terms of the way garments are treated. A well-made garment that is cared for in a careful and professional way will last longer and feel and look better. We believe it is worth going a few extra blocks to find a dry cleaner that is better equipped to deal with top-quality garments.

    We also recommend that you dry-clean your garments infrequently (usually once a season); spot-clean and press if dry-cleaning isn't required. To better care for your clothes, hang them properly between wearings, using broad-winged hangers. Don't wear a garment two days in a row: giving it a day off allows natural fibres to hang out properly, restoring shape. Ask for no starch when you launder your shirts, to prolong their life. A properly made dress shirt allows for slight shrinkage over a number of launderings. Usually an extra half inch is added to the neck and sleeve length of a shirt to allow for this shrinkage.

    If you are a Canadian dry cleaner operating in this market and feel that you should be included in this list, please contact us and give us an opportunity to test you out.


    Alex Fine Cleaners
    (Wet Cleaning)

    Main Plant
    265 Wincott Drive


    The Beach
    1833 Queen Street East


    Bayview Village
    2901 Bayview Avenue


    Ashford Cleaners

    535 Eglinton Avenue West,


    Careful Hand Laundry & Dry Cleaners

    Head Office and Plant
    109 Eddystone Avenue,

    206 Dupont Street,

    1925 Avenue Road,
    Pick Up & Delivery Available


    Couture Cleaners

    92 Avenue Road,


    Creeds Dry Cleaning

    390 Dupont Street,


    Del Monte Custom Cleaners

    1124 The Queensway,



    Specializing in fur, leather and suede
    43 Densley Ave
    (416) 244-5581


    Riverdale Cleaners
    (Wet Cleaning)

    746 Broadview Avenue


    Russell Cleaners

    576 St. Clair Avenue West


    Dove Cleaners

    1560 Yonge Street,
    (416) 413-7900

    40 King Street West,

    66 Wellington Street West,

    87 Avenue Road,

    333 Eglinton Avenue West,

    26 Bellair Street,

    3454 Yonge Street,

    361 Cornwall Road, Oakville