Vacations and summer go together better than Tinder and cheesy pick up lines. There's this weird sense of wanderlust that seems to come in with the heat wave that the 6ix gets every year. And where there's wanderlust there's also a heightened sense of FOMO that's brought on by each new Instagram post of your friend living it up out of the true north. From music festivals outside the city, to people bungee jumping on the other side of the world, we all get a little eager to venture outside our beautiful little bubble and see some new #Views.
The only issue is that new views often come with a nice (and by nice we mean pricey AF) price tag. So if you need a break from some of the things in Toronto we may not be the fondest off, I'm looking at you early morning rush hour, then check out these restaurants. Whether it's the atmosphere or the food you'll feel like you've suddenly ventured away from the DVP and out into the world.
1. The Sultan's Tent & Cafe Moroc // 49 Front Street East
Belly dancers, and romance, and magic oh my! Transport yourself into this luxurious French Moroccan expereince the second you walk in. Pick from the a la carte menu or the 3-course pre-fix menu, but either way you'll enjoy delcious French Morrocan food to match the romantic and exotic decor. It's the perfect way to take a break from your nightly instant ramen and treat yourself to a true vacation!
2. The Shameful Tiki Room // 1378 Queen Street West
Despite the name, we got NO shame coming to this trendy exotic Parkdale gem. Get ready to let loose and pretend you're in the tropics with exotic drinks and fantastic food (who doesn't want to try the Crab Rangoon?).
3. Kinka Izakaya // 398 Church St.
Japanese pub may not have been on your bucket list, but it is now. From the second you walk in the door to when you leave, the electric atmosphere that was literally built to make you happy (Kinka means "Golden Flower" which is a symbol for "Happiness" in Japanese). Get ready to have one of the most entertaining nights of your life.
4. The Rectory Cafe // 102 Lakeshore Ave Ward's Island
What better way to take a break from the city then to literally hop on a boat and leave the city? You don't need a plane to get away, just take the ferry to enjoy a trip to this joyful cafe. Surrounded by the real beauty (no guys not me) MOTHER NATURE, you'll feel as relaxed as you would on a Caribbean beach.
5. Patria // 478 King St. W
HOLA! No need to say goodbye because we are probably never gonna leave this beautiful Spanish tapas King West gem. Patria is the perfect place is you want a stunning atmosphere that it's food actually matches. Give yourself the spanish escape you deserve.
6. Windsor Arms Hotel, The Tea Room // 18 Thomas Street
Fancy a cup of tea paired with delightfully decadent pastries that come in amusing shapes for no reason? We know we are. Head to the Windsor Arms Hotel for a good dose of that old school tea time charm. You can even rent "fancy hats" there to step it up a notch.
7. Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto // 6 Garamond Court
Masaki Hashimoto came to Canada 30 years ago and every since Toronto has been able to experience true Kaiseki cuisine without having to leave the city. And we could not be happier. If you're one of the diners at the 3 tables, you'll be in for a true dining experience that craftsmanship can't be put into words.
8. El Caballito Tequila y Tacos // 220 King St. W
Looking for an unreal patio with great sangria? (Lol duh). Then you have to check out Toronto's ONLY Mexican Tequila bar. Save money on flights for more sangria! Wahoo!
9. Cluny Bistro // 35 Tank House Lane
One step into this beautiful French bistro and suddenly the Historic Distillery District seems a million miles away. You could honestly just come in here to take in the beautiful decor, but why deny yourself the equally beautiful food that comes with it? Enjoy some freshly baked goods from their boulangerie (aaaaand I'm swooning) or gourmet staples like their 5 different options for Steak Frites.
10. La Vecchia Ristorante // 2450A Yonge St.
This is the midtown gem that holds the key to the Italian dream you've been craving your whole life. Right when you walk in it's hard to think you're anywhere other than Italy with the intimate, romantic and old school chic decor. Topped off with amazing Italian food, these guys know what they're doing.
11. Electric Mud BBQ // 5 Brock Ave.
Leave it to the bad asses of barbecue to spice up your summer. Whether you like your Beef Brisket on a bun or straight off the que' you won't be disappointed with your next vacation here.
12. Fat Pasha // 414 Dupont St.
On the real fat should be spelled phat cause this restaurant is UNREAL. If you're looking for a middle eastern experience this summer this is a must stop. They frequently change there menus (to keep up with their Bubelehs), so whether your chowing on a mtl steak spiced flat iron or a delicious milk & honey panna cotta, it'll be hard to head home after this experience.
13. Colette Grand Cafe // 550 Wellington St. W
A restaurant that can only be described as, "It's so pretty it makes us want to cry." The decor alone will make you feel like the words "delay south of Dundas" don't exist. Sit back and enjoy.
14. Via Vai // 832 Bay St.
Thanks to Via Vai the farthest you'll have to go for an amazing Pizzeria and Wine Bar experience is Bay st. When you see the wine rack coupled with the abstract art you'll already think you've landed in another country, and when you taste the food? Say ciao to your new holiday spot.
15. Real Sports Bar // 15 York St
Are you in Toronto or are you in the ESPN headquarter in Bristol, Connecticut? Either way you probably would't be able to tell with almost 200 TVs broadcasting sports in HD while you split a pitcher with your crew. Block out the real world for a little bit and pretend you're really at that game in the states from the comfort this classic Maple Leaf Square bar.
16. Baro // 485 King St. W
All fans of the now closed Valdez will soon have a chance to get a taste of some of the best Latin American street food this city has to offer. Get ready for the re-launch later in the fall as Baro opens on King St. W. Don't worry, it'll give you plenty of time to pack everything you need for this experience. (If you really can't wait though, take your taste buds on a mini vacation preview with the Baro food truck!)
17. Drake 150 // 150 York St.
Even though the food is Fusion/Eclectic Canadian style (all I can think of with that is some maple syrup concoction), all we know is whenever we go here the last thing we're thinking about is the TTC two blocks over. From the slick, mad men like atmosphere to the fresh music gaurenteed to be playing: this is one spot to hit if you want a break from Toronto while still feeling like you could be in any suave, hustling city you desire.
18. Harlem Restaurant // 67 Richmond St. E
Ever been to 1920s Harlem? Now you can with the phenomenal Harlem Restaurant on Richmond St. Featuring some insane decor (pictures don't do it justice!) to what I can only call the leaning tower of caesars (check this out), you won't feel like you're in Toronto anymore.
19. GEORGE Restaurant // 111C Queen St. E Toronto
Fine dining cooked by renowned Chef Loseto that you don't even have to leave the city for? Definitely sounds like a vacation we all need. Take that friend who just went to five music festivals (but I'm totally not bitter)!! I got my own chef who prepares gourmet seasonal food so fresh you'll think they just picked it (which tbh I wouldn't be surprised if they did!). Throw in trained sommeliers with great food, great atmosphere, and you have an amazing way to switch up your normal routine for your much deserved break.
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