The winter cold in Toronto always gets me longing for a taste of a different continent, and while my bank account says I can't afford a getaway to Paris, there are thankfully a few spots in the 6ix where you can get that same feeling for a night out.
Toronto's diversity means there are plenty of little neighbourhoods around the city where you can almost step into another country, whether you're dining out in Little Italy, Little India, Little Portugal or another enclave in the GTA. These spots also include several small, locally owned restaurants that will teleport you to a magical city in Europe in a heartbeat.
Many of my favourite European restaurants typically revolve around four cuisines: French, Italian, Greek and Spanish. So, here are nine of my favourite Toronto restaurants that are perfect for a little European escape within the hustling and bustling city known as the 6ix.
Address: 642 King St. W., Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Whether you go to Lapinou during the summer or winter, their indoor and outdoor seating will definitely transport you to a tiny little restaurant you would love in the middle of Paris, France. It's no wonder the Michelin Guide recognized Lapinou in 2022 and 2023 for its excellence.
They have three menus to choose from, depending on when you go, which include brunch, happy hour, and dinner.
One of my favourite things to eat is the crown of duck dish, which comes with an au poivre sauce and is big enough to share with four people. The side of frites with garlic aioli is a must too.
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Address: 80 Ossington Ave., Toronto,
Why You Need To Go: Every time someone I know comes to visit me in Toronto, I leave Mamakas Taverna for last on our schedule because I know this spot will guarantee their happiness.
The Greek restaurant has a menu filled with heartwarming dishes that I genuinely cannot live without.
Some of my favourite dishes you should try here include the keftedes, spanakopita, horiatiki and paidakia.
Astoria The Great Hall
Address: 1087 Queen St W, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Run by the team behind Bar Poet, Astoria The Great Hall may not look like much from the outside but the inside is a completely different universe.
When you walk in you are instantly taken aback but the beautiful decor, dim lighting and overall feel of the restaurant that makes you feel like you are in France.
The rustic booths and floral walls feel like you're dining in Les Deux Compères from Netflix's Emily In Paris series.
The bread and butter at Astoria is so good you must get it; the loaf is moist and fluffy and it pairs well with the salted butter. I also really enjoyed the Astoria Burger and Braised Short Rib.
Gio Rana's Really Really Nice
Address: 1220 Queen St E, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Gio Rana's Really Really Nice is an old Italian restaurant in Leslieville with a rather funny history. It's also known as "The Nose" because there is a giant sculpture of the owner's nose hung at the restaurant's entrance.
The Italian restaurant serves classic dishes like meatballs, burrata and risotto balls but also has a delicious pappardelle and homemade focaccia. The vibes are rustic and super Italian, and it feels like a hidden gem that you would definitely appreciate if Rome is on your bucket list.
Address: 478 King St W, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: If you love listening to the Gypsy Kings and shaking your hips while eating paella, head to Patria to be transported to Spain instantly.
This tapas restaurant reopened in Toronto and they are ready to present you with all their Spanish flair. So, if you love sharing a few family-style dishes but also love Spanish flavours, you'll love Patria.
My favourite tapas on the menu are Carrillera De Bacalao, Pan Con Manchego and Merguez Empanadas. Also, the Paella Patria is not something to leave behind.
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Address: 4 Front St E, Toronto
Why You Need To Go: This O&B restaurant might be one of my favourites from the company because the simple elegance and vibe are exactly the kind of place I am looking for when I'm looking to travel on a cold winter day.
Their French onion soup is fantastic and I suggest ordering the Burger De Beouf because a meaty burger at a classy restaurant during winter is always a feel-good meal.
Tav's Resto Bar
Address: 589 College St., Toronto
Why You Need To Go: Not many people know about this restaurant, but it's tucked away in Little Italy. It's a comforting Italian restaurant because the people who work there are Italians and the food is as authentic as it can be.
The restaurant is cozy during the winter and in the summer, they open up their massive Romanesque hidden patio at the back.
Even though people usually get gnocchi at the restaurant, the Genovese pizza is bellissimo. Seriously, it's my favourite pizza in the city and that's a big statement to make in a city filled with many pie joints.
Le Select Bistro
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Address: 432 Wellington St. W., Toronto
Why You Need To Go: From the twinkling lights on the balcony to the rustic and very French menu, everything gives Paris vibes at Le Select Bistro.
Two of my favourite dishes are the tartare de saumon and burger le sélect, which are my go-to every time.
Eataly: 55 Bloor Street West #yyz #torontolife #fyp #toronto #fypシ #torontotiktok #torontoblogger #torontoblog #yyzblogger #GTAToronto #greatertorontoarea #eatalytoronto #eataly
Address: Various locations
Why You Need To Go: Eataly is more than just a spot with various restaurants, but rather, it's an Italian paradise in Toronto. The franchise is all about bringing authentic Italian ingredients and flavours to Canada and they do it so well.
From different kinds of pasta to olives, tomato sauces, cheeses and so much more, you can cook up your own Italian meal at home. But for lazy people like me, the restaurants at Eataly are all things Italian all the time.
The Yorkville Eataly location serves lighter Italian dishes, like fresh mozzarella and salad, but they also have pizza al padellino, which are pies that are baked in small and round pans, and they are so good.