Guide: Toronto’s coolest old restaurants
You’ve been hearing great things about a restaurant down the street but you know your parents had a date there back in the ’80s. That can’t be cool, right? Wrong. Your parents are cool, and so is that restaurant. And guess what? There are plenty more just like it. To prove it to you, here’s our list of some of the coolest older restos in the city.
Where: 7 Elm St
With a Canadian Art collection and a wine cellar containing (take a deep breath) 30,000 bottles, Barberian’s has been providing a unique dining experience in Toronto since all the way back in 1959. The math is easy: Barberian’s is very cool. If you want to be very cool, eat at Barberian’s. You’re welcome.
Where: 2150 Yonge St
We know that there are very few things less cool than trying to be cool. This might be the biggest reason for the twenty-plus years of success that Zucca Trattoria has enjoyed. Keeping things simple with handmade pasta, whole-grilled fish, and a completely unpretentious atmosphere has allowed for this Yonge Street spot to cement itself as a Toronto food scene fixture.
Where: 100 Cumberland St
Decade after decade, this little yellow house in the heart of Yorkville has continued to thrive as a must-visit staple of the fine-dining establishments in the city. A new renovation revealing a wall of living plants in the courtyard has once-again ensured that this spot doesn’t fall behind on always being a trendy part of the city’s food scene. Seriously, though, this place is definitely worth an Instagram feature.
Where: 1862 Queen St E
Small, cozy, and a classic spot that has been keeping customers happy with simple yet sophisticated dishes for twenty years. The unassuming atmosphere and eclectic decor has made Sauvignon a favourite amongst patrons who frequent the Beaches, and it’s a perfect place to discover for a first time with an intimate group of friends or on a dinner date.
Where: 21 Old Mill Road
Whether you’re looking to grab a drink and listen to some live jazz at the Home Smith Bar, enjoy a bite and the weather on the outdoor patio, or attending an event in the dining room, The Old Mill is one of the coolest, stunning, and most versatile venues in the entire city. Oh, and by the way, it’s also a hotel. So now you know where to plan an escape within the city with your next couple of days off. Cheers!
Where: 202 Davenport Road
Since settling down at 71 Yorkville all the way back in 1967, Joso’s has become as much of a cultural fixture as a culinary one. Drawn in by the unique art, beautiful music, and charismatic hosts, patrons from all walks of life (including very, very famous ones) have passionately frequented and favourited this fine seafood restaurant for decades. There are plenty of pictures from the inside of the restaurant we could choose from, but here’s a look at possibly the most famous one. If the 6ixGod thinks Joso’s is cool, we think you’re going to agree.
Where: 249 Victoria St
Is it any surprise that Toronto’s oldest restaurant knows a thing or two about brunch? We didn’t think so. Grab your appetite and head down Victoria Street on any Saturday or Sunday and you’ll be able to dive taste-buds-first into this old-school menu.
Sure, The Senator has become a legendary spot but that hasn’t changed what you can expect on these menus. Diving into brunch here certainly won’t be re-inventing the wheel, but it will leave you satisfied and coming back time and time again.
Where: 66 Wellington St W
For over twenty years, Canoe has consistently remained amongst the top rated restaurants in all of Canada. It’s not a secret, it’s certainly not hidden away, and it’s not cheap, but with that being said, if you’re looking to head out for a dining experience that will throw you some of the best food you could imagine combined with the best views in the city this is your place. If that doesn’t sound like a cool restaurant to you then open up a new tab, look up the meaning of the word ‘cool’, and then come back and re-read this. Repeat until this is on your bucket list of cool spots to hit up in the city.
Where: 1 Bienvenito Pl
Since 1980, Scaramouche has been complimenting its great menu with fantastic service and skyline views that are hard to beat. We’re pretty sure that’s cool, but if you need more convincing then see for yourself. Two different dining experiences at one location means you can set up a night catered to exactly what you’re looking for.
A lot of these restaurants just keep getting better with age, and they show no sign of slowing down. So make sure to keep an eye open for the next vintage spot gaining popularity because newest isn’t always best.