Toronto has finally sealed its reputation as an international culinary destination after 13 of its restaurants received Michelin stars for quality – the first time a Canadian city has ever featured in the prestigious guide.
Canada’s largest city has long been keen to compete on the world stage, and many residents were thrilled when the French publication announced in May it would include Toronto in its upcoming guide.
At an event in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Michelin said 74 restaurants had impressed its team, handing out stars to more than a dozen.
“What is important for us is to find … the unique flavours Toronto is adding to the well of the culinary conversations,” Gwendal Poullennec, the guide’s international director, told the Canadian Press. “And here there is a lot to say about the diversity, the homegrown talent, and we really feel that’s not only a great beginning but that Toronto has a great potential.”
Twelve restaurants received one Michelin star for the quality of their food, which the guide says falls into its “very good in its category” and is worth stopping for. Among those were Frilu, Alo, Don Alfonso 1890, Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto and Shoushin.
Despite Toronto’s sprawling geography and ethnic diversity, most restaurants awarded stars are located in the city centre and are either western European or Japanese cuisine. In some cases, customers can expect to spend more than C$600 (US$455) a person on a meal.
The French tire company has published its guide of noteworthy restaurants for more than a century. Over the years, the guide has expanded outside Europe and its reviews can make or break the fortunes of a restaurant.
Originally developed as a way to get tourists on the road (and to buy tires), the guide’s recommendations are still underpinned by the philosophy of a road trip.
Only one restaurant – Sushi Masaki Saito – won two Michelin stars, meaning it is “worth a detour”. Chef Masaki Saito, who previously ran a two-star restaurant in Manhattan, reprised his success in Toronto after opening in the spring of 2019.
The guide extolled his menu’s “melting slabs of chutoro buried under a blizzard of white truffle”.
None of the city’s eateries received the coveted three stars – one of the food industry’s top honours and an indication to readers they ought to plan a whole trip around the food.
Out Michelin’s 16,120 restaurants only 137 have received three stars.
Despite the influence of the guide, little is known about how restaurants are graded.
Broadly, restaurants are judged on the quality of ingredients, deftness of flavour and technique, as well as value, consistency between visits and the “personality of the chef represented in the dining experience”.
There are few hints about the team of critics, how many times they visit a restaurant or how they narrow down their final list.
Michelin also awarded 17 restaurants the Bib Gourmand award, for “restaurants where one can have two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for less than $60”. Among those were Fat Pasha, Bar Raval, R&D and Indian Street Food Company.
Others, like Pompette, Chubby’s Jamaican, Actinolite, Canoe and Mother’s Dumplings, were recognized for their sommeliers, service and cocktail selections.
Vancouver will be the next Canadian city to feature in the Michelin guide.
Source: The Guardian