The first Michelin Guide to Toronto gives pride of place to Japanese gastronomy

In detail, 12 restaurants received a star from the famous guide, which is a reference on the world culinary scene, while Sushi Masaki Saito, located in the Yorkville district, is the only one in the city to directly sport two.

This restaurant is run by chef Masaki Saito, already awarded two stars when he arrived in the Queen City in 2019 from New York. The prestigious meal costs $680 per person and is garnished with fish exclusively from Japan.

Only here will you find shirako boldly skewered and grilled over binchotan, and only here will you eat melting slices of chutoro buried under a blizzard of white trufflesexplain the inspectors of the Michelin Guide, in a press release.

The complete list of starred restaurants:

two stars :

  • Sushi Masaki Saito (Japanese food/sushi)

A star :

  • Aburi Hana (Japanese/Kaiseki)
  • Alo (contemporary)
  • Alobar Yorkville (French)
  • Don Alfonso (Italian)
  • Enigma Yorkville (contemporary)
  • Edulis (contemporary)
  • Frilu (contemporary)
  • Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto (Japanese/Kaiseki)
  • Osteria Guilia (Italian)
  • Quetzal (Mexican)
  • Shoushin (Japanese/sushi)
  • Yukashi (Japanese/Kaiseki)

According to the French tire manufacturer’s guide, a star means very good cuisine in its category. Two stars highlight an excellent cuisine and a table worth a detour. Three stars celebrate outstanding cuisine and a table worth the trip.

The international director of the Michelin Guides, Gwendal Poullennec, explained before the ceremony the criteria that tip the scales, in an interview on the program No two mornings are the same.

It is always the quality of the products, the mastery of cooking and flavors, the harmony, the taste, the personality of the chef and the team as it is expressed on the plate and at the end too, regularity. You have to be good on the whole map. »

A quote from Gwendal Poullenec, international director of the Michelin Guides

In the press release, he praises Toronto for its cosmopolitan soul, which makes it a world-class destination. From Japanese Kaiseki to Italian, Mexican or contemporary cuisine, there is something to please all foodies here.

The little red guide focused exclusively on Toronto, despite the many restaurants held in high esteem by foodies and the organization Canada’s 100 Best in the region and as far as Niagara. In addition, three of the 13 starred restaurants (Frilu, Kaiseki Yu-zen and Yukashi) are not among the 100 best restaurants in the country listed by this competing guide this year.

Gwendal Poullennec is the international director of the Michelin Guides.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Anne-Marie Trickey

Michelin inspectors have crisscrossed Toronto establishments in recent months to compile their selection.

Our inspectors are anonymous, that is to say that they go to restaurants for lunch or dinner, as simple customers to have an experience that is truly revealing of the level of cuisine offered by the establishment.according to Mr. Poullennec.

The guide has also designated 17 Bib gourmands restaurants, a label awarded to restaurants that offer quality cuisine at an affordable price (less than $60), from appetizer to dessert. You can find Thai, Indian, Latin American, Oriental or even fusion cuisine.

The entire guide is available free of charge on the official Michelin website.

An often controversial selection

Before the unveiling of the first stars in Toronto, several specialists pointed out that Michelin selections are rarely unanimous and systematically bring their share of disappointments in the small world of cuisine.

Canadian food journalist Corey Mintz challenges the very idea that there can be objectivity in restaurant reviews.

It’s an inherently subjective practice, trying to decide if the food is good, or if the service is good or worth it. »

A quote from Corey Mintz, journalist

He thus points to the fact that starred restaurants are not within everyone’s reach financially, and that the tastes of some necessarily differ from those of others.

Corey Mintz also sees the Michelin system as an incentive that would push some restaurateurs towards abusive and toxic behaviors that plague the restaurant world. According to him, the pressure increases on kitchen workers when honors such as Michelin stars arrive.

The book is presented closed and upright on a neutral background.

With its first edition in Canada, the “Michelin Guide” discovers a 38th country. Tokyo, which has 206 starred establishments this year, is the most decorated city in the world.

Photo: afp via getty images / JOEL SAGET

His Toronto counterpart Ivy Knight As for her, she assured Radio-Canada before the unveiling of the selection that the institution has fallen in its esteem over the years, because the starred chefs are often men, and particularly white men.

They have a certain type which is their default setting. They generally support the status quo and I don’t think that adds to the diversity of a place.

She also fears that the arrival of the Michelin Guide makes certain Toronto restaurants even more expensive in an inflationary economic context.

A Michelin star definitely helps you bring in some money. And at the end of the day, all of this really means that some of your favorite restaurants will now be out of reach and you won’t be able to afford to go there.she predicted.

The next destination in the Michelin Guide has already been known since last July: it will be Vancouver, whose stars will be known during the fall.

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