With the contents of the MICHELIN Guide Toronto set to be revealed on Sept. 13, the city’s culinary community is abuzz with speculation over which restaurants will be the first in Canada to earn one or more stars.
And for good reason: Receiving even a single star has historically been very good for business, with the late Joël Robuchon, the most MICHELIN-Starred chef of all time, saying that one etoile yields about 20 percent more business, two 40 percent more, and three about 100 percent more.
Since the inaugural edition of the MICHELIN Guide Toronto was announced on May 10, the venerable guidebook’s incognito inspectors have reportedly been visiting dozens of the city’s restaurants. Should any of them earn three stars, it would be an accomplishment of global proportions. Out of 20,000-plus listings spanning 39 countries, the 2021 MICHELIN Guides gave three stars to just 143 restaurants. The fifth and newest North American publication, the MICHELIN Guide Miami, Orlando and Tampa, does not include any three-star listings, with 10 eateries earning one star and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon earning two.
Rather than speculating based on our own experiences, we reached out to seven of Toronto’s top chefs to get their predictions as to which local eateries will make the MICHELIN cut.
Samantha Medeiros, Chef de Cuisine, La Palma
Prediction: Canoe Restaurant
“Canoe has been a staple in the city for as long as I’ve been alive, but I have grown increasingly impressed and interested by the food ever since Executive Chef Ron McKinlay joined their team a few years ago. Although they are still using the best of the best products, it’s their connection to Canadian ingredients and the wide variety of techniques used by Ron and District Executive Chef John Hornes that separate them from the rest. I truly believe no one in the city is really elevating and educating people about all the beautiful ingredients Canada has to offer, and as a young chef, I am constantly in awe of the food their entire team is putting forward. From their Lamb Loin en Crepinette to their Morels and Trotters and their Scallop en Croute, their global influence on Canada’s best is unmatched.”
Ben Heaton, Executive Chef and Partner, Lapinou
Prediction: Osteria Giulia
“I have eaten there a few times now and find it to be an extremely consistent restaurant. I always sit at the bar, and appreciate the thoughtful service that’s not overbearing. You can feel comfortable ordering a little or a lot, which is very important to me. The room is very neutral with clean lines and just the right lighting. The food is delicious. The older I get, the less I want on a plate. No fuss, just wonderful ingredients that are beautifully plated. The focaccia di recco is unreal and a great story. Tortellini ripieni di mais is such a good combo of corn and shrimp (which I love). All of their pastas are executed perfectly. Crudos are expertly seasoned and treated simply. Overall, a great place to go that’s always bustling with smiling, welcoming staff. In my opinion, that’s a Michelin-starred recipe.”
Chris Locke, Executive Chef, Marben Restaurant
Prediction: Edulis Restaurant
“Restaurants come and go through the years, but Edulis continues to provide one of the most authentic, high-level dining experiences in the city. Chef Michael Caballo’s approach to food is precise and delicate, choosing seasonal ingredients and presenting them immaculately. They do not invest in social media or PR. Their reputation alone is more than enough to make it tough to get a reservation. The service mirrors the food in being relaxed and fun yet precise and intentional.”
Claudio Aprile, MasterChef Canada Judge
“I really admire what Chef Patrick Kriss is doing. The attention to detail, consistency and creativity is currently unrivalled in Toronto. I have no doubt that the MICHELIN Guide will be awarding Patrick and his dedicated team the coveted stars.”
Mary Dinh, Head Chef, Sara
Prediction: MIMI Chinese
“One thing that has been consistent over the years is chef/owner David Schwartz’s love and passion for Chinese food. Everything is so well thought out, from the diner’s experience to behind the scenes. I love that the restaurant and food isn’t just a recreation of the flavours and dishes we know and love, but also honours it and the culture behind it. Great food, great drinks, great experience.”
Ricardo Dominguez, Head Chef, Soluna
Prediction: Bar Isabel
“The food quality and techniques are always consistent, the front-of-house staff is very knowledgeable, plus there is an excellent selection of wine, beer and cocktails. The decor takes guests to Spain and Italy with wood and tiles throughout, which is unique in Toronto.”
Roland Torok-Ducharme, Head Chef, 1 Kitchen Toronto
Prediction: Richmond Station
“Chefs Carl Heinrich and William Kresky are true masters of their crafts, creating ever-changing menus with seasonal ingredients. Their impeccable attention to food and service details are unparalleled in Toronto. The English Milk Punch is one of my favorite cocktails in the city.”
Tom Phuong Luu, Executive Chef, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
Prediction: George Restaurant
“One of my most memorable meals in the city was at George on Queen street. The restaurant has been around since 2003 and Chef Lorenzo Loseto has kept up with the evolution of the food scene and helped set new trends in Toronto. They offer tasting menus using Canadian and international ingredients that are both local and seasonal. They take simple food and ignite it with flare and sizzle beyond imagination, incorporating European touches into modern cuisine.”