Iconic Canada Restaurants That Have Stood the Test of Time… And Some That Haven’t

Iconic restaurants across Canada have long influenced local food cultures and dining trends. This article highlights a few such pioneering eateries – one is now closed, and two are still making their mark. These spots contribute in different ways, from training new chefs to using eco-friendly practices or trying creative dishes. Even with diverse menus, the restaurants all share a dedication to advancing Canadian cuisine. We’ll explore the special features that set a beloved closed restaurant on Richmond Street in Toronto apart, along with two still delighting diners.

Innovative Vegan Eats: Planta Queen Toronto

Price Range:

  • Small plates and starters: $9 – $15
  • Bowls and plates: $16 – $22
  • Desserts: $9 – $12
  • Cocktails and wines: $12 – $15
  • Weekend tasting menu: $55 per person
Planta restaurants Toronto

Planta Queen Toronto burst onto the scene in 2016 to rave reviews under founding partners Steven Salm and chef David Lee. The stylish downtown eatery quickly gained local and international recognition for its progressive plant-based cuisine and ambient vibe. Signature hospitality touches like attentive service and an acclaimed cocktail program accent the experience.

Popular Foods

Creative starters like Bang Bang Broccoli, vegetable summer rolls and tuna watermelon tartare get diners’ meals off to an intriguing start. Heartier plates such as kung pao eggplant, truffle pasta, and Caesar salad are also satisfying. But many fans flock expressly for Planta’s extensive vegan sushi lineup, including smoked carrot “tuna” nigiri, dragon rolls and crispy aburi. Gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free options further extend accessibility.

Eco-Friendly Efforts

As the Planta brand expands, its dedication to mindful operations remains steadfast. Local, seasonal vegetables drive menus to reduce transport emissions. Reusable transport containers deliver supplies, eliminating single-use waste. Planta Queen also implemented several other plastic-reduction initiatives, earning its Ocean Friendly certification.

Location & Access

Centrally located downtown on bustling Queen Street West, Planta Queen occupies a prized corner adjacent to popular Trinity Bellwoods Park. Paid parking access one block over at Sun Life Centre accommodates those driving. Otherwise, it stays highly walkable for exploring area art galleries and boutiques.

What Visitors Are Saying:

Recent reviews consistently spotlight vibrant ambiance and phenomenal vegan plates with creative flair. Particular location standouts include patio seating and efficient weekend brunch. Constructive feedback covers occasional service hiccups, though most guests emphasize friendly hosts. Overall diner consensus? Planta Queen Toronto offers quintessential destination dining, infusing sustainability and accessibility without sacrificing enjoyment.

📌 Contact: 180 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X3 | (647) 348-7000 | [email protected]

Hearty Gastropub Grub: Local75

Price Range:

  • Small plates: $7 – $15
  • Main plates (burgers, chicken, meat entrées): $18 – $27
  • Vegetarian options: $18
  • Premium meat cuts: up to $27
  • Craft cocktails: $13 – $15

Chef Matthew Solberg has led the kitchen at Local75 bistro pub since its 2015 debut, transforming seasonal ingredients into craveable gastropub plates. Lauded for its emphasis on technique, the Montreal locals’ hub plates elevated riffs on classics like hand-ground burgers, tender fried chicken and Brussels sprouts. Rounding out the menus, curated local cheeses, cured meats, and a frequently changing craft cocktail program imbue additional allure.

Approach to Dining

Chef Solberg keeps offerings dynamic based on seasonal offerings but oral mainstays like Big Local’s signature half-pound angus burger hold court year-round. While cozying up to gastropub favourites, Local75 distinguishes itself through steadfast technique and premium ingredients. It’s not uncommon to find patrons chatting up the person beside them at the bar.

Hours & Access

Local75 takes walk-ins only Wednesday through Sunday evenings, plus Friday lunch. When the weather’s nice, coveted sidewalk seats come open. Being on Avenue Du Monkland near shops and cafes adds to the location’s draw for visitors and residents alike.

What People Are Saying:

Critics consistently applaud Local75’s genuine hospitality and nuanced plates, revealing Chef Solberg’s culinary finesse. Recent guest reviews praise the cozy vibe, interesting drinks and thoughtful preparations elevating bistro fare. While some remark on the consistency of counter service varying with volume, most agree on the quality of meal for value.

📌 Contact: 5601 Avenue Du Monkland Montreal, QC H4A 1E2 | (514) 484-7575| [email protected]

Toronto Seasonal Spot: Hawthorne Food & Drink

Former Price Range:

  • Small snack plates: $9 – $12
  • Composed plates: $26 – $36
  • Wines by both the glass and bottle focused primarily on small Ontario producers

Hawthorne Food and Drink, unfortunately, closed its doors in 2019 but has operated since 2010 as a popular local restaurant and Toronto destination under founding Executive Chef Matt Basile. His résumé included studying under celebrated Toronto chef Jamie Kennedy and competing on Top Chef Canada. Basile garnered acclaim for his Hawthorne reservations’ ingredient-driven tasting menus drawing exclusively from relationships with Ontario farmers and purveyors. Dishes changed frequently, keeping step with seasonality down to micro-regional availability.

Offerings & Impact

Playful renditions of comfort fare classics, along with avant-garde compositions of lesser-used roots and greens, defined Hawthorne’s approach. Such ingredient fanaticism and throwback cooking methods won Basile James Beard Award semifinalist honours and built tremendous neighbourhood loyalty over nine seasons.

Beyond its own walls, Hawthorne Hospitality also trained scores of future hospitality workers through a nonprofit partnership. This initiative created pathways to careers for marginalized groups. Though its doors now remain shuttered on Richmond Street West, Hawthorne’s contributions still ripple through Toronto’s dining scene.

📌 Contact: Contact: Hawthorne café was located at 60 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C 1N8

Unique local restaurants help make cities like Toronto, and Canada as a whole, vibrant places to dine out. We wanted to write this overview to showcase some popular Richmond Street restaurants and highlight what Canada’s culinary scene has to offer. Even the third Richmond Street West Toronto spot, now permanently shuttered, left a lasting impression during its run, pushing boundaries with seasonal Canadian ingredients and pioneer dining concepts. Hopefully, more homegrown restaurants serving eclectic fare will make their mark on Toronto’s Richmond Street and beyond for years to come!