Michelin is touching down in Toronto, adding the Canadian city to its North American roster of reviewed cities. The inaugural edition of the Michelin Guide in Toronto will be unveiled in fall of 2022.
Restaurants deemed worthy will be awarded one, two, or three stars. Bib Gourmands will be handed out to restaurants that ‘offer great quality food and good prices’ and Michelin Green Stars will head to restaurants with great environmental consciousness.
Inspectors are already surveying the city.
“For the first time in its history, the MICHELIN Guide lands in Canada, and our inspectors are excited to experience the impressive culinary landscape of Toronto,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides. “This first selection for Canada’s largest city, and our first in the country, will represent the local flavors, international inspiration, and distinct creativity that makes Toronto’s dining scene world-class.”
The guide was initially launched as a regional motorist guide, devised to direct drivers to pitstops for the peckish, or dinners worth a detour. Now, it has a presence in major cities worldwide, from New York to Miami to Thailand.
“This is an exciting moment for our city as Toronto will become the first MICHELIN Guide destination in Canada,” said Mayor John Tory. “This further bolsters our reputation as a world destination for food and cuisine. Our diverse city, along with the many renowned chefs who call Toronto home, have helped us get to this point and to be able to showcase all of the wonderful restaurants. A big thank you to everyone who has made this possible: MICHELIN, Destination Toronto, Destination Ontario and Destination Canada. While we await the guide, I encourage Toronto residents to continue supporting and celebrating the revival of Toronto restaurants by dining in locally to sample the diverse culinary offerings our restaurants have to offer.”
Restaurants will be selected based on Michelin’s historical methodology, analyzing quality products, mastery of flavors, the personality of the chef, consistency between each visit, and mastery of cooking techniques.
As a Toronto native, I’m personally very excited. Toronto is a world-class city — CNN’s Carlton McCoy recently dubbed it “North America’s most overlooked city” for food — with an incredible cultural mosaic that is represented in the diversity of the food. Within a few blocks of my apartment I can get fantastic momos, doubles, smoked fish sandwiches, back bacon sandwiches, and Vietnamese noodles.
Toronto is well represented on Canada’s list of best restaurants, launched yesterday. Alo (number two in the country) is consistently elegant oasis for pre-fixed meals of well-tweezered, highly Canadian food. Pearl Morisette (number 4) is a pioneer in localized sustainability, as is Chef Jason Bangreter at Langdon Hall, Edulis, and Canoe – old guard luxury with a focus on Canadian expression.
Dreyfus, Pompette, and Giulietta also topped that list as neighborhood spots with a culinary swagger. Personal favorites of the city list through 20 Victoria, Mineral, Quetzal, Sakai Bar, Indian Street Food, and Taverne Bernhardts remaining my favorites.
There are a few things to note. Canada doesn’t have a single restaurant critic, with the last one leaving years ago. Since then, the country’s chefs haven’t had the pressure of reviews that can make or break a place. They’re also free, as Jen Agg pointed out, of toxic workplace cultures that surround restaurants under such scrutiny.
It’s also not cheap to herald Michelin into the city. California paid Michelin $600,000 to bring a Golden State guide in 2019. Florida’s tourism board paid $150,000 to rate Miami, Orlando, and Tampa last year. That partnership gave the tourism board rights for editorial content and rights to Michelin’s database. It will likely pay off thought – according to Visit Florida data, Miami tourism spending brings in $4.88 billion and Orlando $7.33 billion. More eyes on the restaurants could only drive that revenue.
Michelin will also be launching a selection of hotels in the city of Toronto.