They call it the Canadian Big Apple and in many ways, it does feel like a taste of New York City. Step into Yonge-Dundas Square and you will know what we mean! The dynamic metropolis of Toronto is a destination for those who want to experience the urban Canadian life. Perhaps Canadian cities are not on the top of your bucket list for places to travel to, but you should definitely give Toronto a chance! There are so many places to experience great design, so here are a few of our favorite places to eat, drink, see and explore. Happy adventuring!
Before heading to Toronto, always make sure to comb through Instagram to find photos of restaurants you want to visit. Believe us, your list will become super long! Unless you are spending a few weeks in Toronto, it will take some time to check them all out. There are just so many with beautiful interiors and great food! If you happen to be in the city in the warmer months, be sure to visit Lavelle and Kost. Both are situated on rooftops (with swimming pools) and have spectacular views of the city! Lavelle is in the bustling King West neighborhood and is the perfect spot to grab brunch or a drink by the pool at any time of day. We love their blue cabanas! Kost is on the 44th floor of the award-winning Bisha Hotel designed by Studio Munge. It is inspired by the Baja Peninsula and is an airy escape from the busy city below. Make sure to check out the patio and snap some up-close shots of the CN tower! If you are looking for a boutique stay, look at the Bisha Hotel! Another great place to grab a meal is Kiin – a one-of-a-kind Thai restaurant. Their take on Thai cuisine is exquisite with traditional dishes from all across Thailand. The interiors are also cozy and thoughtful with no detail missed! Be sure to look for the pink grout in the bathroom!
If there is one thing you will notice, it is that bars are alive all throughout the week in Toronto. You can find a number of them in every neighborhood and they each are special in their own way. If you have the chance, head out to Little Italy. Despite the name of the neighborhood, you can find a couple of great places for Spanish tapas and drinks. Start the night at Bar Raval and ogle at the Gaudi inspired interiors. The intimate bar is hugged from wall to ceiling in a beautiful curving wood and the light is perfectly diffused through bottles on the ceiling to set the mood. After a couple of their signature cocktails, head down the street to Bar Isabel. Grab a table be sure to order some Spanish cured meats and cheeses to pair with your wine. Their house-made sourdough bread is also delicious and if you are feeling adventurous, try the beef tongue and pork-belly! Definitely some of the best Spanish bites you will have outside of Spain. Finally, for those of you who are always on the look-out for caffeine, be sure to stop by Dineen Coffee Co. Located in the historic Dineen building near the Old Toronto City Hall, this coffee shop is always bustling. Grab a coffee and pastry and take a seat on the red leather banquette bathed by the sun. The soaring ceilings in this space allow for a beautiful chandelier which was once in the iconic Royal York Hotel. The hand-painted tile floors coupled with the intricate millwork which span the height of the space make it seem like it, not from this century. Go early to avoid the rush!
See & Explore
If there is one street you should walk the span of, it is King Street. Lined with distinct brick buildings, you can easily walk many blocks without realizing. Not only are there lots of shops and places to eat, but also some neat parklets along the street! If you get the chance, stop by the Unzipped exhibit put on by Westbank. The admission is complimentary and once inside you will get to experience the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion designed by Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG). Not too far down the street is Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Ladies, if are looking to get pampered, this is the place to go! Be sure to make an appointment ahead of time as it is quite popular. At first glance, you would think that you are walking into a cocktail bar – which is in part it is! Start your salon/spa experience with a drink before you head into the main salon. Depending on which service you are getting, you will be taken into a different area – each with a distinct look and feel. It is definitely a memorable experience. Go ahead, treat yourself!
What would you want to check out in Toronto? Let us know with the hashtag #Area3DesignToronto