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Top Restaurants 2008

Member Rating

By James Geneau

It was an interesting year for dining in Toronto. We had some exciting new restaurants open, while other landmarks closed their doors. The economic crisis continues to be a tough ride for all restaurants but our members still picked their top 5 places to dine in Toronto for 2008. Some of these establishments have barely even had time to take the plastic off the seats and unpack the cutlery - but our members liked what they ate - and that is what is important. Each of the restaurants below have received scores of 5 stars or more as of December 23rd, 2008:

Chutneys Fine Indian Cuisine
It is always nice to see a restaurant tucked away in a secluded residential area in the west end make it to our member list of top picks. For residents of Toronto's Kingsway neighborhood, Chutney's has quickly become an institution for quality Indian cuisine. Intimate and cozy, they are focused on the finest ingredients to create classic and unique dishes. What sets them apart? Full white meat chicken in their butter chicken and vindaloo.

The Gallery Grill
We checked our servers to see if we had any University of Toronto computer students hacking our system and it came up clean. So, this one made the list on food merits alone for any of you doubters from Ryerson or York. Hart House's Gallery Grill is Toronto's best kept secret lunch. Chef Suzanne Baby forages all local delicacies, matched to a mostly Ontario list, that present and taste as modern as the setting is nostalgically Old Toronto. The professors and Queen's Park Cabinet Ministers don't want you to know.

Is there anyone in Toronto who does not like George? Simple and elegant, what more can we say about this place. Dishes are served in series format with "First" being Starters, "Second" being Salads, "Third" being Main dishes, "Fourth" being Cheese courses, and "Fifth" being the end of a lovely evening Dessert. Portions for each are the same size wise and no matter what the choice, you can be sure it will be a splendid.

Mildred's Temple Kitchen
Barely open a month and she made it to our member list of must-eats! Mildred Pierce was a legendary Toronto restaurant, famous for its Peter-Greenaway-esque decor, duck confit, profiteroles, and Sri Lankan soups, among other things - like brunch. But all that's gone... Donna Dooher and partner/husband Kevin Gallagher have re-imagined Mildred in a flash of bright white, concrete and glass (literally) across the tracks from her old digs. And people are talking about it

What? Splendido and not Nota Bene? Well, that is what our members said. But it is important to note that Nota Bene came in close behind Splendido (see below). From the purse stools to the Champagne cart, attention is paid to the detials at Splendido, which consistently ranks in all the top 10 lists. Chef David Lee sources the best ingredients from across Canada and presents them with a playful flair.

Honourable Mentions...

Our members also like the following restaurants, rating them as 4.5 stars out of 5:

    - Canoe
    - Jamie Kennedy at The Gardiner
    - Niagara Street Cafe
    - Nota Bene
    - Starfish Oysterbed and Grill

And there you have it, our member picks for 2008. However, it is important to reflect on something very important as we look at this great list of restaurants. They need your support!

We are in the midst of a major economic crisis and ALL restaurants in the GTA need your support. Why not do your part in 2009 to help them out. Visit our list of restaurants by searching our dining library and make a goal of eating at one of them at least once a month. Then come back, rate it, and tell us your thoughts! It is a great way to support our local dining scene while having fun too. Who knows, your vote may be the one that makes one special restaurant join our Top 5 List for 2009!

Bon Appetit!


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