Madame Marie’s Most Memorable Meals of 2022 in and around Toronto
From takeout to Michelin-starred tasting menus, it’s been an utterly delicious year. While many restaurants, and the hospitality industry at large, were still reinventing themselves from the pandemic, they did not fail to impress.
Here are my most memorable dining experiences of 2022 in and around Toronto.
Situated in Collingwood’s historic downtown, The Pine offers a multi-course Canadian-driven tasting menu of 15 to 18 courses and is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team, Jeremy and Cassie Austin. Chef Jeremy brings a unique angle to his tasting menu with a variety of nuanced flavours, drawing from his experience working at some of the finest restaurants in Europe and China. Ingredients are as local as possible, with many grown on the family farm in Grey County. The wine program is as Canadian as it gets with bottles exclusively from Ontario. The dining concept is intimate in every sense of the word—it’s all about sensory pleasure and the people behind it have a fine-tuned command of their craft. Venture beyond Toronto’s borders and experience this small-town gem.
There’s something magically romantic about a panoramic view of Toronto, and it’s hard to find a better one than Don Alfonso 1890. Aside from the view and the intimate ambiance, Don Alfonso 1890 is a feast for the mouth and the eyes. It’s no surprise that it was awarded one Michelin star in fall 2022. Not one dish falls short of phenomenal, but the agnolotti the Wagyu and the hazelnut parfait could keep me raving for days. Congratulations to the Iaccarino family, Liberty Entertainment Group and Chef Daniele Corona for creating an atmosphere that is both luxurious and intimate while delivering upscale Italian dishes that are both creative and traditional.
Restaurant 20 Victoria
20 Victoria Street, Toronto
Restaurant 20 Victoria marks the long-awaited return of Chris White and Jonathan Nicolaou, who closed their critically acclaimed restaurant, Brothers Food & Wine, amidst the pandemic. Located at 20 Victoria Street in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, the restaurant strikes the right balance between elegant and cozy, with only 20 seats inside and a small outdoor patio. What’s perhaps most special about the multi-course sensory experience is that it’s a blind tasting menu. The menu changes on a whim—sometimes weekly, sometimes daily—to offer diners a unique and memorable experience. All dishes incorporate local and seasonal ingredients and offer nuanced flavour profiles. The best thing to come from the death of Brothers Food & Wine was the birth of Restaurant 20 Victoria.
Prime Seafood Palace
944 Queen Street West, Toronto
Matty Matheson debuted his shiny new steakhouse on Queen Street West this summer, and it had people talking long before it opened. While best for a splurge or a special occasion meal, Prime Seafood Palace is in a league of its own when it comes to the city’s steakhouses. Other than some of the most prime cuts in the city, the menu is chock full of indulgences, such as Kristal caviar by the gram, a meaty halibut fillet smothered with beurre blanc and topped with trout roe, and more approachable offerings as well (many of which are sourced from Matheson’s own farm). The ambiance itself is jaw-dropping with floor-to-ceiling maple wood and a minimalist main floor bathroom that’s reminiscent of a Japanese bathhouse.
Review coming soon.
265 Davenport Avenue, Toronto
Yorkville’s swanky restaurant, MIMI Chinese, honours regional Chinese cuisine and its rich culture along with artistic cocktails and a moody vibe. It will surprise and delight with elegant and refined Cantonese-style fare from Guangdong province (think: shrimp toast coated with sesame seeds or a tangle of never-ending belt noodles that are cut with scissors tableside). Sit at the bar for an ultra-immersive experience and ask the bartender to shake up something delicious to pair with the tasting menu.
Review coming soon.