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The French cuisine at Alobar Yorkville earned the restaurant a one star rating.Handout

Toronto foodies, you have officially entered international acclaim territory. The prestigious Michelin guide has awarded 13 Toronto restaurants with coveted stars in its first-ever Canadian edition. The Michelin guide announced the inaugural Toronto rankings on Tuesday, awarding a total of 13 restaurants with stars.

The guide is broken up into four categories: Three stars, two stars, one star and Bib Gourmand, which recognizes “good value restaurants” that are easier on the wallet.

No Toronto restaurants snagged the highest value of three stars – worldwide, there are only 136 restaurants that hold a three-star rating. One Toronto restaurant, Sushi Masaki Saito in Yorkville, received two stars, and another 12 restaurants received one star each. Seventeen restaurants were awarded the Bib Gourmand distinction.

Michelin has further expansion plans within Canada with an upcoming guide to Vancouver. There are now 60 Michelin Guides covering 38 countries and six cities in North America.

But the Michelin guide has also faced criticism in recent years for being elitist and Eurocentric. As The Globe’s food reporter Ann Hui writes, it’s also been revealed that some guides were being at least partly funded by local tourism boards.

Opinion: The Michelin Guide is coming to Canada – and it exposes Toronto’s desperate hunger for outside praise

The guide is compiled by Michelin “inspectors”, as the organization calls its food critics, who visit restaurants anonymously and pay for their own meals to ensure they’re treated like average customers. The inspectors’ judging criteria are kept a secret, but are based on quality of products, “mastery of flavour and cooking techniques”, the personality of the chef represented in the dining experience, harmony of flavours and consistency between inspectors’ visits.

Here is the full list of the Michelin ranked-restaurants in Toronto.

Two stars

Sushi Masaki Saito

Type of cuisine: Japanese/Sushi

Chef: Masaki Saito

Neighbourhood: Yorkville (88 Avenue Rd.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “Only here will you find shirako boldly skewered and grilled over binchotan, and only here will you eat melting slabs of chutoro buried under a blizzard of white truffles. Fish comes exclusively from Japan, and for the nigiri, assistants are quick to bring [chef Masaki Saito] his prized rice from Niigata prefecture, warm and tinged with his special blend of vinegars, after every round.”

One star

Aburi Hana

Type of cuisine: Japanese/Kaiseki

Chef: Ryusuke Nakagawa

Neighbourhood: Yorkville (102 Yorkville Ave.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “Chef Ryusuke Nakagawa presents a modern take on the history-steeped Kyo-Kaiseki Menu. His cooking is deeply personal and intricate but never overwrought.”

Alo

Type of cuisine: Contemporary, European and Asian

Chef: Patrick Kriss

Neighbourhood: Queen West (163 Spadina Ave.)

What The Globe said in 2015: “Even on the third floor of an unknown building at an intersection not readily associated with ambitious dining, [chef Patrick Kriss and front-of-house partner Amanda Bradley] could build one of the most singular and daring and extraordinary new restaurants in Canada, and fill it with ecstatic customers every night.”

Alobar Yorkville

Type of cuisine: French

Chefs: Patrick Kriss and Rebekah Bruce

Neighbourhood: Yorkville (162 Cumberland St.)

What The Globe said in 2018: “The prices may make some gasp, but rest assured you’ll be treated like a player while you’re here. Dining at Alo Bar reminds me of eating at European restaurants, where service is deemed a profession, not a transitional phase between education and a career. Like those in the kitchen, the servers here take their job seriously and it shows.”

Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

Type of cuisine: Italian

Chef: Daniele Corona

Neighbourhood: Harbourfront (1 Harbour Square)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “Chef Daniele Corona’s dishes echo the contemporary sophistication of the dining room.”

Edulis

Type of cuisine: Contemporary, Mediterranean

Chef: Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth

Neighbourhood: King West (169 Niagara St.)

What The Globe said in 2014: “Tobey Nemeth and Michael Caballo’s 32-seat spot kept getting better and better, the cooking more precise and distinctive and consistently thrilling, the ingredients more out of the ordinary, the wine and service and mood of the room more of a celebration each time I went back.”

Enigma Yorkville

Type of cuisine: Contemporary European

Chef: Quinton Bennett

Neighbourhood: Yorkville (23 St Thomas St.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “Using molecular techniques, chef Quinton Bennett puts his worldly view on the plate, playing on diverse textures and surprising combinations.”

Frilu

Type of cuisine: Contemporary Canadian with Asian influences

Chef: John-Vincent Troiano

Neighbourhood: Thornhill (7713 Yonge St.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “A tiny space packed with talent, the sparsely decorated nook leaves everything on the plate, with high-quality product from their own farm coupled with an intriguing Japanese element that feels natural.”

Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto

Type of cuisine: Japanese/Kaiseki

Chef: Masaki Hashimoto

Neighbourhood: Don Mills (6 Garamond Ct.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “It’s all about focus over flash with a refined intricate style and attention to detail that borders on reverence.”

Osteria Giulia

Type of cuisine: Italian

Chef: Rob Rossi

Neighbourhood: Yorkville (134 Avenue Rd.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “It seems nearly impossible to have a bad time at Chef Rob Rossi’s Italian stunner. Many Italian menus can look the same, Rossi narrows in on the seafood-rich traditions of Liguria.”

Quetzal

Type of cuisine: Mexican

Chef: Steve Molnar

Neighbourhood: Little Italy (419 College St.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “Lamb barbacoa packed into griddled, blue masa tortillas and charred maitake mushrooms set in a crema poblana highlight the transformative magic of fire, while dry-aged amberjack aguachile flexes the kitchen’s delicate side.”

Shoushin

Type of cuisine: Japanese/Sushi

Chef: Jackie Lin

Neighbourhood: Yonge and Lawrence (3328 Yonge St.)

What The Globe said in 2016: Mr. Lin’s specialty is classic, Tokyo-style sushi, with each species cut or scored, seasoned and in some cases marinated or smoked to highlight its best attributes.”

Yukashi

Type of cuisine: Japanese/Kaiseki

Chef: Daisuke Izutsu

Neighbourhood: Mount Pleasant (643a Mt Pleasant Rd.)

What the Michelin inspectors said: “Firmly rooted in seasonality, this kaiseki-style menu is highly original and personal.”

Bib Gourmands

The Michelin guide inspectors also found 17 restaurants worthy of the Bib Gourmand designation. This award recognizes “good quality, good value restaurants” where diners can have two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for less than $60 CAD.

Here is the full list of Bib Gourmands:

  • The Ace
  • Alma
  • Bar Raval
  • Campechano
  • Cherry St. Bar-B-Que
  • Chica’s Chicken
  • Enoteca Sociale
  • Fat Pasha
  • Favorites Thai
  • Fonda Balam
  • Grey Gardens
  • Indian Street Food Company
  • La Bartola
  • Puerto Bravo
  • R&D
  • SumiLicious Smoked Meat & Deli
  • Wynona

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