Toronto is a gourmand’s dream. With so many amazing cuisines and restaurants to choose from, and more opening every week, what to eat for dinner can be an all consuming question. If you favour conscious cuisine when you dine out, you’ll love these restaurants that are defined by their fresh from the farm philosophy, and high quality local ingredients. Discover the best farm to table restaurants in Toronto.
Head Chef Scott Vivian, and business partner/pastry chef Rachelle Cadwell, opened The Beast in the summer of 2010. But Vivian believed in the farm to table philosophy for years before opening The Beast.
It had always been a dream of mine to own a restaurant and create an experience that I enjoyed as a chef and diner. And working in the Jamie Kennedy organization really allowed me to connect with like-minded producers and build those relationships that have been important to the restaurant and our clientele.
By the time he was ready to open, he had already cultivated relationships with producers that would serve him and his restaurant well.
The Beast sources its ingredients from several Ontario farmers through 100km foods. Cumbrae's Farm provides the restaurant’s meat which The Beast staff butchers and processes on site. Toronto’s Cheese Boutique provides The Beast’s cheese, and Toronto’s sustainable source for seafood, Hooked, provides The Beast’s fish and seafood. One might argue that The Beast wouldn’t be the outstanding restaurant that it is without these high quality ingredients.
Using local produce and sustainable seafood and meat allows us the platform to create dishes based on bold flavours from my background and the background of our chef de cuisine (Jason Poon). We enjoy layering flavours using spices and balanced acidity.
They’re not alone — The Beast’s patrons love every carefully balanced bite. They also love the restaurant’s commitment to farm to table principles.
Our patrons really care where their food comes from. They appreciate that we take the time to source out top quality, local ingredients and create an experience that welcomes them to come back.
For the few patrons that don’t care where the ingredients hail from, the food quality and ambiance of The Beast is enough to keep them coming back for more. According to Vivian, "every night is like throwing a dinner party", thanks to the homey atmosphere of the restaurant.
The Beast has been a darling of the media for a while now — Now Magazine has certainly taken a shine to the restaurant. The Beast was listed in Now’s 2010 Top Ten Restaurants, Eat Cheap 2014, and Best Brunch 2013 lists. They even catered for Anthony Bourdain in 2010 and were featured on The Layover!
We have had a lot of visitors from the states that have seen the episode who utilize the show as their eating guide through our great city.
If you’re not sure what to expect from The Beast, it’s important to note that their menu is usually as fresh as the ingredients — it changes weekly so there’s always something new to try. That being said, the restaurant does feature a few familiar players that their customers can’t get enough of.
Our gnocchi poutine and pork hocks are always on the dinner menu and our sticky toffee pudding is a must. The brunch menu stays consistent. I'm a big fan of biscuits and gravy, as well as any of our fried chicken sandwiches.
Long story short, you need to eat here.
Montecito Restaurant is a must in the farm to table food scene. The restaurant is owned and operated by Hollywood Director Ivan Reitman and Innov8 Hospitality. Ivan hails from Toronto and has close ties to TIFF, and Innov8 Hospitality is based out of Toronto. "Ivan wanted to open a restaurant nearby where his two passions of film and food could unite", says Innov8 Hospitality Marketing Manager Natalie Bitove. Ivan was living in Montecito, California and wanted to bring Californian inspired dining to Toronto. He partnered with Innov8 Hospitality to open Montecito in the summer of 2014.
The restaurant has enjoyed a lot of success since opening its doors just two years ago. It has played host for celebrity events with A-listers like Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Robert Downey Jr., and others. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a celebrity to eat here.
At any time of the week, our clientele varies. From families joining us for our Farm to Table Sunday Brunch Buffet, to young professionals having after work drinks, to couples celebrating milestone anniversaries.
The menu at Montecito is best described as "Farm to Table inspired Californian cuisine". If you haven’t experienced it firsthand, California has a very vibrant and fresh, health conscious food scene. Bitove explained that Californians like to keep it simple when it comes to cooking and their focus is on letting the quality and freshness of the food speak for itself, which is Montecito's goal as well.
Though farm to table has been a popular restaurant philosophy in California for many years, it is relatively new in Toronto, making restaurants like Montecito stand out.
People are becoming more conscious of where their food is coming from and how it is being grown and harvested. We are fortunate to have a number of amazing food purveyors here in Ontario and across Canada as a whole and it is our pleasure to show our support in featuring them on our menu.
Just like The Beast, Montecito tries to feature the best seasonal ingredients on its menu, and changes it regularly to do so. Montecito changes their menu weekly to ensure their customers are only receiving the freshest foods season to season. What truly sets them apart from other farm to table restaurants is that they also change suppliers seasonally.
Our menu changes weekly and seasonally, and so do our suppliers. Some of our local partners include: Warner’s Farm, Vicki’s Veggies, Jim Giggie, Organic Ocean, Fisherfolk, Off the Bone, Northern Woods Mushrooms, Perth Pork, Sterling Creamery, Harmony Organic Dairy, Dolce Lucano, 100km Foods, and Societe Original.
If you plan to visit Montecito and are looking for a tried and true favourite (rather than a new surprise), the Kale Salad and Montecito Chicken are a must. If brunch is more your bag, Montecito’s Farm To Table Sunday Brunch Buffet runs weekly from 11am to 3pm and features everything from salads and charcuterie boards, to a carving station and seafood tower, not to mention a decadent dessert table.
Jamie's Review: Here
An offshoot of Pravda Vodka Bar, Woods was opened in May 2013 by Robin Singh to offer Pravda customers a new dining experience. Located right behind Pravda, Woods brought farm to table dining to the neighbourhood. According to chef Carlos Deveyra,
The theme of the restaurant was Canadian and being so close to the market it seemed like farm to table was the best suited theme. We don’t claim we're a 100 per cent farm to table but I try my best to source as much local or Canadian ingredients and show what Canada has to offer.
Despite the restaurant’s Canadian theme, exciting elements of Italian, Filipino and French cuisine weave their way through the dishes at Woods, turning classic dishes into new and exciting meals. The restaurant specializes in pastas and braised meats, with the most popular menu item being Woods’ Braised Bison Short Rib. Woods gets its meat from a few special providers.
We like to use Ontario Harvest. It was started by our Elk supplier from Rising Stars elk farms. They source local farms in and around western Ontario and provide a great variety of fresh local meats. Our main farms we use would be Everspring Farms for our duck and Willowgrove Hills Farm for our pork.
Just like the other restaurants on this list, Woods uses 100km Foods to source a lot of its ingredients. According to Deveyera, they make it very convenient for a restaurant and save him a lot of time with dealing with multiple farms and different accounts.
The menu at Woods is defined by high quality ingredients. Chef Deveyra describes his cooking syle as very simple, because he's always trying to showcase the ingredients, which makes his menu really rely on the best product to make it work.
The restaurant attracts a lot of Bay St. clientele and locals who live in the area. Tourists also tend to flock to the farm to table hot spot. Despite appealing to Bay Street types, Woods is pleasantly casual,
You can come and have a nice dinner or take a seat at the bar and have something small. Our servers are attentive but not pretentious. We all have a passion for food wine and service and love sharing that with everyone. Whether it be a special occasion or just a casual lunch or dinner, regardless we are always happy to have customers come in and try our food.
Woods is a delightful balance of old and new, visit them today for a memorable meal.
We hope you enjoyed this list of the Best Farm To Table Restaurants In Toronto. If you’ve never eaten at a farm to table restaurant, try one of these — you won’t believe how delicious local food can be!