Michelin arrives in Toronto

Michelin lands in Toronto, adding the Canadian city to its North American list of reviewed markets. The inaugural edition of the Michelin Guide to Toronto will be unveiled in the fall of 2022.

Restaurants deemed worthy will be awarded one, two or three stars. Bib Gourmands will be distributed to restaurants that “offer high quality cuisine at affordable prices” and Michelin Green Stars to restaurants with a high environmental awareness.

Inspectors are already inspecting the city.

“For the first time in its history, the MICHELIN Guide is coming to Canada, and our inspectors are delighted to discover Toronto’s impressive culinary landscape,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides. “This first selection for Canada’s largest city, and our first in the country, will represent the local flavors, international inspiration and distinct creativity that make Toronto’s culinary scene world-class.

The guide was first launched as a regional driver’s guide, designed to direct drivers to pit stops for snacks or dinners worth visiting. Today, it is present in major cities around the world, from New York to Miami via Thailand.

“This is an exciting time for our city as Toronto becomes the number one MICHELIN Guide destination in Canada,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “This further reinforces our reputation as a global destination for food and cuisine. Our diverse city, along with the many renowned chefs who call Toronto home, has helped us get there and be able to feature all the wonderful restaurants. Many thanks to everyone who made this possible: MICHELIN, Destination Toronto, Destination Ontario and Destination Canada. While waiting for the guide, I encourage Toronto residents to continue to support and celebrate Toronto’s restaurant revival by dining locally to sample the diverse culinary offerings our restaurants have to offer.

The restaurants will be selected according to the historical methodology of Michelin, the analysis of quality products, the mastery of flavors, the personality of the chef, the regularity between each visit and the mastery of cooking techniques.

As a Toronto native, I’m personally very excited. Toronto is a world-class city – CNN’s Carlton McCoy recently dubbed it “North America’s most overlooked city” for food – with an incredible cultural mosaic that is represented in the diversity of food. A few blocks from my apartment I can get fantastic momos, doubles, smoked fish sandwiches, bacon sandwiches and Vietnamese noodles.

Toronto is well represented on the list of the best restaurants in Canada, launched yesterday. Alo (number two in the country) is a consistently stylish oasis for pre-set meals of well-prepared, highly Canadian dishes. Pearl Morisette (number 4) is a pioneer of localized sustainability, as is chef Jason Bangreter at Langdon Hall, Edulis and Canoe – old-fashioned luxury with a focus on Canadian expression.

Dreyfus, Pompette and Giulietta also top the list as neighborhood spots with a culinary swagger. Personal favorites from the city list across 20 Victoria, Mineral, Quetzal, Sakai Bar, Indian Street Food and Taverne Bernhardts remain my favorites.

With Michelin’s announcement, there are a few things to note. Canada does not have a single food critic, the last one having left years ago. Since then, the country’s leaders have not had the pressure of critics who can make or break a place. They are also free, as Jen Agg has pointed out, of the toxic work cultures that surround restaurants subject to such scrutiny.

Nor is it cheap to advertise Michelin in the city. California paid Michelin $600,000 to bring a Golden State guide in 2019. The Florida tourist board paid $150,000 to assess Miami, Orlando and Tampa last year. This partnership gave the tourist office the rights to the editorial content and the rights to the Michelin database. This will likely pay off – according to data from Visit Florida, Miami’s tourism spending brings in $4.88 billion and Orlando’s $7.33 billion. More looks at restaurants could only generate that revenue.

Michelin will also launch a selection of hotels in the city of Toronto.

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