The Michelin Guide is touching down in Toronto, adding the Canadian city to its North American roster of reviewed markets. The inaugural edition of the Michelin Guide in Toronto will be unveiled in the fall of 2022.
Restaurants deemed worthy by the French tire company will be awarded one, two, or three stars. Bib Gourmands will be handed out to restaurants that ‘offer great quality food and good prices’ and Michelin Green Stars will head to restaurants with great environmental consciousness.
“Toronto is full of incredible dining destinations, many of which deserve recognition from the Michelin Guide to further acknowledge their excellence,” said Chef Daniel Boulud via email. “The Michelin Guide holds restaurants to the highest standards, and it’s an honor for Toronto restaurants to have the opportunity to earn these coveted Michelin stars in a city full of immense passion for hospitality and cooking.”
Inspectors are already surveying the city.
“For the first time in its history, the Michelin Guide lands in Canada, and our inspectors are excited to experience the impressive culinary landscape of Toronto,” says 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 makes Toronto’s dining scene world-class.”
The guide was initially launched as a regional motorist guide, devised to direct drivers to pitstops for the peckish or dinners worth a detour. Now, it has a presence in major cities worldwide, from New York to Miami to Bangkok.
“This is an exciting moment for our city as Toronto will become the first Michelin Guide destination in Canada,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “This further bolsters our reputation as a world destination for food and cuisine. Our diverse city, along with the many renowned chefs who call Toronto home, has helped us get to this point and to be able to showcase all of the wonderful restaurants. A big thank you to everyone who has made this possible: Michelin, Destination Toronto, Destination Ontario, and Destination Canada. While we await the guide, I encourage Toronto residents to continue supporting and celebrating the revival of Toronto restaurants by dining in locally to sample the diverse culinary offerings our restaurants have to offer.”
Restaurants will be selected based on Michelin’s historical methodology, analyzing quality products, mastery of flavors, the personality of the chef, consistency between each visit, and mastery of cooking techniques.
As a Toronto native, I’m 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 incredibly diverse food scene. Within a few blocks of my apartment, I can get fantastic momos, doubles, smoked fish sandwiches, back bacon sandwiches, and Vietnamese noodles.
Toronto is well represented on the list of the country’s top restaurants unveiled yesterday. Langdon Hall and Pearl Morisette (number 4) are both pioneers in sustainability, as are Edulis and Canoe. Dreyfus, Pompette, and Giulietta also topped that list as homey spots with a serious culinary command. 20 Victoria, Mineral, Quetzal, Sakai Bar, Indian Street Food, and Taverne Bernhardt’s remain my favorites.
With the Michelin announcement, there are a few things to note. Canada doesn’t have a single restaurant critic, with the last one leaving in 2019. Since then, the country’s chefs have not had the pressure of reviews that can make or break a place. Jen Agg pointed out that the pressures of criticism and the scrutiny of Michelin tends to bring the toxic nature of restaurant workplaces to a boiling point. Two French chefs have lost their lives to suicide over the lofty pressures of the star.
It is also not cheap to herald Michelin into the city. California paid Michelin $600,000 to bring a Golden State guide in 2019. The Florida tourism board paid $150,000 to rate Miami, Orlando, and Tampa last year. That partnership gave the tourism board rights to editorial content and the rights to Michelin’s database. It will likely pay off though – according to Visit Florida data, Miami tourism spending brings in $4.88 billion and Orlando $7.33 billion. More eyes on the restaurants could only drive that revenue.