Canada’s most acclaimed restaurant sits on the top floor of a gorgeous redbrick Victorian. Alo’s entrance, though, is neither grand nor obvious. It’s tucked on the side of the building, sharing an unappealing foyer with a piercing studio. As the cramped elevator chugs up to the third floor, you begin to wonder what the fuss is about. Then the doors open onto the sumptuously decorated dining room, and you’re immediately transported away from the bustle of Toronto below. Those lucky enough to snag one of the few extended tasting-menu seats at the Chef's Table have views of the open kitchen as furrow-browed chefs agonize over the angle of a garnish. Every plate coming out of chef-owner Patrick Kriss’s kitchen is close to perfect—there is no such thing as good enough at Alo, which is why this tasting-menu-driven restaurant isn’t just one of the best in the country, it’s also one of the best in the world. Every day, the six-course dégustation changes. It's always French in execution, but shaped by what’s in season. The food is not trendy or theatrical à la Alinea but thoughtful in its preparation. To snag a coveted reservation here, plan to set multiple alarms; the 2-month block is usually gone within 72 hours. Reservations open the first Tuesday of every other month at 10am (EST). For those without a reso, the more casual sister restaurant Aloette downstairs on the first floor is also an excellent alternative; walk-ins only.
Subway: St. Andrew, then streetcar 504 W to Spadina AvePhone 416/260-2222 Prices Tasting menus $105–$165 Cuisine Type French Web site Alo