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You'll want to add these to your bucket lists!
Looking for restaurants to add to your "must try" bucket lists in Ontario can be a challenge, but, luckily for you, we spoke with some of Food Network Canada's Wall Of Chefs judges for their opinions on what they think are the best restaurants are at their hometowns in Ontario.
Wall of Chefs is a competition-based cooking show on Food Network Canada, that pits four home cooks in three different challenges, where they get judged by a variety of highly talented chefs from across Canada.
From restaurants that are actually nailing authentic cuisine to some really scrumptious slices of pizza, here are 16 restaurants across Ontario that you simply have to check out (as soon as the new restrictions lift, of course.)
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Cuisine: Italian, Brunch
Address: 749 Bank St., Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: "This restaurant, which is open seven days a week, will seduce you in seconds. Whether you need help picking a special bottle from the wine shop or want a quick meal and a drink, it's a sure bet – and the gorgeous decor just makes you want to stay longer," Marysol Foucault, the award-winning chef and Food Network Canada Wall of Chefs' judge told Narcity.
"You can dine-in or take-out, leaving with a feeling of a warm hug from Nonna. They have great sandwiches, elaborate lunch and dinner plates, as well as brunch!"
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Cuisine: Seafood
Address: 610 Somerset St. W., Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: The soon-to-be-open seafood restaurant, Le Poisson Bleu, is another one of Foucault's top choices for new restaurants in Ottawa.
"Firstly, the amazing design draws you in and you know you're dining somewhere cool. I love that they have seasonal dishes that focus on sustainable seafood and they also have some really clever cocktails," Foucault shared.
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Cuisine: Trinidadian
Address: 2573 Victoria Park Ave., Scarborough, ON
Why You Need To Go: "I'm always on the hunt for the best roti in the GTA and fate brought me to this Scarborough location, which opened during the peak of the pandemic," Roger Mooking, Food Network Canada's Chopped Canada judge and chef behind Twist by Roger Mooking at Toronto Pearson Airport told Narcity.
"In my humble opinion, they have what may be the best Dahlpourie Roti and Doubles I've had outside of Trinidad!"
Some of the items you can find on the menu include a variety of roti, rice, and specialty dishes, and on certain days there are weekday specials, too.
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Cuisine: Indonesian, Dutch, Fusion
Address: 102 Portland St., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: "Every single item on this menu is fire! I just pick at random and am never disappointed," Mooking told Narcity.
"This place transports me to one of the best food adventure weeks of my life that I experienced several years ago in Jakarta!"
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Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Address: 96 Ossington St., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: "I always love creating a shared meal with a variety of small plates," Nuit Regular, executive chef and co-owner of Kiin, PAI, Sabai Sabai, and Sukhothai, told Narcity.
"Everything we had was so good, but their hummus and pita bread, as well as their lamb ribs, were the standouts to me!"
Azhar's lamb ribs are flavored with shawarma spices, and served with whipped labneh and ajika.
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Cuisine: Vietnamese, Bánh mì
Address: 147 Spadina Ave., Unit 109, Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: While Regular hasn't yet been to Cà Phê Rang, it is on the top of her "must go to" list.
"My husband and I often go out for Vietnamese food, so I'm looking forward to checking out this new spot from Chefs Matty Matheson and Rang Nguyen. Their beef and brisket pho will be perfect for the cold winter months," Regular shared.
On the menu is a variety of phô, bánh mì, and spring rolls to choose from, plus there is even some Vietnamese coffee you could sip on (either hot or iced.) Yum.
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Cuisine: Canadian

Address: 300 Preston St., Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: "This is a wonderful new restaurant that opened in November 2021 and serves outstanding, innovative food. I had the opportunity to try Chef Champagne's 9-course tasting menu and I was very impressed by the creativity, flavour and technique he brought to every course," Daniela Manrique Lucca, the chef behind the ghost kitchen Plantain Cartel, told Narcity.
"What I loved most about this restaurant, besides the food, was the intimate ambiance they created; they kept a warm and friendly service yet served beautiful, elevated food."
Some of the standout dishes on Perch's tasting menu, according to Manrique Lucca, are the Chawanmushi served with matane shrimp and salmon roe, and Heart, which is a charred beef heart tartare.
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Cuisine: Steakhouse
Address: 283 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON
Why You Need To Go: Off Harmon's Steakhouse's extensive menu – and not including their wide variety of steaks – Manrique Lucca enjoyed the Ahi Tuna Crudo and the Lobster Wedge salad.
"What I loved the most about Harmon's was the feeling of a traditional steakhouse, but elevated with a beautiful selection of steaks and fresh seafood to choose from, which made the whole dining experience outstanding," Manrique Lucca said.
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Cuisine: Pizza
Address: Owen Sound Farmers' Market, 88 8 St. E., Owen Sound, ON
Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for a new pizza place to order from, Shawn Adler – the chef and owner behind The Flying Chestnut Kitchen in Eugenia, Ontario, and the Pow Wow Cafe in Toronto's Kensington Market – recommends Cutie Pies Pizza and Wine.
"Machaella Burnett was formerly a longtime front of the house manager and server at my restaurant in Eugenia, The Flying Chestnut, before the pandemic hit. Not one to wallow, she fired up her lifelong dream of owning a pizza company, practiced making her own sourdough pizza crust, and installed a mega pizza oven in her own basement," Adler told Narcity.
"She can now be found cranking out the best pizza I have ever eaten!"
According to Adler, you can grab some pizza at the Owen Sound Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings, and if you're unsure which one to try, Adler always orders the pepperoni.
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Cuisine: Comfort food
Address: 1357 Dundas St. W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: Adler is a "complete sucker" for Woofdawg's chili dog and called the homemade kielbasa a "total revelation to see what kielbasa is supposed to be like!"
"Chef Stephen Payne is one of the most passionate chefs I've ever met, and that passion truly shines through in all his flavour combinations," Adler said.
For example, Chili Cheese Crunch-ahh is a beef or veggie chili hotdog topped with cheese sauce, spicy mayo, and Hawkins cheezies. And, the Chicken It Old School is a chicken fried hotdog topped with honey hot sauce, creamy coleslaw and sweet 'n' sour pickles.
"Definitely don't leave without trying one of his housemade sodas; I had a peach cream soda, and it was what I've always wanted in a soda pop but have never found before," Adler said.
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Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Address: 225 King St. W., Suite 100, Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: "This is my go-to spot for ambiance and of course amazing sushi," Suzanne Barr, chef, restaurant owner, and author told Narcity.
"The highlight of every meal for me, though, is seeing what Executive Pastry Chef Aiko Uchigoshi has conjured up – I'm still dreaming of her vegan coconut banana pie with almond cream, salted coconut sorbet, black sesame sauce, miso candy pecan, and coconut whipped cream. If you like coconut, this needs to go on your bucket list."
Plus, Barr is completely in love with the decor at Minami, too.
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Cuisine: West African
Address: 1165 Bloor St., W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: If you're looking to eat authentic, West African cuisine, Barr said this is the spot to try.
"Their mouth-watering dishes are all about heart, and the flavours tell a complex story," Barr shared and added that her favourite item on the menu is the Party Jollof because it brings on all of the nostalgia.
"It's spicy, smoky paella-style rice slow-cooked in a sofrito reduction with lemongrass, star anise and smoked crayfish served with tribe slaw, fried plantains and choice of peppered chicken, prawns or beef."
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Cuisine: Italian
Address: 536 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: If you're looking for plant-based Italian food, Barr recommends Osteria Du.
"Their mezza luna rossa is a game-changer – it is house made pasta filled with beet, potato and ricotta, in a herb-infused butter sauce and poppy seeds. It's incredible how much flavour is in each bite and the creaminess (without actual dairy) is on point," Barr said and added not to get her started on the pizzas they serve.
"I also love that the fact that they uphold equitable practices both front and back of house. No tipping, no brigade system in the kitchen, and living wages on the same pay scale. I'm all for supporting businesses who support their people."
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Cuisine: Chinese, Dim Sum
Address: 323 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: Chef and owner of Tutti Matti, Alida Solomon, shared with Narcity that dim sum from Rol San Restaurant would definitely be on her last meal list.
"Their Pork Buns are so delicious, and I can only describe them as little pork clouds!" Solomon said.
Rol San has an expansive menu with dim sum staples like Har Gow, Shumai, and Sticky Rice wrapped up in a lotus leaf.
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Cuisine: Mexican
Address: 419 College St., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: Solomon shared with Narcity that she is a traditionalist who loves the type of cuisine served at Quetzal.
"Their Lamb Barbacoa is my favourite!" Solomon said.
On Quetzal's menu, the Empanada Oaxaqueña is filled with lamb barbacoa, and served with a salsa molcajete and radish.
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Cuisine: Seafood
Address: 469 King St. W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: "The oysters from Rodney's are like the ocean's gift from the Gods!" Solomon shared about Rodney's Oyster House.
Torontonians can pick up some freshly shucked or unshucked oysters from the oyster house during the current provincial restrictions, as well as fresh lobster, crab, and a variety of hot eats ready to go.
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