Six years ago, when I first worked on this annual ranking, it was a struggle to find 10 new and notable restaurants to write about. Now, there seem to be 10 great spots opening every month. We have fancy chefs running diners and street-food chefs preparing plates fit for royalty. We’re drinking hard cocktails in food halls and eating home cooking at train stations. And trendy vegan establishments have practically colonized Parkdale. Some of this year’s openings were greeted with controversy: one restaurant was accused of cultural appropriation, another lambasted for serving seal tartare—both made my list. What’s not in dispute: our bottomless appetite. Here are my recommendations for where to eat in 2018.
The 2018 List
1 Skippa 2 Aloette 3 Bacchanal 4 Hexagon 5 La Palma 6 Labora 7 Kiin 8 Estia 9 Atlas 10 Café Cancan 11 General Assembly 12 Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen 13 Tanto 14 Ku-Kum Kitchen 15 Uncle Mikey’s 16 Tennessee Tavern 17 Pinky’s Ca Phe 18 BlueBlood Steakhouse 19 Kay Pacha 20 Northern Maverick 21 Gold Standard 22 The Civic 23 Chop Chop 24 Mythology Diner 25 Soufi’s 26 Amano
Of all the recent changes to Union Station, the most radical is that it’s become a place where you might go just to eat. There’s a shop selling Brandon Olsen’s delectable CXBO chocolates, a location of Yannick Bigourdan’s Union Chicken, and, coming soon, a branch of sausage and beer hall Wvrst. Where I gravitate most often is the pasta-centric Amano. Bigourdan, who was a partner in Splendido during its heyday and currently runs Carbon Bar on Queen East, is also involved here, which explains the gracious servers, smart wine list, and slick room of marble, subway tile and leather sling seats that fool you into forgetting you’re in the bowels of a transit terminal. The chef and co-owner, Michael Angeloni, is a noodle savant when it comes to both classics (rigatoni with bolognese; farfalle with walnut-arugula pesto) and impieties (campanelle with Dungeness crab and mustard seeds; mezzaluna stuffed with short rib in a jalapeño-spiked jus). They’re planning to expand across town. Along with two new Buca locations and the impending opening of Eataly in Yorkville, it’s good times for pasta
Black campanelle with Dungeness crab and pancetta.
Angeloni rolls out some dough in Amano’s very open kitchen.