The Spend A Lot list is Joanne’s sky’s-the-limit guide to dining in the big city.

#1 Alo


If Toronto had a Michelin three star restaurant, but instead of being French and snobby and formal, it was unpretentious and cheery, it would be Alo, brought to us by chef Patrick Kriss. When Kriss left Acadia, we mourned the loss. Who knew his vision was so much broader and bigger than that? I usually hate tasting menus, feel imprisoned in their too-long too-much parade of dishes. But I’m in thrall to Alo, every dish a small perfect extravaganza of taste, texture and visuals. Five courses, $95. Plus lots of extras. The menu changes often but expect an amuse like fennel custard with lemon and olive oil foam, then fab smoked foie gras with chestnut crumble and sweet potato chips… lobster with sunchoke both pureed and sliced, lightly pickled, radicchio and truffle…. The most intense mushroom dish in town: Hedgehog mushrooms with silken puree of celery root, chicken skin in gel sheet form, and crisped trumpet mushrooms. The beat goes on, past fish, duck and pork to complex delicate chocolate desserts.

  • Alo
  • 163 Spadina Ave., Toronto (map)
  • 416-260-2222

  • Chef: Patrick Kriss
  • Sous Chef: Matthew Betsch, Nicholas Bentley
  • Cuisine: French
  • Cost of dinner for two: $190
  • Hours: Tues. to Sat. 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Meals served: Dinner
  • Veggie-friendly: Yes
  • Wines available: 100
  • BYOB?: No
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • CC accepted: Yes
  • Parking: Street parking
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