Russian restaurants in Toronto: From extravagant to home-cooked comfort food

For Torontonians, Russian food doesn’t always come to mind when we start hankering for some dinnertime grub. But with such a huge Russian population, it’s no surprise the city is full of Russian restaurants – if you know where to look. Thing is, Russian dining has few similarities to a North American dinner – rather than being a casual outing, eating Russian food in Toronto, like in Russia, is a major affair. Generally, Toronto’s Russian banquet halls cater to large groups of people who dress to the nines for the occasion, most dishes are meant for sharing, and the whole dining and drinking process takes hours.

If you’re due for a birthday party or big gathering, check out the banquet halls on this list. Or to try out the restaurants that’ll serve up a single meal-sized portion.

Elite Grande

North York’s Elite Grande Restaurant has a menu of massive and artistically presented Russian banquet-style dishes, a gorgeous interior that’s obviously set up for major parties. They do cabaret shows and other live music and the service is impeccable.

Imperator

Quite possibly the pinnacle of Russian banquet dining happens at Imperator in North York. Gilded in tacky but traditional gold and red with frilly seat covers, the place does extravagance well. Caviar, a zillion kinds of salads, fish, shrimp and a ton of amazing dishes lathered in mayo or sour cream. Lots of vodka on hand.

Amulet

For Russian banquets and parties, Amulet is a North York favourite, with its opulent interior and incredible food presentation. Their fare spans the offerings of the former Soviet Union and the flavours are rich and delicious.

Retro Room

On Steeles near Dufferin up in North York, the Retro Room is somewhere between Russian banquet hall and restaurant. What it does well, though, is big, juicy helpings of meat and awesome appetizers.

Red Square

With excellent service and great food like caviar, blini, potato salad, tons of different meats and a decor that’s a bit less over-the-top than some of the other banquet halls on this list, Red Square in North York is a good spot to stuff yourself with awesome Russian food.

Vera’s Kitchen

This is where you go to get the Russian meals you’ve always dreamed of: cabbage rolls, meatballs, perogies, stuffed peppers and, of course, borscht. The restaurant at Yonge and Eglinton is tiny and very casual, but the food’s worth it.

Suliko

OK, so it’s not technically Russian, but Suliko’s Georgian-style cooking is worth a mention. Go for the khinkali dumplings and hachapuri, plus kebob-style grilled meats. The prices are pretty affordable too. Located in North York.

Erin Cardone

Born on the Prairies, Erin Cardone grew up knowing there was more to life than canola fields and AAA Alberta Angus. So she escaped, living in Europe and Australia, white-knuckling it through plates of calf brains and raw horse meat, and learning languages she can't remember anymore. After a stint as a jaded, skeptical journalist, she changed tack and began writing rather awesome blogs and showing businesses that advertising is dead, so long live social media, with her businesses Legendary Social Media. She now splits her time between various Canadian cities, Costa Rica and wherever else the wind blows.

Pin It on Pinterest