For Love of the Local: Top Toronto Restaurant Trend of 2013

For Love of the Local: Top Toronto Restaurant Trend of 2013

Sept 2013

Amanda Labelle

Although there are many new restaurants in Toronto creating a buzz and landing on Toronto Life’s BEST NEW TORONTO RESTAURANTS 2013, there is a specific food trend showing up in both older and newer venues alike that is both inspiring and responsible.

The top food trend of 2013, as dictated by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), is Locally Produced and Locally Inspired Dishes, followed closely by Sustainability. Sustainability includes raising and growing food that is healthy for consumers, animals, and does not harm the environment (Huffington Post), while this lure of the local – what The Huffington Post is calling “The Locavore Movement” and Toronto Life calls the “Canadiana food movement” – consists of utilizing locally produced food including heritage meat and wild plants (Toronto Life), as well as farmer’s market local produce, meats and cheeses, and other key ingredients. These two trends intertwine because the decision to eat local is also a responsible and sustainable choice – it is both eco-friendly and profitable for our own economy, supports our local farmers, and healthily sidesteps GMO’s and unnecessary preservatives.

There are three Toronto Restaurants that exemplify this Canadiana/Locavore movement, two of which rank on Toronto Life’s list. Toronto’s IL FORNELLO restaurant chain incorporated an all-Ontario menu in 2007 when it joined the Savour Ontario program. Members or Savour Ontario are committed to promoting local foods, serving and identifying Ontario food items on their menus, and showcasing the best and freshest that Ontario has to offer (Ministry of Agriculture and Food). IL FORNELLO’s exceptional wood-fired pizzas, impeccable pasta dishes, and mouth-watering desserts make conscious food choices incredibly delicious.

Il Fornello interiorIl Fornello pizzas_spring

Number 4 best new restaurant, Hopgood’s Foodliner (325 Roncesvalles Ave.) embraces the local and all of Canada. Inspired to create “authentically Canadian” dishes, Chef Geoff Hopgood uses the freshest sustainable seafood from Canada’s East Coast, as well as heritage raised local meats and organic farm fresh produce ( Geoff also created a drink menu that focuses on Canadian and European naturally made wines and Canadian crafted beer. Hopgood’s is the perfect place to come for some delectable Digby scallops, some seriously sensational fried clams, or even to try out the tempting oyster bar.  Not only a seafood restaurant, there is something yummy here for everyone.

Hopgood's Foodliner InteriorHopgood Scallops

Finally, Number 2 best new restaurant is Edulis (169 Niagara St.). Chef/Owner Michael Caballo, passionate about wild foods and mushroom foraging, tries to include these wild ingredients in all of his succulent dishes. Inspired by his years of roaming the kitchens, forests, and dining rooms of Canada, Panama, France, Italy, and Spain (, there are definitely more than just Canadian influences at work here, but at Edulis their goal is to combine the warmth and approachability of a classic European bistro with their passion for the forests and farms of southern Ontario (  

Edulis - open table

Photographed by Peter Power of The Globe and Mail

Photographed by Peter Power of The Globe and Mail


            It may not be particularly new or fancy, but this celebration of the local is a trend that you can feel good about: it will satisfy your tummy and your conscience.


Info Sources:

  1. Toronto Life  
  2. The Huffington Post
  3. Ministry of Agriculture and Food


Photo Sources:

  2. Hopgood’s Foodliner
  3. Open Table (Hopgood’s Interior) 
  4. Open Table (Edulis Window)  
  5. The Globe and Mail (Edulis Cocktails)