There are fully grown adults who suffer through vegetables on a daily basis, but save their delight for when their mouth meets a heavenly piece of beef. For those adults, the steakhouse was created. Toronto has many steakhouses that have an old-world charm with a gentleman’s club vibe (with ladies certainly welcome these days). We have found the best restaurants with the ability to sear a steak to perfection. Some of them are a little dated in terms of decor, but that’s in part what makes them so appealing.
Note the elegant magnetism of Barberians, a steakhouse that is tucked into a side street just steps from the commotion of Yonge and Dundas Square. It will transport you from our technological universe, into an era where the sizzle of steak could be just the ticket for an early end to a workday. Or try your hand at dry-aged beef at Jacob’s & Co, which can be served with sauteed kale with blue cheese and walnuts. Food math: kale will absorb all other calories surrounding it.
Wash down your once-in-a-lifetime (or ten-times-in-a-lifetime) meal with a $12,000 bottle of wine. Wait, you can’t afford that? Us neither. But that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a little fancy in our lives. Slip into your finest suit or little black dress and slow down your chewing for an evening.
If you like staring at beautiful cuts of meat as if they were the culinary equivalent of the Mona Lisa, go and visit Michael’s on Simcoe’s many social media accounts. If you have too much money burning a hole in your pocket and you have an equal hole in your stomach, then it is an excellent place to sup. A celebrity hot spot during TIFF, this is the place for melt in your mouth steak that will likely elicit grunts of delight. Go for USDA Prime Angus or Japanese Kobe beef. Warning: the latter can set you back $528 for 24 ounces. What else are expense accounts for?
Recommended for Steakhouses because: A picture perfect meaty menu, and the opportunity to run into a carnivorous celebrity.
Courtney’s expert tip: The in-house baked bread is addictive (this is a steakhouse with an Italian twist), but try your best to save some room for the star of the show: the meat.
The Keg Mansion is certainly the best Toronto location of this chain of North American restaurants. The gothic heritage building was built in 1868 during a period of great wealth in Toronto. It has had some renovations since, but apparently retains some of its history in the form of ghosts. You can visit this location on one of Toronto’s ghost walks or go to feast in a stunning atmosphere. The rich appetizers impress, such as Baked Brie with basil pesto or Scallops and Bacon. The prices are impressively lower than average for prime cuts of meat such as Filet Mignon or Manhattan Cut New York. Some cuts have inventive toppings, such as pecans and goat cheese that complement rather than overshadow the steak.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: One of the more romantic choices, the gorgeous mansion is worth seeing even if you don’t want to dine.
Courtney’s expert tip: You can add a blue cheese crust to any steak for $1. This information is not on the menu, but it may just be the best $1 you have ever spent.
Photo courtesy of The Shore Club Facebook page
This gem of a restaurant lies within walking distance to the nightlife on King Street West. The Shore Club on Wellington is upscale and impressive, with a warmth that could heat up the iciest Toronto day. The decor pays tribute to art deco ocean liners, and the main dining room exudes elegance. With high ceilings and esteemed artwork, it is worth having some time to let your eyes wander beyond the food. When it comes to the food, however, The Shore Club is a great place to go for variety. Not only are the beautiful cuts of meat (such as Porterhouse and Filet Mignon) cooked to perfection, but the seafood is much more than an afterthought. Try the roasted salmon with warm pear and squash relish. Or go whole-hog and have the steak and lobster. Don’t you deserve the best?
Recommended for Steakhouses because: The Shore Club provides a five star experience. Scrumptious food, stylish service and no pretension. It is a superb way to get your steak fix.
Courtney’s expert tip: If you are driving, you can use the valet service at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The valet bill of $15 will be added to your bill at The Shore Club for convenience.
Photo courtesy of Jacobs & Co, Robert Gravelle
With cozy golden lighting, solid wood furniture and a grand piano providing background music, Jacobs & Co does not miss a detail. Situated in downtown Toronto, the service, food and atmosphere are consistently top-notch. Jacobs & Co showcases its dry-aged beef in the middle of the dining room in a climate-controlled glass case. Executive chef Danny McCallum works tirelessly to travel the world in search of the best cuts of meat and then ages, butchers and portions them on the premises. They have a french frier that only uses duck fat to make the crispest and addictive french fries that you have ever tasted. This incredible food has nothing to hide.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: The dry aged beef is a cut above the rest, so good that some people fly in for it.
Courtney’s expert tip: The sommelier will be happy to help you to make an informed decision about what to choose to wash down the meal. It is worth considering calling in advance to help you to navigate the extensive wine list.
This futuristic lounge-meets-steakhouse is situated in Yorkville, meaning that the doormen and chic dining room should come of no surprise. This is a global franchise that also has branches in Milan and New York and has experience wowing its clientele with everything from decor to taste. Huge swooping comma like sculptures are throughout the room and black and white elements permeate the space. Sourdough bread is brushed with blue cheese butter. A classic appetizer is the “brgs” (screw the vowels in 2020), a mini slider with wagyu beef and truffle oil. Steaks are simply executed and can be cooked in infrared charbroilers. Just admit it: your steak has a cooler life than you.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: The Jetsons would have dined here and now we can too.
Courtney’s expert tip: Pronounce the restaurant as the letters S-T-K, not as “steak.” (We made the mistake too.)
Photo courtesy of Harbour Sixty
The waterfront in Toronto is a prized location, and this restored 1917 Harbour Commission building offers a stunning backdrop for some of the best steak in the city. There are three levels of dining on offer, with baroque-inspired decor. Harbour Sixty is dripping with opulence, from tall candlesticks to marble countertops and freshly ironed tablecloths. The lovely ambiance works well to match the high-quality standards of the food. Their menu is centered around the finest USDA Prime beef which represents the top one percent of all beef. The steaks are well-seasoned and juicy on the inside. The side dishes are often infused with gourmet ingredients, such as lobster mashed potatoes and white truffle mac & cheese.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Both the food and the clientele are upscale, with steak, seafood and wine that defines the luxurious.
Courtney’s expert tip: This is not a restaurant to go to in jeans. The dress code is business casual, and jackets are encouraged.
Run by staff that still have ties to Barberians, Harry’s Steak House has brought the classiness west in Toronto. It’s a small room which will make you feel as if you are dining in a private club. Note the charcoal grill as you walk in (or the aroma may just inform you as to its whereabouts). Steaks are aged at Barberians (resulting in an unmistakable texture) but butchered here and grilled over sugar maple charcoal. The fancy mushrooms are in fact shiitake and maitake and of course smothered in butter and garlic, because no one came to a steakhouse to start a diet. If you have room for dessert, you haven’t done Harry’s right.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Old school charm with a modern twist, and steaks that will knock your fancy socks off.
Courtney’s expert tip: You will probably go for a bottle of wine, but you can’t go wrong with one of their martinis, especially Shannon’s citrus delight.
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Tom Jones Steakhouse
Tom Jones is the place to go to if you have reached an age where you already are starting to say “I remember the days when…” Those days will be back in a flash with stained glass windows, warm woods and waiters in tuxedos. One staircase doubles as a bookshelf, and you can almost imagine gentlemen talking shop with fat cigars, long before green juice counted as dinner. It is dark and cozy, begging you to spend 15 minutes to watch your waiter make your Caesar salad at the table. The portions are quite generous, and the Chateaubriand is worth capping off a special occasion. Located in the Bay and King financial district, this place requires a pretty penny but is class all the way.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Put on your freshly ironed shirt. You will be awarded with impressive cuts of meat and an award winning wine list.
Courtney’s expert tip: Visit the Conclave Room to view pictures of Toronto in the 1800s. Hint: there isn’t a Starbucks in sight.
Photo courtesy of Victoria, Barberian’s Restaurant
You can excuse Barberian’s for having a slightly dated atmosphere (and website). The restaurant opened in 1959 and some of the patrons have a long-standing history, equating Barberian’s with celebration for more than 50 years, which certainly bodes well.
Barberian’s has a simple charm with artwork by the Group of Seven hanging on the walls. All of the steaks are aged on the premises. There is a myriad of steak sizes and proportions, and the chef’s quiet confidence shines through from the first bite. If you are not in the mood for steak, rack of lamb with mint jelly and their grilled salmon steak will keep you satisfied.
If you have a special occasion, consider renting out the Wine Cellar at Barbarians. Housing 20,000 bottles floor to ceiling with the fragrance of fresh cork, it is an unforgettable space. Ask to visit before you sit down for dinner.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Barberian’s is guaranteed to impress, whether it is an esteemed colleague or an admired date.
Courtney’s expert tip: Consider going to Barberian’s after a night at the theatre (after 10 pm). They have a wonderful after-theatre menu, which includes cheese or beef fondue for two. Enjoy the free pickled vegetables, which some claim are even better than the incredible steak. Plus, you don’t get a lot of free at most steakhouses.
Photo courtesy of Blueblood Steakhouse
Going out for a steak already has an element of opulence to it. Eating your steak in a castle, well, then you are just showing off, aren’t you? Blueblood is situated in the majestic Casa Loma. Start your new fancy lifestyle off with the bread dipped in truffle oil. All of the steakhouse classics are here: French Onion soup, an embarrassingly high seafood tower, the iceberg wedge salad, and (but of course), the steak. The team here is beyond knowledgable about their cuts of meat, which come promptly and seasoned to perfection. Warhols decorate the walls and chandeliers drip from the ceiling, making each customer feel like royalty, if only for a meal.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Ambience and service that make this splurge of a restaurant well worth it.
Courtney’s expert tip: Self parking is $15 and valet is $20. If you’re eating at a castle, probably not a big deal.