THERE’S DINING FOR PLEASURE, and then there’s dining for business. Privacy, straightforward menus, and efficient service are some of the qualities that make a restaurant a gold standard in the eyes of the power suits.
Keyyes rounds up our top picks for business entertaining in Toronto.
This charming Italian outfit along King Street is where deals can be made in under-the-radar fashion. You wouldn’t guess that you’d get a private experience just by looking at it; the main dining area makes a sweeping grand statement with its arched ceilings and its curvaceous marble-topped bar.
But there are plenty of quiet booths to slide into. Room dividers also turn the mezzanine into a private space if needed. Then, talk shop over crispy pan-fried risotto and seared flat iron steak.
633 King Street
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1M5
T: (416) 9441-932
The last thing you want when it comes to a business dinner is unpredictability. And Bacchanal is a safe, solid bet. The teal velvet seats and brass accents keep the mood relaxed, while food is old-school French (executive chef Luke Donato is at the helm here).
This means classics like a black cod cassoulet and Cornish hen with chanterelle mushrooms — all as reliable as they are tasty. For the most privacy, book the table next to the wine shelves, which gives you easy access to the tipples, and provides a quiet nook where you can settle in for a tête-à-tête, sotto voce. If you’re driving, park your car in the underground lots just off Sudbury Street, as the elevator opens straight into the restaurant.
60 Sudbury Street,
Toronto, Ontario M6J 3S7
T: (416) 5861-188
It helps to talk shop over good food. An excellent view ups the ante. Built facing the waterfront, Neruda impresses with a large custom-made grill, and a dining room decorated in fine Italian marble. Grab a counter seat for a view of the kitchen team cooking up a storm, or one by the window for a spot of quiet.
Head chefs Romain Avril and Sylvain Assié are masters of open flames, sending out smoke-kissed dishes like roasted eggplants with quinoa, and a hefty lamb shoulder.
1681 Lake Shore Boulevard East
Toronto, Ontario M4L 3W6
T: (416) 6907-800
When it comes to sushi, wooden counters and perfectly-crafted morsels of rice and fresh fish are a predictable standard. But head to Miku if there’s a chance that your lunch meeting will become a snooze-fest. The feast is for the eyes, the taste buds, and the soul.
Aburi sushi is the specialty here, which means each piece of sushi is lightly seared over bincho tan (Japanese bamboo charcoal) and licked by flames. The smoky char accentuates the sweetness of the fish, usually a selection of fatty tuna, albacore, and sweet botan ebi. Opt for the high-top tables in the centre of the restaurant, which offers an all-round view of the decor and the harbourfront.
10 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2R8
T: (647) 3477-347
Every power lunch needs an injection of good vibes, and there are plenty to be found within the chirpy yellow walls of Trattoria Nervosa. It’s a small, bustling space, so save this homely trattoria for good-weather days when you want to keep the mood light.
The family-run kitchen turns out Southern Italian fare like a crisp-skinned Arctic char and beef ragu with artichoke puree. The cacio e pepe — the deceptively simple pasta dish of cheese, black pepper and olive oil — is flawless here. Seal the deal with a tasting of the smooth, fruity cold-pressed olive oil from the family’s estate in Abruzzo.
75 Yorkville Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B8
T: (416) 961-4642