With the Toronto International Film Festival in full effect, it seemed only right to share some of my favorite finds from this new home of mine. We have been filming Suits in Toronto for 4 seasons now, which means four years of getting to know this city. Domaine was kind enough to ask for my favorite finds, and now I am sharing them with you along with a couple of new additions. Here is my Insider’s Guide to Toronto, where the people are friendly, the streets are clean, the food is damn good, and where I found my happiness. Sounds like a pretty good place, eh?

EAT

The Harbord Room - hands-down my absolute favorite restaurant in Toronto and beyond. The food is just perfect, whether you’re craving a crudo plate, a seasonal pasta dish laced with ramps, pesto and a whole lotta love, or the absolute best burger you’ve ever had. My friend, Natalie, brought me here years ago for the burger (with fries and a bottle of pinot noir), and it remains my most-craved meal. Just go. This one’s a no-brainer.

Bestellen - This is a comfortable space with a concise and absolutely delicious menu. I go for the côte de boeuf (all sourced by my favorite meat purveyor in the region, Cumbrae‘s), relaxed vibe, and great service. Also, they have an open kitchen, which I’m a sucker for, and a great table in the back that would be perfect for a small celebration.

Bar Isabel - I used to live in Madrid, so my love for Spanish cuisine runs deep. Bar Isabel has a beautiful space with Andalucian tiles that reminds me of long weekends in Seville. Order the ceviche, and if you’re a fan of octopus, definitely go for that; it is served whole, with garlicky potatoes that will make you want to fall into a blissful carb coma.

Terroni - a go-to and a standby. There are three locations in Toronto (go to the flagship on Queen Street where the service is relaxed but super accommodating) and the vibe is always chill. Their pastas have the perfect bite and the mains are great — order both with a bottle (or carafe) of wine. It’s a solid bet for an easy weeknight (or weekend) dinner.

Fresh – All LA transplants who moved to Toronto for filming told me that Fresh would be my saving grace – the clean eats and yummy vegan fare would remind me of home. They were certainly correct.  Whether it’s a fresh juice, the green goddess bowl with extra broccoli, the quinoa onion rings or the all star salad, I could easily eat here every single day and my tastebuds would never get bored. Oh! And if you’re a fan of hot sauce, make sure you get some of their scotch bonnet based heat they put on the table. I am certifiably obsessed with it.

Almond Butterfly – A new gluten free bakery that has the most delicious bites and amazing espresso.  My favs are the banana bread (how is it so moist?!), the chocolate chip cookies, and the date squares. Cupcakes are plentiful, flavors change often, and it’s a solid spot to pop in for some yummy treats in a jewel box space.

 

Cocktail Bar - I’ve loved this teeny tiny space for a few years. They don’t serve any drinks with vodka, which I both love and hate all at the same time, but the fact of the matter is they don’t need it. The drinks are solid, and the mixologists are as friendly as they come. Ask for Travis.

Rasa - This place just opened, and I am head over heels for the space. It feels like New York City to me, with a warm feeling that hugs you when you walk in the door, inviting you to stay. Great vibe, adventurous menu, and a top-notch cocktail and wine list. Highly recommended for a nightcap.

STAY

The Shangri La - Oh, how I adore this hotel. The staff is top notch and the amenities are sublime – from the gym with infrared sauna to the awesome spa with private hammam. This will also be a hot spot for star sighting as it is next door to Soho House, the place to be for parties during TIFF.

SHOP

Cabaret Vintage - Head here for perfect vintage finds and a staff that makes you feel as precious as a Georgia peach. I go in weekly for inspiration and little additions to my closet.

6 by Gee Beauty - This is my favorite store for a curated selection of clothes, gifts, jewelry and fragrance. Think Assouline coffee table books, Aviator Nation frocks, and Le Labo, all within the shop that is likely smaller than your bedroom. I love that you don’t have to pilfer through racks, and I always find something I love either for myself or my girlfriends.

The Room at Hudson’s Bay - This shop features a bespoke mix of the best niche designers. Think Wes Gordon, Giambattista Valli, and Prabal Gurung. It’s cutting-edge and classic all at the same time.

Holt Renfrew - The ultimate luxury Canadian department store. Go for the shoe department and ready-to-wear collections, and take a mini hiatus to have a glass of bubbles and salad at the store’s lovely restaurant. You can find incredible Canadian designers within these walls; get a gift for everyone back home.

FROLIC

Kensington Market - a local mecca for all things food and fun is several blocks of fishmongers, meat purveyors, mom-and-pop veggie stands, juice bars, and fantastic hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Throughout the summer the market has pedestrian Sundays where no cars can pass through it, and it feels like one big block party: bands performing, the smells of every exotic cuisine wafting in the air, and a relaxed vibe that makes you feel that Sunday kinda love. You can see my favorite gems within Kensington on the feature I did with Holts Muse.

Trinity Bellwoods Park - I call this hipsters’ paradise. It’s a massive park with a huge dog run in the middle, which is ideal for my super active dog, Bogart. But beyond the normal park humdrum (tennis courts and softball field), you’ll see people set up stands for the likes of free hugs, yoga in the park, dance classes, and performance art. It’s really the mecca for meeting up with friends, throwing a frisbee until day turns to night, and listening to the ambient beat of bongo drums from another end of the park.