7 Best Restaurants in the Annex – Rated By Dinners

Restaurants in the Annex

Discover the culinary gems of the Annex, Toronto's bustling and eclectic neighborhood.

From cozy bistros to innovative eateries, here are the top restaurants that define the district's vibrant dining scene.

Dive in and satisfy your taste buds!

Restaurants in the Annex

Vesta Lunch

Vesta Lunch

Vesta Lunch in Toronto is an absolute gem, steeped in over 60 years of history. Born in 1955 and initially run by three Greek brothers, this place hasn't changed much in terms of ambiance.

With an interior that transports you straight back to the 50s, you can feel the history the moment you step inside. Many a Torontonian has experienced the charm of those iconic red stools.

Dining here is more than just about the food—it's interactive. With an open kitchen layout, you can chat with the cook as they prepare your meal, making it a unique and personalized experience.

The Fish and Chips, a menu mainstay since their opening, is a must-try with its perfectly golden crust. The Vesta Special offers a satisfying blend of flavors with its bacon and hamburger layers.

And for a touch of Greek nostalgia, the Chicken Souvlaki, complete with corn-infused rice and fresh salad, pays tribute to the original owners.

In short, Vesta Lunch is not just a restaurant; it's a trip back in time with good food to boot. Highly recommended.

 Le Paradis

 Le Paradis

Venturing into Le Paradis on a classic grey Paris day, we quickly understood its local fame. The place fills up in no time, with regulars greeted on first-name terms, underlining its status as a neighborhood gem.

Though the setting screams Parisian bistro, from its monochrome posters to the checkered floors and a seaside mural nodding to the owner's Southern French heritage, we felt a tad out of place as seeming newcomers.

The food was a mixed experience. While the white bean and basil soup left us wanting more warmth and freshness, the Rustique salad's overpowering garlic felt jarring.

The main dishes, particularly the steak and the duck breast, shined brighter, even if the cherry-kirsch sauce on the duck was a tad too sweet for our liking.

The allure of Le Paradis is palpable, yet our visit didn’t entirely convince us of its reputed charm.

As we left, the ambiance grew, making us wonder if we'd missed the real magic of the place.

Fet Zun

Fet Zun

Fet Zun is a delightful dive into the flavors of the Middle East, brought to life by the legendary Anthony Rose.

Swapping French romance for vibrant Middle Eastern flair, this spot stands apart from Rose's other joints.

The essence of Turkey and Morocco is palpable here, from smoky babaganoush to a vibrant selection of mezes that pair perfectly with their incredibly fluffy pitas.

Can't decide on a meze? The Spicy Things offers a fiery medley. And while the Jerusalem Mixed Grill might play tricks with its name, it's a hearty affair of liver and kidney.

For the vegetarians, the Sabich Plate piles high with flavors and textures on an open-faced flatbread.

Top it all off with a Moamba cocktail, and you've got a meal that's both rich in taste and cultural flair. Swing by Fet Zun for a shareable feast that's far from the ordinary.

Backyard Smokehouse

Backyard Smokehouse

If you've got a hankering for some serious smoked eats, Backyard Smokehouse is your joint.

Brought to life by Faris Awwad, the mastermind behind the brunch sensation, Eggstatic, this spot is his love letter to all things smoked.

The journey started with a simple mushroom and pulled beef sandwich, but oh, how it's grown!

Dive into brisket that's been smoked for a luscious 16 hours, or burgers crafted from a prime mix of brisket and beef chuck for that perfect melt-in-your-mouth experience.

The Backyard Burger is a classic, but if you're feeling adventurous, the Ribyard Burger brings on a cheese tsunami.

The brisket sliders are a delightful little trio that packs a punch, and for the truly famished, The Whole 9 Yards is a carnivore's dream.

And, just like Eggstatic, Awwad sprinkles in a touch of Middle Eastern charm to the menu.

Located a stone's throw from Dupont station, make sure you rock up with a solid appetite – Backyard Smokehouse is all about the feast!

Burrito Bandidos

Burrito Bandidos

Born from the genius of Ian Angus, previously from Burrito Boyz, Bandidos gives the college crowd a taste of original Tex-Mex goodness.

It's a chill scene here, students in jeans and with textbooks, a far cry from the bustling club vibes of its predecessor.

But some things stay classic, like their signature three stools to sit on. Their menu? Classic burrito offerings that remind you why Burrito Boyz was a hit back in 2004.

Beyond burritos, they've got a neat lineup of quesadillas. I went with a buddy, and we tried the halibut and a mix of shrimp/chicken burritos.

I loaded mine up, and what a treat! The warm, hefty burritos wrapped to perfection, all ingredients mingling inside, is an experience.

While the homemade hot sauce lit a fire in my mouth (maybe a tad too much?), the flavors sang. The tortilla was soft, like roti, and the fillings meshed beautifully. That halibut? Top-notch. Fresh, chunky and perfect.

The chicken in the other burrito was smoky and delicious, but those shrimp? A bit shy, hiding at the bottom.

Despite that, the taste was on par with the OG Burrito Boyz. So, if you're in the Annex and craving a solid burrito, Bandidos might just be your new go-to!

El Pocho

El Pocho

Welcome to El Pocho, Toronto's cheeky antojitos bar! This place, dreamed up by Cesar Ramirez, is a delightful blend of Mexican meets Californian snack vibes.

Remember Scoop & Bean? Yep, that was Ramirez's earlier gig. But with a swanky new liquor license, it's been reimagined into this funky spot.

Inside, you'll find a cozy setting with string lights, cacti, and candles, but let's be honest, everyone's catching rays on their stunning patio.

Thirsty? Alongside their trusty espresso, they're shaking up some mean margaritas, rum daiquiris, and the intriguing dirty paloma.

And if you're more of a beer lover, they've got both local drafts and familiar bottles like Corona.

Now, let's talk food. The kitchen, headed by Tim Rickard (formerly of Patria), is all about those savory snacks that perfectly complement your drink.

You've got everything from tortillas with dips, to street corn, and fried avocado with a punchy jalapeño-pineapple marmalade.

My personal favorite? El Pocho fries, a hearty heap topped with salsa, avocado, and cheese. If you swing by in the evening, you might even catch them with skirt steak!

But wait, there's more! Tacos are on the menu, and I went for the chicken escabeche. Juicy chicken on a corn tortilla with avocado sauce and tangy pickled cabbage?

Yes, please! The three-taco serving is great for sharing, though a mix-and-match option would've been the cherry on top.

Here's the cherry on top though: the whole joint is gluten-free (bar the beer, of course).

Given Rickard and his wife's gluten sensitivity, it's clear they've crafted a menu with heart and consideration.

So, if you're in the mood for some feel-good, flavorful food and drinks, El Pocho's the place to be!



If you've never been to Pisac village in Peru, this Toronto joint might just be the next best thing.

Pisac Restaurant is all about that authentic Peruvian vibe, right from the stunning photos of Peru's terraces on the walls to the traditional delights on the plate.

The venue itself is spacious, with a high-ceiling, enough room for about 20 people downstairs, and some extra space upstairs for private dining.

And, hey, if you're in the mood for some fresh air while you dine, there's a cute little patio, thanks to a garage door that opens right up to the street.

Kick off your food journey with their crunchy roasted corn snack; it's salty and downright addictive.

Their ceviche mixto is a colorful medley of seafood, doused in a zesty leche de tigre.

And don't even get me started on their arroz con mariscos, a flavorful rice dish loaded with seafood and veggies, with those mussels being the real MVPs.

For those into stir-fries, the lomo saltado showcases the blend of Chinese and Peruvian flavors - think tender beef, juicy tomatoes, and fries, all swimming in a savory soy glaze.

Drink-wise? Their Chica Morado Pisco Sour is a fragrant concoction of pisco, pineapple, and cinnamon.

If you're in the mood for something vibrant, try the Gold Chilcano, a refreshing mix starring the golden berry from South America.

Sure, the prices are on the higher end, but the portions? Generous. Most of the dishes can easily be split.

So if you're looking for a culinary trip to Peru without leaving Toronto, Pisac's got you covered.


  • Ashleigh Bandimere

    Ashleigh Bandimere is a Freelance Foodie & Travel Writer who loves all things travel! She takes advantage of every opportunity to get away, Ashleigh is always ready for her next adventure.