It’s finally September and Toronto is buzzing with excitement for TIFF. The 44th annual film festival promises star-studded movies like “Knives Out” and “Hustlers,” which means there’ll be plenty of opportunities to see your favourite celebs on the red carpet.
But for those who’d rather steer clear of big crowds, hitting up a restaurant hotspot might be the next best thing. After all, celebs are known for dining (and partying) out in Toronto during the festival. And even if Michael B. Jordan doesn’t coincidentally show up, at least you know the food and drinks won’t disappoint!
Read on for the best restaurants to check out during TIFF 2019. You never know who you’ll be able to spot in these celeb-worthy venues.
1. Patria — 478 King St. W.
Past celebrity sightings: Sandra Bullock, Daniel Radcliffe, Claire Foy, Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a mini rendezvous at Patria last year, so who’s to say that won’t happen again? Although Gosling isn’t scheduled to appear at TIFF, there are plenty of other famous faces who could potentially pop up at this Spanish eatery. Head on over to this chic resto for tapas, paella, and more to celebrate the festival season!
2. Momofuku Noodle Bar — 190 University Ave.
Photo by Gabby Frank
Past celebrity sightings: Jake Gyllenhaal, Lupita Nyong’o, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey
Momofuku is the sister restaurant of the same noodle bar in NYC, which explains why the Toronto location is always swarming with celebs. Known for ramen, steamed buns, and fried chicken, this joint is certainly a go-to place for a good meal before or after a movie premiere! In the past, Momofuku has hosted cast dinners and premiere parties for A-listers at TIFF.
3. Assembly Chef’s Hall — 111 Richmond St. W.
Past celebrity sightings: Michael Moore
Assembly Chef’s Hall is relatively new to the TIFF scene (it opened in 2018), but promises plenty of pre- and post-screening parties. Last year, Michael Moore hosted an after-party at the Hall and even invited the public to join him! If you’ve never been to Assembly Chef’s Hall, expect to find 16 unique food vendors featuring diverse cuisines. We promise your mouth will be watering as soon as you walk through the door!
4. STK Toronto — 153 Yorkville Ave.
Past celebrity sightings: Cardi B
Feeling fancy? Head to Yorkville’s STK for dinner and drinks! If you take one look at this menu, you won’t question why a celebrity would dine here. Steak, shrimp cocktails, and beef tartare are just a few of the exceptional dishes being served. And did we mention the vibe of STK is tres chic? Even if you don’t catch a celebrity in this space, the restaurant makes for an Insta-worthy backdrop.
5. Baro — 485 King St. W.
Past celebrity sightings: Natalie Portman, Salma Hayek
Indulge in some stellar Latin cuisine at Baro this TIFF season. This King St. restaurant has three floors with different menus (and vibes) on each. Head to the first floor for a cozy dining experience and the second floor for shareable plates and cocktails. And to end the night, why not head up to the rooftop for a full view of the city and all the TIFF street action.
6. Byblos — 11 Duncan St.
Past celebrity sightings: Matthew McConaughey, Elle Fanning, Rachel McAdams
This two-storey restaurant serves Eastern Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails. And did we mention it’s the spot to check out for TIFF? The restaurant is in the same location as the festival’s RBC House, which is known for hosting high-profile film parties with A-list celebs. This year, not only are eight private parties scheduled at this location, but Byblos will also host Nespresso’s fourth annual Coffee with Creators panel with select filmmakers, directors and actors.
Although the restaurant will likely be shut down for these events, you never know who you might spot coming in and out of this luxe space!
7. One Restaurant — 116 Yorkville Ave.
Past celebrity sightings: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Robert De Niro, Emily Blunt
Located in Yorkville’s Hazelton Hotel, One Restaurant is in a prime spot for celeb sightings. A-listers are known for staying in the luxury establishment and plenty of them have been spotted shopping in the neighbourhood. One Restaurant is known for its contemporary dining experience by celebrity chef Mark McEwan. Even when TIFF is over, you’re going to want to check out this swanky spot for fine dining.
8. Bar Reyna — 158 Cumberland St.
Past celebrity sightings: Matt Damon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alicia Vikander
Bar Reyna is the place to go for pre- and post-screening drinks. This resto has an extensive cocktail menu with fun names like The Fresh Prince and 7 a.m. in Ibiza. Bar Reyna also has a cozy, hidden patio where you could possibly spot a celeb or two. Whether you’re coming for the cocktails or for the potential celeb sightings, one thing’s for sure: you won’t be disappointed with the atmosphere.
9. The Drake Hotel — 150 Queen St. W.
Past celebrity sightings: Adam Driver, Margot Robbie
Why would a celeb head all the way to Queen West? Not only was the neighbourhood named second-hippest in the world by Vogue, but it’s also where The Drake Hotel is. In addition to being a hotel, The Drake is also a popular restaurant, club and lounge for tourists and locals alike. Celebs looking to escape the typical TIFF scene on King St. are likely to show up here.
10. Montecito — 299 Adelaide St. W.
Past celebrity sightings: George Clooney, Kate Winslet, Idris Elba
Of course Montecito is on this list! This California-inspired restaurant is co-owned by renowned Hollywood director Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters,” anyone?). As an Official Hospitality Partner of TIFF, Montecito is known for hosting exclusive film parties during the festival. But don’t fret if you weren’t able to snag an invite. The restaurant will be open during the day for all your dining needs.