Looking for a quick but satisfying dinner experience before you head to the theatre in Toronto? Don’t fall victim to a tourist trap that over-charges and under-delivers: here are some of the top Toronto restaurants for pre-theatre dining that will get you to the show before lights down.

Best for Casual Eats:

Assembly Chef’s Hall – 111 Richmond Street West (close to Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts)
Open all day Saturday, this “half food-court, half market” delights with a variety of independent restaurants, makers, brewers, and serveries. Take your pick from one of 17 top chefs; everyone can select their own favourites from keto, paleo, organic friendly Chef’s Table, to pit-smoked BBQ at Cherry Street Bar-B-Que, or layered vanilla buttercream cake at Short & Sweet.

Pai – 18 Duncan Street (close to Princess of Wales Theatre)
Arrive earlier than you think you should or make reservations; Pai is still remarkably popular despite being open for years. The great news is that the Thai favourites (Panang Beef Curry, Tom Yum Kung, and Pad Thai) come out fast, so you’ll have time for an extra Singha or fresh coconut water. Matinee goers beware: Pai opens at 3pm on Sundays.

Best for Fancy:

The Chase – 10 Temperance Street, Floor 5 (close to Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre)
Luxury never tasted so good, and the view from The Chase’s Rooftop Patio is to die for (or maybe that’s just the Diamond Platter; a towering selection of Fogo Island snow crab, lobster, seafood salads, poached shellfish and oysters). Either way, the view and the seafood compete for your attention at this see-and-be-seen hotspot. Don’t forget to tell your server you are on a pre-theatre schedule and they will ensure everything goes perfectly accordingly to plan.

Byblos – 11 Duncan Street (close to Princess of Wales Theatre)
With hypnotic lighting , intimate seating, and a menu full of spins on comforting Middle Eastern favourites like Duck Kibbeh, a Waygu topped hummus, and decadent Ras el Hanout Black Cod, Byblos delivers a special dining experience that will set the tone for your evening of theatre.

Best for Kids:

The Old Spaghetti Factory – 54 The Esplanade (close to Meridian Hall)
Yes, the Toronto institution, The Old Spaghetti Factory is on the list, but not because it has encountered a culinary renaissance. No, the Old Spaghetti Factory is simply the most fun place for kids to run off some steam before having to sit still for two acts. Let them indulge in familiar favourites like Spaghetti and Meatballs, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese.

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