02/26/2013 06:36 EST

PATH Restaurants Toronto: The Best Fancy Spots In The Underground


Fresh air is overrated. At least, when the average temperature has stuck solidly at -5°C and snow squalls threaten every week, that is.

It can be downright frightening to venture outside, and there's certainly no shortage of quick eats in Toronto's downtown underground maze, but there comes a point when you just don’t want to carry a tray through the food court anymore.

Rest assured, if you work in one of the 50 buildings connected by the PATH, there’s a better way to find your meals, and it doesn’t involve plastic cutlery. Whether you’re headed to a game after work, getting some shopping done, or just taking an extended lunch while your boss is out of town, quality dining options are plentiful in the PATH.

We've taken a look at the best options and offer them up here. Have some recommendations of your own? Let us know in the comments below:

Photo gallery Fancy Restaurants In The PATH See Gallery


100 Front St. W. (Royal York Hotel)

Epic’s reputation has lived up to its name, and this is the place to go if you’re looking to impress an out of town VIP. Their high-end Canadian dishes feature country-wide specialties, from Vancouver Island Spot Prawns to Nova Scotia Sea Bream. Locally-sourced ingredients are brought into the mix as well, including seasonal herbs from the Royal York’s very own rooftop garden.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $26; Dinner: $40


100 King St. W. (First Canadian Place)

Vertical’s contemporary Italian menu offers twists on the North American idea of “standard” Italian. Dishes like pappardelle with wild boar ragu, and Sfoja Lorda with halibut filling, are constructed with pasta that’s made in-house. Their meat and seafood entrees are equally inspired, and their wine list is as lengthy as one would expect from a classy Italian eatery.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $22; Dinner: $28

Reds Wine Tavern

100 King St. W. (First Canadian Place)

Whether you’re choosing a wine to go with your dish, or the other way around, Reds has no shortage of options. Main courses run the gamut of pasta, seafood, steak, chicken, and lamb – each one matching perfectly with at least one of their 49 wines available by-the-glass.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $24; Dinner: $24

Akco Lounge

100 King St. W. (First Canadian Place)

Akco’s take-away counter, the Ho-Shim Restaurant, does a brisk business with lunchtime sushi-lovers, but behind it lurks a full sit-down restaurant which is equally popular. Dominated by sushi and Korean barbeque, their mid-priced menu makes this a popular spot for office group outings. Acko also uses locally-grown organic veggies and herbs in their dishes, giving them yet another leg up on the ultra-processed food court fare.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $18; Dinner: $18


187 Bay Street (Commerce Court South)

You may be dining underground, but Four’s California-inspired menu is as close to sunshine and beaches as you’ll get. Health-conscious dishes weigh in at 650 calories or less, and while the salad options are plentiful , this isn’t all about rabbit food. Fish, pasta, and sandwiches are all designed to satisfy mid-day tummy rumbles without making you feel like a blob at your desk all afternoon. Don’t even try to resist Four’s famous miniature desserts, sinfully delicious cups of tiramisu, cheesecake, and the like.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $20; Dinner: $20

Hy’s Steakhouse

120 Adelaide (Richmond-Adelaide Centre)

With cuts of beef worthy of making billion-dollar deals over, Hy’s Steakhouse has been an institution among wheelers and dealers since the 1950s. This may be the last meal you enjoy before your expense account is revoked (prepare to drop $50 on a steak, and up to several hundred dollars on a bottle of wine), but you certainly get what you pay for.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $28; Dinner: $45


333 Bay St. (Bay-Adelaide Centre)

A Bay St. favourite for Asian fusion, Blowfish matches its sleek, ultra-modern décor with creative yet not over-the-top sushi and hot dishes. While a $20 lunch is within reach if you’re a light eater, dishes are small and best enjoyed in multiples. Then again, their high-end cocktails - like their ginger grapefruit saketini, or thyme caipiroska - may have you simply proclaiming this a liquid lunch.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $20; Dinner: $30


1 Dundas St. W. (Eaton Centre)

A relatively new addition to the Eaton Centre’s dining choices, national chain Joey might not spring to mind immediately due to its location at the northern tip of the mall. But it’s proven to be a popular choice for mall-goers treating themselves after a day of hard shopping, thanks to its higher-end menu featuring temptations like the Blue Cheese Sirloin and the Ahi Tuna Club Sandwich.

Average entree prices: Lunch: $20; Dinner: $20