The 11 Oldest Restaurants in Toronto [2022]

The history of Toronto is part of what makes it so special with a ranging number of restaurants dating back as early as 1836! Some of these restaurants were visited frequently by soldiers during the WWI era or visited for an afternoon tea. 

Not to mention, today some of these restaurants are used in movies such as Hairspray. What’s great is that some of these restaurants offer live music, classic dishes and a great place to visit after work to relax at the bar and learn some history! 

Furthermore, you can even hold events from weddings or meetings due to its stunning interior! Visit the 11 oldest restaurants in Toronto today that are still holding up their legacy and enjoy the vibe and dine in to take you back in time! 

When you combine those two factors, you get a list of 11 classic Toronto restaurants and bars.

Summary

How We Chose Oldest Restaurants in Toronto

We picked the 11 oldest restaurants based on their popularity and the diversity of choice they provide and how far back it was opened, as well as what makes them stand out. These are the criteria we followed to choose the finest ones in Toronto.
  • Variety: We made sure that the restaurants include a wide range of selections for you to choose from such as different snack choices and vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Quality: We ensured that these spots offer great delicious food, with decent portions providing you great value for the money spent.
  • History: We provided a bit of history of when the restaurant was opened and it started. 
  • Customer Reviews:  We included customer reviews to ensure that past customers had a great time, were served delicious food, stunning interior and if they highly recommend it!

The Oldest Restaurants in Toronto

Now that you know what to look for when selecting to dine in the oldest restaurants operating today, continue reading to see the 11 oldest restaurants in Toronto and take a visit there!

1. Wheat Sheaf Tavern

Wheat Sheaf Tavern opened in 1849 being nearly 170 years old! The city’s oldest watering establishment was formerly a favourite hangout for troops from Fort York’s military. Wheat Sheaf was a pub that regularly housed labourers and operated as a motel throughout its history. Over a drink, learn about Toronto’s history too!

By visiting here, experience live music, classic dishes, watch sports and drink whisky. Their menu offers classic poutine, fried mozzarella sticks, nachos, Roma meatballs, greek salads, pierogies, steak, famous prime rib sandwiches and much more! The price ranges from $18 to $32.

Business Information:

Address:  667 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M9
Phone:  (416) 504-9912
Website: wheatsheaftavern.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“Wheat Sheaf is definitely a staple in King West for beer and their half price wings, but we noticed that they had a Sunday roast available one day. Highly recommend it, and there's more than enough of a portion for two people to share. The food has at times been only OK, but I'll definitely be coming back for a roast again.”
“Great bar! Live music on weekends. Great location with lots of other places nearby. Just an all time classic spot.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Half-price wings on Tuesday.  Wait time can take long
All-day breakfast options available!
Live music

2. The Senator Restaurant

The Senator is Toronto’s oldest restaurant which is nearly 90 years old and it is divided into two unique historic chambers. The original Main Level from the 1940s and the Top o’ the Senator, which goes back to the 1860s, are on the second floor and both rooms have complete licensing.

This place was converted from a home to the Busy Bee Diner in 1929, and it became a popular attraction for traditional meals and coffee to go. George Nicolau, the proprietor, refurbished and extended the Busy Bee and renamed it the Senator in 1948. 

The Senator, designed and manufactured by the Toronto Refrigeration Company in 1948, is still in its original appearance and fittings today. The Senator became a Toronto institution, known for serving the greatest egg sandwich and coffee in town.

The place offers endless options of breakfasts from smoked salmon, chicken clubhouse sandwich, omelette, french toast, buttermilk pancakes and much more! The price range from $16 to $24+.

Business Information:

Address: 249 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5B 1V8
Phone: (416) 364-7517
Website: thesenator.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“Restaurant with a history - read about it on the front page of the menu. As for the food, the pancakes are superb! French toasts are not bad too. And they make their own honey! Very nice service and friendly staff. Very nice experience having brunch here.”
“Always wonderful. We enjoyed the patio for the last warm day of the year. Great attentive service and great diner food. The patio will be open through October we were told, weather permitting. The peach French toast was amazing.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Plays live music  Complaint about pancakes being bland

3. The Lakeview

The Lakeview restaurant is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This store has been in operation since 1932 and is a part of Toronto’s rich history. Inside, the restaurant is modest and tidy, with an elegant bar!

The Lakeview has provided a pleasant respite for families, soldiers, poets, singers, filmmakers, and you,” according to the Lakeview’s website. Lakeview Restaurant has a solid reputation in the city and has appeared in a number of films over the years, including Hairspray, Boondock Saints, and The Samaritan.

This is the perfect spot if you’re craving a midnight snack or looking for a place to hang out with friends. Their menu offers desserts, drinks, lunch, a kids’ menu and many more! All are priced from $6.50 to $23.50.

Locals love the Chicken N Waffles ($16.50). There are crispy waffles with cornflake chicken available. The entrée is accompanied by hollandaise sauce and thick maple syrup. It also includes a side of house gravy. 

Check out this restaurant right now if you want to have a classic night with delicious cuisine and old-fashioned milkshakes!

Business Information:

Address: 1132 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1X2
Phone: (416) 850-8886
Website: thelakeviewrestaurant.ca

Customer Review Highlights:

“I have a great experience every time at The Lakeview. Good service, friendly staff and reasonably priced food. It's open 24 hours but expect a wait during peak times such as Sunday brunch. The freedom toast was exceptional.”
“Fantastic staff, great menu and prices. The choices were great and I loved the look of the place. A must visit. Enjoyed a slice of pie with some coffee. Cannot wait to come back late one evening and sample their menu.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Open 24 hours Service might take longer
Vegan options available

4. Barberian’s Steakhouse

The Barbarian Steakhouse is a hidden five-star steakhouse in Toronto, and they’ve just celebrated their 50th anniversary. From the environment to the food to the service, Barbarian Steakhouse strives to maintain the spirit of the original building that Harry Barberian purchased in 1959. 

A comprehensive wine selection and five-star steaks combine to provide an unforgettable dining experience. They offer sirloin, prime ribs, rib steak, filet, and much more! 

You should definitely visit this restaurant to see a variety of wines stacked up two stories high around the room! 

Business Information:

Address:  7 Elm St, Toronto, ON M5G 1H1
Phone: (416) 597-0335
Website: barberians.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“First time going to this place and all I gotta say is, food is great (even at its price) but the staff and service take the cake. Worth every penny. The wine cellar is a must visit, just ask and they should be able to show you. Had my friend’s bachelor party here and it was a superb experience. Will be back for sure…”
“Steaks here are excellent, and service was phenomenal as well! Very classic old school decor and atmosphere in the restaurant, and they have a very large list of drinks available. Food menu is a bit smaller, but it's done very well, and this is a steakhouse, so this type of menu is expected.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Private dining available Complaint about lack of flavour on steak
Extensive wine options available

5. Fran’s Restaurant

Fran’s original location opened in 1940 at Yonge and St. Clair and it was only a 10-seat restaurant back then, but it served something that had become a staple on greasy spoon menus everywhere called the banquet burger. 

The restaurant has extended and shrunk its number of locations throughout the years, but it still operates three diners in the city. It is a 24-hour diner with a lovely atmosphere where you may have a snack whenever you like. 

They provide breakfast as well as standard diner fare. Frans is transforming it into a fantastic late-night city experience!

It’s a fantastic restaurant with a diverse menu, and sweet potatoes may be replaced for fries! A popular option is the Monte Cristo, a toasted French toast sandwich with melty cheese and ham. The prices range from $10 to $25.

Business Information:

Address: 20 College St, Toronto, ON M5G 1K2
Phone: (416) 923-9867
Website: fransrestaurant.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“So yummy! We kept our order simple and easy. Club sandwich, legends burger and float. We were stuffed after. Service was fast. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Sadly they don't serve rice pudding anymore. But everything was great!”
“Great place for 24 hour breakfast but also great sandwiches, and so many other things. Quite an expansive diner menu. Pickup is always quick!”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Open 24 hours If you order through Uber Eats, your food can get soggy or messed up
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options

6. The Old Mill

Old Mill Toronto, founded in 1914, is a heritage structure that was once a Tea Garden for the community to gather together as a safe place to discourse about WWI. 

Old Mill Toronto now has a 200-seat fine-dining restaurant, tea garden, wedding chapel, and 16 function rooms with over 20,000 square feet of area to accommodate the most spectacular occasions.

They offer weekday dining room services from La Carte lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner on Thursday and Friday from afternoon to evening. As well as weekend dining room services offering brunch buffet too!

Business Information:

Address: 21 Old Mill Rd, Etobicoke, ON M8X 1G5
Phone: (416) 207-2020
Website: oldmilltoronto.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“The Old Mill restaurant is easily accessible and in a nice area. The establishment also has a hotel and a small yet pleasant courtyard adjoining. The food here is to an exceptional standard, and the drinks menu is a perfect pairing for the food. The building resembles an old fashioned manor, it is peaceful and has a gentle, yet great atmosphere.”
“We've had brunch and afternoon tea at the Old Mill Restaurant a few times, and the food was wonderful each time. The site is beautiful and classy. Our favourite spot is by the windows in the solarium area. The waitstaff were always courteous and provided great service. We look forward to coming back each time.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Great place to host a wedding, meetings and much more A website not showing menu
Has a flower and gift shop
Stunning photo-worthy exterior and interior 

7. Len Duckworth Fish and Chips

Len Duckworth Fish & Chips has occupied the Danforth Avenue site since 1929. The fascinating history and story of Len Duckworth’s Fish & Chips are both riveting and comical at times. 

The fish and chip store was founded in September 1929 by Jack and Edith Duckworth. When they retired in the early 1950s, they passed the mantle to Len Duckworth, who carried on the practice for decades.

Not to mention, Chef Dave Duckworth is a world-class chef with 40 years of experience cooking in great restaurants with his Father Len Duckworth till he retired. Another 40-year veteran at the head of the Len Duckworth kitchen is their ship’s mate chef “Dave Prender.”

They offer different types of fish from halibut, sole, haddock and blue cod with sides offering fresh cut chips, bread and butter, deep-fried mushrooms, coleslaw, gravy and poutine. The price ranges from $2 to $20+ and $47+ for their family deal. 

Business Information:

Address: 2638 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C 1L7
Phone: (416) 699-5865
Website: lenduckworthfishandchips.ca

Customer Review Highlights:

“Came by to get lunch take-out because of the great reviews online. They sure surpassed my expectations. They are absolutely now one of my new favourite fish and chip places!..”
“Had the halibut fish and chips and it was delicious 😋🤤😋 very hearty serving of chips / fries and the fish was perfectly breaded with a light and flavourful batter. I did wish the chips were a bit more "crunchy" but I think it's just the style that I prefer. Either way, I can't wait to come back here to try other things!”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Lunch special every day from 11 am to 3 pm. Complaint about lack of salt and pepper on the fish
Monday offers halibut and chips for $16

8. United Bakers Dairy Restaurant

United Bakers Dairy Restaurant, which has been in operation for 102 years, has been a destination for baked goods and comfort dishes that have appealed to a whole generation of new Torontonians. 

Your grandparents were most likely acquainted with the Ladovsky family, who may have fed them some of the heartiest vegetable soup available.

A young couple from Kielce founded a bakery/coffee shop in downtown Toronto in 1912. Their purpose was to recreate the flavours of the life they had left behind in Poland while earning a livelihood in Canada. 

They hired a shop at 156 Agnes Street in the Ward, the hub of Jewish activity at the time, and hung a sign that said “5 cent Coffee House” and then they established the United Bakers. 

They have an extensive menu offering sandwiches, muffins, bread, fish dinners, vegetarian dinners, omelettes and much more! The price ranges from $5 to $20+. 

Business Information:

Address: 506 Lawrence Ave W, North York, ON M6A 1A1
Phone: (416) 789-0519
Website: unitedbakers.ca

Customer Review Highlights:

“Haven't been here in ages - decided to stop in for lunch. Such friendly and attentive service - much appreciated ! Tried the pea soup based on other reviews- it did not disappoint- it was fresh and hearty. Had the cream cheese scoop platter - veg were super fresh, bagel was great and so was the schmear. Coffee was hot and topped up often too! Will absolutely be returning here for a quick snack or lunch and will be bringing the family too.So refreshing to visit such a warm atmosphere with great food!”
“Always a good experience at United bakery. The food is delicious and the staff are so warm and welcoming. My family has been coming here for over 20 years in three generations. It’s like home. The best pea soup and Greek salad in the city. And the kids love the challah French toast and mac & cheese. Never disappoints.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Vegetarian options are available Complaints about eggs being overcooked and dry
Passover orders are open where you can order online for in-store pick up.

9. Avenue Diner

This vintage restaurant on the northwest intersection of Ave and Dav exudes old-school charm dating back to 1944. Today, it is a family-owned and runs firm led by Louis Klasios. 

Dishes are cooked to order and served with heart and passion, with a commitment to quality and the creation of a pleasant, enjoyable environment.

The Avenue Diner is known for its nostalgic appeal and retro ambiance and has hosted a number of well-known celebrities who have left their signatures on the walls throughout the years.

Their menu offers all-day breakfast with eggs, omelettes, steak, pancake, french toast, saucy hot sandwich plates, chicken breast diner, fish and chips, burgers and much more! The price ranges from  $5 to $18+.

Business Information:

Address: 222 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 1J6
Phone: (416) 924-5191
Website: avenuediner.ca

Customer Review Highlights:

“By far the most warm and welcoming diner I've been to in Toronto. Favourite spot to grab breakfast, I drive down from Mississauga at least once per week. Highly Recommended!!!”
“This classic Toronto spot should be high on your list. Whether it’s to try their big breakfast, dine in the star-stuffed diner decor or to try the iconic burger, Avenue diner has something for everyone. Friendly owners and clientele make this the perfect place to start your Saturday, or treat yourself to a hearty meal on a work-from-home weekday.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Serves all-day breakfast Cash only and ATM available inside the restaurant
You can purchase authentic avenue diner apparel

10. Old Spaghetti Factory

The Old Spaghetti Factory Canada is a 15-restaurant national franchise that is entirely owned and run by Canadians and has been operating since 1971. All of their menus include a starter salad and soup, hot bread and whipped butter, spumoni ice cream, and coffee or tea, all for one reasonable price.

The restaurants in the Old Spaghetti Factory are decorated with stained glass, antique light fixtures, and historic objects brought from all around the world. 

They offer vegetarian/vegan options as well as a special menu for individuals with gluten intolerances. They serve a variety of pasta from pesto, linguine, chicken alfredo, seafood linguine and much more! 

The price ranges from $9 to $12 for their appetizer from bruschetta to garlic cheese toast and their signature pasta dishes range from $20 to $30. 

Business Information:

Address: 54 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1A6
Phone: (416) 864-9761
Website: oldspaghettifactory.ca

Customer Review Highlights:

“The restaurant was surprisingly popular, especially with families and kids. Although it may look plain without windows on the outside, the interior is quite a contrast with very colourful decoration mixed with rustic settings. The lovely staff, from reception to service, have been efficient and the food tasty and priced fairly. Definitely a top choice to satisfy my Italian food craving.”
“Went there for brunch and loved everything we ordered. Staff was super friendly. Salad was very fresh. Overall, a great experience. I would definitely come back to try more things on the menu.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Vegan and vegetarian options are available!  Complaint about pasta tasting poorly

11. La Castille

For almost 45 years, La Castille has provided spectacular feasts. You can eat in the splendour that is uniquely La Castile’s in a setting straight from the Middle Ages. 

La Castille will steal your breath away with its blazing pots on the walls, enormous chandeliers, and stained glass windows. This restaurant offers some classy menus for lunch, dinner, dessert and wine.

You can order delicious items from shrimp tempura, oysters, steak, grilled chicken salad, lobster and much more! The prices range from $15 to $73+ depending on what you order.

Not to mention, we highly recommend you guys order one of everything from their dessert menu. Offering creme brulee cheesecake, coconut cream pie, chocolate truffle cake, tiramisu and much more. The prices for desserts range from $7 to $8!

Business Information:

Address: 2179 Dundas St E, Mississauga, ON L4X 1M3
Phone: (905) 625-1137
Website: lacastile.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“Absolutely amazing food. Let me start off by saying this place looks visually amazing on the outside and the inside. Perfect for a date night. The food comes reasonably fast despite having many people. The chefs there are simply professional. The staff are older, very friendly and professional. I would highly recommend this fancy dinner place to anyone looking to enjoy a night out!”
“Excellent atmosphere (A Royal castle type restaurant with coloured painting glass windows with spectacular chandeliers and tables chairs) with excellent food, as I have ordered Shrimps and Scallops, it tasted so good with perfect texture. Highly recommended for special occasions, a little pricey so be prepared.”

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Gift card available  Some food items can lack flavour
Delicious assortments of food items! From creme brulee cheesecake to caspian sea caviar.
Can host weddings or events here

FAQs Toronto’s Oldest Restaurants

The Senator Restaurant is Toronto’s oldest restaurant and is still in business at the same location to this very day. They can be traced back to the Town of York’s very first property survey in 1836.
The Wheat Sheaf Tavern, located on the southwest corner of King and Bathurst streets, is Toronto’s oldest tavern. The pub has been open since Bernard Short founded it in 1849.
These restaurants offer sandwiches, salads, steak, pancakes, poutine, pasta and any classic food item you can think of, they have it here!
Yes, these restaurants offer vegetarian dishes and vegan options just contact them to confirm!

Conclusion

If you’re looking to dine in a historical restaurant Toronto has several terrific options that will undoubtedly offer great history and provide stunning vintage interiors! Each of these restaurants was opened in the 1800s and continues its legacy today and has something unique to offer, such as steaks, pancakes, live music, whisky and much more! 

Catch a glimpse of history at one of these 11 oldest restaurants in Toronto today!

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