The menu items Toronto chefs say are worth the splurge when they eat at a restaurant

Dining out can be expensive, but it’s also a lot of fun. So when you do decide to spend your hard-earned bucks, you want to make sure the menu items you’re ordering are worth it.

That’s why we reached out to some of Toronto’s top chefs. Who better to tell you about the best dishes than those who create them? We asked them about the one dish they would splurge on when dining out at other restaurants. Here’s what they had to say.

Tomahawk steak

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“As a chef, I frequently splurge on a succulent Tomahawk steak or tenderloin and refreshing ceviche. The Tomahawk’s rich marbling and flavour, combined with a good chimichurri butter, always justifies the expense.” Executive chef Ricardo Dominguez, Soluna Toronto 

Pad Thai

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Pad thai boasts one the most satisfying flavour profiles and textures available on one plate. Both dishes provide an appetizing change from the ingredients and techniques I typically work with, making them a special treat whenever I dine out.” Executive chef Evan Dickinson, Mademoiselle Raw Bar & Grill

Vegetable-based dishes

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“I have a deep appreciation for creatively crafted vegetable dishes. While they may not always contain the most expensive ingredients, the innovation and skill behind these dishes elevate them to another level. Exploring new and inventive flavours and techniques in vegetable-based dishes is a culinary adventure I’m always eager to embark upon and I find that the craftsmanship involved is well worth the extra investment.” Chef Paul Shewchuk, executive hotel chef of Fairmont Royal York

Chicken wings

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“With food prices rising, the one dish I always have room in my budget for is chicken wings! Something about the tender wing meat flavoured from the bone and the crispy skin covered in the hottest sauce will always have a special place in my heart.” Head chef Dylan Sampson, Kissa Toronto


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“Being born in the main port city of Peru, my go-to is always seafood. When I’m out at a restaurant, I’m very willing to splurge on a great fried fish or seafood dish like seafood paella or crispy fried red snapper. As long as the quality and execution are on point, there is no price I would spare.”  Executive chef Elias Salazar, Rhapsody

Jerk Chicken

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I’m always willing to splurge on jerk chicken because of its intricate blend of spices and the meticulous cooking process, making it a challenge to replicate at home. Much like the art of crafting ramen, each restaurant’s unique blend of flavours adds to its appeal. Sharing the dish with loved ones, digging in with bare hands, and forgetting about table manners make it a special experience.” Executive chef Aki Urata, Kinton Ramen

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