Psst. There’s a new luxe destination in town.
The St. Regis Toronto, the country’s first hotel by founder John Jacob Astor IV, boasts 124 luxury suites (including ones designed and named in honour of the St. Regis founder and Mrs. Caroline Astor), complete with signature Butler Service and newly launched restaurant and bar unlike any other.
Louix Louis, located on the 31st floor, comes with a spectacular view. However, it might be the only spot towering above the city’s skyline where the views inside are just as breathtaking.
All that glitters is gold
This is thanks to an opulent setting that will have you whipping out your phone for snaps, even if you’re not ‘that kind’ of person. With a soaring ceiling and walls dripping in gold, it’s like dining in a precious jewelry case.
Set centre-stage: the stunning Grand Bar, dramatic in both its height (two-stories) and heft (+500 dark spirits, one of the largest collections in North America). Inspired by the iconic cocktail parlours of Paris and New York, and that long ago, Toronto was one of the largest distillery districts in the world, it’s simply dazzling.
While gazing upward, take in the swath of floral-esque swirls above. The 60-foot ceiling mural ‘Bouquet of Whisky’ was painted by hand by Toronto artist Madison van Rijn. Inspo for the design? The inside of a crystal whisky glass, natch.
From budget to bougie
Stopping in after work for drinks and apps on your way to an event? Maybe you’re here with friends and fam for a meal (breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner). Or perhaps it’s just an intimate tête-à-tête over cocktails. Whatever the occasion, while it might appear you have to be an actual Astor to afford to dine here, that’s not necessarily the case.
While baller-level items such as Seafood Towers (Petit Plateau $98, Grand Plateau $190) and Caviar (Acadian$170, Osetra $320) do exist, there are more accessibly-priced dishes.
In fact, prices are on par with other spots also set in the Financial District. Dinner entrees start at $21 for Agnolotti, and go up from there: Branzino ($36), Duck Breast ($36), Louix Burger ($29), Steak 8oz Filet ($42), and 16oz NY Strip Loin ($46). Cocktails too, are similarly priced: $14-$24.
Speaking of drinks, while bartenders are well-versed in all cocktails, the Forgotten Classics & Lesser-Known Tipples are worth a gander. The thick menu includes an encyclopedic style entry for each of the 13 vintage drinks: illustration, date of origin, short history, and tasting notes after each name.
And this is the place to get a Bloody Mary. The drink originated at The St. Regis New York’s King Cole Bar in 1934, thanks to famed barman Fernand Petiot. After more than 80 years, the tomato-based libation remains the signature cocktail of the St. Regis. There are two to choose from: Classic ($16) and Rouge 140 ($18), an homage to Toronto’s multiculturalism and +140 languages spoken here, made with vodka, soy, oven-roasted red pepper and tomato juice, chili and house savoury spice blend.
Chef Guillaume Robin’s menu is American-ish using French techniques and local ingredients. Dishes are well-executed without being fussy. Think: elevated bistro fare, not micro-portions set with tweezers. From Chicory Herb Salad ($16) and Crispy Pork Belly ($18) to Dover Sole Meuniere (MP), there’s an array of healthier options to beyond decadent. Whole Truffle Chicken ($75, to share), for example, is served two ways – grilled and fried - both succulent, accompanied by charred baby leeks and truffle jus. Sides ($9-$11) are a la carte.
And whatever you do, don’t skip The King’s Cake ($29). The soaring 13-layer chocolate cake - made with 64% extra-bitter Guayaquil ganache, finished with gold leaf and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce - costs as much as an entrée, yet remains one of the most instagrammed desserts in the city. Pics aside, It’s scrape-the-plate, I-don’t-care-how-many-calories-it-is-I’m-finishing-off-the-entire-thing worthy. And this from someone who doesn’t care for chocolate or dessert.
Which is just one reason why as striking a space as it is, there’s more to Louix Louis than meets the eye.
If you can pry your gaze from the gilded interior, that is.
The St. Regis Toronto
325 Bay St., 31st Floor
(416) 637 5550
Mon-Fri 6:30am to late
Sat + Sun 7am to late
To check out more photos, visit @toronto_restaurants.