Toronto’s Dine.TO finds that fine dining trends are on the rise

Toronto’s preeminent restaurant guide, Dine.TO, reports that restaurant reservations are increasing in this city, encouraging news for an industry that might well have expected different results in the current economic climate. According to its reservation and call-tracking system, which compiles data from 500 member restaurants, reservations made by phone and online increased by seven per cent this year over last.

Specifically, the Dine.TO website oversaw 140,973 reservations last year and 150,393 in the same period a year later.

What’s more, a large number of these inquiries were made with fine restaurants, where dishes sell, on average, for between $20 and $30. This suggests an upward-arching dining trend, with the population of consumers who choose fine restaurants over casual opportunities on the climb.

More than that, Dine.TO’s research reveals that dining as an overall experience is changing. Restaurant goers are no longer playing it safe and sticking to their favourite haunts, but are exploring the tastes of the world in their own backyard. The top five most popular restaurant types on Dine.TO are: Italian, Seafood, Canadian, Mediterranean and Steakhouses. It’s also worth noting that Canadian food has increased in popularity, suggesting a movement toward local food.

“The business as a whole has been steadily increasing over the last five months, and it’s relative to the city we live in. Just look around at all the cranes in the skyline – Toronto is booming,” says Table 17 owner, Erik Joyal. “We’re noticing a higher frequency in customers, and with the economy in good shape, people are no longer in fear of spending.”

“At the end of the day people want to eat and be entertained; this will never change,” says Mistura general manager, Julian Gova. “People will always return to a restaurant with a great product and service, but now they’re more financially conscious. Rather than a $150 bottle of wine, they’ll order a $75 bottle.”

“We’ve been open for over 30 years and our reservation numbers are on the climb and we see this number continuing to rise this year,” says Steve Mastoras, owner of Whistler’s Grille & The McNeil Room.

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