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Best New Restaurant

Prime Seafood Palace

Toronto, Ont.

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants

DEPENDING ON WHO YOU ASK, Matty Matheson is either a larger-than-life YouTube personality, a genius slinger of hipster burgers or the mastermind behind Toronto’s best and hottest new restaurant. Well, clearly, he’s all three — a Ringling-worthy lovable clown who somehow manages to land every feat of culinary derring-do with death-defying bravado. Which makes him the triple threat nobody saw coming, as he apparently — and, uncharacteristically, quietly — planned his fine-dining debut these past six or seven years. And, even though his volume is permanently set to a treble-tweaked 11, he’s exhibited patience and exactitude in the creation of the elegant and remarkably pretty Prime Seafood Palace.

The space is breathtaking, and it’s a testament to the quality of the cooking that the view doesn’t leave an impression more lasting than that of the food on the plate. (Though, it’s close.) All soft white-wood tones, the effect is Scandinavian sauna meets spiritual temple. Into this palatial ether — designed by architect Omar Gandhi, his first stab at a restaurant — Matheson inserted ex-Canoe chef Coulson Armstrong, who, from day 1, set Toronto’s gourmet set alight with his inventive, classically informed technique. This is a pure steak-and-seafood kind of place, to be sure, but overlaid with inventive flourishes.

Matheson’s culinary cathedral has been enthusiastically received by Toronto gourmands. Somehow, post-pandemic belt tightening has no quarter here — the downtown set can’t spend its money fast enough. And kudos to him. He’s made a place that has received notice — for the design, the food, the service, the chef…the style and the attitude and the experience. It’s casual, as is his wont, but uncompromising in quality — for those who can afford it. Which is OK, too.

—Dick Snyder

Photography by: Daniel Neuhaus

Prime Seafood Palace

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