In Francis Lawrence’s 2022 fantasy film Slumberland, Flip (Jason Momoa) guides Nemo (Marlow Barkley) on a rescue mission through a series of dream worlds. They find themselves in a ballroom straight out of a fairy tale, filled with live butterflies and opulent furnishings – a set that’s only onscreen for a few minutes, but actually took months to assemble in the second-floor ballroom at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
The ballroom is the first stop on Toronto’s new Netflix In Your Neighbourhood Restaurant Experience, a self-guided tour of the city’s eateries and hotels that have served as film sets. The interactive digital map was unveiled by the streaming giant in celebration of the second birthday of Netflix In Your Neighbourhood, an online guide to Canadian filming locations featured in their titles. From the extravagant Royal York ballroom to the rustic Lakeview Diner, the Restaurant Experience shows fans how to eat their way through Hollywood North, experiencing firsthand where their favourite stories came to life. The Restaurant Experience is also debuting in Vancouver and Montreal, two other Canadian filming hotspots.
We tried out our local Netflix In Your Neighbourhood Restaurant Experience – here are six dining destinations in Toronto that made it to the silver screen.
The Royal York Hotel Ballroom (Slumberland)
Some say that the Royal York ballroom is the most-photographed room in Toronto – and it’s not hard to see why. Located on the second floor of the luxe 4-star hotel, the ballroom has a soaring ceiling adorned with exquisite oil paintings and crystal chandeliers. This is where Flip and Nemo begin their journey in Slumberland, but it’s also where a banquet in The Handmaid’s Tale was filmed, as well as the party in Adam Sandler’s new film You Are So Not Invited To My Bat Mitzvah. (It’s such a popular location, in fact, that the Royal York has its own full-time ‘film concierge’ to handle logistics.) Head to the cozy Library Bar or the grand dining room at Reign to experience their truly dream-worthy fare.
The Windsor Arms Hotel (13 the Musical)
One of Toronto’s main selling points as a filming location is as a stand in for New York City – many films set in the Big Apple, from American Pyscho to Kick Ass, were shot downtown. Netflix’s adaptation of the Broadway show 13 the Musical is another one, with the emotional goodbye between Evan (Eli Golden) and his mother (Debra Messing) taking place in front of the characters’ New York apartment – in reality, the facade of the Windsor Arms Hotel. Inside, you can find The Gatsby, a cozy dining area featuring antique decor, an afternoon tea menu, a collection of rare scotches and a wine list with over 700 labels.
Maple Leaf Tavern (Locke & Key)
In the first season of the high-stakes drama series Locke & Key, Nina (Darby Stanchfield) has dinner with an old friend, Ellie (Sherri Saum). This scene was filmed at the Maple Leaf Tavern on Gerrard – the 80-year-old Leslieville favourite has rustic, classic decor with exposed brick and dark wood dominating the space. It was reportedly perfect for playing the part of a fancy but understated restaurant in the New England town of Matheson, Massachusetts, where the show takes place. The real restaurant features an inventive cocktail list, hearty seasonal dinner menus, and even a vintage cigarette machine at the entrance.
Grace O’Malley’s (FUBAR)
Grace O’Malley’s has got to be one of the most well-known Irish pubs in Toronto, but it makes a surprisingly versatile film set – in FUBAR it’s a seedy Moldovan bar, where CIA operative Luke (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his daughter Emma (Monica Barbaro) attempt to gather some intel. The scene also stars Travis Van Winkle (pictured above), a fellow agent, who flashes his abs in a now well-known moment from the show. The real Grace O’Malley’s (a.k.a. “Gracie’s” to regulars) is an old-school Irish pub serving up bar food, beers and regular live entertainment.
14 Duncan Street
The Rhino (Sex/Life)
The Rhino is a family-run Parkdale staple with an extensive beer list and homey pub food menu – but in the risqué drama series Sex/Life, it’s done up to play the part of a SoHo tattoo studio. This is where Brad (Adam Demos) gets a tattoo referencing his love for Billie (Sarah Shahi). The Rhino in real life bears little resemblance to the steamy tattoo parlour scene, but with 25 craft beer taps and a collection of kitschy rhino decor on display, your visit there is still guaranteed to be a night to remember.
The Lakeview Diner (The Umbrella Academy)
There aren’t many Canadian actors as revered as Elliot Page – and there are aren’t many diners as revered as the Lakeview. The historic 24-hour diner has been open since the 1930s, and it’s also been the site for a number of famous films, including Hairspray and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. In season 3 of The Umbrella Academy, Page’s character Viktor meets with Marcus (Justin Cornwell) to discuss threats to Viktor’s siblings. The two stick to coffee, but if you’re heading to the Lakeview, the milkshakes and famous club sandwich are must-tries.