In the churning sea of eating establishments that is the Toronto restaurant scene, it’s sometimes tricky to identify those bobbing vessels that will truly float your boat. Enter the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) and the prestigious designation with which its scrutinizing forces favour a very select group of eateries on this continent.
All told, some 250 North American restaurants currently enjoy the DiRoNA distinction, including seven inside the GTA. The organization increased its Canadian content with four new names on the Toronto list this year, added, says executive director Jeff Allen, in anticipation of the annual conference—its 20th—scheduled to take place here later this month.
Specifically, EDO, Globe Bistro, Toula Ristorante & Bar, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Mississauga were appended to a privileged inventory that already featured 360 at the CN Tower, Far Niente and the Ruth’s Chris on Richmond St.
The DiRoNA was founded in 1990 as a non-profit organization devoted to recognizing and promoting excellence in fine dining. Its Award of Excellence is bestowed on those restaurants it deems to exemplify the highest quality dining experience—from the ambience to the food, wine and service.
The inspection process involves the engagement of a third-party provider that looks for restaurants to be abiding by a set of critical DiRoNA-developed guidelines. Properties must achieve 90% or above in order to be approved for the award.
The organization enhances its list every year. Chosen restaurants are required to requalify for certification every five years.
"The truest benefit of being on the DiRoNA list is that it’s really such an exclusive family of restaurants," crows Allen. "It’s really meant for the best of the best across North America. Achieving that distinction is among the hardest in the culinary industry."