The topic of today’s photo journal is, of course, Canada’s new king of the castle—none other than Alo Restaurant. Since it’s rated #1 on Canada’s 100 Best for 2017, my expectations for this place were exceptionally high. With that being said, I’m very happy to report that this place knocked it out of the park! The food here was bananas and the wine pairings were equally impressive. To be more specific, they served enough wine (eight glasses) that I ended up stumbling out of the restaurant at the end of the night, but that’s neither here nor there! We’re here today to talk about the interior, so let’s get to it.
Alo is located on the third floor of a building just on the corner of Queen West and Spadina, and getting up there is an experience on its own. You can either take the stairs or the dingy elevator. The best thing I could compare it to would be the trips I took downtown with my father as a kid in the late 80s/early 90s. He was a jeweler who would pick up merchandise from some older buildings on Dundas right across from the Eaton Centre (Armenians know what I’m talking about!). The “lobby” of Alo reminded me of one of these places. Upon exiting the elevator, you immediately get the feeling you’re no longer in the 70s, and it’s one hell of a feeling. On your left is the bar area and on your right is a short hallway that leads to the kitchen and dining room. In my opinion, the bar is pretty badass. The blue dining chairs have a very simple mid-century modern feel to them, while the bar definitely leans toward the Art Deco design aesthetic. The main attraction, though, has to be the Asian-influenced wallpaper. It adds a lot of character to the space and really makes the room feel complete.
Just down the hall, you’ll find the main dining area, which has a bright and airy feel thanks to its white walls, grey curtains and abundance of windows. As a photographer I thought the curtains in particular were really cool and could totally see myself even using one as a backdrop for some dramatic portrait sessions. Now as much as I love the choice of curtains, chairs and light fixtures (which, funny enough, kind of resemble the iPhone SIM card pin), the stars of the show here are definitely those hairy things hanging on the mirrors. I could only describe them as “vegan antlers” and caught myself staring at them on multiple occasions throughout my time there.
One of the things I liked most about my experience at Alo was the overall relaxed vibe of the restaurant, which really strayed from the stuffy fine-dining experience you tend to get at most other high-end French restaurants, and the decor, for me, was a big part of that. Alo is a place that must be experienced firsthand, and all the blog posts in the world wouldn’t be enough to describe it in all its glory. Do whatever you can to get yourself on that waiting list even if it means leaving your significant other behind (sorry babe.) Enjoy!