While the films at the Toronto International Film Festival are the main event, many Torontonians and travelers from near and far gather to see their favourite stars in real life. Every year from the 6th to the 16th of September, the city is filled with excitement as Hollywood makes its way across the border to walk the streets we’re so familiar with. From Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carell, Natalie Portman, and Bradley Cooper, you’ll have ample opportunity to snap a pic of your favourite actors and actresses.
And while many people hear through the grapevine that celebs were spotted at certain spots, we have the insider scoop from TIFF experts who know the bars, restaurants, hotels, and shopping places you’re most likely to spot a star or two.
Recently we wrote The Ultimate Guide to TIFF 2018 which covers what to do, what to eat, and the most anticipated films that will be premiered at the event. In this post, we reveal where you can spot some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, so you can spend less time wandering and more time star-gazing.
Where To Spot Celebrities at TIFF 2018:
Located at 181 Wellington Street, The Ritz-Carlton is a luxury hotel that is well-known celeb sightings during the Toronto International Film Festival every year. This hotel is very close to festival activities, bars, and restaurants. If you don’t want to leave without spotting someone, book a room to see who’s hanging out in the lobby (if you’re really hardcore). Make sure to go to the DEQ Terrace Lounge!
The Shangri-La Hotel
The luxurious hotel at University and Adelaide has hosted guests from Jessica Chastain to Jake Gyllenhaal, along with many more. This hotel is open to the public during TIFF.
Tip: Check out Bosk, their Asian-fusion restaurant inside the hotel where George Clooney and Johnny Depp have been spotting catching a bite to eat. In fact, during his stay last year, George Clooney ordered the double-patty Bosk burger, Johnny Depp and his ex Amber Heard ordered hamachi sashimi along with $2,000 bottles of Depp’s favourite French wine.
The Windsor Arms
Each year, The Windsor Arms hotel hosts some of the festivals biggest parties. Stars that have been spotted here include Emma Stone, Channing Tatum, Octavia Spencer, Olivia Wilde, Robin Williams, Richard Gere, and Jessica Chastain. This place is popular as this small boutique hotel offers an old Hollywood feel for the stars with a very upscale experience. It’s located in the middle of Yorkville and hosts various TIFF events as well as the InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association party. Hotel guests are only allowed in, however, their restaurants are open to the public. If you can’t afford one of the rooms, try a 45-minute salt-cave spa session, or afternoon high-tea.
Bisha is a boutique hotel known for their Mr. C lobby lounge. With a beautiful 43rd floor event space, rooftop, and Lenny Kravitz-designed suites, it’s easy to understand why celebs will be hanging out here.
Stars spotted in the past include Julianne Moore, Octavia Spencer, Alison Brie, Andy Serkis, Sally Hawkins, Christoph Waltz, Ellen Page, Ed Harris, Greta Gerwig, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Laurie Metcalf, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Margot Robbie.
Akira Back is located on the second floor of the Bisha Hotel. This will be the restaurant’s first year open for TIFF serving creative Japanese food by Michelin-Star chef Akira Back herself.
The Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons is another spot you’ll find celebs, but most notably you’ll see them catching a bite at Café Boulud. Stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Woody Harrelson have been spotted here in the past. At 60 Yorkville Avenue, stars like Al Pacino, and Denzel Washington have been sighted here. They have an impressive French menu and they also have a rotisserie that slowly cooks meat and veggies simultaneously over open flames.
The Drake Hotel
The Drake Hotel is a well-known spot for many Torontonians, housing a bar, lounge, and restaurant as well as a rooftop patio. Taylor Kitsch and Donald Sutherland have been spotted here in the past. This spot is open to the public during TIFF 2018.
Restaurants & Bars
A-listers have to eat too! They mainly explore new dining opportunities around Yorkville and King St. W.
We all know that Toronto boasts an incredible dining scene, and the A-listers know this too. In addition to sipping back Starbucks in Yorkville, you can find many industry people and actors dining at places such as Kasa Moto, ONE, and Patria. So, even if catching a film isn’t your thing, make a dinner reservation to any of these hot spots and you just may be rubbing shoulders with Nicole Kidman. Here are several other places that are popular among A-Listers during TIFF.
Stars take in the stunning views overlooking downtown Toronto from The Chase’s sprawling rooftop patio. It’s the perfect place to grab a cocktail or a bite after a film premiere. The upscale dining room serves drool-worthy dishes including a whole roasted chicken stuffed with foie gras, apples, and chestnuts. Located at 10 Temperance Street, this spot is open to the public.
It goes without saying that celebs will be definitely be visiting one of the best rooftop patios in Toronto when they attend TIFF this year. Lavelle hosts parties on their massive rooftop with a 155 foot-long pool, multiple bars, ice cream parlor, and a stellar view of the CN Tower. The ultimate Toronto experience. Lavelle is proud to have hosted many celebs during their time in the city such as Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evan Rachel Wood, and numerous others.
Cibo Wine Bar
Cibo is a well-known wine bar that is also a great place to spot starts like Jessica Chastain, Donald Glover, Elle Fanning. This upscale Italian restaurant on King is open to the public.
Momofuku is attached to the Shangri-La at 190 University Avenue, a definite place where celebs hang out. This places hosts lunches, premiere parties, and dinners for cast members. Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, Robert Downey Jr., and many more have been spotted here numerous times.
This restaurant has three sections:
- The noodle bar, where the mouthwatering pork buns are a must
- The second level houses Nikai for drinks and Milk Bar for sweets
- And on the third, Daisho which offers large meat platters and Shoto for fancy tasting menus
Momofuku is one of David Chang’s many restaurants and is open to the public. The multi-storey complex is a hot spot for star spotting at any time of year, but during TIFF, expect to see celebs on the third-floor patio of Daisho sipping on cocktails.
Momofuku Toronto has hosted Al Pacino, Felicity Jones, and Liam Neeson.
Tip: Their crack pie is, well, crack.
Sotto Sotto is an upscale Italian restaurant in Yorkville frequented by many celebrities. Ewan McGregor, Johnny Depp, Dustin Hoffman, and Gary Oldman have been spotted at this location.
Natalie Portman is at TIFF this year for The Death and Life of John F. Donovan and Vox Lux, and will most likely be visiting Sotto Sotto since she’s been seen there in the past.
It is open to the public during TIFF, but hard to get into.
Terroni Queen Street West has been frequented many times by Jake Gyllenhal, as well as Julia Roberts.
Each year stars head to 11 Duncan Street to enjoy Byblos, an award-winning Eastern Mediterranean restaurant. Upstairs, the RBC House serves as one of the festival’s hotspots for film junkets, concerts, premiere parties, celebrity sightings, and speaker series.
The venue has hosted a slew of stars including Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, David Oyelowo, Kate Mara, Ellen Page, Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander, Emma Stone, Liam Neeson, Diane Lane, Jaime Bell, Simon Baker, Priyanka Chopra, Bryan Cranston, and ElleFanning.
Just a few steps away from the TIFF Bell Lightbox, you’ll stumble across Montecito Restaurant, situated in Reitman Square at 299 Adelaide Street West. Ivan Reitman’s Californian-inspired restaurant has hosted Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, as well as Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, and Jason Reitmanwere.
The restaurant is an Official Hospitality Partner for the Toronto International Film Festival and hosts several events each year.
Fun Fact: Just last year, Montecito Restaurant hosted the annual Hugo Boss party as well as the film party for I, Tonya, which featured Margot Robbie and Allison Janney.
The Soho House is an exclusive club, but one worth mentioning as they always have a list of Hollywood’s greatest. It’s very hard to get in here, and impossible if you’re not on the invite-only list. Jennifer Lawrence has been seen here along with George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Leonardo Dicaprio, Dakota Fanning, Natalie Portman, Salma Hayek, Kate Winslet, and many, many more have been spotted chilling out on the rooftop patio.
Located at 192 Adelaide Street West, the Soho house is unfortunately not open to the public.
Nadege is one of Toronto’s hottest dessert spots and one we can’t leave out of the list- celebs like their treats too! Julia Roberts loves to indulge in the city’s best treats and baked goods at Nadege Toronto in Trinity Bellwoods.
Tip: Nadege partnered with Sweet Jesus to create a Maria Antoinette treat just for TIFF. Stop into a Sweet Jesus if you want an instagrammable sweet treat!
One of the city’s most anticipated events of the year, The Toronto International Film Festival ends September 16th which means you have lots of time to check out these places. If you do run into a celeb, remember to avoid flash photography for any photos you wish to snap in a restaurant, try to be discreet, and avoid interrupting a celebrity during dinner.
This Toronto event is huge for our city as filmmakers have the chance to gauge how the public and critics will react when their film hits theaters later on. So don’t waste any time as more A-list celebrities hit the scene to debut their new films!
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