A landmark of the Toronto hospitality scene

Owned and operated by Leo and Shirley Spralja and founded by Joso Spralja in the 1960’s, Joso’s restaurant has achieved continuous success of over 45 years in business and is considered a landmark of the Toronto hospitality scene. It is truly a unique dining experience which transports guests to the warmth and beauty of the stunning Dalmatian coast. An all encompassing, sensual journey… guests are lured into a collection of Joso’s lifelong artistic expressions. A feast for the eyes, ears and mouth, one finds themselves surrounded by voluptuous female forms, Adriatic Sea motifs and a multitude of gold and bejeweled trinkets on every wall, shelf and corner. From the depths of the kitchen and to your table arrives a dazzling array of fish species from across the globe, each carefully and knowledgeably described by your server. Prepared with the utmost care and simple, traditional flavours your meal is presented in all of its natural beauty, a delight to share with friends or to keep all to yourself.

Our history – More than 50 years of culture, art and cuisine

In 1967 the founders of Joso’s restaurant, (Joso and his wife Angiolina) bought a little coffeehouse business at 71 Yorkville that Joso had frequented as a patron and performer. It was here that he had his entertainment career ”breakthrough”, meeting his partner in performance Malka. Their duo, became a singing sensation, traveling the world performing as the Canadian “Sonny and Cher”.

The little coffeehouse was renamed Joso’s Cafe amidst the bohemian beatnik culture of Yorkville in the 70’s. It was there that Joso offered guitar and singing lessons by day and at night he and Angiolina would run the coffee house. Joso would perform for his patrons as would visiting international artists like Jose Greco, Liberace, Nana Mouskouri , Harry Belafonte, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Jose Feliciano, Joni Mitchell and many others.People were drawn to Joso’s cafe for the unusual art, beautiful music, espresso coffees, pastries, sandwiches and charismatic hosts. Conservative Toronto meant no liquor was in sight however the odd patron would pop a bottle from their pocket to share! When the house was full, things were okay but the winters were long and cold and so were the profits.

Read the full story