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Nov 17, 2005 12:53 AM

The Best Ribs in Toronto

  • f

My usual haunt has fallen from grace of late, and I am beginning to scour this fair city for the best ribs it has to offer.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Firstly, let's acknowledge that, by and large, Toronto does not have great ribs. But, we who love ribs must work with what we've got. Here's some of what we've got:

    DiPamo's (Eglinton & Avenue). Can be quite good; can also be quite fatty. Good beans, pulled pork, home made chips. One of the better ribs in town.

    Phil's BBQ (College & Ossington?). Very similar to DiPamo's; they are historically associated in some way.

    Ribfest. Some good travelling ribbers, most notably Camp 31. Catch this annually (summer) in Etobicoke. Used to be at St. Lawrence market, but I don't think it was this year.

    Beer Bistro. I went here recently. I was very skeptical indeed. They were pretty darn good. Worth trying.

    20 Replies
    1. re: Fwagra

      Was at Beerbistro last night and the ribs are no longer on the menu...pity since they were great!

      1. re: Fickle

        they are on the menu!

        as an appetizer! but also slightly different.... they took the ephemere off the beer menu as well. shame shame shame.

      2. re: Fwagra

        Dipamo's has excellent ribs; beef, pork side and baby back all slow smoked so you really get that apple wood aroma. You can ask for it wet and it will be brushed with their own barbeque sauce and sprinkled with their own barbeque rub as well. Try their corn chowder while you're there, one of the best in town.

        1. re: Fwagra

          Sorry, I had to repost this.

          STAY AWAY from Phil's! I have heard 'good' things
          > about this
          > restaurant from random sources, and was always
          > curious.
          > Going in, it smelled lovely and smoky and
          > meaty...but coming out, I
          > was thoroughly upset at the money we had wasted in
          > going.
          > Ended up going, and it was disgusting and
          > disappointing -- the
          > deepfried hush puppies (appetizers) were overdone to
          > the point of
          > being not golden-brown but charcoal-black...dry and
          > hard like little
          > footballs.
          > The ribs were horrible. I don't know how you can
          > screw up ribs, but
          > Phil's did! Dry like woodchips, and tough to chew -
          > I don't see how
          > they can keep their 'Kansas City BBQ Member' sticker
          > on the door. I am
          > half tempted to write the KC BBQ Association a
          > letter of complaint. I
          > could not finish the food - and I am a
          > platefinisher! That's how bad
          > it was. I had to send it back.

          > Honestly, Swiss Chalet makes better ribs. And
          > Montana's, for Godssakes. (How embarrassing).
          > Everyone, let's do Toronto a favour and quit
          > patronizing Phil's! His
          > whole marketing schtick is based on his 'Original
          > BBQ, I traveled the
          > South' thing. It tasted SO bad and that's why I was
          > so upset after I
          > left, because there was absolutely nothing
          > redeemable about the meal.

          1. re: charxchar

            I was also disappointed at Phil,s ,the pulled pork sandwich was dry, not enough sauce to remoisten.

            The sides were also quite bland .

            I usually go to Fat Bob,b smokehouse every 3 months to make a bbq pilgrimage, they do it right ...



            1. re: charxchar

              I agree, their sauce is horrible as well, like balsamic vinegar.

              1. re: Bobby Wham

                Concur with the above. Phil’s is not good value for the taste you get.

              2. re: charxchar

                I was there last year. Everything charxchar is aboslutely correct if not even worse. I just don't understand how come they're still open. The driest toughest ribs I've ever had.

                1. re: sharkey2008

                  I think it's surviving on reputation right now. At one time, they were good.

                  They did Restaruant Makeover so that should tell you something.


                2. re: charxchar

                  I'm consistently surprised by the harsh reviews that Phil's receives on this board. I think that their ribs are first class. Definitely the best that I've had in Toronto. I was at Ribfest yesterday and tried a rack from Camp 31. In my opinion, Camp 31 doesn't hold a candle to Phil's. The two sauces that are used at Phil's are ribilicious, the beans proper and most importantly, the ribs are meaty and well-smoked. The meat falls apart. Occasionally the ribs can be on the dry side, but when the meat is as thoroughly smoked and as tender as it is, this isn't a deal breaker. I supposes that there is no accounting for taste.

                  1. re: Fwagra

                    Second that notion on Rib Fest. I heard the St Lawrence fest was actually held in the Distillery District this year, but I missed it. But made it out to the Canada Day Rib Fest in Etobicoke's Centennial Park. It's the best in the city, but only once a year! My favourite vendor there (after considerable sampling) is Gator from Florida.

                    Has anyone tried the Purple Pig downtown?

                    1. re: Fwagra

                      Y'know, maybe it's cuz I lived in the Deep South for a couple of years and got spoiled, but IMO Depalma's and Phil's just don't cut the mustard. I find that their meat is dry and just doesn't have the zest one associates with classic prok ribs.

                      FYI, Phil's on College is the original, Depalma's opened up as a franchise of Phil's, then the owners of the two places had a falling out.

                      1. re: geo

                        You are 100% right. Like you, I have lived in real areas. There isn't anyplace in Toronto worth going out to for BBQ of any kind. If I want BBQ, I make it.

                        1. re: geo

                          Hey Geo,

                          I have to agree . . . I lived in Texas for 5 years and I must say ever since I've been back to Toronto (about 20 years now) I have always been dissappointed with the Q in the city . . . I haven't been to Phils for a long time but the last time we were in it was just ok . . . Pretty pricey for what you get though . . . whenever I go down south or out west I have to hit the BBQ places and get my fix of chicken fried steak....
                          as a side note . . . I actually had some good ribs on a Friday night at whimpy's diner on kingston road . . . they are not on the menu and they are done in the oven but for the money they were very good and extremely tender...this was a while ago so I don't know if they still have them..


                          1. re: snackboy

                            Thanks for the tip SNACKBOY/Dave
                            Where on Kingston Rd was that?. I work at KR and Queen St East maybe I will pop over for dinner one night.
                            You need an email address so we don't have to share our persoal mail.

                            1. re: fruglescot

                              Hey Frugle,

                              Sorry for the delay . . . I have neglected my chow...

                              here is a link...



                        2. re: Fwagra

                          The Rotarians have a Ribfest every July in Thompson Park in Scarborough as well.. Many award winning ribbers and smokers ply their trade there.
                          Local Ontario purveyors, "The Purple Pig" got my attention although it's impossible to sample them all. A 3 day weekend affair.

                          1. re: Fwagra

                            I have to agree with you on Camp 31, I caught them at the Ribfest in Gravenhurst a couple years ago and their restaurant in Dundas, ON is worth stopping at whenever you're in that area

                          2. Billy,s ribs at master steaks , top notch !!!

                            Call ahead , he only runs them as a special.


                            1. If you like fall of the bone ribs the suggestions above are for you.
                              I am a dissenter on the board, because I don't like ribs that are boiled first, or heavily loaded with sauce, or fall of the bone.
                              I like a crunch to my ribs.
                              Although I have not been for a couple of years, Steak Pit on Avenue had good ribs if you like this type.

                              1. try barklays on lawrence just east of vic park oldschool finer dining experience at a reasonable price

                                1. c
                                  Cereal Killer

                                  Believe it or not, Laide has fantastic ribs, but they are certainly not "traditional" BBQ.