Visiting Toronto from NYC
I am visiting Toronto for a few days in August. I have heard that Toronto is great for Indian food. I am interested in finding a chaat house or southern indian food (idlis, vadas, dosas, shevenh (sp?) ). Any recs?
Also, what other ethnic foods do you consider Toronto is strongest in and where should I go for said food? I tend to stay away from Chinese and Thai due to allergies to peanuts.
AFter reading some posts on this board, I am planning on hitting a pub or two for dinner (hope that is OK with a 3 year old), specifically Rebel House and Hair of the Dog or Irish Embassy. I am also planning on going to the St Lawrence Market.
Oh, and I am staying at the Sutton Place 955 Bay Street and would prefer restaurants closer to the hotel.
Your craving for East Indian food (downtown Toronto) may be satisfied by:
Debu Saha's Biryani House (Right across from Wellesley Subway Station)
Indian Rice Factory
If you are willing to trek....a visit to Little India (Coxwell & Gerrard area, east end of the city)would prove fruitful....esp if you visit Sidhartha.
According to none other than Jim Leff himself, some of the finest Southern Indian food around is at Saravana Bhavan. Unfortunately, it's in Toronto's west end (Mississauga) and you would really only consider this if you had a car (and even then, it's a bit of a drive - but hey, I was just in New York and hiked it out to Sripraphai for killer Thai food). Saravana Bhavan is actually a chain from India, based in Chennai I think, and they have a handful of restaurants outside of India in places with large Indian communities. I think I heard that they recently opened a New York outpost - don't know how it is or if you've tried it - but that's one option.
I would second the recommendation for a Kensington Market walk - I'm a big fan of Chinatown/Kensington walking chow tours with stops at any or all of Yung Sing bakery on Baldwin for Chinese buns, pho or banh mi at one of the many Vietnamese spots on Spadina, dim sum at Rol San on Spadina, a great people-watching latte at Louie's Coffee Shop in Kensington, papusas from the back of the El Salvadorean grocery shop on Augusta, a scoop of ice cream from Kensington Organic Ice Cream and many other options include Jamaican patties, burritos, falafel, etc., at one of the spots. There are also a bunch of restaurants on Augusta, including La Palette (recently tried - loved the atmosphere but found the food to be underseasoned/underwhelming), Herbivore, Torito, etc. All in all, Kensington Market is one of Toronto's great atmospheric culinary highlights, IMHO.
Enjoy your visit!!
Depending on which days you're visiting Toronto -- please note that the St. Lawrence Market is closed on Sundays and Mondays. If you can get down to the Market on a Saturday, go early and check out the Farmers Market which is in the building directly across the street from the main Market.
I used to live right downtown and would also suggest you might want to avoid the Irish Embassy w/ your three year old in the hours immediately after work....this spot is incredibly crowded and noisy w/ downtown office workers.
Great list so far -- both Rebel House and Hair of the Dog are great pubs. And no problem on the 3-year old! I'd personally pass on Irish Embassy, as I've never found it to be anything special.
Enjoy the St. Lawrence Market. Just be aware that it is closed on Sunday and Monday. And totally packed on Saturday! :) My recs at the market are to get either a peameal bacon sandwich from Carousel Bakery, or a chicken (or veal) and eggplant focaccia sandwich at Mustacio's. Both are in the South building.
For Indian, I'll let others recommend restaurants for your specific requests. However, I will strongly recommend a visit to Gandhi (north side of Queen, just east of Bathurst) for roti. Indian curry inside a large wrap. Think Indian burrito. For some reason, these are almost impossible to find in the states. The only one I ever found in Manhattan was from a Trinidadian food truck near Wall St. Gandhi serves East Indian style, rather than West Indian style. All of the choices are delish. My personal favourite is chicken and cauliflower (not on the menu) - medium-hot. Be warned against their "hot" level. It can be painful.
For other ethnic cuisines, NYC does Italian and Greek as well as or better than Toronto, so don't waste your time. I would recommend Portuguese as something that Toronto does better than just about anybody. For more upscale, go to Chiado, Adega or Sintra. For really casual try Banaboia or one of the many churrascarias (grilled chicken joints) around Little Portugal or Rua Acores.
All of the above are a short cab ride from your hotel. Some are walkable.
Welcome to Toronto and enjoy your trip!
I would definitely call ahead to any pub or lounge-type places, especially if you're heading there late in the evening. Toronto has some funny restrictions about kids in places that serve alcohol, to the extent that a friend of ours was not allowed to bring her 6 month old into a restaurant (a steakhouse) because she was 'underage'...
Other people will be much better at giving references for Indian food places... I tended to stick with King Palace (Richmond and Sherbourne) for great take-out Indian when I lived in the area, but although it's great, I doubt it's anything different than what you'd get in a dozen places in NYC.