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Aug 29, 2006 06:30 AM

Where are the juicy baby back ribs in Toronto????

My boyfriend and I love Ribs..... since RibFest season is dying down, I figured it was now appropriate to explore where else we can get juicy, fall off the bone baby back ribs to sustain us through the winter months . . . . I am interested to see what other chowhounds have to say on this topic. . . Thanks for the input, cheers from TO.

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  1. It's a question that stirs up a lot debate among Toronto chowhounders. One thing we all agree on is that good ribs are a rare find in Toronto. I'll list some spots that often come up when this issue arises:

    Phil's Original BBQ, 838 College Street

    Purple Pig Famous Smokehouse, 1 Richmond Street, West

    Baton Rouge, attached to the Eaton Centre (a few other locations too).

    1. It's gotta be Phil's. They are well-smoked, fall-off-the-bone ribs and have a great spicy sauce on the side. Beans are good, too, slaw is just OK.

      Please note that these are not baby backs, but country (also known as St. Louis) cut ribs. Meatier, but they are fattier too. Most places do not serve baby backs anymore due to their high cost, or you will be getting a small portion if they do.

      Pulled pork sandwich is superb and a great value at $7.95 for a huge sammy with fries.

      The one thing they could improve upon is their rub, it needs more flavour and salt.

      BTW, Mike Love's in Barrie is probably the best BBQ in Canada. Definitely worth a chowhound day trip.

      When I was younger, I was a server at a ribs restaurant in Edmonton called "Bones", it was awesome. Especially good because we used Danish baby back ribs. Yum! We also had Flinstone-sized beef ribs, they were a bone-in short rib that was smoked. I miss them so much.

      7 Replies
      1. re: bogie

        The Danes consider back ribs to be of lesser value, and a very large percentage of the back ribs served in Canada have been Danish for decades. Today, on the open market back ribs are at around 5.00/lb from a federal wholesaler.

        $ 5 cost on a pound gives a protein cost of 33%!
        ( with no rub on the meat, or sauce to make it pull, no beans and no slaw) at the $ 14.99 price mark.

        Will you pay $ 20 for a pound of great ribs at 25% cost to the business, which can give them a fighting chance at the other 75 percent?

        The Flintstone Ribs sound great - I hope you can find a restaurant that makes them, or ask at your favorite place if they can make them. You might be surprised.

        1. re: meatheadx2

          I have no problem paying that price, but with a pound of baby back ribs yielding perhaps 6 oz. or so of pure meat, my point is that many customers do not see good value and that is why you see more St. Louis cut now.

        2. re: bogie

          Thanks for the info....I will definately be making a road trip up to Barrie to try out those ribs at Mike Love's.

          I have heard mixed reviews about Phil's but will try there as well. . . .


          1. re: bogie

            You should also point out that the country/St. Louis/side ribs are more tasty too.
            They're the only kind you find in the south.


              1. re: Davwud

                No sure what "South" you're referring to, but everywhere I've lived in the US over the past 45 years (Chicago, IL, Iowa City & Waverley, IA, Gettysburg, PA, Cleveland, OH, Lexington, KY, Merritt Island, FL, Las Cruces, NM, Durham, NC), baby backs have been the rib of choice.

                1. re: mclaugh

                  Certainly everywhere I've been in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.


            1. Tony Roma's is good too. Its Canadian locations can be found here:

              1 Reply
              1. re: mauie

                Yup, forgot about Romas. Definitely worth recommending.

              2. I second the Phil's recommendation.

                I enjoyed Dipamo's too

                3 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud

                    Dipamos' is(was) Phil's. The two were business partners and they had a nasty split up. Phil lost rights to the name "Dipamo's" and then his partner, who opened Dipamo's on Eglinton, went out of business. Apparently Phil is trying to get the name back.

                    All that said, I think Phil's is WAY over rated.

                    Ditto back ribs.

                    Good ribs at The Roxton, 97 Harbord, just east of Ossington.

                    1. re: ognir

                      Re: Roxton

                      I guess i need to go back for the burgers because we both ordered ribs and certainly would not return for them.

                      Two camps out there. Fall off the bone 'tender' and still on the bone with bite. I am not a fan of boil n bbq ribs. I don't like when the bone falls out and the meat falls apart. if you like that, you will probably like these ribs. They are very tasty. But then you also have to like eating cold sides with your bbq ribs, because I don't like that either. We received cold potato salad which was delicious and cold cabbage slaw which came directly out of the fridge. These choices made no sense especially given that they serve hot roasted potatoes with the burger. If anything we thought the burger could handle the potato salad, but not the ribs, especially for the price. The slaw tasted of nothing other than vinegar too, so we didn't even eat it.

                      Our neighours had burgers and chicken souvlaki. The burgers looked great but the souvlaki not only looked like a very small portion, but the woman complained that the rice was 'crappy' and there wasn't much chicken.

                      Back for the burger and beer because the place is very nice.

                1. Is it true that Phil's are side ribs? Side ribs are practically inedible in my opinion. I would like to try Phil's but I don't want to bother if they are side ribs.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Aardvark

                    The fact that people endorse the rib-trocities served at Tony Roma's, Baton Rouge, and the Purple Pig is a testament to the fact that Canadians are truly rib-deprived.

                    It's sad.

                    Dipamo's ribs were good. Phil's are too.

                    1. re: Aardvark

                      Practically inedible? R u serious? Almost all professional BBQers and joints use St. Louis Cut side ribs because they are meatier and they have an ample amount of fat to keep moist during the long and slow smoking process.

                      IMO, you have probably been eating the rib atrocities at Romas, Montana's, Purple Pig and so on. These ribs aren't smoked at all, but are boiled and grilled with sugary sauce. Not pretty!