Upcoming trip to Toronto
That's a pretty broad question. There are a few sort of standard things that get recommended to tourists (peameal bacon sandwiches at St Lawrence market, for example), but there's also lots of other chow that's great but not touristy.
Are you looking for things that are different than what you can get back home (wherever that is)? Do you have a price range? Are you willing to travel for it, or is there a specific part of the city you have in mind?
How about a little of everything: your favorite in all categories? e.g. best hole in the wall; favorite dim sum; local's favorite diner or lunchspot; etc...
we'll be downtown two days on Queen St. West and two at King St East...
I know the city is diverse, big and known for its food, so I'm looking forward to it all.
Hmmm. I'll throw my 2 cents in here. Queen West is becoming very gentrified, with chain stores like The Gap and Starbucks. It can be dominated by bridge-and-tunnel types (we sometimes call them 905ers because they come downtown on the weekends form the outlying burbs that use the 905 area code). That said, it can be a fun place to go if you are new to it. If you want some good "street food" while walking around in that area, check out Burrito Boyz. It is very much a hole in the wall, a tiny place downstairs at 120 Peter Street, just a bit south of Queen. The food is excellent.
Hosu at Queen & John is great for sushi and Korean BBQ.
The Rivoli has decent food. It is very much a hipster hangout and a stalwart of Queen West.
Some people like Peter Pan (one home to Susur), but I think it's glory days are far behind. The food is only so-so now, in my opinion.
Not sure if the Fresh/Juice For Life branch on Queen West is still open, but if so, they make great vegetarian.
The Queen Mother is also a Queen West stalwart. Reliable food. It was once owned by the folks who own the Rivoli. Not sure if it still is.
Avoid John St South of Queen. Lots of restaurant, but mostly tourists and 905 types, in my opinion.
I don't know mych about King East. I think the Betty Ford is out there and people are always talking about it.
Hmm... I actually don't like Hosu, but I've only eaten there once. If you want yummy sushi in that area, I suggest Japango on Elizabeth Street behind Nathan Philips Square.
And if you go to St. Lawrence Market, go downstairs, and get an eggplant sandwich at Mustachios... delicious and huge!
I don't like Hosu either, it has passable Korean but definitely not sushi. Agree with the rec for Japango for sushi or Ematei on St Patrick street north of Queen or Toshi on King Street, east of Bathurst.
Fresh has moved to new digs on Spadina, south of Queen on the east side. Fressen is also a good option for vegetarian, they're on Queen, west of Spadina on the north side.
I'll add Tutti Matti for italian. On Adelaide, east of Spadina. Very good. And Trimurti for indian if you can't get out to Indiatown. Trimurti is on Queen, west of University. And check out Beer Bistro on King, east of Yonge. Great selection of beer and food.
while queen west is a growing area full of possibilities, it is not the only area anyone should stay in. i think many of the suggestions of ognir are for good food but nothing truly outstanding enough that someone visiting should go out of their way to eat at. i also find the more interesting places to be further down queen st west or up in kensington/chinatown.
ditch hosu and go to the much talked about and revered on this board japango. i also like omi but i find they do a little more tempura and mayo type sushi items that are incredibly rich whereas japango is a greater celebration of simplicity. just last night i shared a sushi deluxe that was doubled up with hamachi, tuna, bc tuna, raw scallop, fluke and salmon nigiri with a shrimp tempura roll for 21.99 i believe. i might even be forgetting one more!
queen west west you should check out czehoski, while getting some diverse views... i really think it's a fantastic restaurant that borders innovative with canadian focused ingredients. if you're not into the dining room, there's two other areas within the restaurant to hang out. a front booth area by the bar and dj booth and an upstairs bar atmosphere with patio. they have a separate menu up there with the second most expensive burger in town plus what i hear to be a great spaghetti and meat balls. definitely one of the top bar scenes in town right now.
i'm putting in another vote for beer bistro, their novelty is that they incorporate beer into all of their food items... including dessert. i find their food good but not outstanding, however it should be the beer that you're aiming for. if you are into beer, another option would be cafe volo on yonge st north of wellesley. they have a FANTASTIC menu there that easily rivals if not slightly bests beerbistro. there is little to say about the food however.
xtals suggestion of mother's dumplings should not be missed. slow service from the sweet people behind the counter that speak little english requires a relaxed mindset but i cannot get enough of their pork and radish corn flour dumplings. never have i seen the corn flour wrappers and they're a complete treat for your nose when you open up the steamer basket. the da lu noodles are pretty good but their wonton soup is also a great option. it comes with about 5 wontons, vegetables and a tonne of broth for only a couple of dollars. you'll find them on huron off of dundas just north of the intersection xtal mentioned.
this might be out of your way... but one item i may never get enough of and nearly crave daily are d&d's doubles. i don't know where exactly it is, but it's searchable on this board. seemingly greasy they are just amazing. their wrapper dough is thinner than some but have a good chewy consistency and is filled with some of the best spiced chickpea mix i've probably ever had. beware, the heat can creep up on you!
definitely go to st lawrence market. if you're here on a saturday you can check out the north market filled with local farmers selling their goods. it's interesting but not too impressive compared to the other outdoor markets bustling about toronto on different days. there's one table by the far east end that has the best apple cider i've tasted in my life but it seems to sour pretty quickly. the south market is just unreal... everyone suggests the carousel peameal if you've never had one before but i've been disappointed. i tend to go for place just across that operates a take-out from it's sit down restaurant.
i think the best, albeit more expensive, gelato in the city is within walking distance of st lawrence market. go a little west on front st and check out solferino. tasty pistachio, hazelnut and whatever other interesting items they've got. the avocado is just ok and the sorbets are pretty good too.
on the higher end of seafood options i really really enjoy starfish just north of king st e at jarvis. be sure to sit at the bar and be served by the owner patrick for great service... otherwise it can be a little questionable. you're getting into the season of nice crunchy and clean tasting oysters too. if you're looking for something more casual, oysterboy on queen st west is nice but beware that one of the shuckers moves a little too quickly and leaves a couple chips. but exceptional fish and chips plus a great and hearty chowder on the menu. their baked oysters are interesting but my faves are the lesser traditional and more hoity toity ones with caviar, brie and champagne.
get bahn mi. there's a long thread from a while back going over the best bahn mi places but it's the greatest snack to just tote around and eat while you're searchign for your next big meal. i love mine loaded up with the pickled radishes and carrots and tonnes of cilantro.
eep... i could keep talking but i'm starting to make myself hungry. happy eats!
Great list Princess! I definitely prefer Queen West West to the increasingly mall-like Queen West. To your Queen WW list I would add Little Tibet - amazing vegetarian momos (dumplings the family makes on site), and the lamb curry with a side of steamed bread is great on a cool day.
And if you are going to be close to Japango, go one block west to the Metropolitan Hotel and try the dim sum at Lah Wah Hen. Best in the city (and priciest, but it is worth it). Save room for the little custard tarts at the end of the meal (3 per plate). They are just heavenly.
If you're looking for a great 'hole in the wall' place to grab a fantastic meal of chinese dumplings and such, head to Mother's Dumplings. It's located within walking distance of Queen & Spadina, and is fantastic. Definitely order the Da Lu noodles, and at least one dumpling variety. It's a tiny little place that has sometimes questionable servers, but the kindest most attentive cook (Mother) that you will ever meet.
If you're gonna be on King St. E. you should make the trip to the St. Lawrence Market. It's rated as one of the best markets of it's type in the world. It's a fascinating place if you've never been to one of those places. My wife from Memphis just loved it the first time I took her. Still does of course.
And you probably should try the pemeal sandwich at Carouselle bakery. It's upstairs on the outer aisle.
The food trip to TO can be overwhelming. . . . . More fun would be to visit each neighbourhood and decide for yourself
College St. = little itlay, many italian eateries/ bakery's
St. Lawrence Market as mentioned above
Spadina and Dundas = Chinatown (Swatow is a safe bet, as are many others)
Danforth = for great Greek Food
Bathurst and King/Queen = posh eateries/hangouts
Yorkville = posh eateries
Yonge and Eglington = some decent restaurants
Bloor and Royal York = some decent places as well
Bloor between Jane and Runnymede = eastern european
Kengsington market = some hidden jems
. . . . the lsit can go on . . . .
but it would probably be best to explore yourself
my favourite eats in TO come from the small bakeries and eateries dispersed across the city, not the big name, big cost places . . . .
Toronto is such a great eating city! My tip: check out the weekly papers to find places that sound appealing, then ask chowhounds for more details.
Eye Weekly (my favorite):
My favorite places (from a trip last November) were Albert's Jamaican, Udupi Palace, and js bonbons. (And when I go again, Mother's Dumplings will be on my must-try list.)
2cents... well. One of my favorite part of the city is Greek town (Danforth ... from broadview to pape). Astroia is my favorite Greek food. (yummy lamb Slovakia). And I recommend Miriko. All you can eat Japanese food. Don't let the all you can eat fool you. Still very high quality food for a dirty cheap price. (15 bucks a head for dinner).