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Sep 29, 2006 07:34 PM

Aboriginal Food in Toronto

Are there any Toronto restaurants that serve North American aboriginal food? I'm not sure what such food is, but I'm interested.

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  1. Not in Toronto but my sister works at the Six Nations reserve in Caledonia and she sometimes has their food at the local restaurants.

    She has had bison burgers and fish, but they have mostly game meat. She quite liked the bison burger but she finds their other cuisine quite bland for our chowhound palettes.

    So I would recommend finding a reserve and eating at one of their local restaurants.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sasgirl

      Even before the Europeans there were no Bison in Ontario, so the Caledonia restaurant is by no means serving their traditional food.

      1. re: RogerDoger

        Well, before the Europeans came here there were no potatoes in Ireland or tomatoes in Europe either. I would not say that these could not be considered part of traditional fare over there.

        1. re: calliope_nh

          Except for the fact that Bison has never been introduced to the Ontario Aboriginals diet (it was not until the 70s that people started to raise Bison in Ontario and that was targetted to the "Whiteman").... Whereas the foods you mention became staples of those countries for many generation before they mass emigrated outward.

          Saying Bison is a staple Canadian Native food is like saying that blubber is a also a staple as the Natives of the North eat that as a staple. There are just too many aborigional groups to label a universal diet on the group. It is like trying to pick "Tradional Fare" for Europe as a whole not an individual country.

    2. A bit of a hike but Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro in Ottawa is the best in the "'hood" by far.

      1 Reply
      1. There are no Toronto restaurants but a good local starting point is the Canadian Aboriginal Festival, coming up Nov 24-26 in Rogers Centre. They always have a good selection of food booths, run by different aboriginal catering companies from around Ontario, serving typical pow wow fare + beyond.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gritseeker

          What would Cdn aboriginal food consist of? Would it be very different from the wild game, etc. that is served as "Canadian" food in some restaurants?

        2. Good bannock bread is a real treat but I've only ever seen it in Vancouver.

          1. At powwows in northern ontario (that's way north of muskoka) i've had fried pickerel, fried pickerel cheeks, wild rice casseroles, fried bread with bologna, buffalo burgers on fried bread, moose pie, porcupine meatballs, corn bread, bannock, deer pie, corn soups. I took the Polar Bear Express train to Moosonee once and it was basically fish, game and all forms of fried bread - plus old grannies making bannock over campfires for tourists.

            At the skydome festival, they have to abide by certain rules that might not apply at a powwow (ie not sure if they can serve fish freshly caught from lake nippissing or whether they have to sell farmed fish) but i've had bison burgers and tacos and fried bread/bologna and venison-type chili. It varies every year. Last year they had a "haute native/aboriginal/indian" restaurant as well as the food vendors but the details are hazy so it must have been a little more generically Canadian (farmed "wild" game and Ontario berries + wild rice) and not as memorable as the basic pow wow stuff.

            wasn't in toronto during the era of a famous/semi-upscale aboriginal resto on richmond/peter or so, i believe - just west of where the Paramount is now. But others may remember.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gritseeker

              Second Gritseeker....I can't imagine any place here serving authentic First Nations food. You'll have to make your way up North to find it. However, my experience with First Nations food has always been one in a family setting, and never at any restaurant. Primarily during hunting season as well.

              1. re: Gritseeker

                I remember that restau, it really was fantistic. Half of the place was a bar and the other half was a really elegant Native Fusion Restau. I would love to know if the chef is still working in TO.