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Boston Hound coming to GTA

Hey all
I will be in the GTA for 4 days starting saturday morrning. looking for recs. for Burgers, Pizza, Thai, Tapas and BBQ

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  1. Thai - The general consensus is that there is no great Thai restaurants in Toronto. There are a few ok ones. Just do a search, there have been at least 3 threads in the last month.

    Tapas - I would suggest Torito in the Kensington Market. Again there are a few recent threads on this.

    GTA is a bit bigger than Boston. So if you don't have a car, it would help if you tell us where you are staying so everyone can make their suggestions accordingly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cecilia

      thanks for the reply. We will have a car and my girl is from the area, although its been a while. To be honest i am not sure exactly were we are staying. I did search thru recent posts but wanted to ask opinions also.I will post more info when she is done with yoga
      thank you

    2. I agree with cecilia--for thai, Boston definitely wins. There is an abundunce of Thai restaurants last time I went to Boston and I was pleasantly surprised. However, I think that you should try some Vietnamese food here, it is MUCH better here.

      Haha, thats all I can say ... not much comment on burgers, pizza, tapas or bbq... sorry. But try Viet! :) There's Chinatown that you can go to: Pho 88 or Xe Lua or the green place next to Xe Lua are good (Xe Lua's the best IMHO), or if youre uptown in Scarborough go to Vietnam Noodle House on Finch and Midland.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jennjen18

        Prepare to be disappointed. The restaurants in Boston are so much better than in Toronto....

      2. For Thai, try Thai Magic for an upper end experience, and if you want good value in a hole in the wall, Thai Shan Inn. They are radically different, but I rate them both 8 out of 10 on their own merits. Jane Lo is a superb cook at Thai Magic, and I've found Kevin Lo always attentive. Great service there. Thai Shan Inn can be lined up, and making reservations is no guarantee.

        Burgers: try Licks in the beaches, and prepare to have your name called out very loudly...

        As for Pizza and Burgers, you're on your own. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: vanchow

          Lick's is about the worst hamburgers in Toronto.

        2. PLEASE don't go to licks. Sorry to vanchow, but Licks aint no Veras (vancouver) and I would hate to send a visitor with limited time in Toronto to Licks!

          2 Replies
          1. re: deelicious

            I am originally from New England. I basically agree with most of the posts above. You'll get comparable burgers, pizza, and bbq in boston. In terms of thai, you'll get better thai in boston.

            Torito is amazing. Definitely go there. And, I would say if you can, do Chinese. Toronto has some of the best Chinese in North America (aside from LA).

            1. re: springhaze

              Try to focus on 'Cantonese' cuisine!!! Outside of Canton, Hong Kong, Macau and may be Vancouver, Toronto's Cantonese restaurants cook up some of the yummiest dishes money can buy! Other regional Chinese cuisine such as Shanghainese, Pekingnese, North Eastern and Chiu Chow are also more than acceptable. However, try skipping Szechuan, Hakka, Fook Kin and Taiwanese food. These latter four havn't caught up with the likes of NYC and LA yet! Welcome to Toronto and Happy Chowing!!

          2. I feel terrible posting this message, but here goes...

            A good restaurant burger in Toronto is close to being an oxymoron. Allen's on Danforth serves fabulous burgers and fries that can be good, but suffer from being cooked in tasteless canola oil. You will see many Chowhound posts slamming this place, and especially its service, but their burgers are great. Just about every other Toronto restaurant cooks their burgers beyond death on the misconception that there is a law requiring this --there isn't. (You can get a good $35-$45 burger, but I suspect that isn't what you are looking for.) Licks is ghastly, as is the Hero chain and the Burger Shoppe.

            I'm not familiar with Boston or Providence Pizza. I do know New Haven pizza, and Toronto has nothing close to that. Many people like the Queen St W Terroni's pizza and the Mamma's chain isn't bad, but there is little to crow about among our hundreds (thousands?) of pizza places. You will find Chowhound threads on Toronto pizza with hundreds of posts. Don't get too excited in anticipation.

            Thai is everywhere, but it also isn't very good. Young Thailand and Linda's may be your best bets. Again search for the threads, as Linda's seems to have become very inconsistent.

            You don't come to Toronto for BBQ! There's Phil's, but it isn't worth a journey.

            As for tapas, are you looking for "real" tapas or "small plates"? There are more possibilities in this realm.

            Since you are coming from Boston, you won't want to go near the fish here.

            This post sounds so dreary, but the stuff you are looking for isn't our best. Any other interests besides those you mentioned? Where will you be staying? How much do you want to spend?

            1 Reply
            1. re: embee

              Unfortunately, I have to agree with embee's "dreary" reality. Given your specific requests, I don't think you're going to get many winners in Toronto. However:

              - I also second the tacit recommendations for Allen's (burgers)
              - I more enthusiastically endorse Terroni, which I find quite a fun experience (Queen West location only, and be prepared to wait). I also think Pizza Rustica on Wellington and Blue Jay Way is pretty great... thin crust pizza, and nice people running the place.
              - Senhor Antonio's is an interesting option for a slightly Portugese take on tapas. It's the more casual, next-door sister resto to Chiado, which is one of Toronto's best - and Portugese is something that you perhaps don't have on offer in Boston?

              I do spend a fair bit of time in the Boston/New England area, and I don't agree with the overall pessimism on this thread suggesting that Boston has "better" food offerings that Toronto (although Boston is a great foodie city), but I fear that for what you're seeking, Toronto is apt to disappoint.

            2. let's try to salvage this :-)
              for BBQ, try Korean BBQ in Toronto; also, on Queen West (around Bathurst) is a newish place called Rosebud, and the chef is cookoo for BBQ, so that might be a good option. Here's a thread to pick a place near you: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/10472...

              If by tapas mean smaller delicious samplings of things, try Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar and Foxley on Ossington. For burgers, pick a nice warm day and have a burger on Allen's patio in the Danforth. If you want to spend $40 on a gourmet burger, go to Bymark.
              Hope this helps a bit more; I was getting depressed by your prospects. :-)
              Not sure if you've tried opentable.com, but they do list a number of toronto restaurants, and it might make your search a bit more manageable. Good luck!

              1 Reply
              1. re: alisonb

                alisonb has good suggestions for bbq. You might like to try our churrasco chicken places here. It's Portuguese-style bbq chicken, seasoned with piri-piri sauce and served with great roasted potatoes. There are lots of places here. Costa Verde on Oakwood or Eglinton W., Churrasco Villa at Eglinton and Mt. Pleasant, Churrasco of St. Clair on St. Clair at Oakwood (I think), to name a few.

              2. To add to my very negative post: it's not that we don't have many good places to eat; it's that the kind of places you inquired about don't excite in Toronto.

                You seem to be looking toward the lower cost realm. This leaves a wide variety of "ethnic" options, which is where Toronto does excel: Chinese, Korean, Ethiopian, Mid-Eastern, Portuguese, Indian, Pakistani, Persian, and more. Do any of these appeal?

                I can second the recommendation of Chiado's wine bar for tapas. (Chiado itself is extremely expensive and specializes in plainly cooked fish - excellent, but you're from Boston...) Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar won't likely disappoint either.

                1 Reply
                1. re: embee

                  If you are in fact on a budget, you just about can't beat Vietnamese. A large (And I mean large) bowl of pho (soup) and a couple of drinks will set you back less than $10 and WILL feed two people. Plenty of good ones in the city. A banh mi (Vietmanese sub) will set you back $2 at the most and makes a fantastic snack.


                2. Not sure how much travel time you have but the best burger I've had in the city is a the Homeway on Mt. Pleasant north of Eglinton. (http://www.homewayrestaurant.com/
                  )Also, The Rebel House is great. With much better pub fare than you'll usually find. Yonge, east side just up from the Rosedale subway station. (http://www.rebelhouse.ca/


                  If "Other" interests you, there are a number of good options listed above.
                  Just about everyone who asks about Toronto is recommended St. Lawrence Market. (http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/) It's like Quincy market. It could be a great place breakfast. Don't know when you'll be in on Saturday and they're not open on Sunday or Monday.
                  Chef of India has a tremendous AYCE buffet for lunch. It's on Eglinton, just east of Yonge.
                  If you're up that way, try Hollywood Gelato for some great Italian ice cream. It's on Bayview just south of Eglinton at Soudan.

                  That's all that I can think of for now.


                  1. Wow - posters have been tough on this question! The cooler temps must be having an effect on people!
                    Pizza is fantastic at Olympic Pizza on Gloucester just east of Yonge. No atmosphere, but really good stuff, cooked when you order with the best distribution of toppings. Wine and beer reasonably priced, too.
                    Tapas at Embrujo Flamenco are quite good and have some unusual flavour combinations. Danforth just east of Broadview. Depending on your taste you may want to book or avoid the nights with flamenco dancers. I think Friday and Saturday.
                    Julie's Cuban (Dovercourt south of Dundas) is also tapas-oriented with a charming outdoor eating area and a flavourful menu. Closed Monday.
                    For BBQ, I suggest looking at Portugese BBQ - others can chime in on which to go to as I am not expert, but I have been impressed.
                    Have always liked Salad King (Gould at Yonge) for Thai. Noisy and communal, but often a fun experience.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Julie McCoy

                      Wow.....everybody seems to be extremely negative about food in this city.....I am going to take a different stance and disagree with them all. You have alot to look forward to when coming to eat in Toronto.
                      First of all....if you are in the city in the summer, you will be lucky to taste some of the best BBQ ribs at one of the many ribfest festivals. The largest one takes place at Centennial Park in Etobicoke on Canada weekend (July 1st)....Its soooo much fun, and there are fireworks and bands and drinks. A great day to be had by all.
                      Check out www.torontoribfest.com
                      For tapas, there is the resto in Kensington that others suggested, but also there is Barcelonas (royal york and bloor).
                      For pizza? There are so many places that offer good pizza, its just a matter of preference. I'd say head down along college street on a summers night, and have a pie at vivoli (wood burning oven) or vecchio frak on their patio's. There are so many options there, and hard to pick the "best". College street is just a good section of the city in general, lots to eat and do.
                      Hmm...thai...my favourite is green mango (royal york and bloor). Salad king is in a great location and always bustling, but i find the food at green mango alot better.
                      For burgers, there are a few options. The bymark restaurant offers the $40 burger, which i hear is quite tasty. For low key, but good, try magoos (royal york and dundas), or the burger shack (eglinton and oriele park).
                      There are many exciting places for you to come and discover. Enjoy your time here.

                      1. re: pancake

                        Just a note to the original poster that many of pancake's recommendations are not in the downtown area (centennial park, barcelonas, green mango, magoos, burger shack). Not a judgement, just an observation for your planning.

                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          Good point....but they are in the GTA :)

                      2. re: Julie McCoy

                        Just FYI... I don't know what the Thai restaurants are like in Boston, but if they're anything like those in DC or Ottawa, you will be *very* disappointed with Salad King by comparison. The food is quite inauthentic. The service is borderline-pathetic: the three times I've gone and ordered satays as an appetizer, I was told that they took awhile to do so they would arrive after my entree (???). The ambience is college-student cafeteria trendy but otherwise horrid: you're bashing elbows with your neighbour at shared aluminum tables and unable to have a proper conversation.

                        I really don't see what's to l like about this restaurant. The panaeng was okay, but as for the other two entrees I tried on future visits, one was mediocre and the other was downright disgusting (not even my partner could eat more than a little of it, and he's a food vaccuum). Everything also lacked the subtlety of Thai food.

                        I don't know if you have Malaysian Nyonya-style food in Boston, but if you want a "Thai-esque" experience (lots of ingredient crossover between the two cuisines) that's balanced and wonderful and far surpasses any of Toronto's Thai offerings, try MataHari Grill on Baldwin. I was introduced to this place by a Singaporean friend of mine who loves Malaysian cuisine and I have never been anything short of highly impressed with their dishes. The ambience is also much better than many of Toronto's Thai restaurants. This is one of the best southeast Asian restaurants I've had the pleasure of enjoying. It is also consistently rated well here, for what it's worth.

                        If you insist on Thai food, I can't speak to the virtues of Linda as I haven't yet been (although, admittedly, it seems more Thai-fusion, but people speak highly of it), but I can only recommend Young Thailand. First Thai restaurant in Canada, and in my experience, by a huge margin the best in Toronto.

                      3. You can get excellent burgers at HAL Burger.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Man, some negative vibe here. I've eaten in Boston, and yep, there are some very good places, but callitasicit isn't being helpful about eating here in Toronto. There's a good burger to be had at Dangerous Dan's at Queen E and Broadview - unpretentious place. Or the House on Parliament - basic pub burger, but very good quality. The Bymark burger at ca$35? C'mon. Foie gras on a burger? I eat foie gras, but I find that morally offensive. I vote for Torito and Senhor Antonio regarding tapas. The selection of ethnic cuisines here is second to none.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                            Seconding Dangerous Dan's. Really good burgers, and great milkshakes too.

                            1. re: alisonb

                              OMG Best Burgers!!! and Dangerous Dan's in the same sentence.... This is NOT good. It's all quantity NO quality. Like a really bad meatloaf on a bun. Check other postings and you will find DD Burgers are HORRIBLE
                              Try the Tulip the buger is awesome.

                              1. re: Connoisseur

                                Completely agreed. DD is okay for a quick, huge burger or a late-evening grease fix, but to say that the burgers are great indicates how low Toronto hound expectations have grown from a lack of good food in this city.

                                On the other hand, their desserts are surprisingly good.

                                I'm seriously going to have to hit up the Tulip soon... I've rollerbladed by it a few times in the last month and now that I know where it is and I've read quite a few good things about it, I have no excuse :D.

                                1. re: vorpal

                                  Look forward to seeing another review of the tulip. The place does nothing for me...

                              2. re: hungry_pangolin

                                I was hoping that Locutus would provide some more information about likes and dislikes, especially in the ethnic food realm. But that hasn't come to pass.

                                I can comment on Dangerous Dans, though. It certainly offers local colour, but good burgers? C'mon. If our Boston hound is up for a coronary burger, DD will come through. But quality? I'd call them disgusting.

                                1. re: embee

                                  and by local flavour - it is VERY local flavour!

                                  1. re: embee

                                    The pangolin is sticking to his guns. The last burger I had at DD (Jan? Feb? - and no, I wasn't staggering out of Jilly's at 5 to midight) was what I described: "a good burger"; not "the best burger you will ever have in your life". Still sticking to HoP burger, as well (which I do prefer to DD). I also chose DD because of it's relatively central location. I haven't visited the Tulip. And permit me to remind the board... it's a friggin' burger we're talking about.

                                    And, I'll say it again.... in Toronto, go ethnic. Vietnamese, Mideastern, Indian, etc.

                                  2. re: Davwud

                                    If you looking for a varied dining experience, just wander along the Danforth and scan menus for what ever might catch your eye. You'll get a pretty eclectic mix to choose from. Take a good pair of walking shoes.

                                    There is one restaurant (really small) that I'd recomend you try which is a fussion of oriental tastes. Taste of the Silk Road.

                                    Here is a link http://www.torontolife.com/guide/rest...

                                    I've been several times and the food is excellent. My opinion of course.

                                    Now if you like GREEK food .....