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Best Food Courts

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Around here we tend to use the term "food court" to describe low-quality, mass produced fast food, the likes of which make up most of the offerings at most food courts. But there are exceptions, as I was reminded today when I visited an old favorite, the Asian food court in the Dixie Park Centre (1550 South Gateway Rd, Mississauga). This food court is chain free and low priced with lots of variety (although it's all Asian). There are a couple of good Chinese BBQ places, a sushi spot where I get perfectly cut, melt-in-your-mouth salmon nigiri for less than a dollar a piece, a new Korean place, and several others that make some of my favorite veggie dishes. When I want to combine fresh veggies with heart-clogging grease and chilies, I head out there for the sauteed green beans with minced pork from the place called Lemongrass something or other. Nowhere else I've tried in the GTA gets it just the way I like.

I know there are some other great non-chain food court spots in and near the city. What are your favorites and why?

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  1. Thanks for the info about the Dixie Park Centre, it sounds great.

    My favourite downtown is probably the Village by the Grange food court. Though there is a McDonald's in it, there are many smaller independent eateries that focus on good food. The best bets are Island Foods and Magic Kitchen. Here's an old BlogTO post that talks a bit about the food court:


    1 Reply
    1. re: xtal

      I second this! Also good there is Helena's Magic Kitchen (homemade perogies) and the soup at Red Red Noodles.

    2. The Miss. chinatown center (the one with the gate). has pretty bloody GREAT hainanese chicken rice...as well as laksa, good chinese veg. food. (imitation duck). highly recommended if you are in the 905.....god knows why lol.(j/k i love the vietnamese and trini food there!)

      4 Replies
      1. re: zed1984

        I pretty much only venture out to the 905 for great food and shopping deals so next time I go out that way I'll check out the chinatown centre. I've been to a great dim sum place in that complex but hadn't been inside to even know they had a food court.

        It's been years since I went in Village By The Grange. I used to ice skate there in the 80's. Do they still have that little indoor ice rink? Ah who cares. I'll go for the food!

        1. re: idnas

          the rink is gone but the same schnitzel guy is there after all these years...still a great sandwich!

          1. re: deelicious

            I'm so glad to hear the Village by the Grange food court is still good. As an OCA student I ate there everyday. It's probably responsible for inspiring quite a few young chow hounds.

        2. re: zed1984

          I'd take a real good look at this mini Food Court with about a half dozen stalls with mini space to operate in! There may be a few with a few good dishes for take out or otherwise an environment that is fast food. The prices are low, very low, but the look of it all sends me next door/outside to the real Vietnamese rerstaurant!! This reply is to the Misissauga chinatown, somehow sent elsewhere!

        3. There's a food court of sorts in the Downsview Farmer's Market on weekends. It's my hands down favorite.

          Almost any of the asian targetted malls in Markham have good, chow worthy food courts.

          1. You might find this of interest:

            I love Taste of Afghanistan in the Downsview Farmers Market!

            1. Cumberland Terrace has to be the worst food court in the city... dirty, bland food... I am hoping it gets demolished and rebuilt...

              2 Replies
              1. re: OnDaGo

                I totally agree, OnDaGo. Not only is the food less than appealing, the surroundings are dingy, dirty and dated. And what's with the grease 'smell' when you walk through there? The second worst food court is in Eatons Centre. Specifically the one with the Sbarro's/Druxy's/McDonalds. Ugh - time for a makeover!

                1. re: foodie_wannabe

                  Second that! That ugly neon lighting from Sbarro makes my brain hurt.

              2. Best food court for Asian IMHO is First Markham (Hwy 7, east of Woodbine). Best overall in Northern GTA is Vaughan Mills, Upper Canada Mall close second.

                I loved the Village by the Grange food court also, when I first started working over 20 years ago.

                5 Replies
                1. re: goodmom8

                  What's special about Upper Canada Mall?

                  1. re: goodmom8

                    What's special about Vaughn Mills mall?

                    1. re: Food Tourist

                      I've never been, but I think there might be a La Paloma there. That would certainly differentiate it from other food courts.

                      1. re: littlegreenpea

                        There is a La Paloma at Vaughn Mills, but it's not in the food court. The food court is pretty much all basic food court chains:

                        Grill It Up
                        Kelly's Cajun Grill
                        New Wok New Wok
                        New York Fries
                        OPA! Souvlaki
                        Taco Bell
                        Villa Madina

                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                          Vaughn Mills could compete for a "worst mall food in the GTA" award.

                  2. I am minutes from Dixie Park and frequent it often, and agree wholeheartedly. The competition makes it a place for great Chinese at a very good price.

                    You would probably also like Pacific Mall in Markham, definetely worth the drive. Search out the walnut/chestnut bun maker, little buns shaped like a walnut.

                    The dim sum restaurant off the court is excellent though a bit pricier than average.

                    1. Although not a true "foodcourt" - I would say the St Lawrence Market is my favourite food stall / marketplace. I miss the $0.99 fresh pasta though.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: josamania

                        agrred.......the SLM might be the original toronto food court on a technicality. it IS surrounded by stores.
                        fresh pastries, juices, fruit, peameal sammies, kick ass omlettes on a bun.....i could go on.........

                        i just don't know if it could be included as we are talking about the best of the worst (by that i mean food courts). i wouldn't feel right to put the SLM in this category.