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Sep 8, 2008 09:05 PM

Toronto compared to major US cities

I'm just curious how Toronto compares to US cities like New York, San Francisco, and LA? I currently live in LA and enjoy the wide variety and often times high quality of food I can find here. Can the same be said about Toronto?


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  1. Chinese food (modern hong kong style) and "high end" dim sum in Toronto definitely beats any Chinese place I've had in NY, SFO or LA, hands down. I don't think too many would disagree.

    With Toronto being such a multi-cultural city, it's also hard to beat for its variety of good quality ethnic cuisine.

    4 Replies
    1. re: doctorandchef

      Sounds great. I knew that Toronto had good Chinese food, but not to that extend.

      1. re: doctorandchef

        I've never been to Toronto - didn't realize the wealth of Hong Kong cuisine there. How does Toronto rate on Chinese "peasant" or everyday food, e.g., dumplings, buns, lamb soup w/ paomo bread, lamb skewers, jook, yung ho tou jiang, chiu-chow noodles, etc...? We go to the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles County somewhat regularly and couldn't cover 1/8 of what is offered there in a year if we ate a different place every day!

        1. re: bulavinaka

          I would have to say that Toronto is equal to or better than LA in terms of the simple HK style noodle and rice plate joint due to the large number of immigrants from HK. IMHO, it's more authentic than NYC due to most of the immigrant population being recent arrivals. In contrast, NYC's Cantonese population is small and most have been here much longer and the quality of the food has lost its edge compared with Toronto or Vancouver. Same for LA, where the Cantonese population is tiny compared to those from Taiwan or the rest of the mainland.

        2. re: doctorandchef

          Except Mexican food. The city of TO does not do a Mission style burrito well.

        3. I agree that the Chinese food in Toronto and more speifically on the outskirts is outstanding as a result of the very large number of wealthy Chinese immigrants.
          Unfortunately apart from the Chinese restaurants relative to the major US cities we have only a few restaurants that would match those in the US.

          1. Toronto's got a great variety of ethnic foods, but they're not equally well represented. There's a glut of great Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian and other Asian foods, but few, say, South American places. (And like in many northeast cities, somewhat of a gap when it comes to Mexican food.)

            We've got a lot of great neibourhood restaurants, many of which use locally grown ingredients. In terms of high-end dining, though, we're not on par with major U.S. cities - there are fewer upscale restaurants here, though I'd argue the quality is mostly the same.

            2 Replies
            1. re: piccola

              Minor quibble but I suspect both Chicago and NYC have a lot better Mexican than we do... I'd call it a serious gap.
              I think people who expect Toronto to have good regional American food (BBQ, Tex-Mex, Southern, Soul, Chicago deep dish pizza....) are always going to be disappointed. Agreed that our strengths are with casual ethnic restaurants, pretty much anything other than Latin American. I don't think we have a lot of great obvious must-have specialties in the way of Mission Burritos or deli. There's unfortunately a lot of bad pub food, Pan-Asian, and combos thereof - pubs serving bad Pad Thai.

              1. re: julesrules

                Well, I just didn't want to imply we had NO good Mexican food. It's just hard to find.

                And you're right - the concept of a signature Toronto dish has spurred many a thread (and argument)...

            2. Some Toronto ethnic areas not yet mentioned are VietNamese, Brazilian, Portuguese, Newfoundland, Caribbean, Italian, Balkan, central and eastern Europe, middle east, north African and British. Deli is in serious decline.There is not a lot of French influence, but that can be found east of here.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jayt90

                I lived in the West Indies for a few years, and the Caribbean food in TO rivals the best homecooking I ate there. I'm always amazed at how authentic the food is.

                I saw an article about delis in decline in the G&M...what's going on?

                1. re: bflocat

                  The Globe got it wrong again. Caplansky's serves the best smoked meat outside of Montreal.

                  1. re: KevinB

                    One good deli doesn't overturn a downward trend, in my opinion. But there's hope.