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May 14, 2009 04:48 AM

First time in Toronto - what are the must trys?

I'm open to a wide array of cuisines but more interested in less pricey options (meals less than 45/50 bucks). Thanks in advance!

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  1. Gandhi at Queen/Bathurst
    Chinese in Richmond Hill / Hwy 7
    Street dog
    Burrito Boyz at Adelaide/Simcoe

    1 Reply
    1. re: Negaduck

      If you're visiting Burrito Boyz, might as well go upstairs for a poutine as well at Smoke's!

      You can search this board for an extensive thread discussing their product.

    2. Other options to consider:
      -pizza at Terroni
      -the Black Hoof
      -the sandwich combo at Caplansky's
      -Utopia (nice back patio, if we get the weather)
      -Asian Legend
      -chocolates at Soma

      5 Replies
      1. re: dubchild

        Much better Chinese in the city if we're in the "must try" category than Asian Legend. Here is a recent thread aimed at tourists.

        I would also pass on pizza since it's not one of Toronto's strong points.

        1. re: dubchild

          - I think I would rather send a visiter to Pizzeria Libretto, Trio or even Mercatto for pizza than Terroni. In addition to the meh food (IMO), they also have all those rules (no balsamic, no diet Coke, no cheese on seafood, etc.) that I just don't think it's worth it.
          -double thumbs up for Black Hoof and Caplansky's...mmm!
          -I don't think Asian Legend is anything special

          Walking around St. Lawrence Market noshing on whatever looks good can also be a lot of fun! Or, buy a bunch of things and make a picnic on the picnic tables they have outside behind Buster's.

          1. re: pinkprimp

            Yeah Pizzeria Libretto was a way better experience than my Terroni experiences. Both are crowded though.

            1. re: pinkprimp

              It's funny you mention the no Diet Coke thing at Terroni's...

              When my friend asked for a Diet Coke the waitress said no, he asked how come, she said and I quote "In Italy they like to be fat."


              Good customer service is definitely not one of the finer points, and the last two times I was there neither was their food!!

              1. re: MissDarling

                I am so glad that I am not the only one that appreciates good service! I like to give every new place i try a fair shake. On repeat visits i usually order what i had the previous time to see if they were consistent. Well the dish I had was the fried Calamari, which was sweet , tender perfectly seasoned and cooked the first time. The second time i found it rubbery and greasy and (IMO) way too salty. After waiting for ever for a quality check (is that standard practice still???) I mentioned that the Calamari were over seasoned and got no reaction. Being in this profession I don't like to complain about food, I simply will inform not looking for compensation of any kind. The I could care less attitude put me right off though. So hit and miss on the food and the service down right disrespectful. I think you snub the noses of those who are paying the bills long enough the novelty will wear away sooner than later! i will no longer recommend Terronis. Nor will I visit there again. Too bad because the environs were great.

                720 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E8, CA

          2. Harbord Room, Weezie's, Caplansky's

            9 Replies
            1. re: Muffin__Top

              Burrito Boyz.....Have the fish it haddock? It's great.

              1. re: Chocaholic

                I've just be in the same situation and after a LOT of research on here and trial and error in the city. It depends on what time of day you're after but my general recommendations are:

                - Black Camel for the pulled chicken & pesto sandwich (Rosedale)
                - Craft Burger (Yorkville)
                - the butchers next door to All the Fine Food in Rosedale for a roast beef sandwich
                - Caplansky's combo with the 'Fresser' sandwich (Little Italy)
                - Messini's for $4 souvlaki ((Danforth)
                - Jamaican beef pattie (Kensington Market)
                - Second pizza at Terroni (Downtown on Adelaide)
                - Beer Bistro for the pulled pork or beer burger & fries (King subway station)

                Snack/sweet foods
                - All of St. Lawrence Market, particularly Portugese custard tart and peameal bacon from Future Bakery
                - Sweet Tooth Bakery - have the bumle crumble pie (Danforth)
                - Yoshi's Sweets for home made soft salted or sweet pretzels (Toronto Beaches)
                - Greg's Ice Cream, hands down the city's best, try roasted marhmellow (Spadina & Bloor)

                Hope this helps, enjoy your time here!

                1. re: Chocaholic

                  It's halibut. And in my book, it is definitely NOT a must-try, unless you've ever wondered what would happen if fish & chips and burritos mated. I'm sorry, I just don't get it, and I'm not sending someone coming from the States into a Toronto burrito joint. My must-tries would be Caplansky's, grazing/assembling a picnic at St. Lawrence Market (peameal sandwich, bifana, or heck, on a Saturday you can make a meal just out of the free samples), grazing Kensington Market/Chinatown for empanadas, banh mi, Chinese pastries, dumplings, etc.; Distillery District for Soma chocolates (and/or the mayan hot chocolate) and Mill St. beer. Definitely get as much Chinese food as you can here - it's wonderful.

                  1. re: Wahooty

                    Oh yes, the Kozlik's mustard samples with peameal bacon at SLM! You'll have a hard time deciding which one to buy :-)

                    Avoid the food at the Mill St. Pub though. I think there was a recent thread discussing it.

                    1. re: pinkprimp

                      Scheffler's always has samples out too of sausage and cheese, as do others...some of the people in the north market will have samples as well. My mom was enjoying the samples so much she was almost regretting having a sandwich beforehand. Almost.

                      And yes, Mill St. for beer only, not food. It won't kill you, but it certainly isn't good chow.

                    2. re: Wahooty

                      Nailed it, that Burrito Boyz "halibut burrito" is a deep fried joke

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Yeah, agree, I love it, but many may find it odd. A must have though in my book is the butter chicken roti at Gandi. AMAZING!!!

                        1. re: kimd60

                          Odd doesn't necessarily equal bad in my book - personally I just didn't find that mine worked well as a burrito, and it's not a recommendation I'd make for a tourist. But whether or not people find it odd, tasty, foul, whatever...the OP came and went a year ago. :)

                      2. re: Chocaholic

                        Their Burritos are the BEST. We always get the Halibut. The most exspensive on the menu, but worth it.

                    3. I see that you are from the Boston area (I live in Boston-originally Toronto) so I would recommend getting your fill of Chinese food as aser above stated. Lai Wah Heen would be on my list for Dim Sum and if you can make a trip out to Richmond Hill/Markham I personally like Tanchikee.

                      Greek is also something that is lacking in Boston, so a trip to the Danforth will be worth your while. Mezes would be my personal recommendation.

                      I agree that you can probably pass on pizza (much better here in Boston) and I absolutely think Burrito Boyz is probably one of the worst Burrito's I have had in my life and cannot understand why it is always recommended.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Matt H

                        I was going to suggest Mezes as well - Ouzeri might be a bit out of the price range, although it's worth it to just go to order the lamb or chicken with rosemary in filo ($15), an appetizer, and maybe go elsewhere for dessert.

                        Depending on when you come, some of the Asian places in Richmond Hill have great specials - Peking Duck for $20, two for one lobster, etc. Keep checking this board for updates. (BTW, I live in Richmond Hill, travel extensively, and the only place I've found better Chinese food is Hong Kong.)

                      2. We have a very vibrant West Indian (Jamaican, Trinidadian, etc) community and have some great places in this city to grab a roti, caribbean stewed meats, jerks (pork and chicken) and west indian curries.
                        Here's a couple popular places.
                        Island Foods (Great Trinidadian rotis and stews)
                        Mr. Jerk (Great Jerk Pork)

                        Just a word of warning. These establishments are more hole-in-the-walls that have counter service. Nothing fancy but our Caribbean cuisine is not to be missed!

                        Just a note: The Dundas W location of Island Foods is in a foodcourt in the mall next to the Art Gallery of Ontario called Village By the Grange.

                        Enjoy Toronto!

                        Island Foods
                        275 Dundas W, Toronto, ON M5T3K1, CA

                        Island Foods
                        1182 King St W, Toronto, ON M6K1E6, CA

                        Mr Jerk
                        209 Wellesley St E, Toronto, ON M4X1G1, CA