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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 burrito...is 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

                        1. I love reading these posts even though I live in TO, but there's so much I haven't discovered yet. My friend recently moved back to Hong Kong for good and one of the things she couldn't leave without having again was Little India on Queen street. I couldn't agree more! I love that place and I can go back to it time and time again. Another thing my friend couldn't leave without eating again was banh mi offered by various stores in China town... it's only 1.75 for a sandwich! I loved it and then a few days later I brought my SO there to try and he loved it too.

                          Also, if you're into desserts you should check out Wanda's Belgian Waffles at Yonge and Dundas. They're the liege kind and I love them but they're very filling so don't go on a full stomach!

                          I don't recommend Burrito Boyz, I think Chipotle's is better but I don't recommend goin there either because it's not limited to Canada.. I also don't recommend Smoke's on top of Burrito Boyz because the fries aren't good - they're too mushy and really don't have much taste. I second the recommend for Pizzeria Libretto! but don't get the duck one! The taste is too muddled and earthy, even though I did like the sweetness of the pear. I suggest you go with the classic margherita.. and maybe order some prosciutto on the side. It's not too expensive - like umpteen bucks for a pizza. If you don't have a big appetite you can basically share one with another person - but if you each order one you get more variety.

                          Jules patisserie up on Mt. Pleasant has really light and flakey croissants that I really enjoy, while you're there you can also check out Thobors, if you're interested in bakery items. Over on Bayview are some more patisserie options such as Rahier and Celestin, I love Celestin's cakes and they're all delicious. Don't be fooled by the yummy looking cookies you see right when you enter Rahier's because they're too sweet IMO and not all that tasty. If you like Shanghai food, Ding Tai Fung at First Markham Place has really good Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), but stay away from the dan dan mien because it was like eating noodles in peanut soup! I had a really good dan dan mien in the same plaza, but it looks like that restaurant is not there anymore.

                          Crepes a go go at Cumberland and Yonge has a really yummy crepe filled with strawberries, spinach, brie, and maple syrup. Anything else - not so good.

                          I also recommend the portuguese tart from St. Lawrence, if you're lucky it'll still be warm and oh so good!

                          And dont' forget the korean food at Bloor and CHristie! I'm not sure if Boston has a lot of Korean food.. but if you are really craving some you can go to Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu for some soon tofu, or Kachi for some pork bone soup. Walnut cake is a must too! (if there's none in Boston).. if you go during the day time while they're making it... the store up at Yonge and Sheppard made a really, really yummy one once. The cake was very thin and the red bean was oozy liquidy! Soo delicious, but I went back again at nonbaking hours when the walnut cake was all bagged up and it turned into regular walnut cake again..

                          1. I agree with Libretto if you like pizza, Harbord Room for a great night out, great drinks and amazing food with local touches, JK Gardiner for a special lunch, 93 Harbord for a nice meal if you like Middle Eastern, mezes at Mezzetta also if you like small plates, dips, from Med/Mid-East, Amaya for a special meal if you like Indian, Utopia on College for affordable hearty burritos and salad and Sneaky Dee's if you fancy ptichers, nachos and sport on the TV with good tunes on the jukebox.

                            1. Pomegranate on College near bathurst. amazing food and ambience. quite reasonable. But make reservations

                              1. Toronto is also unique in that we have a huge and hungry Portuguese population. It has been put on record that our Portuguese cuisine is among the best outside of Portugal.
                                The premiere 'go-to' restaurant has been the somewhat pricey restaurant Chiado for many years. As Portuguese cuisine is heavy on seafood, this restaurant is considered one of the best seafood restaurants in Canada. (Yes, I know. Toronto is pretty much landlocked if you ignore the little puddle that we sit on.)
                                But I do not want to lead you down a path of eternal debt. Chiado very savvily opened up a sister (or brother) tapas restaurant by the name of Senhor Antonio. It's a tapas style menu that comes out of the same kitchen as that of it's pricier counterpart right next door.
                                And if you are intrigued by the other pricier menu, they are more than happy to accommodate cross menu ordering. Last time I was there they were not taking reservations. Oh, and the wine list is like no other. Heavy on the Portuguese vines and it opened the eyes of a novice oenophile! Who knew but I heart Vinho Verde now.
                                I couldn't recommend this place more.
                                Here's a link to their website (both restaurants' menus are featured on this site):

                                864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: CheddarCheese

                                  Just to follow on LemonLauren and CheddarCheese:

                                  One of the new "hot" areas for foodies is Queen and Ossington. If you're here on a weekend and the weather's nice (in revenge for electing David Miller, God seems to have decreed wonderful weather Mon-Fri, and rain Sat-Sun), here's my suggestion - go to College and Clinton, and walk a bit south to the Monarch, where you can get the great smoked meat from Caplansky's to go. Depending on your preference, get a veal sandwich from San Francesco next door or some pizza from Bitondo's across the street. Walk south for about 10 minutes to beautiful Trinity-Bellwoods park, and have a nice picnic. Then wander a bit farther south to Queen, and head west - there are all kinds of interesting shops and boutiques to have a look at. When you get to Ossington, you can head north for two blocks to Venezia bakery, where you can relax with wonderful Portuguese pastries and a coffee. (Not food related, but if you're a fan of vintage books and recordings, Frantic City on the east side is a great browse - I hardly ever get out of there without dropping more than I intended!) Then, you can either go north on Ossington, where many new places have opened up, or go back to Queen and head west, where again many new places have opened.

                                2. I think Toronto has some of the BEST dim sum. I always recommend Rol San in Chinatown. But for someone out-of-town, you might want to go to Pearl Harbourfront Restaurant. It overlooks the lake and you can spend the afternoon wandering around our waterfront.

                                  Lisa - The Hip & Urban Girl's Guide @ http://www.hipurbangirl.com

                                  Rol San
                                  323 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: FoodieGirl29

                                    For the BEST dim sum, I would skip Rol San or Pearl Harbourfront and head over to Lai Wah Heen for the Prix Fixe lunch. Very very high standard. Nothing like that on the east coast, even NYC! Choice of $30 per person for the Dim Sum Special or the $45 Chef Special. Minimum of 2 persons! So you need to find a foodie friend to tag along!

                                    Lai Wah Heen
                                    108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                                    Rol San
                                    323 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

                                  2. Let us not overlook the incredibly vibrant Ethiopian restaurant scene. I am becoming a bit of an evangelist for these places. The food is often fantastic, the service friendly, the vibes laid back and the price ridiculously cheap. There are dozens to choose from. Favourites on the Danforth are Dukem and Rendez-Vous. Dukem has great food and a good atmosphere, Rendez-vous has very good food and a great atmosphere. Very few cities in the world have such a strong Ethiopian scene. I think this cuisine will grow and grow here as people continue to discover it.

                                    950 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1L9, CA