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Jun 29, 2009 12:42 PM

Rec.s needed for Toronto dining - what's best in each category?

i will be in toronto for 4 nights (for the first time) pretty soon and would love to hear your recommendations for what you consider to be the best restaurants in all genres, all cusines.

we eat anything and everything (particularly love ethnic food) - and we want to go to some fine dining but also whatever is the best chinese best indian, best italian, best street food, best casual, anything else that's particularly good in toronto - or that really captures toronto... (we live in nyc)

pretty much all the restaurants you'd want to hit if you only had 4 days...

thanks in advance for all your help!!!

(i will of course go through this forum myself to look for relevant past posts, but if anyone can think of any really good ones, please let me know)

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  1. it would be particularly great to get some recco.s for traditional, authentic indian, chinese, vietnamese etc. restaurants, and some for more upscale and "evolved/neo" versions of these cusines.
    thanks again!

    1. All of the 'bests' are so subjective, that I'm not sure that I want to wade into that one. However, I think everyone in Toronto will agree on this: Street food here sucks! Limited to hot dogs, and the brand new street cart experiment where the food needs to be cooked elsewhere, put through a de-flavouriser, and then just as a precaution they put it through a blandifier. Guaranteeing a terrible street food experience.


      4 Replies
      1. re: legourmettv

        so, i know what to avoid ;-)

        legourmettv - most things in life are subjective - i'm asking about where YOU would go if you only had 4 days in Toronto.

        thanks again for all contributions!

        1. re: monab

          I would recommend Torito on Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market for great tapas, and Quince on Yonge St., south of Eglinton for excellent grilled meat, fish and wood-burning oven cooked chicken and fish.

        2. re: legourmettv

          That depends on how you define 'street food'. On Augusta, in Kensington market, many of the South American shops have sell what would generally be considered street food, and in some cases is sold street-side. El Gordo Empanadas (40 varieties), Segovia meats (chorizo, grilled chicken, chili), Perola's (tacos), Emporio Latinho (tacos, pupusas, tamales, churros).

          1. re: legourmettv

            Although we may not exactly have a great variety of street food, the hot dogs themselves are pretty good, and better than any other street dogs I've had elsewhere.

          2. For fine dining: I would go to Canoe (most if not all of the ingredients are sourced in Canada, it has one of the best views of Toronto imo, and service is impeccable).

            For italian: Mistura or Via Allegro.

            For chinese: Lai Wah Heen

            For Indian: Amaya or Indian Rice Factory (I add that New York has much better Indian fact the only restaurant in Canada that I would recommend to someone from New York is Vij's in Vancouver). These two are good solid choices however.

            For casual dining: Depends how casual you want it. I like the Terroni restaurants for a casual bite, Gandhi's Rotis on Queen West for takeout. If you want to eat good food in a casual atmosphere I like my neighbourhood spots: The Rosebud and Niagra Street Cafe. Opinions will vary greatly here as most people tend to dine casually near their home/condo.

            For street food: Load up in New York and bring it here, you won't find anything worth writing home about from a street vendor here...sadly. The closest thing to decent street food might be eating your way around Kensington Market or the St. Lawrence Market (not literally street food, but food you can eat mostly with one hand while walking in any event). While you are packing food anyway please bring me a pie from Grimaldi's...sigh.

            For something Toronto: Go to St. Lawrence Market and have a peameal bacon sandwich (complete with "cheese") on a bun. Free health care breeds these things. Also while you are here try out our caribbean fare, we have a large population from the carribean and so there tends to be decent caribbean food around. I like Raps and Mr. Jerk.

            Enjoy your time here.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JPJ

              Just wanted to clarify as well as add the following:

              Lai Wah Heen serves high end Dim Sum lunch and 'Cantonese' cuisine. Currently NYC has nothing similar. However, do stay away from Toronto's Northern style Chinese cuisine! NYC and New Jersey offer much better quality establishments.

              Though not as extravagant as Masa or offer more variety and choices in seafood than Sushi Yasuda or Sushi of Gari. The Omakase at our Japanese Best: Sushi Kaji is worth the try. Some of the cooked dishes are very inventive and tasty since the 'kitchen' chef is both French and Japanese trained! Apparently has 2000+ recipes under his belt!

              Lastly, I would give Chiado a try. Excellent Portuguese cuisine with a great Portuguese wine list. Something NYC does have, but not as good!

              Have fun!!

            2. Toronto's a big city. Where are you staying? Do you have transportation?

              2 Replies
              1. re: ChalkBoy

                We're staying at the Park Hyatt, but we're will to travel anywhere for good food!

                1. re: monab

                  I concur with other posters that Mistura is great Italian, and it's a hop, skip and a jump from the Hyatt.

              2. I don't know about best, I don't think I've gone to anywhere near the places most chowhounders here go to. But for me, and the places I've gone to...

                Best continental - Scaramouche
                Best Chinese - Lai Wah Heen
                Best Indian - Amaya Bread Bar (Different than Amaya - though same owners)
                Best Italian - Mistura
                Best street food - Umm...that hot dog stand right outside Union Station?