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moving-suggestions for last meals in Toronto?

Hello fellow hounds,

I am moving at the end of the month to the big apple after eating and exploring this great city for 4 years.*sniff, sniff*

Any suggestions on where I should eat for last meals in Toronto that is not so easily accessible or as well done in New York? Portuguese and chinese come to mind, am open to all suggestions! Thanks in advance!

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  1. Definitely try taking in a Cantonese meal at either Lai Wah Heen or any one of a handful of good Chinese restaurants in the Richmond Hill area. O'Mei, John's B-B-Q, Emperor, Yang's, Wu Yi Villa comes into mind. You will not get such high calibre Cantonese food in the Big Apple!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Charles Yu

      thank you Charles-I will have to con a friend into driving me up there!

    2. I got all sad for you until I read you were going to New York! You should actually pop the cork on some champagne with this news. I mean, I LOVE Toronto and all, born here etc., but New York is of course ONE of the eating meccas of the world!

      Having said that, I agree with Charles in that everyone always says they don't have as great an Asian culinary scene as we do here, although I'm sorry I can't give you any specifics as it's not my thing.

      Other than that: if it were me, I'd do a final stop at Allen's for the burger, an Innus & Gunn, and some sweet potato fries. Then, further east to Greektown to have a final old school Greek meal, maybe do Caplansky's even though you'll have no shortage of smoked meat in NYC, there's just something about his smoky sandwich I haven't found in NY. I'd then hop over to St. Lawrence Mkt for of course a peameal sandwich, almost guaranteed you'll never get that as good or as fresh (if at all) in NY. Sure, Portuguese might be good but then again there are some great Portuguese restaurants one that comes to mind is called Pao in SoHo.

      You don't even have to have a Tim Horton's coffee because they're all over NYC now!

      Enjoy and don't forget us. You can always come back and visit!

      1. I suggest checking out Globe Bistro for its inspired local/Canadian ingredients -

        check out the oysters and the Lake Erie pickerel (or walleye or whatever you want to call it


        and then going across the road to Allen's for some drinks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JamieK

          The fish may be, but oysters?! For someone heading out to New York and one of the BEST oyster bar in the world - Grand Central Oyster bar and grill waiting for him, I would consider choosing an alternative to having oysters at Globe.

          1. re: Charles Yu

            ah true, point taken about the oysters.

            1. re: JamieK

              Fulton fish market is the 2nd biggest fish market in the world behind Tsukiji. Deabot will do more than fine in terms of seafood in nyc.

              Actually a lot of our east coast lobsters from Canada pass through Fulton before it comes back to Toronto. Stupid I know but that's how the distro chain works.

        2. There are a few places I would definitely visit once more before leaving for the big apple:

          1. Bagel world (the original on Wilson near Bathurst) so you remember what a real Toronto bagel tastes like.
          2. Scaramouche-a Toronto instutution that may be gone by the time you return.
          3. Canoe-The best Canadian restaurant

          and drink a bottle of Niagara ice wine, while you are at it...

          12 Replies
          1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

            thanks jamie and thanks TFF, those are great suggestions!

            @Charles-if you could only pick one chinese restaurant up north out your recs, what would you settle on? I'm thinking O Mei but only because I *heart* lobster.

            1. re: deabot

              If you go on a week day, then O'mei would definitely be the front runner. ( find quality slip a bit on busy weekends ). If you want a good lobster deal ( only $12.88 per pound ), then go early on Sunday evening to ' The Emperor'. They too have an awesome stirred fried lobster with shallots/garlic chips. Enjoy and Bon Voyage!

              1. re: Charles Yu

                I suggest you get some char siu takeout from John's post O'Mei meal. Save it for lunch the next day.

                I'd make one last stop at Sukhothai too.

                I'd skip on the burger from Allen's. It's a good burger, but for a last meal deal, the Bymark burger trumps it.

                Actually, no burgers at all. Save your burger experience for Minetta Tavern. Black Label blend from Pat La Freida.



                1. re: aser

                  Hello Aser.
                  Sorry, even though agree with you 99% of the time, have to disagree with you about the 'burger' part this time!!
                  If the OP is heading out to the Big Apple, why even bother wasting time with burger in TO?! Afterall, one can have one of the world's BEST burger at Daniel Boulud's Cafe Moderne, NYC - Prime sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs, seared foie gras and black truffles in a Parmesan bun!! Yuuummm!! This burger trumps Bymark's I'm afraid! Ha1

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Yeah Charles, click on those links. I actually suggested they try this burger in NYC at Minetta Tavern.

                    In regards to Allens, I was just replying to "Restaurant Dish" who suggested Allen's.

                    1. re: aser

                      You know, true enough. I guess I was just thinking Toronto standards, but it's true, if you put single items like pizza, burgers, bagels, even sandwiches, NY has equally good, if not better in some cases. For Toronto, I like the Allen's burger probably the best. But having said that, I recently went 'burger eating' in NYC/CT and had some of the best burgers of my life; they included Minetta tavern, JG Melon, Boulud (had previously tried it...still great), Shake Shack (again, had already tried it...still amazing), and Le Parker Meridien. I wish we had this level of quality burgers here, but sadly, I've never been able to get the same here.

                  2. re: aser

                    John BBQ cha siu is more expensive (even the regular) than others. With its pricing, I would rather eat-in for the king of cha siu at John's BBQ. It is not the same after one day.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Rarely is anything as good the next day, but if it means getting to try it vs not experiencing it at all.......Having leftover char siu is not exactly the worst thing in the world.

                      1. re: aser

                        I would rather get it from Ho King (from the same plaza of Emperor) with almost half the price a pound, it is the same if leftover for the next day or so. The take-out from John's does not worth the price in my opinion. The way they cut the cha siu for take-out is just bad.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          I usually get it from John's or Kum Hong (hwy 7 & Valleymede) for takeout. Will have to try Ho King....

                          1. re: aser

                            Ho King's BBQ is ok, just that for its pricing, I found it not bad to get some take-out from time to time while doing some shopping there.

                            1. re: skylineR33

                              Surprisingly, the B-B-Q inside the Price Chopper on Major Mac and Leslie is pretty good! I particularly love their duck! Very flavourful marinade. Char Siu and roast pork is also as good if not better than Ho King. Not surprising, since chef was responsible for B-B-Q at Ho King a few years back!

            2. I'd suggest poutine. You can get it in NYC, but it won't hold the same sense memory. I'd also suggest you bring your favorite candy bars since you can't find most of them and when you do, they're more expensive.

              When you get to NYC, check out Flushing for the really good regional Chinese food. The Manhattan Chinatown has some good restaurants, but it could be argued the better ones are in Flushing and Brooklyn Chinatowns.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GoodGravy

                Compare to Toronto, Flushing's ' Northern style Chinese Cuisine' is pretty good due to the large Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese population. However, quality of Cantonese cuisine there still lags TO by a mile!

              2. Not really meals- but foods that are common here, and aren't that easy to find in NYC...pasteis de natas, buttertarts and nanaimo bars.
                I'd also swing past Soma Chocolate in the Distillery and pick up some of their english toffee and some of their more unique chocolates.

                In terms of meals, West Indian food is another food that is done well in TO, but isn't that common in most parts of Manhattan (I'm sure you could find great roti somewhere in NYC, though- just not sure where)- so I'd add a roti & maybe some doubles to that list of things to eat before leaving for the Big Apple....

                8 Replies
                1. re: phoenikia

                  yeah i was thinking a few rotis at island foods and jerk chicken at raps for west indian. and i'll be stopping by brazil bakery for those tarts. so much ground to cover, so little time!

                  thanks Charles, I love stir fried lobster and will consider both places

                  1. re: deabot

                    I love Rap's, but do know there is a big jerk scene in the outer boroughs. You'll do more than fine in nyc.


                    1. re: deabot

                      yum! natas at brazil bakery would be a must for me.

                      would swap out the island foods roti for the roti lady one but i'm less enamoured with their goat (still great!) and more really loving the channa these days. really nice depth and complexity. on that note i would consider making the drive out to drupati's.

                      and of course i would add in some sukhothai just for the experience... fried garlic shrimp, khao soi, pad thai, thai iced tea and some tapioca!

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        thanks everyone there is so much ground to cover!

                        @PP-where is the roti lady again? is she at landsdowne? my memory escapes me. and where is drupati's. Sukhothai has at least a few more visits in the coming days ahead, i heard the best thai place in nyc is in queens which will be far for me!

                        1. re: deabot

                          roti lady is on dunn (just south of queen west) almost halfway between dufferin and lansdowne.

                          drupati's is far out... 975 albion road but they do a great job of doubles compared to the ones i've had in the "downtown" area. i haven't done much hunting in scarborough.

                          1. re: deabot

                            Yes Sripraphai is located in Queens, but there are more than enough strong Thai restaurants in Manhattan to keep you occupied (including Rhong Tiam, which actually was awarded a Michelin Star this week)

                            As someone who has lived in both cities I can tell you that the posts about Cantonese being done on a superior level in Toronto is true, Charles Yu pretty much covered the basics there.

                            While NYC has a few really good Portuguese restaurants no where is on the level of Chiado in my opinion.

                            My personal hit list would be: Lai Wah Heen, Canoe, Chiado and Randy's for a patty and coco bread.

                            Randy's makes the best patty I have tried outside of Jamaica and no where in Manhattan or Brooklyn can come close. As far as Jamaican food is concerned I would totally skip over Toronto and look forward to finally trying the best Jamaican food scene outside of the Island in Brooklyn when you arrive. In Manhattan try out O'Neils food cart at 51st and 7th, which makes better JA food than any full service restaurant in TO.

                            1. re: Matt H

                              thanks matt! I really appreciate your recs and thoughts. I've been to Randy's and a return trip is in order hopefully at the same time when i'm sampling Rap's chicken.

                        2. re: deabot

                          oh and since the word in nyc seems to be that the bahn mi is being elevated into a high end item (this is just what i hear since i haven't been to nyc in a while) then i think some good old fashioned under $2 ones are in order!

                      2. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Movie popcorn. That's the one thing they just don't have right in NYC that they do well here. I'm not talking about the AMC, go to the Scotia or the Varcity and grab yourself a bag before you leave. When I lived there that's what I missed most about Toronto. The theater corn in nyc was like chewing on tin foil.

                        There's tonnes of West Indian in the outer Boroughs. Not to mention Ital which is something we severely lack in Toronto. If you ever get the chance check out a place called Excuisites in Flatbush. Mind Blasting.

                        1. A California veal sangwich *only* on Claremont
                          Pizza from John's Classic on College or Classico an Yonge
                          Lobster w/ginger & scallion at Wah Sing on Baldwin
                          A very fresh Gryfe's bagel
                          Well done twisters from Bagel World
                          Ice cream sundae at Dutch Dreams
                          Falafel at Tov Li
                          Tongue Sandwich at Yitz's
                          Take away Char sui etc at Kum Hong on Hwy7
                          Eat in the special stuff at John's BBQ
                          Doubles at Roti Hut
                          Fresh Blueberry buns and rye bread from Open Window

                          Safe travels


                          1. My friends tell me that West Indian food is much better here in TO so you might want to hit your favorite Jerk joints before you go. Jerk chicken/pork, Cow foot soup, Ox Tail, doubles etc.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: theel

                              Nah, West Indian/Jamaican in Toronto doesn't even come close to NYC and the Outer Boroughs. It's like night and day.

                              1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                I agree, how can Jerk be good in TO when no one uses Pimento Berries or Leaves (I know wood isn't available) to smoke their Jerk? Jerk without the Pimento is not really Jerk. While no one in NYC is using Pimento Wood, both McKenzie and Peppas soak the berries overnight and smoke with them, they will even throw in some leaves from time to time as well.

                                With that being said I stand behind Randy's and Allan's for patties in TO, no where in NYC can come close.

                            2. When I moved to France for a year here are a few things I missed a ton, maybe you'll miss them like me.

                              Late night dumpling and shanghai noodles at Swatow
                              Pho Hung on a cold day
                              Bun at Pho 88 on a warm day
                              Ginger lobster on Baldwin
                              Ghandi roti!
                              Any indian buffet
                              Persian food (pomegranate downtown or a kebab place uptown)

                              1. Do yourself a favour and go to Eigensinn Farm before you leave.

                                1. I'm in the reverse situation; recently transplanted New Yorker in Toronto :)
                                  Something you won't find easily in the Big Apple is horse meat and the Raw Horse Sammy at The Black Hoof is one of the best things I've eaten since I arrived in this city.