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Top 10 Food Experiences in Toronto

I realise there have been similar posts before this, but I'm trying to find a more updated list.
I want to have one special culinary experience a month for the rest of the year. I'm starting with Eigensinn Farm next week. (YAY!)
What would your recommendations be for another 10 for the rest of the year?
I enjoy different cuisines and am not fussed about the kind of food as long as it's delicious and:
1) Meat should be free of hormones and antibiotics. If not, there should be genuine vegetarian or seafood options.
2) Ideally located within reach of public transport or a short cab ride from public transport. (We don't own a car)

Thank you in advance.

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  1. There has been some pretty interesting press surrounding Hashimoto lately. It won't come cheap, but Chatto thinks the full kaiseki experience is pretty spectacular:

    - Another Japanese alternative might be omokase at Sushi Kaji too

    - I can't report directly on either, but it sounds like you're looking for fantasy-file material and both of these would be on my list

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rabbit

      Looks really good. This is on my list! Thanks.

    2. Eigensinn and Hashimoto! Money must not be a big concern on this adventure of yours. Maybe you should consider trying some Chinese delicacies one month. Lai Wah Heen would be a good option for this.
      P.S. I think there are lots of hounds who would love to hear you report back on your upcoming meal at Eigensinn.

      2 Replies
      1. re: graydyn

        I have heard really good things about Lai Wah Heen - will look it up, thanks. Have heard that Lai Toh Heen - which is closer to where I live is also amazing.

        Will also report back on Eigensinn.

        When I do this adventure once a week then I will say, quite happily, that money is not a big concern! :)

        1. re: artismarti

          Have been to Lai Wah Heen for dim sum a couple of times at lunch and am actually impressed when we get the bill. It has worked out to $20 a person for some outstanding dim sum. We leave pleasantly full (not stuffed) at this price.

      2. What a fantastic idea! Hashimoto is so high up on my list but it needs to a "BIG" occasion - I'd love to hear a report on that - actually, you should keep this thread running to post notes about all your experiences.

        First off, because it's just so stunningly delicious, you MUST go to Buca for the funghi pizza. I've posted so much about it that I'm even starting to get tired of my own recommendation but it really is THAT good.

        Perhaps some JK Frites or Susur's Singapore slaw at the Brickworks market once it opens. I'd have suggested a taste of maple syrup but it's not easily accessible without a car. Too bad you just missed the "Not Far from the Tree" at Dufferin Grove this past week-end. I'm also thinking about a summertime gelato one warm summer evening - maybe someone can post their favourite flavour from Hollywood Gelato or Il Gelaterie.

        2 Replies
        1. re: peppermint pate

          Yeah, I'm probably going to save Hashimoto for a birthday. Or maybe go to the one on Dixie Road which is $200 for the 8 course as opposed to the $300 at the other location.

          Thanks for the other suggestions. Will look them up.

          1. re: artismarti

            I don't think there are two locations - just the one at the JCCC now. but you can't tell b/c their website is down.

        2. I just had the 10-course tasting menu at Colborne Lane last night and I have to say, it was one of my top 10 food experiences, ever. The courses ranged from good to amazing, with only one or two being just 'good'. A surprise standout was the fois gras with dried bananas; the parsnip (I think) soup was equally fantastic. It's not cheap, but it was definitely worth it. I'd recommend it to anyone.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Strongbad789

            Great! Another one on the list. May I ask how much it cost? Thanks.

            1. re: artismarti

              For three of us, with two bottles of wine, three cocktails, and three tasting menus it was about $750 after tip.

              1. re: artismarti

                The regular 10 course tasting is $129 if I remember right....but if you're going for experiences...you might as well get the 15 course kitchen tasting. Can't remember how much it was....last I heard it was $150, but I would think they raised it to $180 or something like that now.

                I say also check out Rundles, Langdon Hall, and Scaramouche while you're at it.

                Langdon Hall
                1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8, Canada

            2. Waited over an hour for a table on a Saturday night at Pizzeria Libretto which usually sets you up for "nothing is worth the wait" - but even the pickiest of eaters in my group agreed that is what worth every minute. The use of local ingredients made the pizza taste so fresh and the toppings were all simple and delicious. A new fave for me in Toronto for sure...

              Pizzeria Libretto
              221 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: torontogourmet

                Pizzeria Libretto was recommended by a friend and out our way to get to, but definitely well worth it. We were warned to get there early and chose to sit at the bar. Although I thought the male bartender was hitting on my husband, it was quite amusing and the variety of bruschetta toppings other than your typical tomato was...memorable...yum... would definitly go back.

                Pizzeria Libretto
                221 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              2. These are simple suggestions and variations on a theme... one luxe and one kitsch (if you have that sense of humour):

                i) Sunset cocktails at Canoe. Sure, you can do the whole dinner thing, but if you're having an economical month you can go for a snack and a drink and not break the bank. Do try to plan it with sundown. It does let you see Toronto in a whole new way.

                ii) CN Tower... food sucks, but if you're looking for a food "experience" the view from the top is pretty special and very Toronto. I don't know if you can just have a drink up there (which would probably be better than eating)... but if you want something frivolous, fun (if you're in that kind of mood), and very Toronto... it might be worth the elevator ride.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Rabbit

                  actually, the food at 360 is not that bad, not great, but I wouldn't say it sucks. And if you time it right, there's the view of the sun setting is stunning.

                  The good thing about ordering a main course is that you don't have to pay for the elevator up, which is pretty pricey.

                  1. re: JamieK

                    OK, perhaps I was being too harsh.

                    I had my last allergic reaction to bivalves up there before I figured out that's what was insidiously developing, and it probably soured my experience somewhat. I was never in epi-pin territory, but it was gastronomically unpleasant and not a great time to be waiting for that elevator.

                    Still, I remember the food as quite wedding banquet.

                    1. re: JamieK

                      Hmm, I am going to argue and say that 360, indeed, sucks! Also, with mains that start around $35 a pop you are most definitely paying for that ride up the tower and at that price point it better be more than 'not bad', sorry.

                  2. I haven't been to Eisenginn or Hashimoto, so I cannot comment on what they're like. But here is my Toronto top 10 list (in no particular order):

                    1) Pastis Express - Best traditional French Bistro Fare
                    2) Nota Bene - Best luxe downtown dining experience (quality without the attitude)
                    3) Buca - Best upscale Italian food in Toronto, hands down
                    4) Sushi Kaji - Best Kaiseki experience (given that I haven't tried Hashimoto)
                    5) Scaramouche - Impeccable food, service and view (cannot be beat for special occasions)
                    6) Chai Lu - Best dim sum (better than any place in Chinatown and without the Lai Wah Heen price tag)
                    7) Lee Garden - Best Chinese food south of Highway 7
                    8) Blowfish - Best pretty party people sushi place
                    9) Aroma Fine Indian Cuisine - Best Indian food (from a North American perspective)
                    10) Lady Marmalade - Best neighbourhood brunch

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

                    Sushi Kaji
                    860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

                    Nota Bene
                    180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

                    Aroma Fine Indian Cuisine
                    287 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1J5, CA

                    , Toronto, ON M5G, CA

                    Lee Garden Restaurant
                    331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

                    604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: FLWB

                      Hello FLWB. I'm sorry to be picky but Sushi Kaji, though serve a multi-course Japanese dinner, however, that dinner is NOT a traditional Kaiseki one!
                      Kaji's dinner does not offer the traditional 'Hassan' course, which is typically ONE kind of sushi based on 'seasonal theme' presented together with several side dishes.
                      The few times I dined there, the 'Yakimono' course - broiled seasonal fish was noticably missing.
                      Lastly, the substantial dish - 'Shizakana' which is usually a 'hot pot' is also ignored.
                      All in all, including palette cleanser, a Kaiseki course should consist of 14 courses! I believe Kaji's dinner, even the $120 one has less than that?!

                      Sushi Kaji
                      860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        I took my SO to Kaji a number of years ago. We enjoyed the $120 dinner, which had approximately 10 or so courses, one of which was definitely a hot pot (shizakana). There was a seasonal sashimi course, but it definitely was not ONE kind of fish, but upwards of a half dozen different types of fish. I don't specifically recall a broiled seasonal fish, though there might have been one.

                        However, all three were present at our Hashimoto meal, which also consisted of about 10 or so courses. Though I would put both Kaji and Hashimoto in my personal top 10 in the GTA, I would rate Hashimoto ahead of Kaji for taste, presentation, service and ambiance. Kaji's food was delicious, but the proportions made it difficult for us to enjoy everything offered. We were stuffed by the 7th course.

                    2. Some of the most exciting food I've ever tried has been from the Black Hoof Cafe.

                      The Black Hoof
                      928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA