HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

Boston Chowhound looking for guidance

Hi all,
I'm visiting Toronto this week, looking for some restaurant recommendations. We are an easy crowd, love all types of cuisine, don't prefer to spend a fortune but overall just looking for the best of the best. Any old favorites or new hot spots would all be welcome. Also, I am a burger fanatic and have a blog in Boston devoted to the topic, and I certainly wouldn't mind a burger or two while I'm here. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Toronto is a large city. Where will you be staying? Will you have a car? Willing to subway/streetcar? Price no object?

    1. Just returned from Boston this weekend actually. Fantastic dining city, arguably unparalleled for seafood in North America.

      The best burger IMHO is to be had at Bymark located downtown in the financial district. Get it medium rare at most. Search the board for other burger recs.

      Boston's Chinese offerings are crummy compared to Toronto's, so check out Lai Wah Heen for top flight dim sum or roasted duck or pork if meat is your bag.

      Continuing on the meat trend, for unbeatable charcuterie, you absolutely must go to Black Hoof (or Hoof Cafe if BH is too busy). Boston's Butcher Shop nor Toro have nothing on the Hoof.

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

      Bymark
      66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA

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

      18 Replies
      1. re: vidkid

        I second the Black Hoof. For a burger that's a little cheaper, try the southwestern at Utopia. Other ideas: Thai = Sukhothai, Italian = Buca, pizza = Terroni, modern tapas = Origin, traditional tapas = Cava, and bistro = Simple Bistro.

        -----
        Cava
        1560 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 2S9, CA

        Simple Bistro
        619 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S2M5, CA

        Terroni
        57 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K6, CA

        Sukhothai
        274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

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

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

        1. re: dubchild

          let's take it one meal at a time. We will try Black Hoof at some point this week. Feeling something Bistro-ish for tonight. Simple Bistro looks good, what else is there along those lines? Diner for three, casual, quiet enough for a conversation, we will have a car. Also, I'd say we're fine with spending up to $30 per entree.

          -----
          Simple Bistro
          619 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S2M5, CA

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

          1. re: rchudy

            Pizza = Libretto - real deal neapolitan pizza
            Real Burger = Burger's Priest - In'n'Out style, griddled burger. Yum.
            Gourmet Burger = Bymark - I agree with that one
            French Bistro = Pastis or La Palette or Tati
            Modern Bistro = Harbord Room or Loire or one of the many, many others

            -----
            Bymark
            66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA

            Harbord Room
            89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

            La Palette
            492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

            1. re: acd123

              Burger's Priest is definitely happening, thanks for the tip, that's right up my alley. think we're trying Globe tonight..

              1. re: rchudy

                If you have time and the weather is good, go a bit early to Globe and have drinks/snacks on the patio..! Nice space up there.

                1. re: jlunar

                  did not love Globe. found it very pretentious and overall lacking fundamental technique and seasoning.

                  1. re: rchudy

                    That's too bad, they are capable of some excellent things there but don't always fire on all cylinders unfortunately, I've had two of the best meals I've ever had in the city there, and a couple disappointments. I'm not as much a fan of the current chef as his predecessor (who is now the CdC at ONE) and having his attentions split over two places hasn't helped.

                2. re: rchudy

                  I look forward to hearing what you think. Try "the Option". I was a wimp but my wife tried it (I had a big bite, though). It's crazy. A juicy griddled burger topped with a portabello mushroom that's stuffed with cheese, coated in panko and deep fried.

                  1. re: acd123

                    Loved the Burger's Priest, going after my own heart, griddled, West-Coast style, my favorite. Fries could have been crisper but the burger was the star. Also did Craft burger the day before, enjoyed that as well, better space, slightly inferior burger although still enjoyable. Excited for Lee's for lunch and Black Hoof for dinner on my last night.

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

                    1. re: rchudy

                      I just came back from Toronto. I ended up eating dinner at Black Hoof twice during our 4-day trip because we wanted to try more dishes on the menu. Everything we had was really outstanding. If you're not squeamish, try the raw horse sandwich. I can't even think of a place even close to this in NYC. Note: cash only, American debit cards don't work here, and no credit card.

                      On a lighter side, Foxley is really great for ceviche. I wasn't too impressed with the other dishes, but loved all their ceviche.

                      -----
                      Foxley
                      207 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z8, CA

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

                      1. re: nohofoods

                        Black Hoof was awesome. Tried many of the dishes, including:
                        sweetbreads
                        bone marrow
                        horse sandwich - lacking in flavor, but intriguing to eat horse, especially raw. a little salt would have gone a long way.
                        calf's brain ravioli
                        pork belly and squid - pork was stellar, squid overcooked and "fishy." seared watermelon was interesting
                        charceuterie plate - definite favorite, a must try

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

                        1. re: rchudy

                          I had that pork belly dish recently, and while I thought that the pork was very good and the sauce (although a bit sweet for my taste) complimented it very well, the squid and watermelon just felt very out of place. I didn't find the watermelon added anything except for a weird textural contrast, and the squid just didn't make any sense at all. I would have preferred just the pork and sauce.

                3. re: acd123

                  For traditional bistro fare, check out Le Paradis or Le Select.

                  For modern bistro fare, I second acd123's recs: Harbord Room is number one for me (bit more young, hip) followed closely by Loire (bit more elegant but not stuffy).

                  Boston's awash in decent bistros and standard French food, so don't expect to be blown away by our offerings. If you're looking for a unique bistro vibe, do check out Harbord Room.

            2. re: vidkid

              Depending on travel dates the Hoof may not work, they closed for vacation today, for 2 or possibly three weeks, who know since all one gets is vague hints on twitter. Man I love the food but the rest of the shtick is wearing thin.

              1. re: bytepusher

                Further clarification, Hoof cafe is closed until September 2nd. The restaurant is open until the 24th then closes until the 9th of September

                1. re: bytepusher

                  I believe both Black Hoof and Hoof Cafe are still open. They close Mon, Aug 23 for two weeks. I'm trying to confirm with a friend who works there.

                  1. re: vidkid

                    This has been very confusing, I corrected my earlier post. In fact the CAFE is closed today and re-opens on the 2nd. The restaurant is still open until the 24th then closes until September 9th.

                    1. re: bytepusher

                      That sounds correct. Still no official confirmation from my friend, but I'd bet on bytepusher's info.

              2. I would second Origin. Very well executed food. Great room and vibe as well.

                I quite enjoy Beer Bistro - of course an excellent beer selection, mussels are very well done ( not overcooked, tasty broth) excellent fries, the burger at BeerBistro is also quite tasty and juicy

                If you get a chance, St Lawrence Market is terrifc to visit/view. And serves wonderful peameal bacon sandwiches for something VERY casual and inexpensive

                -----
                Beer Bistro
                18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

                1. Do you have Jamaican food in Boston?? If not, we have a very good Jamaican community here and lots of choices.

                  If you're down town I'd perhaps suggest Mr. Jerk on Wellesley.

                  DT

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Davwud

                    Your thinking in the proper direction there DT, just a little off track.

                    As someone who moved to Boston from Toronto I would recommend trying one of the amazing Jamaican bakeries in Toronto (Randy's, Tinels, Michidean or Allens) The patties or any baked goods (Plantain tarts, Gizzada especially) are better than our best here in Boston which is Lenny's.

                    As far as Jamaican cooked food is concerned I would skip it because dare I say Boston might have a few less, but the quality much greater here than TO which I have always found mediocre.

                    The recommendations above for Lai Wan Heen or just Cantonese in general blows away anything we have in Boston.

                    Greek food is also very much lacking in Boston, I would suggest Mezes on the Danforth as my personal favorite.

                    For burgers, last trip to Toronto I really enjoyed the burger at Nota Bene, thought is was perfectly cooked and very tasty.

                    -----
                    Mezes
                    456 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P4, CA

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

                    1. re: Matt H

                      I was thinking more down town. Randy's or Caribbean Queen would both be great options.

                      DT

                      -----
                      Caribbean Queen
                      25 The West Mall, Toronto, ON M9C1B8, CA

                      1. re: Davwud

                        Hi Toronto friends! I'm coming back for another visit, will effectively have 3 potential dinners and 3 potential lunches. Will have a car, if hat matters. We aren't looking for extravagant, or very expensive, but anything interesting, ethnic or otherwise is perfect. Any new places that I have to try? Any other food trips worth making, ie kitchen stores, grocery stores or general 'hound destinations that don't involve restaurants? I will be coming the first week of August. Cheers!

                        1. re: rchudy

                          I'd strongly suggest visiting Markham (an area north/northeast of Toronto) and trying some of the specialized Chinese that can be found there. Ding Tai Fong for Shanghainese Johns BBQ for Cantonese BBQ etc. If you search for posts by Charles Yu and SkylineR33 you'll be able to experience some of the best Chinese on the continent.

                          1. re: rchudy

                            You absolutely must go to the Cheese Boutique, www.cheeseboutique.com/ ,which rivals any food store for serious foodies on the planet.

                            -----
                            Cheese Boutique
                            45 Ripley Ave, Toronto, ON M6S, CA

                            1. re: rchudy

                              Markets:
                              Saturday = Brickworks (Evergreen) market. Food to eat there, some great produce to take home. August means heirloom tomatoes and other fun things. Some wicked apples there as well.
                              Kensington market - nice for a stroll, its beside Chinatown. More interesting than anything else...not sure if you'll buy anything or discover anything.

                              Food....some new things have opened in the past year. Woodlot, Inoteca Sociale (well, its been around for a few years, but...), Ici Bistro. But you said you want ethnic, and ethnic, we have.

                              my pesonal fave? Ethiopian. Our Ethiopian here is great. I love Duken (Danforth and Greenwood). Will cost you $15/person to be stuffed and have a beer.
                              We have some other neat areas, like little Korea, J-Town (Japanese), etc. not sure what else you want. The suggestion to visit Markham is great.

                              1. re: atomeyes

                                oh, and please bring some of Mike's Cannoli for me (kidding, but not really...please?)

                                1. re: atomeyes

                                  I can bring some Cannoli's :) How about Poutine??

                                  1. re: atomeyes

                                    Off-track, but my sister brings these back when she goes to Boston. She asks them to store the ricotta in a separate bag and brings over lock 'n' lock containers to store the shells. XD

                                    Just some transport tips! Hee hee.

                                2. re: rchudy

                                  Opened since your last visit, Campagnolo, Porchetta, Woodlot, Porchetta would be good for lunch.

                                  There's an "all sustainable" fishmarket called Hooked in the Leslieville neighbourhood

                                  Just opened and not yet reviewed here, The Bowery

                                  -----
                                  Campagnolo
                                  832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA