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Eating In & Around the Toronto Film Festival

Next month I will be in Toronto for a few days to attend part of the Toronto International Film Festival. I'm planning to see as many films as I can in three days.

This will be my first time at TIFF and I don't yet know which movies I'll be attending (the schedule hasn't yet been made public), but know that I'll have to find some decent grub.

I am on a pretty tight budget and, unfortunately, won't have time to travel around the city for even the best 'wonderful but out of the way' restaurants.

Any suggestions for tasty and relatively inexpensive food in and around the downtown Festival Village? What about street food?


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  1. TIFF is a little spread out still. They are trying to move it closer to their new building on King St. but right now there are theatres up by Bloor/Yorkville also. Suggest searching on here for "Yorkville" or "Entertainment District" or 'Ryerson" . Those are all areas that movies will be shown.

    Re: "Cheap" or "Cheaper" eats, my specific recommendations, around Roy Thomson Hall (also search for RTH) I would recommend Burrito Boyz as #1 for Mexican with 2nd being Zteca. Also The Grindhouse for burgers isn't too far (walkable). There are a few indian buffets on the main stretch on King also which I understand aren't too bad but never tried either. There are a few choices for schwarma in the area too but I don't have specific recommendations.

    Not sure where you are visiting from but regarding "street eats" Toronto is still limited to that as with the exception of a handful of carts, it is strictly a hot dog place for street eats. Plenty of places to grab a decent hot dog or sauce in the area. There are some french fry trucks not too far from either RTH or the new Bell Lighbox either. Speaking of Bell Light box there is at least 2 new restaurants opening/opened in there. O&B cafe and their canteen. These have been posted on here also.

    Regardless, I am sure you will have a blast. It is a great festival and although the tickets can be a bit pricey the programmers are pretty decent and tend to pick some good flicks!

    Burrito Boyz
    218 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: ylsf

      I'm visiting from NYC, and street eats here include everything from simple snacks and coffee to full restaurant-stye meals and freshly-baked desserts. Every major (and many minor) type of cuisine is sold on the streets here; some of the most popular food carts offer Mexican, Jamaican, Middle Eastern, Indian, Italian, Peruvian, German, Bangladeshi, Columbian, Chinese and Belgian. Eaters seeking kosher, halal, and vegetarian choices can easily find their foodie bliss, too.

      Street food is generally as good as (if not better than) that sold in many restaurants, and usually quite a bit cheaper. In fact, some established restaurants have expanded their offerings by setting up street cart "annexes," where they sell their most popular dishes for a bit less.

      In NYC, street food is very highly regarded, many carts are festooned with restaurant reviews and Zagat ratings, and "Vendy" awards are given to the city's best food vendors. Tourists and newcomers who turn up their noses and make wisecracks about 'dirty water dogs,' are missing out on some of the best and most affordable food in the city.

      Since my time and budget are limited, I was hoping that Toronto had a similar street food scene.

      1. re: annulla

        Welcome to Toronto and my apologies about our lack of street food. You are spoiled in NYC and what you will find street wise will disappoint you.

        1. re: Zengarden

          Thanks for the welcome, and I'm sure I won't be disappointed during my short stay. I'm coming for the films (and of course, the lovely people of Toronto), not the taco trucks. :D

          1. re: annulla

            I gave directions last night to a delegate who was looking forward to having Chinese food at Lai Wah Heen, located in the Metropolitan Hotel. I think that Torontonians are just happy to see the buzz and the fact that many filmgoers are also interested in the food culture. Enjoy TIFF10!

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

            Metropolitan Hotel
            108 Chestnut, Toronto, ON M5G1R3, CA

    2. If you're packing as many films as you can into three days (including Midnight Madness?) you may just be eating popcorn the whole time you're here. A lot of the films overlap or allow you just enough time to get to the next venue. It's pretty much the same for press screenings as well. You may be relegated to snacking during the day and hitting Toronto's late night eats after the screening's are done. In which case I would recommend a quick search on this board of late night eats.

      1. If you are near the AMC, I have heard others mention Chipotle (fast food chain) in the complex where the theatre is located.

        Closer to the Bell Lightbox, I have also heard a few mention the Corned Beef House which is at Adelaide and Peter. BTW, the box office is located at King and Peter this year.

        I usually pack something like a Chinese bun, a piece of fruit and bottled water for the line ups. There isn't much in terms of street food unless you wish to frequent the trucks that are parked along Queen Street in front of City Hall or the trucks at the Metro Convention Centre (Front Street and Simcoe).

        Corned Beef House
        303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

        7 Replies
        1. re: Zengarden

          Corn Beef House is closed, they will eventually reopen in a new location (the former Avalon space) but not in time for TIFF.

          1. re: bytepusher

            Drove by today - their door was open...

            1. re: Sherm_TO

              Open door at the new location or the old? Because the old location definitely closed on July 30th. An open door does not a running restaurant make.

              1. re: bytepusher

                Open door at the new location with a sandwich board outside saying something about being Toronto's best kep secret, I think? But this was before 10am so it may just have been open for moving.

                1. re: Sherm_TO

                  Cool, potentially good news, the original speculation was October or November, hopefully they've been able to pull that forward.

                  1. re: bytepusher

                    Door was also open on Sunday afternoon with the sandwich board out front. Looks like it's up and running. I tried to convince my bf that it was a good time for a sandwich but we had gorged on too much popcorn already.

                    1. re: maritimah

                      I saw the door open too so I also think it's up and running. I went once in the past...but I wasn't wow'ed...

        2. i'm going to the film fest this year too and noticed that z-teca has a wagjag deal today at https://www.wagjag.com/index.php?_pag... and i bought 3 of them as i get the 50 pack and i'll be down there quite a bit.

          other places taht were mentioned are good too. burrito boyz (which i prefer over z-teca, actually), corned beef house, ravi soups, ginger (or ginger 2) are all pretty decent imo.

          1. Near RTH and Lightbox - try Ginger on Queen West (at either Duncan or Simcoe, I always forget). Canteen is a decent option, but can be a bit pricier and might have big lineups.

            Near the AMC and Ryerson - upstairs AMC foodcourt, try Milo's Pita or try one of the places on Yonge (I think last year we tried Asian Bowl? It was okay.) I think there's still a Mamma's Pizza on Yonge too.

            Near the Varsity and Cumberland - try Ginger on Yonge Street (a bit south of Bloor) or one of the other Yonge Street places (avoid Zyng though - terrible food).

            But yeah, I agree with the others - I usually wind up on a popcorn and chocolate bar diet supplemented by Chinatown buns and Vietnamese subs, if I have the foresight to pack them.

            1. If you're on a tight budget, you could try Toni Bulloni (unfortunate name, I know) right across the street from the Cumberland (which I assume TIFF is using again this year). At lunch they sell street food, like chicken breast or Italian sausage on a bun. To be honest, I've never had their street food, but I've eaten there a few times, and it was pretty good. (Inside is not expensive, but not budget.) A few doors east is Dimmi, which does huge panini at lunch, and pretty decent pastas through the day and evening.

              In the food court at the AMC, there is a Middle Eastern take away, Milo's. They do very nice falafel and shawarmas: decent meat that hasn't been hanging around forever. I haven't tried anything else in that court.

              If you're at the Scotiabank Theatre, they have a dreadful food court. (Though, last year, I discovered there that the best wine pairing for a BK grilled chicken sandwich is a dry gewurztraminer.) You're better off going up to Queen Street. There's nothing great, but on the north side of Queen just east of John is a crepe place, and they also do pretty good panini.

              Toni Bulloni
              156 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5R1A8, CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                For the record, Cumberland is not being used this year.

                Re: Queen Street recommendations... HOSU is a decent cheep spot. Personally I didn't like the crepe place mentioned above, but, I guess for a quick meal it might be decent enough.

                1. re: ylsf

                  I used to grab Hosu every now and then for cheap weeknight sushi take-out. The last time I went, the sashimi was a pile of mush and I haven't been back since because of it.

              2. Here are a few places that are quick/won't bust your budget that I can think of

                King St: The nice thing about O&B Canteen is that their kitchen is open until midnight. Great for post TIFF eats, and they have great pastries and treats! You can also grab one of their sandwiches during the day, or maybe a couple and keep them in your bag? Fusaro's KItchen (Spadina & Queen) has sandwiches which you can also pop in your bag. Or sit down and enjoy if you have time =) Across the street is Ackee Tree for Jamaican food that I enjoy.

                Between the two, I like Burrito Boyz better than Zteca, and I usually go for their halibut. Not a fan of their steak (http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...). They're relatively quick and filling.
                Grindhouse has great burgers, but I think that if you're bouncing between venues you might have a hard time eating and running to your next show (http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.co...) but I'd choose that over Craft Burger. Ravisoups is a good rec!

                There are some ethnic food vendors out and about, but I haven't tried them. I heard the Carribean one on Bay/Wellington is quite good though.

                Around Yorkville...there's not much for a cheap, quick bite that comes to mind, there's Craft Burger, or a brisk walk down to Church and Wellesley will bring you to A La Turque, my fav schwarma place. While best eaten fresh and warm, I would personally prefer to stick that in my bag and eat it cold when I'm hungry than just fill up on popcorn.

                I hope you have a good time here!

                Burrito Boyz
                218 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

                147 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V2L7, CA

                Big Smoke Burger
                573 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

                Ackee Tree
                170 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2C2, CA

                A La Turque
                558 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y2E3, CA

                1128 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                1. If you're in the King/Bay neighbourhood between approx. 11:30 and 2, you can get your street food at the Toronto a la Cart vendor selling jerk chicken roti - they're fantastic. Otherwise, welcome to the wide wide world of sausage carts and poutine.

                  1. http://www.nowtoronto.com/movies/stor...
                    Perhaps this will be helpful...although I really don't agree with Wish. There's a review of the place on my blog, but I can't link to it without copying and pasting the entire thing which isn't really right for this thread :3


                    1. To add to this, I need a place closer to the Elgin, preferably Chinese food. I don't have deep pockets so nothing high end. Not interested in Spring Rolls and if all else fails I will just go to Yueh Tung on Elizabeth Street.


                      Yueh Tung
                      126 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G, CA