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Any places in Toronto worthy of being on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives?

I love the show and every time I see it, I want to visit the places Guy Fieri recommends, but they're all in the US! Are there any places in Toronto that serves DDD-worthy food?

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  1. The consensus of the 240-plus posts so far seems to be "no."


    1 Reply
    1. re: Herb

      That's because the diner idea is totally differing up here....SADLY! Flo's would be the best diner, in Yorkville....Fran's ( the original) is/was a nightmare.

    2. Stockyard's is the ONLY spot that would cut it

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bobby Wham

        Yes, out of the thousands of homemade food joints in Toronto, and area, only ONE would make the list.

      2. The Burger's Priest, Folia and Bigabaldi's leap right out in my mind. All doing as many things in house as possible. All small places with an emphasis on quality.


        6 Replies
          1. re: grandgourmand

            If it's based on line ups, we may embarrass our city.

            (e.g. Mama Martinos on Queensway, Sunset Grill, etc)

            1. re: 5andman

              We have no reason to be embarrassed. If you have been to many of the places featured on DDD, many of them are no better than places we have here in Toronto. Food doesn't have to taste good to make good television.

              1. re: mlukan

                Although I have been to a couple disappointing DDD places in my travels in the US, it seems important to me (for the sake of being honest about our strengths and weaknesses, so that we can properly honour what is good about the TO scene and identify areas of improvement) to note the following: our homegrown, traditional North American (or even Torontonian) food scene is abysmally poor in comparison to many many much smaller cities in the United States. The oft-made claim that our diverse immigrant culture is our greatest strength as far as homemade food is concerned does not (except for Chinese restaurants and even there it seems to me we might get silver medal behind Vancouver) match up with my experiences in the US (i.e. we are not as unique in this regard as we believe ourselves to be).

                Places like the Burger's Priest may be changing this (whether this can really ever be changed by doing an imitation of California style hamburgers--or any other regional US treat-- is another question) but for the time being I think we can say that the best we can offer are places that might be among the weaker entries on DDD. There's no shame in the truth. We ain't New Orleans (seafood), NYC (pizza), Philly (sandwiches), or Memphis ('cue) or any other number of places.

                Stockyards, Burger's Priest, and other places (I think Hoof Cafe's brunch would've looked pretty impressive on tv) are hopeful signs that this question will have a different answer in five years time. I guess it's right that we have no reason to be embarrassed, but I don't think that should stop us from admitting what an unsatisfied hunger we have for DDD style homemade renditions of unabashedly low-end food.

                1. re: mlukan

                  @mlukan, true.
                  But, I feel that we don't have the history (of food) that our American counterparts have (like a Boston, New Orleans, New York, etc.) and that plays a huge factor.

              2. re: grandgourmand

                NY style pizza place on Marlee.


            2. I would put Smoke's Poutinery on the list. Although if they are coming to Canada for Poutine they are going to Montreal.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Kooper

                I hope they wouldn't go to Smokes. I'm really not picky about poutine and will gladly gobble up the canned beef gravy and cheddar on frozen fries they serve in most places here. But also go out of my way for fantastic poutines and had had a bunch on a recent visit to Montreal.

                Smokes is honestly the only poutine that comes to mind that I've tossed in the garbage without finishing. I've given them two chances and can't get past that off tasting gravy. The citywide expansion and even a new location at Mont Tremblant baffles me.

                1. re: abigllama

                  Did I mention the poutine at Goody's Diner is terrific? What they don't make themselves they (father and son) source very well. Get the regular, not the fully loaded for the basic poutine. The could chug that gravy on its own. Classy, I knooooow.

                  Goody's Diner
                  133 Manville Rd, Unit 17, Toronto, ON , CA

                1. Even better, could Andrew Zimmern do an episode of Bizarre Foods here? He did Montreal already.... do we have anything wacky enough?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: TexSquared

                    How about the Atlantic for crickets?

                    1. re: sloweater

                      Shanghai Cowgirl and Cardinal Rule (haven't been there) would likely qualify based on menu and atmosphere. Also, even though I'm not a huge fan Mitzi's would probably play well on TV based on the format. Actually, given the way they could construct the narrative Stockyards and Harlem would likely be attractive for the producers too.

                      Shanghai Cowgirl
                      538 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                      Cardinal Rule
                      5 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2K2, CA

                      1. re: jamesm

                        I was thinking about Harlem myself. It has potential, though should be more consistent.

                        1. re: jamesm

                          cardinal rule sucks and it wouldn't be good on ddd either...save yourself james from cardinal rule

                          1. re: ingloriouseater

                            I'm gonna bet the owners of Cardinal Rule live to regret that name.

                            1. re: ingloriouseater

                              Agreed. The nicest people at Cardinal Rule, serving mostly terrible food with the odd good thing. Gross french toast and amazing coconut pancake.

                              Cardinal Rule
                              Toronto, Toronto, ON , CA

                        1. re: pf9k

                          Ate there the other day. Really cool, extreme dive.

                          Although my cheeseburger was cooked to death it still tasted pretty good. Real milkshakes too.


                        2. Food Cabbie food truck parked at Queen and Jarvis is totally DDD worthy! The stuff coming out of that truck is insane! The guy knows his American road food!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jmeggs

                            Wrong show. That goes on Eat St, not DDD.

                            1. re: TexSquared

                              Guy is in Vancouver this week shooting DDD episodes and at least one of the places he's shooting is a food truck,

                              Wrong again Tex

                          2. Messini on the Danforth is clearly worthy. Outstanding.

                            445 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: ektoronto

                              Have you actually ever watched the show?

                              1. re: JennaBean

                                JennaBean, what's wrong with Messini??

                                I totally agree with it being DDD worthy.

                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    Usually the show features something interesting, exciting or unique. While the food there is ok, it is just average Greek offerings not at all unique. So says the Greek girl! ;-)

                                    1. re: JennaBean

                                      I guess we just disagree on this one. I think it's terrific. I wonder if you are confusing Messini with Megas?

                                      Messini's lamb gyros is positively glorious. And those silver dollar fries with feta, olive oil and oregano! Mmm! It’s atmosphere is lively – maybe not on par with many DDD spots, but not bad at all.

                                      1. re: magic

                                        I'll jump into this discussion, since I can't help but give the Board my 2 cents when it comes to Greek food and the Danforth.

                                        The Greek fries are better at Rails & Ales, imo.

                                        Lately, I've liked the food at Megas better than the food at Messini. I used to be pro-Messini a few years back, but the last few visits, the food has been etsi-ketsi. The service at Messini was more courteous 5 years ago. The customer base, especially late at night, has become increasingly non-Greek. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think most Greeks are eating their late-night souvlaki and gyros elsewhere, maybe at Square Boy or Alexandros. It seems like Messini isn't putting as much care into the seasoning of the hand-stacked gyros lately.

                                        I don't think JennaBean would confuse Messini & Megas.

                                        I would think Square Boy or Zorba's might be be DDD-worthy.

                                        1. re: prima

                                          I used to go to Alexandros years ago (including the Scarborough location when it was in business), but stopped going as their service (at least with me) at Logan was consistently gruff and rude. So I eventually walked and never looked back. Too bad as well, their pork gyros was good.

                                          Messini’s pork gyros was fine, nothing special. But for me at least their lamb gyros and their “Greek” fries are quite delish.

                                          Also, I think comparing our restaurants to DDD places is a bit of an apples/oranges situation. Our culture is different, our tastes are different, our demands are different, our suppliers and clientele are different – and we are one city whereas DDD is filmed over an enormous nation!

                                          I’ve been to many DDD places and the food and atmospheres have ranged from godawful to life-alteringly awesome (most DDD places I’ve been to are at the very least amazing). That doesn’t mean Toronto doesn’t have incredible food – we do. But it’s not fair to say Toronto doesn’t have any DDD worthy places. In terms of food quality we absolutely do. And in terms of atmospheres and proprietors – for the most part…. apples and oranges.

                                          This is not directed at you prima, just saying in general (also, thanks for the Rails & Ales suggestion!)…..

                                          1. re: magic

                                            BTW, the Rails & Ales Greek fries are more like hand-cut, pan-fried potatoes, with slightly better feta, some vinegar, and oregano.

                                            1. re: prima

                                              Sounds great. I'm going : )

                                              I'm a sucker for frozen silver dollar ripple fries. Not many places do them anymore and those few that do seem to do them well. So I love getting them whenever I can find them. But this is an aside.....

                            2. Happened upon a film crew from the Food Network yesterday while they were shooting a new series called "You Gotta Eat Here!". It seems this is the much anticipated Canadian DDD? http://www.foodnetwork.ca/Pages/Commu...

                              They were filming at Hadley's on College St.

                              Just wondering if there is any word on other restaurants chosen?

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: justsayn

                                You can see Phil's in the clip and I heard Cardinal Rule will be on.

                                  1. re: justsayn

                                    I would agree with the few posters, that there are not many deserving.

                                    Though, would the "ethnic food courts" in the GTA count?

                                    Downsview Park Merchants Market?
                                    North York's Plaza Latina
                                    Pacific Mall (Markham)

                                    1. re: justsayn

                                      And now renamed, "You Gotta Actually Eat Here Before You Film Them". I mean seriously... Phil's?!?!?

                                      1. re: Googs

                                        I tend to think DDD has the same standards. Many places on the show are not good and locals probably roll there eyes at the prospect of their local sh*thole making the show. Food does not need to taste good to look good on tv.

                                        1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                          At least you can tell when Fieri's excited and when he's just going through the motions. As he's a chef, I expect more relevant interaction than with a stand-up comic. Though stand-ups do tend to dine at the low end of the food chain.

                                          1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                            Do you say this with firsthand experience? How many DDD places have you been to?

                                            1. re: ThoughtForFood

                                              I've been to at least 10 places and the worst one was good. There have been a few that are ridiculously good. Most are great.


                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                I agree. I've been to many DDD places. I'd say 90% of my experiences have been not just good, but incredible. I'm interested why ThoughtForFood thinks this...

                                                1. re: magic

                                                  Perhaps you can enlighten us here.

                                                  If FFT has experiences they can share too.


                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                    Haha, oh man, I could spend at least an hour composing a post on this thread. Thanks ;)


                                      2. re: justsayn

                                        A friend of mine posted This on Facebook. Looks like we'll see how The Comedian does pretty soon!

                                        1. re: LexiFirefly

                                          Isn't Haugen's in Port Perry regularly trashed on here??


                                          1. re: LexiFirefly

                                            There's also a show visiting various restos called "Chicago's Best"

                                            1. re: Wiley1

                                              We watch CB once in a while. It's a pretty good show actually.


                                        2. Gateway Subs and Burgers is a great place to get a burger, gyros, fries..etc...i visited three DDD places this summer with my family and as someone already posted just because its on tv does not make it great food.