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Nov 10, 2011 07:52 PM

OBSCURE OR RARE Cuisine in City of Toronto

I've been searching for new restaurants...those with rare or obscure cuisines.

I know we have no Indonesian place in Toronto, except for the quarterly Rijstafel at Quince. There's an aboriginal restaurant in town. There's Tibetan and Napalese food here. At one time there was the city of Jerusalem food here. Filipino restos are rare.
Ethiopian, Somalian - a few. Mauritian has been here for over two decades.

Are there any other obscure or rare offerings of restaurants, on a regular basis (not a special one-off) ????

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  1. Filipino joints are definatly not rare.. there are so many places in scarborough( i know in some people's minds not toronto) and many major intersections intersecting with bathurst. (Bathurst and Steeles,Finch, Sheppard, Wilson, Lawrence, Eglinton, etc)

    1. I found a link that shows over 60 different ethnic restaurants in the GTA:

      1. ethiopian is definitely not rare.

        maybe cambodia and laotian food.. not too many of those, compared to other cuisines.
        a lot of african cuisines. rastafarian ital food. maybe european food like scandinavian? afghani food is not super comoon, though there are some restaurants. a lot of chinese cuisine that is not just cantonese, hakka, shanghainese, etc.. for example, the cuisine from northwestern china, or even some of what i tasted in yunnan province from other ethnic groups.

        4 Replies
        1. re: helenhelen

          where do you get laotian food since vanipha lanna closed? would love some chang mei noodles!

          1. re: helenhelen

            I haven't lived in Toronto for a while now, but my family used to go to a Yunnanese "Crossing the bridge" noodles place at the plaza east of Kennedy on Finch (the one with the Chung Hing Supermarket). Don't remember if they had other Yunnanese specials. Also, you can find Xinjiang cuisine at the plaza at Ferrier/Steeles. It's on the back side beside the food court. The chicken and noodles plate is delicious!

              1. re: helenhelen

                Oh, I don't know. I can tell you that for the Yunnanese place, you enter the plaza that's at the NE corner of Milliken Blvd and Finch Ave. E. and it's in the main block of buildings, not the block with the HSBC or the medical building (the one that has multiple floors), but the single-storied building with the supermarket and the big Cantonese restaurant. To the left of the Cantonese restaurant, there's two entrances to the little shopping mall inside. Go through the left doors (they connect inside anyways, so it doesn't really matter). The restaurant should be on your left hand side almost immediately unless they've closed since I last went there (about 3 years ago).

                As for the Xinjiang place, which I'm more confident is still probably around, it's in the Taiwanese plaza on the NW corner of Ferrier St and Steeles Ave. E. just across from the Toronto border. It's not on the sides facing Ferrier or Steeles but the side facing the parking lot inside. Asian Legend is on one side while this place is on the other side beside the food court. You access it from the parking lot sidewalk not the indoor mall like you would the food court. There's also a fabulous Hunanese restaurant on the other side of that plaza facing Ferrier.

                Good luck finding them! :)

          2. It kinda goes without saying (but I'll say it anyways) but the problem with "exotic" cuisines tends to be that there's a difference between having an exotic restaurant and a good exotic restaurant.

            For example, I'd KILL to have a decent Isaan (poor, rural, north-eastern Thai province) restaurant, but I'd settle for a decent Thai restaurant that doesn't rely on gluggy sauces and more than just vaguely resembles something you can get in Thailand.


            2 Replies
            1. re: biggreenmatt

              I've heard that Thai Bistro at yonge and sheppard is incredible, authentic Thai from a lot of different people. Haven't been yet personally...

              Thai Bistro
              5306 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5P9, CA

              1. re: biggreenmatt

                That one at Peter and Adelaide is pretty good. Their khao soi was outstanding, as were the squash fritters. I believe the restaurant is called Khao San Road, which is ironic seeing as that's the least Thai street in Thailand. :)

              2. Have you tried Goan and Konkani (Indian ) food ? There are a few places in Mississauga that serve it.

                Here are links to places I found, but have not yet tried:

                GALAXY RESTAURANT :

                KONKAN DELIGHT:

                And if you want something closer to Toronto, you can try the Indian food at Maroli on Bloor near Palmerston.

                All these regional cuisines I have mentioned above are very different from what most people expect when they think of Indian food, and they are not swimming in oil like the dishes from the north often are.

                After typing this I realised you mentioned "City of Toronto" so I'm not sure if you want to travel out to those first two...

                630 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1K7, CA

                6 Replies
                1. re: foodyDudey

                  I'd KILL for a Goan restaurant in the heart of the city. Kill!

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    know of any good keralan places (that have keralan veg options)?

                    1. re: helenhelen

                      Aravind on the Danforth near Carlaw is a restaurant specialising in cuisine from Kerala, a province in India. I've really enjoyed it the few times I've been over the last year (opened about a year ago). The chef is an older man from that area, and his lovely son runs the front of the house. The food is really interesting - used to be only vegetarian and fish dishes, but they have started to include a few meat choices on the menu recently. Food pairs nicely with the Ontario wines they feature. Prices are a bit on the high side, but quality and service are exceptional. Worth a try!

                      1. re: cheesegal

                        I think Aravind is on Dining Date Night too. I had seen them and wondered about them.

                        1. re: jlunar

                          What were you wondering that the reviews here and in the newspapers didn't clarify?

                          1. re: foodyDudey

                            More that I was browsing the restaurants on DDN and was like "Hmn.. Aravind, I have heard, but do not know anything about" vs "I couldn't find anything on them" is all. :)