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Jan 16, 2013 12:18 PM

Where would you take a New York foodie for lunch on a Saturday in North York?

My foodie cousin is coming in to town in 2 weeks for a family event. The only time we'll have free is Saturday lunch. Since all of the celebrations are taking place in North York, they are staying at the Holiday Inn Yorkdale and we won't have time on Saturday to head downtown.

Any suggestions? I've asked about narrowing down food types, but the answer was "I'm up for anything!"

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      1. re: shekamoo

        so seriously what was wrong with Seoul House? its like 10 seconds away, havnt been a while though, is it closed or something?

        1. re: shekamoo

          Naw it's still good, but in case they wanna try something other than Korean...

      2. If you're ok with takeout, Mr Jerk @ Keele & Lawrence. Or Pho at one of the many in the area (Pho Mi Asia, the other one on Keele just north of Sheppard). There's a Hakka place on Wilson between Dufferin and Keele that I hear good things about.

        If you're going to come towards yonge street, "Altona Kebab" was featured on the last episode of the Layover. Have not tried it, but non-Layover-watching-friends have been raving recently. So persian food of any kind may be something that's harder to find in NYC and a good choice.

        1. Take em to Eglinton west, Randy's, Mainsha, Pattys, Jerk chicken, Roti etc. Give em the authentic T-Dot experience, Good Jamaican food is probably what NYC is missing the most anyways.

          15 Replies
          1. re: Bobby Wham

            Nope, we've got plenty of good Jamaican food in NYC.

            1. re: Bobby Wham

              Nothing I've had in TO (or anywhere else, for that matter) comes close to anything I've had in Jamaica. What's the best in TO, in your opinion? I'm always left disappointed no matter which place I try. I think it has to do with the lack of availability of the wood which they use to cook the chicken with... but that's just a guess. Jerk Chicken in Jamaica is nothing like Jerk Chicken here.

              1. re: justxpete

                It's impossible to get pimento wood/leaves here so you're kinda stating the obvious.

                I still think the eg w strip Bobby recommended is a great area for food and culture. Randy's patties are retardedly good. Even sans pimento wood/leaves I still love Rap's jerk.

                If going for pho I would suggest Pho Con Bo. Pho is a weak point of nyc's weaknesses.

                If going for Korean, Cho Sun Ok or Mot Na Son. Although Korean is pretty tight in Queens.

                If you're willing to drive an extra 15 mins, the edge of Scarborough/North York/Markham will have great dim sum. Closest good ones are Spring Villa and Casa Imperial. The strongest cuisine genre in Toronto when compared to NYC.

                  1. re: justxpete

                    I guess I'm wrong. Although how cost effective would it be for a mom & pop shop to be using that for their restaurant. Restaurants like that are very much mindful of food costs, and the clientele is very price adverse.

                    Yes it's not as good as the real deal in Ja, but I'm glad to have such tasty jerk in Toronto still.

                    1. re: aser

                      There are Jamaican Jerk shops in cities like Miami, Lauderhill and Hartford that smoke with Pimento wood and leaves, as there is an import company based in Minnesota that imports the sticks, wood, leaves and berries. Yes it is expensive, but worth it if you want a true Jerk experience.

                      There are also other methods you can use to somewhat replicate the Pimento wood flavor that are quite cost effective. I use many of them myself (IE: soaking all spice berries overnight and mixing them with Peach Wood) The fact that not one Jerk place on the EW Strip takes the time and effort to do this shows how weak the Jamaican food scene in Toronto actually is in reality.

                      Back to the side topic though, if your cousin has any experience eating in Flatbush or Crown Heights, there is no reason to get any type of Jamaican food in TO other than a stop for Patties, which Toronto does very well and in my opinion better than NYC.

                      1. re: aser

                        Aser, what's your top three for jerk in Toronto? I'd like to try them if I haven't been already.

                        And I've communicated with that particular company and will have a "kit" shortly in transit. :) I can't wait!!! They also seem very friendly, so I'm sure if someone was looking at ordering large quantities, they could probably come to some sort of arrangement. Yes, higher cost, but if anyone could make jerk near as good as it is in Jamaica (with the festival dumplins), I'm sure it would be crazy busy. I'd go there weekly.

                        1. re: justxpete

                          I pretty much agree with Matt, the mr. jerk at peanut plaza has an excellent (CHEAP) jerk pork lunch deal. Alas I'm never in the area at that time nowadays.

                          My fav will always be Rap's late night w/ the oil drum barrel outside.

                1. re: Bobby Wham

                  Speaking as a Jamaican that has lived in both NYC and Toronto, NYC (specifically Brooklyn) is on another level when it comes to Jamaican cooked food than Toronto. Actually I find Toronto only does Jamaican baked goods well, all the food is mediocre to poor.

                  1. re: Matt H

                    Nothing here really beats Peppa's/Excuisites/Veggie Castle(when it was around) etc, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for Spences...

                    1. re: Matt H

                      I'm not a Jamaican food HEAD. But I figured give the NYers something Uniquely Toronto by Taking em to Eg West.

                      1. re: Bobby Wham

                        Fair enough. I guess I personally don't view EG West as unique. Everywhere Jamaicans move in any great number we set up a version of EW, and to be honest I cant think of any city witj a large Jamaican population where there inst version of Eg West available, many of which are bigger and of better variety.

                        When I think of Toronto vs NYC though, Portuguese, Dim Sum and Persian come to mind as what they do better and well in TO. I think eating Jamaican food would be doing to city and Jamaican food a disservice in general.

                        1. re: Matt H

                          Matt H - despite not being able to get good Jerk in TO, where do you go when you're in a bind?

                          1. re: justxpete

                            I cook it at home ; ) But when I lived in Toronto if I had to scratch an itch I would go to Mr. Jerk in Peanut Plaza, Spence or Raps if they were cooking outside (even though both used to be much better back in the day). Honestly if you approach it in an unbiased way and view it as BBQ chicken with Jerk Seasoning and not true authentic jerk then you will most likely be satisfied and not disappointed.

                            Also I ordered a Jerk plank from the same company you communicated with and love having it to replicate the experience in my home. You are going to love it once you get your jerk kit.

                            1. re: Matt H

                              Thanks for the suggestions, Matt. Will try those for sure.

                              I'm absolutely ecstatic about that kit. I don't know why I didn't bother looking before. I'm thinking, Brine, Marinade, sousvide, bbq? That would make for some pretty tender jerk - but that's probably overkill. Marinade - BBQ will probably be great.

                  2. Camarra's for old school Italian/Pizza? ...just S. of Yorkdale (Lawrence) on Dufferin. Sure there's plenty of great Italian in NYC, but Camarra's Pizza is probably quite a bit of a change from typical NYC pies (and tasty too!)

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