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One day Toronto eating trip

I will have an entire Saturday and Sunday morning after a business trip to eat everything Toronto has to offer.

Any suggestions on unique or outstanding food around downtown Toronto? There's not much sightseeing in Toronto so I will be going around just eating all day. Thanks!

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  1. there are literally one thousand of these threads already
    here is one

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894774

    1. not possible to try everything that toronto offers in a day and a half. simply trying all of the different ethnic cuisines would take years. . .

      not to mention, downtown toronto is somewhat limiting as greater toronto offers so much else to eat.

      your question is really, really broad, as well. perhaps there is a particular cuisine, or food item you'd like to try?

      as well, it's always useful to know where you are from, so we have an idea of what not to recommend (what are your hometown's strengths).

      also, you might want to mention budget (if any) and dietary preferences/restrictions. . .

      5 Replies
      1. re: afong56

        i am looking for chinese, italian, canadian, french.

        i am from los angeles, it is very easy to name the top 3 restaurants for nearly every category of cuisine in LA. i hope that is also possible for toronto.

        no budget or dietary restrictions.

        1. re: feed_the_pig

          French - Le Select is within walking/short cab distance
          Italian -Enoteca Sociale

          1. re: feed_the_pig

            los angeles has world class food, so i'm not sure you'll find italian or french food here that is unique enough or better than what you have available to you back home.

            as far as chinese, i think of all the chinese regions represented in downtown toronto, probably cantonese is done best. this includes a range of places from as basic as king's noodle, to house of gourmet, up to lai wah heen in the metropolitan hotel. you will get a lot of different opinions on this, tho.

            as for 'canadian', that's a tougher one. truly traditional canadian cuisine might mean a place like keriwa cafe (which is truly canadian only in the sense of cuisine origin and inspiration, not preparation, per se--probably not going to have pan fried bannock or buffalo stew on a menu downtown), or 'french-canadian' like what martin picard does in montreal at au pied de cochon. suggestions for canadian items, such as the backbacon/peameal sandwich are solid, so would perusing through the thread on butter tarts.

            eating your way through slm and kensington are solid ways to get a footing. perhaps grabbing a fresh 'montreal-inspired' bagel from st. urbain in slm, and then one from nu bagel in kensington will give you that comparison (although i think bagel world does it better, but none actually do montreal bagels perfect, imho)--if you've never had montreal bagels, you will notice a real difference from the ones that typically get sold in the u.s.

            has los angeles discovered poutine yet?

            1. re: afong56

              afong56, thank you. i do enjoy cantonese food, particularly hk style cafes. king's noodle and house of gourmet are in the downtown area where i am staying and they look like ideal places to visit. however, i have heard the cantonese food in markham/scarborough is far superior to those in downtown TO. is there a remarkable difference in the quality/authenticity? if there is, i may consider taking the train out to those cities.

              your ideas about slm and kensington are well taken, i will eat my way through those markets. excited about getting my mitts on a montreal bagel.

              los angeles knows nothing about poutine so far. if i find them to be tasty, i may adopt the dish into one of our night markets.

              1. re: feed_the_pig

                It is arguable that there is a good poutine place in the Toronto area.

                You will find "Smoke's " poutinerie all over the city now, if you get one from there I prefer the vegetarian gravy over their normal one. I prefer Poutinie's over Smokes in general too -
                http://www.poutini.com/

                Good late night food!

                EDIT - Ah, just saw the other posts about poutine up above!

        2. Not the gourmets' choice but once when my husband asked me where I wanted to go out to dinner on my birthday I said "The Mandarin" and so we went there, and the Mandarin is in Toronto, and we lived in Chicago. Look at the Mandarin's website (they have half a dozen locations) for pictures. A NICE Chinese buffet (white tablecloths and fresh flowers) with (I have counted) 48 hot Chinese entrees on the Chinese buffet plus roast prime rib of beef and Yorkshire pudding on the Canadian buffet, plus chicken and salmon and lamb chops on the grill buffet, plus a salad buffet with ad lib shrimp, plus a sushi bar, plus a dessert buffet, six kinds of soup, ten kinds of ice cream, and a waffle bar. A place where families take Grandma for her birthday.

          1. Please don't go to the Mandarin on your one day in Toronto. It may be a half-decent buffet, but in the end it's still a buffet with buffet food.

            As afong56 writes -- it would help us to know where you are coming from and what kind of food you are interested in.

            4 Replies
            1. re: TorontoJo

              I have to agree with TorontoJo here - please do not go to Mandarin. Chinatown is a great idea, as is the St Lawrence market.

              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                I hate Mandarin as much as the next person, however I think it should be noted that it was a tourist who mentioned this. That persons input could be valuable to another tourist as oppose to people who live here and no longer appreciate Mandarin.
                Maybe it appeals to people that have never been. I'm sure at one point in time, most people (including those who now despise it) were excited to try it. I know for me, it was a good four visits many years ago before I started to dislike the food. I think the amount of options is what may appeal to some.

                1. re: fryerlover

                  The OP has asked for "unique and outstanding food". I would not send anyone asking for that to Mandarin. It is fine for someone looking for a buffet, but the OP has not asked for that.

                2. re: TeacherFoodie

                  Thank you! I will try your suggestions.

              2. Highly suggest that you watch the Toronto episode of Bourdain's Layover show. Google it.

                Assuming you're coming alone. I suggest the following:
                - St. Lawrence Mkt for peameal bacon
                - Barque Triple A for barbeque
                - Soma Chocolatier in distillery or on King St W, for an espresso or Hot chocolate
                - Guu

                That should cover most bases

                1 Reply
                1. re: meatnveg

                  Thank you meatnveg for the ideas, exactly what I was seeking, a few places where I can catch a taste of Toronto