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Let's hear who has the best onion rings in Toronto!

Full tummy Aug 6, 2013 08:59 PM

Because my birthday is coming soon, and onion rings are on my list!

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  1. justsayn RE: Full tummy Aug 6, 2013 09:37 PM

    Thompson hotel diner has fantastic rings consistently. Burger Shoppe Queen east are solid. Both are the breaded type, not batter and both keep grease to a minimum.

    2 Replies
    1. re: justsayn
      kwass RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 10:15 AM

      I knew I was going to see you on this thread justsayn, and I knew you were going to list the Thompson Hotel :) I couldn't agree more. The onion rings @ the Thompson Hotel rock!!!!

      1. re: justsayn
        ukers RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 08:57 PM

        Yes, Thompson Diner has my favourite onion rings. Mind you, the last few times I had them, the oil seemed a little old. Overall though, they are exactly as I like them - thick cut sweet onions, breaded and fried until the coating crunches like crackers. They are almost a meal. The soft-cooked onions and the crunchy outsides are like two different beasts!

        I also agree - A & W's are a similar style and I love these too. The small-ringed, frozen, batter-dipped kind are awful. The soak up oil like crazy and get really mushy.

      2. y
        Yongeman RE: Full tummy Aug 7, 2013 12:12 PM

        Not Toronto, Buffalo. Ted's Red Hots has the best onion rings I've ever had.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Yongeman
          PoppiYYZ RE: Yongeman Aug 8, 2013 07:34 AM

          Very interesting. I'll be in Buffalo this weekend. Which Ted's location do you visit ?

          It will be nice to get an international reference when comparing Toronto's best Rings.

          1. re: PoppiYYZ
            kwfoodiewannabe RE: PoppiYYZ Aug 8, 2013 10:04 AM

            Ted's has a location on Transit Road near Russell's (Salvatore's Grand Hotel) had a burnt footlong 2 weeks ago. Outstanding! Plus they have Loganberry (a little sweet, but so nostalgic) missed the onion rings... fries were fresh cut...

            1. re: kwfoodiewannabe
              The Chowhound Team RE: kwfoodiewannabe Aug 8, 2013 11:29 AM

              Just a quick request, folks -- if you've got more to add to this conversation about rings in Buffalo, please start a new discussion on the New York State board and leave a link here. That'll make sure the info ends up in the right spot. Thanks!

              1. re: The Chowhound Team
                PoppiYYZ RE: The Chowhound Team Aug 8, 2013 05:39 PM

                Thanks, but just trying to add an International frame of reference to our TO Onion Ring quest. Not trying to make Buffalo the topic.

                I just wanted to know where kw got his Buffalo's best. BTW, are burnt footlongs Rippers ?

                1. re: PoppiYYZ
                  kwfoodiewannabe RE: PoppiYYZ Aug 8, 2013 07:42 PM

                  I believe I have heard that term. Not sure if there are specific requirements for that name (type, etc.). I just ask for it "well done"

                  1. re: PoppiYYZ
                    PoppiYYZ RE: PoppiYYZ Aug 12, 2013 07:17 AM

                    Done. Crispy, Crumbly, Goodness...

                    1. re: PoppiYYZ
                      Yongeman RE: PoppiYYZ Aug 12, 2013 07:25 AM

                      : )

                2. re: kwfoodiewannabe
                  Yongeman RE: kwfoodiewannabe Aug 8, 2013 12:24 PM

                  Bingo, that's the one, kwfw.

            2. a
              autopi RE: Full tummy Aug 7, 2013 12:30 PM

              it's been ages, but i liked the onion rings at nota bene.

              1. s
                Sadistick RE: Full tummy Aug 7, 2013 12:38 PM

                Not Toronto - and perhaps 15 years ago, but back when we used to have a place in Scottsdale, AZ, we would go to this place called Hoolihans, and they had an Onion Ring BRICK - thing was AMAZING!

                I would also echo Nota Bene's suggestion, love the paper thin rings.

                1. t
                  Tatai RE: Full tummy Aug 7, 2013 09:25 PM

                  A & W. No, I'm not kidding.

                  19 Replies
                  1. re: Tatai
                    Michael N RE: Tatai Aug 8, 2013 06:02 AM

                    Yep. That's exactly what I was thinking, but I didn't want to be the first person to bring up a fast food joint. The onion rings at A&W are surprisingly good. If there are better onion rings in the city (and there probably are), I haven't tried them. My only issue with them is that the breading isn't particularly well seasoned -- they season post-fry. So sometimes they're perfectly seasoned and tasty, and sometimes they're fairly bland.

                    1. re: Tatai
                      kwfoodiewannabe RE: Tatai Aug 8, 2013 06:21 AM

                      I prefer breaded to battered, so +1 for A&W onion rings...
                      agree with Michael N though, they can be underseasoned.

                      Great with a frozen mug of Root Beer (though strangely, I am not particularly fond of Root Beer...)

                      1. re: kwfoodiewannabe
                        Tatai RE: kwfoodiewannabe Aug 8, 2013 07:09 AM

                        I'm a breaded-only onion ring fanatic, too. I've also had amazing onion rings at W Burger Bar on College just west of Yonge. They're panko-breaded. Haven't had them in a couple of years, though, so don't know if they're still good.

                        As for A & W, they're the only thing I'd order there. Everything else if pretty bad, in my opinion. The Teen Burger of my youth (1960s/70s, made with back bacon) was delicious; the current version (with strip bacon) is horrid.

                        1. re: Tatai
                          Michael N RE: Tatai Aug 8, 2013 07:28 AM

                          Yeah, the onion rings are clearly the best thing on the menu, though I will say that the burgers are pretty good by fast food standards (which is a very low bar, obviously).

                          1. re: Tatai
                            justsayn RE: Tatai Aug 8, 2013 08:20 AM

                            You reminded me of W Burger. Thanks I recall having very good rings there a couple of times last year.

                            I don't get the fuss over A & W onion rings though. I didn't even want to eat my whole order. They are crispy sure, but they have no other attributes that I enjoy about an onion ring. The best analogy for me would be, if you like fries which are coated and frozen as much as you like fries from fresh cut potatoes, you may like A & W onion rings as much as you like rings from fresh cut onions.

                            The difference between fresh and fast food frozen is so far apart that they may deserve their own name for conversations such as this!

                            1. re: justsayn
                              Michael N RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 08:41 AM

                              FYI I was under the impression that A&W makes the onion rings fresh in-store, though I could be mistaken. They certainly don't taste like any frozen onion ring I've ever had. As for the lack of taste, as I mentioned before the level of seasoning does depend on the person behind the fryer, so you probably got an underseasoned batch.

                              1. re: Michael N
                                justsayn RE: Michael N Aug 8, 2013 09:04 AM

                                They have always been frozen and enjoyed by many. If they are fresh made, that would be a very new thing.

                                An A & W onion ring is its own thing and people love it. I just happen to not like it for what it is and I wouldn't like it even if it were the official onion ring. Whereas a chicken mcnugget of grossness is something I enjoy from time to time despite its not being near as good as fresh made chicken fingers.

                                So when I think of the variations of other foods that I enjoy (given that I do not live in the "must be authentic" camp), it would be more fair and in keeping with my spirit to say that I just simply don't like A & W onion rings and it doesn't have anything to do with how they compare to fresh.

                                1. re: justsayn
                                  Michael N RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 09:59 AM

                                  I think maybe you should give the A&W onion rings another shot. Everything I'm reading online says they're made fresh in-store, and they certainly taste fresh to me. I've had a lot of different frozen onion rings and I'm pretty confident I can taste the difference between fresh and frozen, though I am admittedly not an expert. The McNugget to real chicken strip comparison doesn't apply, IMO. I mean, different strokes for different folks, but the thing you're describing doesn't jive with what I've been served at A&W over the last few years.

                                  1. re: justsayn
                                    LearningHow RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 10:06 AM

                                    Actually when I worked at A&W several years ago (early 90s), the rings were definitely made fresh. The morning crew would slice the huge onions -- they would be laying flat in these rubbermaid-type baskets with layers in between. As I was a cashier and not part of the cooking staff I can't remember if they battered them before laying them out or if they battered them just prior to frying.
                                    But I definitely know they were made fresh right in-store.

                                    1. re: LearningHow
                                      justsayn RE: LearningHow Aug 8, 2013 10:13 AM

                                      Interesting and I stand corrected on the fresh vs frozen but like I also mentioned - the main point for me was not liking them just for what they are. The reason I assumed they were frozen is because there was no sign of onion in the onion ring....just onion matter that blended into the coating.

                                      I assume that would be the case for all locations so I am very surprised.

                                      Thanks for correcting my assumption!

                                      1. re: justsayn
                                        kwfoodiewannabe RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 10:17 AM

                                        Not sure when you last tried them, but the "no sign of onion" comment is interesting. I have never seen anything resembling what you describe as "onion matter that blended into the coating". Sometimes I even find the onion sliced a little thick for my taste...

                                        1. re: justsayn
                                          Michael N RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 10:20 AM

                                          Huh. This is a stupid question, I know, but are you sure you're not confusing A&W's onion rings with Burger King's?

                                          I don't even know why I care -- you are free to like and dislike what you please, of course, and it's not like A&W's onion rings are the pinnacle of good food. But what you're describing just doesn't sound like any A&W onion ring I've ever had. Maybe you were just served a bad batch?

                                          1. re: Michael N
                                            kwass RE: Michael N Aug 8, 2013 10:23 AM

                                            That's funny that you ask. I can't speak for justsayn, but I think I might have confused A & W's for Burger King...oops!!

                                            1. re: Michael N
                                              justsayn RE: Michael N Aug 8, 2013 10:33 AM

                                              : ) All good Michael!

                                              It was twice. A&W on Mavis Rd. and A&W in the food court by The Bay at Bloor and Yonge.

                                              Nothing like a real piece of onion .... so weird to me because I really love onion rings and pay attention.

                                              1. re: justsayn
                                                Michael N RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                Well, it seems unlikely that you would have been served a bad batch at two different locations, so I guess we'll just have to chalk this one up to different strokes and leave it at that!

                                                1. re: Michael N
                                                  justsayn RE: Michael N Aug 8, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                  Well no! Here is where it gets interesting. I just called the location on Mavis at West Central Pkwy and asked because it just didn't make sense. I was told that their location doesn't have the machine to make them in-store so they bring them in from the outside.

                                                  I was in that area and went specifically because of an earlier thread here on CH about how good A&W ORs are. So I paid particularly close attention given that they didn't taste good to me on first bite. That is why I remember it all so well.

                                                  I guess I can call the food court too but that was quite a long while ago anyway.

                                                  1. re: Michael N
                                                    justsayn RE: Michael N Aug 8, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                    Yonge/Bloor doesn't have the machine either, but they make them in-house. So maybe they also brought them in from the outside back in the day?

                                                    OK so this is great news!

                                                    Please tell me the location to try where I am likely to get a great batch?

                                                    1. re: justsayn
                                                      Michael N RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 11:04 AM

                                                      Interesting! I'll let someone else weigh in on specific locations, as I don't think I've ever been to an A&W in Toronto itself. I've been to a couple of locations in Mississauga, but that's probably a bit far to travel for someone who's not already west of the city.

                                2. re: Tatai
                                  kwass RE: Tatai Aug 8, 2013 10:16 AM

                                  Not a fan of A & W onion rings either. Don't like the breading.

                                3. biggreenmatt RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 06:17 AM

                                  Two places come to mind.

                                  Burger Shack at Oriole Parkway and Eglinton has gigantic, juicy, chock-a-block batter-y old-school rings, while the onion rings at Great Burger Kitchen are light, crunchy and tempura-esque.

                                  Both good'uns, but I still prefer the Shack. Oh Burger Shack, the places I've gone with a Home-Banquet-Medium-Rare and an order of Rings.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: biggreenmatt
                                    Davwud RE: biggreenmatt Aug 9, 2013 07:24 AM

                                    I'd have to concur that Burger Shack has the best I've had.


                                    1. re: Davwud
                                      Googs RE: Davwud Aug 9, 2013 08:41 AM

                                      For the ring voyeur:

                                      1. re: Googs
                                        Full tummy RE: Googs Aug 9, 2013 01:32 PM

                                        Have you eaten those onion rings?

                                        1. re: Full tummy
                                          Googs RE: Full tummy Aug 9, 2013 02:48 PM

                                          Not yet, but given the general consensus, I now consider it my duty. The Burger Shack ring pics make for good food porn, no?

                                          In my neighbourhood, I like Mama's Boys Burgers' onion rings.

                                          1. re: Googs
                                            Full tummy RE: Googs Aug 9, 2013 08:02 PM

                                            Please do give them a try and report back!!

                                            1. re: Googs
                                              Davwud RE: Googs Aug 9, 2013 08:17 PM

                                              I'll have to give them a try next time I'm there. I was there Thursday for lunch but opted for Greek Fries instead.


                                    2. justsayn RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 08:29 AM

                                      If you prefer batter over breaded, I once had great rings at New Toronto Fish and Chips on Fifth St. in Etobicoke. They were on the greasy side but really fresh and tasty, and the batter was excellent. Only had them the one time so maybe others have more recent info. They exceeded my grease to food quotient! I may try them again as greasiness can vary.

                                      1. m
                                        mstestzzz002 RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 08:31 AM

                                        depends on what style of onion ring that you like (as you can read from the responses)

                                        Unfortunately, my favourite onion rings, from Stockyards, aren't sold anymore. Do an image search for "Stockyards onion rings". The batter had pepper in it for a little extra flavour. They said they might bring back the onion rings as a special, but I've never seen it listed.

                                        there's the old school battered-style from Harvey's, Golden Star or Burger Shack. Also Gourmet Burger Company's onion rings are battered.

                                        then there's the breaded-style onion rings - Big Smoke Burger, Great Burger Kitchen, W Burger Bar - all decent.

                                        Burger's Priest doesn't do onion rings. Holy Chuck's panko-breaded onion rings are nothing to write home about.

                                        It's been years since I went to Thompson hotel diner so I can't recall their onion rings.

                                        The Works Burger has a breaded onion ring tower that I haven't tried.

                                        15 Replies
                                        1. re: mstestzzz002
                                          justsayn RE: mstestzzz002 Aug 8, 2013 08:43 AM

                                          Yes. There are always polar opposite opinions on food stuff.

                                          Onion rings is to me is an item that they have still not figured out how to freeze and fake fresh successfully. There are some frozen fries (non-coated) that I love but I have yet to have a frozen onion ring that mimics a fresh one. I prefer fresh while others could prefer frozen. Frozen is a different product. Different enough that people could prefer frozen over fresh every time.

                                          Big Smoke is a frozen onion ring that does not approach the likes of W Burger nor Burger Shoppe on Queen E. even though they are both breaded-style onion rings.

                                          1. re: mstestzzz002
                                            kwass RE: mstestzzz002 Aug 8, 2013 10:20 AM

                                            +1 Harvey's, although finding a Harvey's location these days is next to impossible :(

                                            1. re: kwass
                                              kwfoodiewannabe RE: kwass Aug 8, 2013 10:25 AM

                                              Not necessarily a bad thing... though you have my sympathies, kwass

                                              1. re: kwfoodiewannabe
                                                kwass RE: kwfoodiewannabe Aug 8, 2013 10:27 AM

                                                Not a fan of anything @ Harvey's except the onion rings. I miss those onion rings :(

                                                1. re: kwass
                                                  Full tummy RE: kwass Aug 8, 2013 10:45 AM

                                                  Where I am located there are a couple of convenient Harvey's locations, and I do admit to indulging in onion rings there now and then. So it is always an option.

                                                  1. re: Full tummy
                                                    kwass RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 10:47 AM

                                                    Where is that?

                                                    1. re: kwass
                                                      justsayn RE: kwass Aug 8, 2013 10:51 AM

                                                      Kwass, there is a new one in Liberty Village next to Metro.

                                                      1. re: justsayn
                                                        kwass RE: justsayn Aug 8, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                        Good to know! Thanks justsayn.

                                                        1. re: kwass
                                                          JennaBean RE: kwass Aug 8, 2013 01:29 PM

                                                          There is also one across from Burger Priest on Queen East... burger and rings... just sayin'

                                                          1. re: JennaBean
                                                            kwass RE: JennaBean Aug 8, 2013 01:35 PM

                                                            Unfortunately, I rarely, if ever get out to the East end. I'm generally a West-end girl :)

                                                      2. re: kwass
                                                        Full tummy RE: kwass Aug 8, 2013 04:21 PM

                                                        I live near Woodbine & Danforth. There's a Harvey's off O'Connor on Dohme, and I am often nearby there, and another on Don Mills north of Eglinton, also on a regular driving route for me.

                                                        1. re: Full tummy
                                                          kwass RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                          Thanks Full Tummy! I'll check out the one @ DM & Eglinton.

                                                          1. re: kwass
                                                            Full tummy RE: kwass Aug 8, 2013 04:51 PM

                                                            It's on the west side of Don Mills just north of the Superstore.

                                                            1. re: Full tummy
                                                              kwass RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 04:56 PM

                                                              Thanks Full Tummy! I know exactly where you're talking about.

                                              2. re: mstestzzz002
                                                julesrules RE: mstestzzz002 Aug 8, 2013 05:45 PM

                                                I only like breaded, and didn't realize I had so many options until this thread. I can comment on The Works only - they're expensive (over $10), but I liked them. Choice of two dipping sauces, chipotle mayo is good.

                                              3. g
                                                garfield RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 08:42 AM

                                                I used to be an onion ring fanatic before sweet potato fries won me over. Fire Pit in Mississauga (Hurontario and Britannia ) have good onion rings.

                                                1. Full tummy RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 09:55 AM

                                                  Thanks for all the replies. Hmmm, a lot to digest, hahaha! Looks as though the question of onion rings leads to many paths. I am even thinking of making my own. But do keep sharing opinions and any worthy contenders!!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Full tummy
                                                    PoppiYYZ RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 05:45 PM

                                                    Keep watching for a tripe (or more) recommendation. Then you (and we) will have a great Ring worthy of a Birthday Indulgence !!

                                                    1. re: PoppiYYZ
                                                      PoppiYYZ RE: PoppiYYZ Aug 9, 2013 05:07 AM

                                                      Edit : make that triple !

                                                      All together now : Rings, Rings, Rings, Rings, ....

                                                      1. re: PoppiYYZ
                                                        julesrules RE: PoppiYYZ Aug 9, 2013 07:01 AM

                                                        I thought you were trying to make some argument for a tripe & onion rings birthday dinner

                                                  2. s
                                                    Sadistick RE: Full tummy Aug 8, 2013 10:26 AM

                                                    Another suggestion comes to mind - great onion rings @ Golden Star!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Sadistick
                                                      kwass RE: Sadistick Aug 8, 2013 10:35 AM


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