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Sep 6, 2013 01:10 PM

NYC Girls Weekend in Toronto

We're 4 NYC girls heading to Toronto for the weekend in October. We've never been to Toronto before so we're looking for any food recommendations you have! We'll be staying downtown and will literally eat anything. We're not looking for any super expensive meals and will need recos for Brunch/Lunch/Snacks/Dinner. What do you recommend?!?

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  1. This is always a good starting point

    Everything on that list is more or less downtown

    12 Replies
    1. re: bytepusher

      Questions: approximate age?, relative interest in interesting settings v. amazing food?, when in October?

      Age makes a difference, as what suits 20-somethings isn't right for 40 y.o.s, and there are some spots that sing more for setting than food, but might be highlights of your visit.

      Also, early October here is still patio-possible, but by late October the evenings can be frosty.

      I'm old and I wake up early; if you are young and do not, delete the follwoing suggestions:

      For a Fri/Sat breakfast, it's hard to beat a walk through the St. Lawrence market (closed SUnday) and a pea-meal bacon sandwich, or something more veggie from the lower-level. For brunch any day I suggest dim sum, and for downtown my pick is Crown Princess . For a "fun" evening with worthy food for out-of-town friends I like Kingyo
      izakaya (book a table) or I take them for the simpler dishes at Pure Spirits in the Distillery, more because the redevelopment there is exceptional, and not because the food is. It isn't.

      Great lunch or informal dinner a block from Eaton Centre is Richmond Station, especially if you like smokey, meaty, savoury cuisine. If you are all vegetarians on diets, it's a bad call.

      If you are younger, livelier, and boozier than I am, take a cab or streetcar to Ossington and walk the strip between Queen and are sure to find something, and possibly someone, worthwhile at any hour. Union is probably the best restaurant play there for food, but it's hard to go wrong.

      The "best restaurants" thread cited above is a very mixed bag, with high-priced fine dining, several izakayas, and a few funky and original places too.

      If you tell the 'hounds who you are and what you want, they will sort them out for you. With only five or six meals here, we want you to have a great time at every one of them!

      1. re: KAYLO

        For the distillery district if you are younger, I'd recommend the mill st brewpub, it's a bit more bang for your buck than pure spirits and in the same setting, also lots of great beer to try if you are that way inclined. :) I'd recommend more for a lunch though as there aren't a lot of things open around there at night.

        1. re: LexiFirefly

          +1 for mill St over pure spirit. I found pure spirits to be over priced and trying too hard to be upscale with lacklustre service. It was a disappointing dinner when I went.

          If you're in that area, Soma and Brick St Bakery Are a must! Soma chocolate and gelato are wonderful. Brick St bakewell tart, nanaimo bar, and sticky ginger cake are some items you may not find in NYC but they're pretty good.

          I also heartily agree with St Lawrence Market. Tons of great foodie finds and lots to discover on the farmer market day. The peameal bacon sandwich was loved by Bourdain. I would also highly recommend Busters Sea Cove in the south building for lunch. Its affordable, super fresh seafood, and made to order.

          If you have any food preferences, we can offer more suggestions. Do you have access to a car? There are lots of options in Toronto.

        2. re: KAYLO

          Thanks so much! We're in our late twenties and are going to come the first weekend of October!

          1. re: lisachad

            I don't know if you planned it that way but that weekend is Nuit Blanche -


            I mention it for two reasons.

            Firstly, I enjoy the event, even though it is crazy busy it is fun to check out. Not as good as the first few years but I still look forward to it.

            Secondly, it will effect you getting around the city that night. There is traffic chaos as streets are closed, subways will be packed, street cars will be delayed. I would suggest planning to eat around where you are staying or to go eat earlier that evening.

            I would highly suggest checking out some of it but most likely you won't be able to avoid it even if you wanted to!

            1. re: lisachad

              Hit the Ossington and Dundas strips. Both are great hoods with good eats and drinks.

              My fav spot on Ossington proper is The Saint - gastro pub, just south of Dundas on the east side. Good food, drinks and service at a good value for money price point in a lively room.

              There are many many options for drinks but one of my fav places where the crown is more late 20's and up is Church Hill on the north side Dundas just west of Ossington. If you want something really casual Sweaty Betty's is at the bottom of Ossington just norht of Queen on the east side. The back patio will still be open.

              1. re: JennaBean

                Also relatively easy to add Enoteca Sociale or Bar Isabel if you want a sit-down small-plates type meal to complement this plan. Or Pizza Libretto!

              2. re: lisachad

                I'd go with starting the evening on ossington and/or Dundas. Then walk east on Dundas to Kensington for nuit blanche activities, from there you can follow the festival back to your hotel. I say embrace it if it's a coincidence. It's a really fun night if your psyched for it and a lot of places are open a lot later. Great way to see the city, my friends and I usually just pop in places that look good and relax our inner foodies for the night. We're never really disappointed.

                1. re: LexiFirefly

                  if you end up in Kensington in the evening Cold Tea has great cocktails on offer.

                  1. re: JennaBean

                    Love cold tea's cocktails. Jameson is a cocktail right? :) they do have wicked cocktails in all seriousness.

                2. re: lisachad

                  I'd do lunch one day in the distillery just to check out the shops. Don't forget to drop into soma for some mayan hot chocolate, lunch at the brewpub, there is also a sake distillery down there and a bunch of art galleries. It's cobblestones so wear appropriate foot wear. You can also go to the st Lawrence market for breakfast. Where is your hotel? That may help for breakfast/brunch. My girlfriends and I are 27-30 and that would be a fun morning-afternoon excursion for us! Then a nap and ossington/nuit. In fact I may see if I can do that this year! :)

                  1. re: lisachad

                    girls. late 20s.
                    distillery would not be my recommendation.
                    just eat and hang around queen, dundas and ossington and all bases will be covered.
                    great food, great bars, good energy, lots to do, doesn't feel touristy (like Mill St).

              3. Buca on King street for dinner, Jump on Wellington for dinner or lunch, School for brunch, Swish by Han on Wellington should not be missed... The pork neck tacos are to die for!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lg1982

                  definite love for Swish by Han, School for brunch, and just about everything suggested here. VERY helpful to have your ages, ladies, as I LOVE the food at Swish, but have stopped going as the rollicking music (owner programs it himself) cranked even in mid-afternoon, and the happy crowd's noise-level do put me off my feed. Enjoy your visit, and hit the Ossington strip early; you may never leave.