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May 5, 2014 09:43 AM

NYC Girls First time in Toronto

Hey! We're two girls in our late twenties going to Toronto for 3 days at the end of May.

We'd love some recommendations for Brunch/Lunch/Dinner while we're in town! We love all kinds of food. We're staying downtown but have no problem hopping in a cab in the name of good food!


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  1. Is there a particular neighbourhood you will be staying in? Or type of food you like to eat?

    1. I was going to say the same as the above person but here's my default recos without considering what you can get in NYC

      - "Rose & Sons" - no reservations but they also have a second attached restaurant "Big Crow". This is slightly outside of downtown, but it's near a subway station and well-worth it in my mind
      - Gallery Grill at the University of Toronto. It's a nice atmosphere. You're surrounded by Victorian architecture etc.

      - Patria: Spanish tapas
      - The Chase: seafood
      - Carbon Bar: get the meat platter
      - Khao San Road (no reservations) or Suk Ho Thai for Thai
      - Bar Isabel (good drinks)

        1. re: bytepusher

          Also, check out this Essential Toronto and GTA foods thread:

          If you do dine at any of the restaurants recommended in this thread, please post a trip report to let us know what you thought.

        2. Did you like any of the suggestions from last time:

          In any case, most of what is good in Toronto is better in NYC, with a few exceptions. In some cases, restaurants here are just rip-offs of NYC restos, only worse (see: that terrible Parm clone). If you're looking to travel a bit, check out Charles Yu's recommendations North of the city.

          As a past inhabitant of your city, as someone who frequently returns, and as someone who knows a lot of expat Canadians in NYC, here is a short list of things the Canadians in NYC want to eat (for some reason, likely nostalgia): ketchup/dill pickle chips, Coffee Crisp (or other non-US chocolate junk), and butter tarts.

          There's some touristy stuff (like peameal bacon sandwiches at Carousel in St. Lawrence Market; the market itself is wonderful).

          Places I like to eat: Shoto, Bar Isabel, Seven Lives (be careful as some options are pretty mediocre, though probably better than most of the pretty dire tacos I've had in NYC), Kensington Market in general (coffee at Pamenar; the sandwiches at Sanagan's are pretty good), Edulis, Crown Princess (for dim sum downtown).

          Depending on where you'd hang out in NYC normally, you may like some of the cooler restaurants in Parkdale even though you can likely get better/similar food back home.

          As long as you don't take into account cheaper well, low-end beer, wine, and happy hour, drinking in Toronto isn't an immense difference in price, especially with a stronger US dollar. 1602 Dundas has a good bourbon selection and a nice vibe. Volo has probably the best craft beer selection in Ontario, but can get crammed full of middle-aged men from the suburbs. Barhop has a pretty good craft beer selection as well. If it's finally warm, rooftop patios are always nice. I also like Cold Tea.

          There's a long list of things you probably shouldn't even bother eating here: pizza, Japanese, steak, French, Korean, burgers, Italian, pizza, bagels, pizza, etc.

          5 Replies
          1. re: yakionigiri

            yup. If the OP is interested in beer, Bellwoods is pretty much a must.

            Bar Isabel, Edulis, Bellwoods, St. Lawrence Market and Kensington are the four food destinations I wouldn't miss coming from NYC.

            lisachad - where do you hang out in NYC? or what are your favourite neighbourhoods? It'll help with recs.

            1. re: BigBabyYeezuS

              Thanks everyone this has been extremely helpful! In NYC we end up going all over the place but generally Lower East Side, East Village,Soho, West Village - any bar recommendations would be great! We love/appreciate a good cocktail and admittedly like to go somewhere that we can dance from time to time (bars not clubs).

              1. re: lisachad

                I lived (and still own) in Brooklyn Heights, so... probably not the best person to venture guesses at this class.

                1. re: lisachad

                  That's helpful:

                  Eat: Bar Isabel, Black Hoof, Campagnolo, Black Hoof, Grand Electric and Electric Mud (more for the party than the food, which is good - think Mission Chinese Food or Mission Cantina). Go to Isabel around 9-930. It serves food and cocktails until 2.

                  Drink: 416 Snack Bar, Bellwoods, Cold Tea, Beaconsfield, 1602, basically anywhere on the Parkdale/Ossington/Dundas West strips.

                  Bars with dancing: Parts and Labour downstairs, Drake, Gladstone, Hoxton, Garrison, Great Hall, Clinton's

                  Tourist: St. Lawrence Market (peameal sandwisch), Kensington (7 Lives, Ronnies for a drink) and Chinatown, Queen West for shopping.

                  1. re: lisachad

                    I haven't been to Boots and Bourbon but I'm hearing some interesting things about it. Might not be the best place for food but the dancing and atmosphere are great and there are lots of excellent food places nearby.

              2. Bar Isabel for the food and cocktails. A deservedly very busy place though. Only open for dinner but open until late.