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Aug 23, 2003 06:13 AM

Don't-Miss Toronto Fare

  • c

I'll be visting Toronto for about about a week next week, staying at the Renaissance Skydome, and looking for food that exemplifies the city -- from street food to high-end cuisine.

Which are the restaurants that a foodie should absolutely not miss? Places that are really hot and worth the hype? Places that have been there forever and still terrific?

Is there a Toronto "native" food, like deep-dish pizza in Chicago, 5-way chili in Cincinnati or poutine in Montreal? Something that you can only get done right in Toronto? What is it and where's the best?

I'm seeking mainly places readily accessible from my hotel, but I'm willing to travel a bit for something really special.

We're also going to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, so recommendations there would be appreciated, too.

Thanks for any suggestions.


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  1. Go in to...

    * Little Italy (best on Friday or Saturday evenings)
    * Chinatown downtown or one of the giant Chinese malls in Scarbrough or Richmond Hill (best on Satruday or Sunday during the day)
    * Greek Area (best on Friday or Saturday evenings)
    * Little India (best on Saturday or Sunday during the day)

    Let your own nose be your best guide. Welcome to Toronto!

    PS.. Anything hyped ($$$ for publicity rendered) typically is not worth the plate they're served on... JMHO

    1. I hope you love the city. The food here is diverse and multicultural. Personally I would go to Baton Rouge on 218 Yonge street (just south of Dundas St). The ribs, IMHO, are the best in the city. It is upscale casual. If you are looking for decent pub food, I have a couple of options. Try the Elephant and Castle 212 King St. W. A nice place to try within a 5 minute jaunt of Skydome is The Loose Moose 146 Front St. W. Great atmosphere, especially if you want to watch a ball game, and the food is quite good for a pub style restaurant. A decent selection of brews on tap also. All of these places are near the downtown area and won't be a hardship to get to. Anyway, if looking for a Canadian Dish, look for some place that serves authentic poutine (made with cheese curds). Anyway, good luck and happy eating!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bill

        Come on, the Baton Rouge is a tourist trap, with a faux-"upscale casual" look that is actually a veneer for mediocre food, languourous service and highish prices. There are any number of restaurants in the city which offer genuine cooking/cuisine, and why anyone would go to the BR other than if their office was on top and they needed a quick bite is beyond me !

        1. re: John

          Basically agree. Tried the ribs and was underwhelmed.

          1. re: John

            I totally agree about Baton Rouge being mediocre!

            In addition, it is a MOntreal restaurant that opened an outlet here and not a "typical Toronto food experience".

            There are good ribs at a few places including Churrasco Villa at Eglinton and Mt Pleasant (best chicken in the city) and Miller's Country Fare (second best chicken in the city in my opinion).

        2. There was a discussion about a native Toronto food and as I recall the consensus was the peameal bacon sandwich served at the St. Lawrence market (Front and Jarvis sts) most particularly the Carnival Bakery on the west side of the south market.

          If you're willing to travel and you like Japanese/Sushi there is an outstanding Japanese restaurant about 25 minutes west of your hotel, called Kaji Sushi. I'll find the link and post again.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elizabeth

            Just a correction in the name of the establishment at the St. Lawrtence Market. It is called Carousel Bakery, not Carnival and is widely known for their Peameal Bacon sandwich. They also have another Canadian specialty which is a wild smoked arctic char(which they fly in from the high arctic) sandwich. You can not mistake the place, it has write-ups posted from Jeff(when he was there in the spring 03), Emril ann many others.

          2. If you're by the SkyDome, I would definitely recommend walking east to St. Lawrence Market for lunch. They've got lots of great sandwich places, deli meats, cheeses as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. It is a very Toronto experience.
            As for specific restaurants, I'd recommend in no particular order:
            -- Country Style at Bloor and Spadina for great Hungarian food -- great value, excellent schnitzel and potatoes
            -- Herbs at Yonge and Lawrence -- excellent French/continental cuisine -- I had a wonderful duck confit there -- expect to pay $50/person for a full dinner
            -- Kensington Kitchen on Harbord Street -- the food is merely decent, but they have the loveliest patio in all of Toronto -- if the weather is nice, it's worth a visit

            1. Most places near Skydome are overpriced, underwhelming tourist restaurants. I would agree with St Lawrence market and the ribs at Baton Rouge. As mentioned, 'Toronto food' is simply multi-ethnic food, so try Lee Garden on Spadina for Chinese, Golden Thai or Young Thailand on Church, Mezes on Danforth for Greek, Terroni on Victoria St. for pizza, and Marché in BCE place is worth a visit for the vibe and the desserts.