Toronto Eats

Toronto is a foodie’s paradise but the sheer amount of selection can make choosing a restaurant for an occasion a bit daunting, especially if you’re only visiting the city! I’ve spent the last 4 years eating as much as I can around the city (I live on the west side so that’s where most of these places are). Below is my short(ish) list of my all time favourite places sure to leave your mouth happy!

Great for Everyday ($-$$)

Sushi on Bloor or New Generation

Location: Bloor west near Bathurst Station

Both places offer a great variety of sushi that is fresh and delightful. Toronto is very over saturated in sushi places, but I can honestly say from mine (and the generally population’s opinion) that these two are your best bet! Both are usually jam packed so don’t be surprised if there’s a  bit of a wait for your table during peak times.

** Both places also have fantastic and cheap lunch specials!

Banjara Indian Cuisine
Location: Multiple – my favourite is on Bloor West near Christie Station/Christie Pitts Park

This is my favourite spot for some authentic Indian Cuisine. I recommend ordering one of their platters which are huge and inexpensive and come with everything you need – your choice of meat dish, some rice, naan, pakoras, daal, aloo gobi and even rice pudding for dessert! Get a lassi on the side and you’re set! The other option is to order individual dishes from the main menu. But keep in mind these dishes are meant to be shared family style not as an entire individual meal and they don’t come with any sides or rice.

Try: Chicken (or lamb) Korma – yum!
Added bonus: lots of gluten free options!

Taco El Asador

Tacos El Asador Toronto
Soft tacos from Tacos El Asador

Location: Bloor West near Christie Station (about 2 blocks east)

Looking for cheap tacos? Look no further than this Bloor West hole in the wall. It’s cheap, delicious and charming!

Try: the fish tacos and the al pastor are my favourite (always go for the soft taco option!)

For my full Trip Advisor review click here
Added bonus: lots of gluten free options!*

El Trumpo
Location: Kensington Market

My favourite place for authentic and inexpensive Mexican. A great place to relax on the patio and enjoy a margarita. This place is fast and fairly inexpensive and delicious. One of my friends visiting from Mexico recommended it to me – telling me that I needed to go if I wanted to taste authentic Mexican. Delightful!

Try: Alambres Al Pastor
Added bonus: lots of gluten free options!*

Thai Food Sukhothai, Khao San Road or Pai 

All three of these places are fantastic and as close to eating in Thailand as you can get in the city.

Harvest Kitchen
Location: The Annex – Harbord Street west of Spadina

Fantastic backyard patio with beautiful overhanging trees. Craft beers and ciders, delectable cocktails and healthy fresh food. They even run their own volunteer garden where they get their fresh produce. All there food is local and ethically sourced and there are tons of vegetarian options.

Fun Night Out/Casual Dining ($$)
Reservations Recommended

Nuit Social
Location: Queen West near Dufferin

This place is trendy with a cozy/casual atmosphere and is popular for good reason – the food is fantastic. There are two dining options – either something from the Social Boards which allows you to build your own charcuterie experience or the Social Plates which are designed for sharing family style. They also have a great cocktail list and will make recommendations for cocktail/food pairing. With great service to boot you wont be disappointed with this place and its fun take on comfort food!

Try: The Pork Ribs with macaroni and cheese (omg – amazing!)

Rasa
Location: The Annex – Harbord Street just west of Spadina

I adore Rasa. The venue itself is charming and cozy with an open concept kitchen so you can watch the talented chefs prepare your meal. The food is out of this world. The menu here is also designed for sharing – each dish serves two people really well. The food presentation is gorgeous and everything I’ve ever had here has tantalized my taste buds. Great atmosphere for a nice date with a partner or an old friend.

Gusto 101
Location: Queen/King West area near Spadina

I love everything about this place. It has a fashionable but cozy vibe, wine on tap ($1 an ounce!) and the food (which is Southern Italian) is delicious. The actual building it’s in is also really cool as it used to be an auto garage and the entire top half is made of glass (which turns into a rooftop patio in the summer). They don’t take reservations so you may want to show up a bit early or expect to wait for a table.

Try: Mafalde ai Funghi (Mushroom pasta – it’s amazing!)

Pizzeria Libretto
Locations: Multiple

Pizzeria Libretto is my favourite place for authentic, certified Napoletana pizza in Toronto. Wood fired in stone ovens their pizzas are delicious and simplistic and they’re good at catering to allergies or necessary substitutions. Their calamari is delightful. Their fresh bread is homemade, and I’ve yet to try a pizza there that didn’t leave my mouth happy. There are 4 locations across the city (Ossington, University, Danforth, and King). In my opinion the Ossington location is the nicest and has the most upscale vibe of all of them (but it’s also the only one of the 3 which wont take reservations).

Try: Duck Confit with Bosc pear and Mozzarella – it’s divine

Kinka Izakaya (formerly Guu Sake Bar)
Location: Bloor West (near Bathurst Station)

This place is fun! It’s noisy and hectic and entertaining. The food is delicious and authentically Japanese with a wide variety to please even picky eaters. I recommend coming as a group so you can try as many dishes as possible!  The drink menu is also fantastic (I love the Cheery Blossom Cocktail which tastes like candy) and they will also service you giant beers. Side note: This is not a sushi bar.

Try: Okonomiyaki (but the fried chicken and deep fried brie are also yummy)

Fat Pasha – Jewish 
Location: The Annex – Dupont St near Bathurst

Fat Pasha Trio Dip
An Assortment of Dips

This little joint is a real gem – just make sure you call a few days in advance to make a reservation as it’s a pretty small space and it is popular! The menu is family style and designed for sharing. You’ve got fantastic dips, salads and mains. I’m not very familiar with Jewish food and wasn’t completely sure what I was ordering most of the time. Everything that came out was not quite what I was expecting but way more delicious than I could have hoped!

Try: Their salad – it was amazing. It’s not on their online website so I cannot tell you what it was called but it was divine.

*Reservations highly recommended

Date Night/Fine Dining ($$$)
Reservations Recommended

Carmen – Spanish
Location: Queen West near Ossington

They do Spanish tapas and boy do they do them well. I’ve been here twice now and both times the service has been impeccable and the food is just fantastic. Every tapa I’ve tried seemed like the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth! Side Note: I’ve heard several less than impressive reviews about their paella but I haven’t ever tried them, so this review is in reference to their tapas only (which are SO good).

Try: 
– The Tuna Ceviche (Ceviche de atun negro)
– The Grilled Shrimp with Garlic and Chili (Gambas al Ajillo “Estilo Carmen”)
– The Fried Artichokes (Alcachofas Fritas)

Read my full Trip Advisor review here

Eno-Teca Sociale – Italian Wine Bar
Location: Dundas Street West (near Ossington)

Really fantastic home made pastas and a great wine list. This place is a wonderful choice for a romantic evening out and offers some of the best service I’ve ever experienced at a restaurant. If it is a special occasion make sure to let them know when you make a reservation and I’m sure they’ll do something  a little special for you!
Added bonus: lots of gluten free options!*

Franks’s Kitchen – Continental
Location: Little Italy

There is nothing bad I can say about this little gem. Fantastic service? Check. Delectable menu? Yep.  Charming atmosphere? You betcha. And to top it all off they do their best to source local ingredients. This little, family run joint is sure to give  you a wonderful dining experience that  will likely include some unexpected extras complimentary of their amazing chef, Frank Parhizgar. Patrons have the choice of the al la carte menu or the 16 course tasting menu. Just be sure to book your reservation well in advance!

Try: Herb-Crusted Ontario Rack of Lamb – one of the best lamb dishes I’ve ever had!

Los Colibris – Mexican
Location: Financial District

Toronto has a plethora of Mexican restaurants but not many that meet fine dining criteria and Los Colibris certainly does. This place is wonderful. The ambiance is relaxing and dim with candles setting a nice mood but still managing to be trendy all at the same time. Great option for a date or a catch up with a good friend. The menu is set up with ceviches, hot appetizers, soups/salads and mains. We opted to order off of the ceviche and appetizer menu and share them like tapas. This was a great choice as it allowed us to try a lot and it was all so delicious! Also a great place to get an authentic margarita made from scratch!

Try: Tostada de Atun

360 Restaurant – Canadian 
Location: CN Tower

The famous revolving restaurant located at the top of the iconic CN Tower is a pretty special place to enjoy a meal or celebrate a special occasion. I’d been hesitant to go as I’d always heard that  you pay for the view, not the food. This statement did have some truth in it. While the food itself wasn’t quite up to the same level of excellence as the other restaurants on the fine dinning part of this list the meal was still really enjoyable and tasty; and the views are fantastic and well worth the inflated price tag! The menu itself is fairly Canadian with your choice of sea food or steak a la carte or a 2 or 3 course prix fixed menu  which is what we did. They have a very visually appealing wine cellar as well, and a great cocktail menu (the Algonquin Campfire was very enjoyable). If you go to the restroom just take note of which section your table is in, because it wont be where you left it when you come back!

Brunch ($$)

Toronto Brunch is a little bit irritating – all of the very best places will not take reservations. This means you’re often expecting to queue up and wait (often up to/over an hour) for a seat. But at the end of the day, it’s always worth it! Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend going to one of the best places in town with a  large group.

Saving Grace
Location: Dundas and Grace Street

This is the place to go if you’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth. They have the best sweet brunch in all of the entire city and a lot of people know about it! The venue is tiny and the wait on the weekend during brunch rush hour is pretty extreme (well over 1 hour) but it’s always worth the wait!

School
Location: Liberty Village

School is, well, like a school house. Everything is designed along this theme. They even have drinks they’ll serve you in little beakers. The place is fun and spacious with a large seating area and nice patio which helps keep the wait down which is great because they don’t take reservations. They wont seat you unless your entire table is with you and don’t recommend groups bigger than 6 for brunch time.

Lady Marmalade
Location: Queen East (near Broadview)

Want savory? This place is perfect. Want sweet? They’ll hook you up. Lady Marmalade is a very nice, well rounded place for brunch. They can also do a lot of gluten free substitutions which is not always common at brunch spots. Well worth a stop in if you’re in the east end.

Added bonus: lots of gluten free options! 

* I’ve had a lot of gluten free people in my life so at times I’ve had to pay special attention to this. Just because I haven’t indicated specifically that the place can cater to gf individuals doesn’t mean they don’t.

Did I leave off your favourite place? Let me know in the comments – I’m always looking for new finds in Toronto! If you like this list please feel free to like and share!

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