Toronto - Food and Drink
From Japanese fusion to platter-sized steaks, chicken wings to formal French cuisine, Toronto’s dining scene is as eclectic as it is exciting. The city’s made great strides, in recent years, to throw off its rather ‘downhome’ cooking reputation, and has seen an influx of keen, and experimental new chefs, plying their trade in a series of glitzy new venues downtown.
For a nation that has French as an official language, Toronto’s sadly lacking in any seriously great French restaurants (you have to look to Montreal and Quebec for that particular treat), still, Toronto’s pan-Asian and fusion cooking is hard to beat anywhere in the country.
Multiculturalism really is shaping the city’s best dishes, and ingredients and influences span the globe, from the tapas and tortillas of Little Portugal to the richly aromatic Udupi cuisine of Little India, via Greek souvlaki and pastries in Greek Town, Sunday roasts in the city’s many ex-pat-leaning English pubs and US-sized steaks, the city offers a truly cosmopolitan smorgasbord of dining opportunities.
Look for great buffets, family restaurants and Canadian home-grown produce in Yonge, Bloor and Mill Streets downtown. Further up Yonge, away from the water’s edge, you’ll find an excellent array of Chinese and Asian eateries, as well as Thai and Vietnamese diners, offering authentic, great value Indian Ocean spices and noodles.
Where Yonge and Eglinton meet you’ll find Tex-Mex, pizzas and dim sum aplenty, but for real Italian, you should head to Little Italy (College Street West), where pasta and anti-pasti are dependably good, and the service is brisk and friendly.
Leslieville is a cool, gastronomically important neighbourhood, where the latest rising stars of the culinary world work their magic in a series of bars and bistros centred on the atmospheric Queen Street East area of town. But you’ll also find the best burger joints and diners here too.
Koreatown, Bloor Street between Christie and Bathurst Streets, has, as you’d imagine, a string of excellent Korean restaurants, many of which turn into riotous karaoke bars after midnight: you have been warned!
The food court at St Lawrence’s Market, though, perhaps offers the freshest food in the city - and by far the best lunch stop, although, in the summer, Baldwin Street’s al fresco cafes and coffee shops put up tempting competition.