If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I love travelling. Exploring new places and trying out the local cuisine is my favourite hobby. When I visit a new city, I make it my personal mission to try out the coolest places to grab some grub – be it a Michelin starred restaurant, a national chain or a hot dog shack on the corner of the street. You can find good food everywhere and I want to find them all. Why am I telling you all this?
I am starting a new series of blog posts today, called EAT. This is my version of the best places to grab some food and drinks when you explore the world. It’s got the fancy restaurants, the cool bars and maybe the occasional coffee shops. I am in Canada this week so what better way to start this series than with my top choices in Toronto.
The largest city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America, Toronto has a lot going for it. It’s a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. Walking around downtown Toronto, you can see why – it’s buzzing! If you find yourself in Toronto, here are some places you should definitely try.
Colette Grand Café
Filled with lots of light-coloured marble, soft, bright surfaces and high, barrel-vaulted ceilings- it’s as French as you can get in the heart of Toronto. Situated in the Thompson Hotel in the Fashion District, this restaurant comes with a bakery-café, a lounge and a formal dining room. For those looking for a romantic night out, a late-night dinner with friends or simply a quiet drink with appies, Colette is the place to be and be seen. The bakery is also great if you fancy some French inspired goodies and a great cup of coffee – I tried the Boursin Croissant and it was spot on! It’s definitely not cheap but it’s still more affordable than flying out to France for a croissant.
550 Wellington Street West
‘Smith is for anybody that enjoys good food, good music and good atmosphere’ according to owner Rend Abdo and everything about this wonderfully quirky restaurant reflects that. Split over three floors, Smith is tucked into a row of Victorian brownstones just north of Church and Wellesley, the heart of the Gay Village. The decor is absolutely stunning – if your grandmother decided to try her hand at trendy, Smith would be the outcome and trust me that is not a bad thing! I tried the Fried Chicken served up with Potato, Roasted Corn and Bacon Salad with a Maple-Chili Glaze and it was just perfect – simple comfort food done well.
553 Church St
Home Of The Brave
Situated on King Street West in the trendy Fashion District, Home Of The Brave (HOTB to the locals) is the place to be if you are looking for a great place to grab some drinks and food after work. With subway tiles, steel clad walls, neon lights and 50s diner booths, the decor here is ultra urban. They have a great cocktail menu with some classics mixed in with some house specials but what makes HOTB special is definitely the food. The cuisine here is American comfort food but with their own original take on the classics – the Kentucky Handshake Sandwich for example comes with a fried chicken leg in the sandwich. Highly recommended.
589 King Street West
I thought this ice cream parlour was so good, I did a full blog post about it (click here)! Sweet Jesus occupies a corner unit squished between Union Juice and La Carnita in the Entertainment District. It is owned by the same people behind HOTB. For the past year, you could only get your hands on one of their epic creations on the dessert menu at La Carnita and HOTB but it’s growing popularity has seen them set up a stand alone ice cream shop. With options like Lemon Coconut Cream Pie (with with sour lemon curd and toasted coconut crumble) and Krusty The Cone (with cotton candy, ground sprinkles and cotton candy sauce), you need to try this.
106 John St
360 Restaurant at the CN Tower might be a bit cliché but you have to do it. The 360 is still one of Toronto’s finest restaurants – unforgettable food combined with an outstanding revolving view of Toronto more than 1,000 feet below; it’s definitely special. Patrons enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the comfort of their table as 360 revolves around the city, once every 72 minutes whilst Executive Chef Peter George and his staff brings market-fresh cuisine featuring regional ingredients to your table all ensuring an incomparable culinary experience. This meal will not be cheap but your date is going to be wowed without question.
CN Tower, 301 Front Street West
Hipster meets Hillbilly meets Hippy at Bareburger which is a small New York based chain which offers organic and healthier options in stark contrast to most other burger joints that you find in North America. With organic pasture-raised, no hormone meats, non-GMO/pesticide free produce and fair trade purchasing practices, Bare Burger definitely does stand out in the crowd. They also serve up some unique meat choices including bison, elk,wild boar and duck. It’s cheap, cheerful and healthy(ish) – what’s not to like?
111 Dundas Street West
There you have it, my top places that you need to try in Toronto. It’s a good mix of cafes, bars and restaurants that really made Toronto a great culinary experience for me. Let me know if you try any of them or if you think I have missed out your favourites. EAT Toronto EAT!