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Toronto must-eat food

Milan, Italy
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Toronto must-eat food

Hello,

I was wondering whether there is some food item that might be considered as a speciality of Toronto, meaning something that is typical or peculiar to the city (or the province), either because it has originated there or because it is prepared particularly well and/or widely consumed there.

I'm thinking both of cooked dishes and/or snacks, desserts, street food, ...

Is there such a thing?

Thanks!

toronto
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1. Re: Toronto must-eat food

Well, Toronto is a city of immigrants, so anything you find here has pretty much originated somewhere else.

Things I would make sure to try are pretty much all street food:

- empanadas in Kensington Market

- Trinidadian doubles at Caribbean Roti Palace on Bathurst just south of Bloor

- burritos at Burrito Banditos (formerly Burrito Boys) on Peter St., between Richmond and Adelaide

- pho (Vietnamese soup) at Pho Hung on Spadina or Mimi's on Gerrard east of Broadview (Chinatown East)

Then there's poutine, a dish that really has nothing to do with Toronto - it's native to Quebec - but it's spreading all over North America, and a lot of Toronto places serve it. The basic version is French fries, cheese curds and gravy - a cholesterol bomb! But a lot of high-end restaurants are doing interesting things with it (I had a kind of Dutch-Indonesian version last week at Quince), and those gourmet versions are worth trying. More info here: blogto.com/toronto/…

How's that for a start?

Toronto, Ontario
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2. Re: Toronto must-eat food

Shopsy's Deli is quite a famous establishement in T.O. I also think of the Pickle Barrel or pemeal bacon on a bun from the St. Lawrence Market. Toronto is known for it's multi-cultural ambiance so anything goes and there are many excellent restaurants.

toronto
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3. Re: Toronto must-eat food

FYI, the downtown location of Shopsy's Deli is now closed. And in any case, Shopsy's hasn't been owned by the original family in many years and was a shadow of its former self (same with the Pickle Barrel - just a middle-of-the-road chain resto). For Jewish deli downtown, head to Caplansky's: http://www.caplanskys.com/

And yes, on a decidedly non-Jewish front, the peameal bacon sandwiches at the St. Lawrence Market are great!

Toronto, Ontario
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4. Re: Toronto must-eat food

If I'm not mistaken, Caplansky's is in the process of moving to a new location, so he might not be operating at the moment...he has a blog on his site, you can see the current info there.

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Toronto must-eat food

I agree with the above posts...Toronto doesn't have too many unique foods that originated from here. You can find delicious foods from around the world though.

The best all around Toronto diner is Shanghai Cowgirl...I think this place is very Toronto-ish.

http://shanghaicowgirl.com/

The baked good from Le Gourmand.

- They have the best cookies and brownies in the city. The "nookie cookie" is also amazing.

http://www.legourmand.com/

Ice Cream from Ed's Real Scoop or Dutch Dreams.

- They have the best delicious, home made ice cream.

http://www.dutchdreams.ca/

www.blogto.com/restaurants/edsrealscoop

Best BBQ is without a doubt, the Stockyards.

www.thestockyards.ca/

Fish n Chips from Deep Blue or Chippy's.

http://www.chippys.ca/

http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/deepblue

Burgers from Craft Burger

http://www.craftburger.com/

Roti from Gandhi Roti (Indian style, not Caribbean).

http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/gandhi

Pizza at Terroni or Pizzeria Libretto.

http://www.terroni.ca/

http://www.pizzerialibretto.com/

The best brunch is at Zoe's.

www.zoesbakerycafe.ca

Don't bother with the Pickle Barrel, it's below average at best. It's not a good restaurant by any standards.

Other places I'd recommend... Sidecar, Grace, Czehoski's, Kalendar, Burrito Banditos/Boyz, Caplansky's and El Trompo.

http://www.sidecarrestaurant.ca/

http://gracerestaurant.ca/

www.kalendar.com

http://www.burritoboyz.ca/

http://www.caplanskys.com/

http://www.czehoski.com/

Milan, Italy
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6. Re: Toronto must-eat food

Thank you all for the many suggestions, it's very interesting to check those out!

I had the suspicion that it would all be about multiculturality, but I thought I'd ask in case there was something strictly 'typical' I was not aware of.

Estragon, I have no idea of what Trinidadian doubles are! Also, I'd never heard of poutine before, but I'm afraid I'll give it a miss (it's quite unpleasant to have a heart attack while on holiday, you know,...) :-)

toronto
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7. Re: Toronto must-eat food

DottIng, I've only recently been turned on to doubles myself. They are kind of like a fried curried-chickpea sandwich... but that doesn't do justice to them at all. ;) Check out these links:

trinigourmet.com/index.php/…

seriouseats.com/2007/10/serious-sandwich-the…

In Toronto, I've had them at the aforementioned Caribbean Roti Palace, where they're light and delicious, and at Patti King in Kensington Market, where they're leaden and flat.

Urbanfoodie, Trini-in-Toronto, where else should I go for doubles?

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Toronto must-eat food

The only doubles place I know that is good is in Scarborough near Sheppard and McCowan. Funny, I don't actually eat much Trini food on a regular basis. I find rotis to be too heavy to eat for lunch (you need a good sleep after) and I prefer a good east Indian curry.

If you're looking for something decidedly North American, check out the Senator Diner (www.thesenator.com) It's an original 1929 diner with decent food, straight out of the movies. No fake retro booths and jukeboxes.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Toronto must-eat food

There is something that Canada is known for, not just Toronto, and that is butter tarts - the best ones have a gooey, buttery, brown sugar filling and often also have raisins or pieces of walnut. I can't think of a good source to direct you to, but perhaps some of the other posters will know of some good spots.

Just a side note on the poutine issue -- for those who are interested in new twists on this theme -- Two Doors South on Bayview Ave serves a chicken or paneer tikka masala poutine. That's right - tikka masala on fries. Sounds strange but its very, very good.

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Toronto must-eat food

I like the doubles at Caribbean Bistro, just a couple blocks north of Eglinton on Yonge. Good chicken roti and decent (but not great) pholourie.

Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts) are my favourite thing to introduce visitors to in Toronto- several bakeries on College, Dundas W, Dufferin, Ossington, make them.

Butter tarts are a very Ontario thing, and can be found all over Toronto- but they are similar to sugar pie, shoofly pie and pecan pie without the pecans!

And I have to say, I do enjoy a Toronto veggie dog or hot dog from a hot dog cart from time to time.

There are several threads on Chowhound on this topic:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/522673

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/426734

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602251

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/625092

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619730

Restaurants like Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar and Globe Bistro focus on local Canadian ingredients, and both seem very Torontonian to me, in terms of their menus and approach. And both serve a nice Sunday brunch!