Written by: Emily De Sousa
Everywhere you turn in Toronto there are restaurants bustling with people, boasting delicious menus, seasonal favourites, and unique 6ix inspired drinks. Toronto is a huge city, with tons to explore. This post is going to break down the city by neighbourhood and highlight some of the best restaurants in each area to help you plan your next trip to the 6ix!
The Annex has quickly turned into one of Toronto’s hidden gems in terms of great food. You can’t go wrong with any of the Playa Cabana restaurants, that are always jam packed with people. The newly opened Atlas restaurant is another favourite, offering Moroccan dishes and a menu of sherries and fine wines.
Dundas West/Little Portugal
Not only will you find Portuguese food in Little Portugal, but also Italian, Polish, French, and Canadian. However, my recommendation is to stick to the local cuisine in this area of town, because it’s quite simply the best. Via Norte Restaurant is an elegant dining option that puts a modern twist on Portuguese cuisine. My favourite place to find authentic Portuguese food in Little Portugal is at the Bairrada Churrasqueira. This establishment has served traditional Portuguese cuisine since 1989 and provides a casual family setting for lunch and dinner.
What was once known strictly for clubs serving overpriced drinks to overdressed patrons, is now home to some seriously good food and drink. Luckee in the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel serves upscale dim sum, and El Caballito is home to some of the best authentic Mexican food that downtown has to offer – including great tequila.
Those nine to fivers in fancy suits gotta eat too, and they have quite the choice of delicious options in Toronto’s financial district. From long-time neighbourhood favourites like Canoe and Drake One Fifty, to newer establishments like King Taps that offers two patios and over fifty beers on tap.
Believe it or not, the Junction was a “dry” neighborhood until 1997. Yup, the ‘hood that’s now home to two breweries used to be a booze-free zone. Looking forward into today, the Junction is home to some of the best foodie hot spots in the city. Nodo, Curry Twist and Roux have become fan favorites in this area. And the introduction of the new Thai restaurant Isaan Der is making it even more popular.
This area is bustling with excitement and new restaurants constantly moving in and out. Grey Gardens is my personal favourite, serving a beautiful changing menu of pasta, sweetbreads, and fish. After dinner, head on over to Kensington Brewery to sample a few of the city’s craft beers.
Ardo is my favourite spot in King East, serving a classic Italian menu of burrata, carpaccio, ragu pastas, and Margherita pizza.
The hardest thing about getting something to eat in this neighbourhood is deciding where to do it. Mainstays like Gusto 100 combined with popular newcomers like Bar Buca, make it all the more difficult to decide where to go for a delicious dinner.
Bar Isabel puts an interesting spin on Little Italy, serving some of the best Spanish tapas, sandwiched among dozens of traditional Italian eateries serving pasta and pizza dishes.
If you’re looking for some delicious family style meats to eat in or take out, look no further than Wilson’s Haus of Lechon. They do both chicken and pork lechon style, stuffing the meats with lemongrass and other herbs, resulting in a fatty, crispy, tender dish.
St. Clair West
Hemingway’s has been a popular spot in Toronto for decades and for a good reason. The establishment is decorated with road signs from New Zealand and other “Kiwi” inspired décor and serves up some of the neighborhoods most affordable cocktails at $10 a drink.