As evidenced by simply looking at Rob Ford, it's never been easier to get a decent meal in Toronto, thanks to the exploding culinary scene the city's played host to in recent years. In that vein, we've nobly braved the town's more notable restos and pared down the selections to only its eight most awesome spots. Feast your eyes:
1) Ursa 924 Queen St W; 416.536.8963
In the heart of Queen Street West, in the shade of the sprawling Trinity Bellwoods Park, you’ll find Ursa -- a smoothly post-modern spot w/ low hung bulbs & bare concrete walls. The menu serves up fresh farm-to-table goods like house burrata w/ Champagne poached peaches, and an elk tartare which, if it were chopped any finer, would be a moose.
2) Terroni 720 Queen St W; 416.504.1992
So, you’re probably going to have to wait in line at this place, but when we say it's worth the wait, we mean it, because they cook some of the city's finest Italian eats. The industrial-esque space has exposed overhead pipes, and the menu throws out high-quality 'za (from classics like salami & Napoli, to a white pizza w/ house-smoked salmon), as well as pasta dishes like their inventive dandelion & spicy sausage combo.
3) Oyster Boy 872 Queen St W; 416.534.3432
Proudly sporting the slogan "the oyster is our world" (see what they did there? Of course you did...), this local joint ain't kidding. They've got everything from Rockefeller to Royale, as well as bivalve-stuffed tacos, lobster rolls, and of course fresh dozen platters from an ever-rotating list -- and it's all served up in a simple white-wall & wood-table setting.
4) Pizzeria Libretto 221 Ossington Ave; 416.532.8000
Putting out thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pies, Libretto's 'za is slow-risen & flash-cooked for just 90 seconds in their 900 degree wood burner. Toppings range from the classics (Marinana, grilled eggplant, etc.) to more inventive numbers like duck confit & pear, while the decor itself sees the rough edge of steel chairs & bare brick walls matched with low lighting and a warm wooden bar top.
5) The Saint 227 Ossington Ave; 647.350.2100
Whether it’s the maple bourbon bacon with your brunch, the clam & bacon in your Caesar, or the bone marrow you’re having for dinner, The Saint clearly wants you to become as fat as Val Kilmer. The black-draped, diner-inspired interior adds a casual edge to the otherwise high-end hangout.
6) Caplansky’s Delicatessen 356 College St; 416.500.3852
Caplansky’s Delicatessen has been serving up high-end deli food to delighted meat-lovers at College & Bathurst since its opening in 2008. Thick-cut and hearty, one of the more popular numbers is Zane Caplansky’s $8 smoked-meat sandwich, while breakfast offerings include the lox, salami, eggs ,and latke-filled Geddy Lee special, perfect for people in a rush(!).
7) Canoe 66 Wellington St W; 416.364.0054
Canoe is located in the Financial District and there’s a reason why (it’s a bit heavy on the wallet), but if you can get over that, you'll score some of the town's best fine dining, w/ dishes like tea-leaf smoked duck and maple-torched salmon. You'll also be eating in a cool glass-walled room on the 54th floor of the TD Tower, sporting a view across to the giant needle of the CN.
8) Lady Marmalade 898 Queen St E; 647.351.7645
The bad news first: you’re probably going to wait in line. The good news, however, is Lady Marmalade is a
sassy club number by Christina Aguilera local institution with incredible up-classed brunch food. Run by a brother-and-sister duo in the East End, the menu sports all the greasy spoon staples without any of the grease. Be sure to try the poached eggs.
1. Ursa924 Queen St W, Toronto
2. Terroni720 Queen St W, Toronto
3. Oyster Boy872 Queen St W, Toronto
4. Pizzeria Libretto221 Ossington Ave, Toronto
5. The Saint Tavern227 Ossington Ave, Toronto
6. Caplansky's Deli356 College St, Toronto
7. Canoe Restaurant & Bar66 Wellington St W, Toronto
8. Lady Marmalade898 Queen St E, Toronto
Ursa is a New American resto with a full bar, trendy ambience, and a unique selection of classy menu options made with self-farmed ingredients that will make your mouth water.
Terroni offers delectable, regional Italian dishes that have been made in the same manner for generations, including a myriad of different pizzas that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate.
Not much needs to be said about Oyster Boy other than it is THE place in Toronto for oysters and other amazing seafood items.
Libretto is all about traditions: traditional Neapolitan pizza flavors, traditional ingredients, traditional wood-fired oven. Take a seat in this cozy, authentic Italian restaurant and start with the beef carpaccio or a caprese salad and then pick from a variety of gourmet pizzas like the Libretto Margherita (made with buffalo mozzarella) or the Ontario Prosciutto and Arugula. If you have meat on the brain, sink your teeth into the Nduja pizza, made with nduja sausage and stracciatella cheese. Any way you spin it, you get the satisfaction of the crisp, sweet taste of wood-fired crust with gooey cheese and fresh sauce. Before you waddle home, get the tiramisu … word on the street is it’s pretty darn good.
This gastropub and steakhouse also features a raw bar, plates to share, and late night and brunch menus that can satisfy even the most picky of palates.
Caplansky's serves up house-smoked, hand-cut meats in a number of classic deli sammies for lunch, as well as a number of dinner and breakfast options to satisfy your hunger any meal of the day.
Located atop the TD Bank Tower, Canoe offers amazing views and even better gourmet Canadian regional cuisine, developed by Executive Chef John Horne.
Lady Marmalade just has a bright and welcoming sound to it, and the actual restaurant doesn't disappoint. They feature a menu loaded with excellent brunch options like baked French Toast and Buckwheat Crepes, and lunch options ranging from salads to sandwiches to soups.