Food & Drink

10 reasons why Toronto is going to be the next big foodie city

Published On 06/11/2014 Published On 06/11/2014
Flickr user ccarlstead
Flickr user Richie Diesterheft
Flickr user Robert Meeks
Flickr user Jennifer Morrow
Flickr user jen
Flickr user James Cridland
Flickr user Jorge in Brazil
Dark Horse Espresso Bar
Flickr user Jason Baker
Flickr user Dan Zen
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1. Lahore Tikka House 1365 Gerrard St East, Toronto, M4L 1Z3

Located in Greenwood, the Lahore Tikka House doles out sumptuous authentic Pakistani fare in a festive atmosphere inside, or on their large breezy patio outside.

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2. Nazareth 969 Bloor St W, Toronto, M6H 1L7

Although Ethiopia might be a FAR distance away from Toronto, you can get authentic tastes from there without leaving the city by visiting Nazareth, which doles out authentic fare in Dovercourt. Pro tip: try the vegetarian platter, regardless of your meat preference.

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3. BarChef 472 Queen St W, Toronto, M5V 2B2

This Queen Street West bar feels like a cocktail laboratory thanks to the jars of bitters and herbs that line the walls. The menu is divided into different categories based on flavor and mood, like sweet & sour, sipping, and modernist. The sultry space is dimly-lit and geared towards the classy cocktail enthusiast.

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4. Black Hoof Cocktail Bar 923 Dundas St W, Toronto, M6J 1W3

To put it simply, this boutique-y bar in Trinity Bellwoods has got you covered when it comes to cocktails. Serving up both classic libations and new twists on old favorites, this cocktail bar and resto is all about attention to detail, whether you're talking about their small plate offerings (charcuterie, bread, pickles, etc.), or their numerous craft cocktails. We like the playful and punny "Gold Fashioned:"its an unprecedented mix of buttered-popcorn brandy, yellow chartreuse, bitters, and cherry coke.

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5. Harbord Room 89 Harbord St, Toronto, M5S 1G4

Cocktails and their expert mixologists have carved out a scene in Toronto, with restaurants manned by seriously in-the-know bartenders, and equipped with good cocktails lists to match, supporting the renaissance. This pretty, pink-walled, Harbord Street restaurant might be pretty well-known for its burgers for one, but you can't look past the dessert-like cocktail offerings, like the pineapple cocktail served in shareable portions. And don't forget the dessert options themselves, which include Silicina-style donuts made fresh with ricotta batter and orange zest.

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6. Bar Isabel 797 College Street, Toronto, M6G 1C7

The relaxed and fun attitude at this Little Italy bar extends from the bar itself into the food and drinks. The food is dominated by Spanish-influenced tapas, while for drinks they offer beers, red, white, & sparkling wines, sherry, and creative cocktails like "...A Woman Scorned" (Devil's Cut Bourbon, Amero Averna, campari, cinnamon/clove tincture, Deathwish Syrup, Backstabbed Bitters, and orange zest), and "¡Ay Muccismo!" (Tromba Tequila Blanco, coffee & chili infused Campari, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Cocchi Americano, Mole Bitters, and grapefruit oils).

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7. Kensington Brewing Company 156 Augusta Ave, Toronto, M5T 2L4

This small, independently owned beer company is located in the heart of Kensington Market (surprise!) and produces a number of popular brews like their flagship Augusta Ale and the robust, West-coast style Baldwin FishEYE-PA

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8. Mill St. Brew Pub 21 Tank House Ln, Toronto, M5A 3C4

Located in the Distillery District, stop by this brewpub and try one of their 15 beers on tap.

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9. Indie Alehouse 2876 Dundas St W, Toronto, M6P 1Y9

Located in Junction, the Indie Alehouse is a 110-seat upscale pub serving a variety of craft brews.

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10. Junction Craft Brewery 90 Cawthra Ave, Toronto, M6N 3C2

Junction Craft Brewing has a seriously impressive beer selection and tap room, even if their Cawthra Ave neighborhood is less than hip. The train-themed Junctionbrewery opened in 2011, and has since expanded to producing a rotating variety of more than 10 distinct beers. The tap room at Junction Craft Brewing is a simple, train-themed space with utilitarian pricing at $2.25 per five ounces of beer, available to drink there or to take home in growlers and tallboy cans. There's no food served at this tap room, but that keeps the focus on the beer itself—which the friendly and knowledgable staff is only too happy to talk about.

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11. Bellwoods Brewery 124 Ossington Ave, Toronto, M6J 2Z5

Small-batch beer and quality food have been Bellwood’s mission since opening in 2012. This craft brewery has a rotating list of taps highlighting their own creations as well as those of other local brewers which changes seasonally or according to demand. Reserve bottles, kept back from popular batches or brewed specially, are available for a higher (but worthwhile) price. The candle-lit bar setting and patio adorned with fairy lights befit its hip Ossington location, as does its long wait at peak times, but the food and the drinks are stunning. Small plates and snackable bar food keep the focus where it should be—on the beer.

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12. Pusateri's Fine Foods 57 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, M5R 3V6

This gourmet shop and grocery store is loaded with all kinds of specialty items, as well as an amazing selection of cakes, pastries, sandwiches, and more.

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13. The Mercantile 297 Roncesvalles, Toronto, M6R 2M3

Located in Roncesvalles Village, The Mercantile is a sweet specialty shop chock full of gifts, food, and an array of other interesting and hard-to-find products.

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14. Sam James 297 Harbord St, Toronto, M6G 1G7

A popular java joint in Toronto's Bickford Park neighborhood, Sam James Coffee Bar has been abuzz with claims (from patrons) that they make the best cappuccino, nay, the best coffee in the city. Chances are your skepticism will be wiped out by that first sweet, sweet sip.

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15. Crema Coffee Co. 53 Bloor St East, Toronto, M4W 1A9

With multiple locations across Toronto, Crema Coffee Co. brews a mean cup of espresso. Accenting the natural flavors of the beans, some talented baristas showcase their skills by serving up lattes and macchiatos that bring out the natural sweetness and flavors, so you won't be needing any cream or sugar.

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16. Dark Horse Espresso Bar 125 John St, Toronto, M5V 2E2

The Dark Horse is one of the top cafes in the city to grab a cup of java, whether it be their out-of-this-world espresso, or even their selection of teas. And if you're a big hungry, their pastries are also not in this world.

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17. Ella's Uncle 916 Dundas St W, Toronto, M6J 2P8

This Trinity-Bellwoods spot is a solid choice for a solid cup of coffee, not to mention their assortment of tasty pastries (like the berry scones, which you should definitely get).