Toronto is known for it's incredible culinary scene. But sometimes, if can seem as though everyone is just going to all the same restaurants without venturing out of their comfort zone or trying something new. Yes, Baro and Canoe are great, but dare I say they're a bit overhyped?
If you really want to do like the locals do, there are plenty of other restaurants and bars that are a bit off the beaten track. They're so good that Toronto locals probably don't want you to know about them for fear of them becoming as busy as all of the big name restaurants. Lucky for you, we're here to spill the beans. Here are 13 Toronto spots locals don't want you to know about.
Loga's Corner // 216 Close Avenue
Loga's Corner is a modest family-run operation out of Parkdale. They primarily offer takeout, though there is limited seating available. Everything on the menu is good but it's the Tibetan momos (handmade by Loga's wife) that make this place truly special.
Pamenar // 307 Augusta Ave
Pamenar is one of the many coffee shops found in Kensington Market, but this hip cafe is the top choice for many Kensington dwellers in the know. The cafe's rustic chic decor, commitment to artisanal blends, and spacious tables all add up to a perfect coffee shop experience far from the mainstream crowd.
The Rooster Coffee // 479 Broadview Ave
Arguably the best coffee shop in Toronto, The Rooster is a surprise favourite considering its sleepy location. Located across from Riverdale Park, the Rooster is a cozy spot with a Parisian-esque front patio facing the skyline. In the summer, their iced Americanos and matcha lemonades are a lifesaver.
King Place // 236 Sherbourne Street
This is (dare I say it?) my favourite takeout in Toronto. Though the exterior isn't exactly appealing, the tasty Pakistani flavours are enough to sway even the pickiest eater.
Cold Tea // 60 Kensington Avenue
Hidden at the back of an unassuming mall, Cold Tea is one of those places you actually need to know about to find. A non-fuss watering hole, Cold Tea offers reasonably priced drinks in a laidback atmosphere. During the summer, the patio is one of the best spots to be.
Smoque N' Bones // 869 Queen Street W
Though it looks like your average bar from the outside, one step into Smoque N' Bones will prove its unique status. Inspired by Southern BBQ, Smoque N' Bones serves up authentic smoked meats and has an insane whiskey bar right upstairs.
The Spice Trader // 877 Queen Street W
While not a restaurant, the Spice Trader is one of the city's best kept secret when it comes to the culinary arts. With one of the most insane collections of herbs and spices from around the world, this is one place you need to know.
Poetry Jazz Cafe // 224 Augusta Ave
This lively bar doesn't actually have anything to do with poetry. Instead, this live music tavern focuses on providing a forum for some of the city's best jazz. With charming retro decor and a relaxing back patio, this Kensington spot is a real hidden gem.
Hanmoto // 2 Lakeview Ave
This late night eatery serves up delicious snack-style food inspired by Japanese flavours. With its rustic, flea-market inspired decor and generous portions, the casual restaurant is quickly making a name for itself in the city.
Communist's Daughter // 11449 Dundas West
The Communist's Daughter is a quirky watering hole on Dundas West. Without a proper sign, it's one of those places that successfully slides under the radar. The approach to food and drink is similarly non-fuss: a short menu of $7ish items are written on a chalkboard, and wine comes in a mug.
Tequila Bookworm // 512 Queen Street W
This charming Queen West spot is cozy and unpretentious. Serving up elevated pub fare and with amazing drink specials before 5pm, this cafe/bar is definitely worth a visit.