Are you guilty of committing some food-sins? Fear not my friend. Dining is an art - and like art, dining is rarely a perfect experience. Toronto has some of the most notable restaurants in the country, backed by established chefs and top of the line service. But great food does not always guarantee a great time.
True food lovers across the GTA know that it is not always the food that makes for the perfect meal - but the atmosphere, environment, and staff. Follow these food commandments to make your next meal out the best it can be.
1.Thou shall not wait for water.
A tell tale sign as to whether or not you're going to regret your restaurant, is how long it takes for you to be served water. Of course, use your discretion. If Momofuko is at capacity and your waiter looks like he's about to cry, come some slack. But if you're waiting more than 10 minutes to be served some simple H20, it's time to go.
2.Thou shall respect Yelp & Google Reviews.
Not all of us can be all-knowing food gurus. Yelp & Google reviews are resources you should take advantage before choosing a restaurant. They're updated by diners like you who may have a more detailed scoop than a magazine or article. Reviews often come with recommendations if you're indecisive (??me af) or even inside tips as to how to have a better time ex. waiters to look out for, daily specials etc.
3.Thou shall not succumb to chain restaurants.
Any restaurant you can find outside of a movie theatre should not be one you eat at in Toronto. Save big chain restaurants for dire situations - road trips, visits to small towns, back to school shenanigans. Chances are you can get a better, more unique meal and experience for the same price - if not cheaper - at a independent restaurant in the city.
4.Resist temptation in the form of a bread basket.
?Carbs? - as delicious as they may be when free at Frank's Kitchen - are not the reason you went out to eat today. By all means, mow that sourdough, just make sure you're not setting yourself up for a full stomach when your main arrives. To quote DJ Khaled - congratulations, you played yourself.
5.Your phone eats your Fresh bowl before you do.
Really, and truly. If you are out to eat with someone who doesn't value the importance of a good food photo, you might want to re-consider your company. Real friends will help you flat-lay your meal, adjust your cutlery, and not judge as you hover over the table to get the perfect shot.
6. Thou shall embrace Summer/Winterlicious.
Every foodie's seasonal bliss. When the top restaurants in the city open its doors for reduce priced, pre-fixe menus. Toronto's -licious events make the cold somewhat bearable and the summer all the more exciting. When else could you get a 3-course meal for $30 in Yorkville?!
7. Love thy waiter and thy bartender.
You've seen the line outside of Fring's & El Furn on a Friday night. Usually wrapping down the side of at least one building. Toronto restaurants are anything but slow. Chances are your waiter/waitress is having a hell of a day. Treat them with kindness & you'll be amazed at the level of service you'll receive. You get what you give y'all.
8. Follow thy foodtrucks.
If there's one thing Toronto is famous for - it isn't our street meat. Yes, you can easily get a pretty tasty hotdog outside of Union - but wouldn't you rather have a lobster roll from Buster's Sea Cove, or a sushi burrito from SUSHITTO if given the chance? Follow @foodtrucksTO to keep tabs on all the delicious options cruising near you.
9. #VIEWS aren't everything
But they aren't nothing either. It's extremely easy to get swept up in a restaurant's image - be it their trendy spot in the Junction, or amazing skyline photo opt. Eating out is an experience, and one you should enjoy, but don't let cool decor distract you from sub-par food. Restaurants in more expensive areas have higher rent to pay, thus making their meals more expensive then they're worth sometimes. Hole in the wall restaurants, though a little grimey, can be just as good if not better than their posh competitors.
10. Thou shall never leave their foodstagram untagged.
There is NOTHING more annoying than seeing a delicious steak sandwich/ramen bowl/fudge sundae without a tag. Leaving your followers without the location of said yumminess is not aloof and mysterious - it's rude. If I see amazing untagged chicken tenders you best believe I'm hunting for them. In the Annex? Kensington? St.Lawrence Market? Save the people a scavenger hunt & tag that shit.
Some bonus tips to absolve any sins: thou shall always make a reservation & never leave good food behind. Anything else? Drop it in the comments below.
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