Food is by far my favourite thing and I know EVERYONE likes food...but I really, really, really like it.
When it comes to food, I really ain't got no type. Fast food, Asian, BBQ, vegan, literally there is not a single food I don't like...Okay fine, I'm not a fan of celery, but otherwise I LOVE ALL FOOD. I have made it a point to discover as many eateries all over Toronto (and the GTA), averaging a new one every two weeks for the past two years. Thankfully, my job here at Narcity has brought me to many new spots, and - also thankfully - Toronto's forever changing culinary scene makes sure I'll never run out of places to try.
The list of awesome restaurants in the city is truly endless and while everyone's tastes are totally different, these are just a few that have either totally wowed me or have become my go-tos over the years. I highly recommend adding them to your personal bucket list too. Here's why:
Hanmoto // 2 Lakeview Ave
If I can take someone to just one restaurant in Toronto it's Hanmoto, a tiny Izakaya restaurant tucked off of Dundas St. It's comprised of under 20 dining spots, so sometimes it's a bit of a challenge to get in, but 10000% worth it. EVERYTHING on the menu is good and with their sharing style small plates, you can try pretty much everything. My personal favourite (and possibly something people might overlook) is the miso ice cream. I'm not a fan of dessert but this is a MUST for me every time I visit.
Grey Garden // 199 Augusta Ave
A new-comer to the Toronto food scene after opening just this year, I'm already in love with Grey Garden after my first visit. Come for the elegant and sexy decor, stay for the awesome wine selection and unique, flavourful food. I'll be totally honest, upon reading the menu I was a tad bit confused what exactly to order because the food is so unique and creative. It's hard to picture exactly how a dish will come out looking. But after asking the wait staff for suggestions, everything was absolutely delicious. The menu changes quite often so all the more reason for me to come back ASAP.
Buca // Multiple Locations
You really can't go wrong with Italian, but if you're looking for something extra special head here. I have been to Buca an upwards of 8 times in the last two years for birthdays, family dinners, dates, and so on, and it truly always leaves me impressed. Their flavours are so simple and direct, you really can't go wrong. The ambience is also perfect, and the attention to detail is outstanding (on my birthday they even gave me fresh pasta, and other ingredients to make cacio de pepe at home. How cute!). My personal favourite is the duck egg bigoli pasta with duck ragu and is available at both the Yorkville and King St. locations.
Mother's Dumplings // 421 Spadina Ave
Cheap? Yes. Delicious? Hell yes. I have literally gotten SO full off $20 here. People often say this is the best place in the city for dumplings, and I'm not going to disagree. All the recipe's were learned by the owner and chef from her mother, hence the name, and can you really beat mom's home cooking? The dumplings are made right in front of your eyes, with the cooks working behind a window for curious onlookers. Highly recommend getting both the fried and the boiled dumplings to get a wide range of flavours. Also! Try their scallion pancake...Mmmmmm.
Baro // 481 King St W
Another fairly new resto to Toronto, this place brings the heat...literally! Their focus is Latin food with a hint of Asian influence, which in my opinion is an excellent combination. Their decor is very ambient but with bright jewel tones and fantastic murals in the stairways leading to the other floors. Oh, that's probably my favourite part: Baro consists of many different floors that include a raw bar lounge (hello oysters!), an event space, a heated rooftop patio and a secret password protected bar. Get the Chori Papa, a mix of chorizo, potatoes, peppers , chipotle golf and goat cheese served with flour tortillas
Bar Raval // 505 College St
Save yourself a trip to Barcelona and head here instead. Both the bar and the food are a work of art. The all wood bar is shaped like something straight out of Gaudi's mind (he's the architect behind the famous Sagrada Familia church in Barca) with it's natural shape and seductive curvatures. The cocktails are delicious and if you're feeling adventurous, ask the bartender to make you something off the menu; trust me, it will be amazing. You will most likely be standing while eating at this spot, like in true Spanish tapas fashion. Get the peppers, thank me later.
Wvrst // 609 Kin St W
Who doesn't love a good wiener? Give me one of those, a nice German beer, something pickled, some duck fries and I can die happy. This German style beer hall, with its long communal table, delivers all that and then some. The have awesome game-sausages (including bison, duck, wild boar and even kangaroo) as well as regular sausages and even a vegan dog. I've actually tried almost all the types they have and while it's so hard to pick a favourite, I'll go with the duck with fois gras mix because it's so rich....and so damn good.