Toronto has so many restaurants that choosing one for your weekend visit can be overwhelming. That's why it helps to ask a local about the best places to go on a short trip to the 6ix, and luckily for you, I'm a Torontonian who gets paid to know all the best bars and restaurants in the city.
I could point you to spots that'll satisfy just about any mood or taste, but since I only have so much space to write, I've decided to recommend the restaurants I'd miss most if I suddenly moved away.
I have a pretty straightforward guide of some of my favourite restaurants to try if you've just moved to the city, but that's more for people who are easing into Toronto life. If you're here for a brief time and you want to get a quick hit of Toronto's food scene, you'll need a different set of recommendations.
This list is too much for one night because you'll need money and room to fit all the food, but I'm still going to give you some options for your blitz through Toronto.
I've put together two breakfast, lunch and dinner spots for you so you can make some choices on a single day in Toronto. And if you were looking for something different, then check out Toronto restaurants with outdoor patios that I can't live without and brunch spots I crave every weekend.
Also, keep in mind my Toronto best restaurant list is a lot longer than this and I can probably recommend over 20 of my favourite spots, but to keep things to a minimum, here are six places that I can guarantee won't disappoint.
Breakfast or Brunch
Brunch spread from Good Fork. Right: Egg sandwiches from Egg Bae.
Address: 1550 Dundas St W, Toronto
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
There are a few brunch spots in Toronto that I'd literally go to every weekend if I could, but to be honest, a lot of my favourite items can be found in many other cities in the world, like a really good eggs Florentine, or an omelette with home fries.
But the one thing you can't find anywhere is a restaurant called Good Fork.
This Middle Eastern breakfast spot has so many things I've never tried before and I have now become obsessed with the flavours, aromas and textures.
Some of my favourite menu items include:
- Loaded Chickpea Taters: crispy taters topped with sour cream, shredded lettuce, crumbled feta and pickled onion.
- Çılbır: confit garlic labneh with two soft poached eggs on top of it along with spiced butter, herbs, puffed grains and a side of grilled pita to dip.
- Blueberry Halva Pancakes: buttermilk pancake stack topped with orange blossom ricotta, lemony blueberry, halva crumble and pure Hockley Valley maple syrup.
Address: 189 Augusta Ave., Toronto
The eggs are super fluffy, the sauce is so good, and the buns are soft, making a great combination. Oh, and you can't forget about the tater tots. Yum!
My go-to order from Egg Bae is their OG sandwich, which comes with soft scrambled eggs, chives, Muenster cheese, slow-cooked onions and Bae Sauce.
Salad from Mandy's Salads. Right: Funghi sandwich from Forno Cultura.
What you eat during lunch is entirely subjective because I could go for a delicious plate of butter chicken or a basic sandwich, depending on how I feel. But for the sake of the argument here, I'll stick with what most Canadians believe is a lunch meal and that's something light but filling.
Two Toronto restaurants come to mind when I think of lunch spots I'd miss, and one is a Montreal franchise.
Mandy's Gourmet Salads
Address: Various locations
Cuisine: Salads and bowls
Hear me out. I don't like salads. I never crave it, but Mandy's Gourmet Salads needs its own category because "salads" don't justify how amazing the bowls are.
Mandy's is a franchise that came to Toronto from Montreal and their aesthetic decor, colourful bowls and special dressings make for one fantastic restaurant.
There are multiple locations in Toronto, but my favourite is on Ossington because it is dog-friendly and the vibes are immaculate.
The spot is special because even though they have some staples on the menu, they also have some that change every season, so you'll always have new things to try.
Also, their cookies are to die for.
Mandy's Gourmet Salads Menu
Address: Various locations
I can wholeheartedly say that Forno Cultura on King Street West has one of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life — and that's saying a lot because I've had my fair share of sandwiches.
I don't eat pork, but I hear their prosciutto sandwich is one that many people like. But for me, the funghi sandwich at Forno Cultura has the perfect consistency of cheese-to-bread and mushroom ratio, making every bite better than the last.
The sandwich has a porcini and cremini mix topped with Emmental cheese and fior di latte. Also, it's served on focaccia made with the right amount of extra virgin olive oil and salt to give it a great crunch.
Spanakopita from Mamakas Taverna. Right: Tartare de saumon from Le Select Bistro.
Now, if you've been following me for a while, you'll know I have a lot of favourite Toronto restaurants, but I wouldn't want to overwhelm you with my list, especially if you're on a time crunch.
If you're visiting Toronto for one weekend, I would always suggest you try these two restaurants for dinner because the vibes are super cozy and comfortable, and the food bursts in your mouth with flavour.
Also, they are somewhat affordable, depending on what you order, of course.
Address: 80 Ossington Ave, Toronto
This is a Greek restaurant located on Ossington Avenue and run by Thanos Tripi, who is also the person behind Bar Koukla and Agora.
I love everything about Mamakas Taverna. I purposefully don't go often, so I keep wanting to come back for more, and here we are years later, and I still have the desire to go back.
It's the perfect place for a date, a reunion or even just a family dinner.
My go-to dishes for two to four people are the following, and you can use my recommendations if you'd like:
- House dips: Tzatziki
- Keftedes: meatballs
- Horiatiki: greek salad
- Oktapodi: octopus
- Paidakia: lamb chops
- Tiganites patatas: hand-cut potatoes
- Lavraki: sea bass
Le Sélect Bistro
Address: 432 Wellington St W, Toronto
I wasn't in the mood for a smash burger when I discovered Le Select Bistro. I was looking for a restaurant that had a really juicy and thick-looking burger.
I opened Google Maps and saw customer pictures of this delicious burger that people spoke highly of. So I went, not expecting much, but left with the happiest tummy and biggest smile.
Other things on the menu are delicious too, like the "tartare de saumon," which comes with a hard-boiled egg, red onion, caper, crème fraîche, chervil and toasted baguette.
The Le Select burger comes with brie, maple bacon, crispy onions, horseradish mayo, and watercress with frites or salade verte as the sides.