Toronto is known for many things like our bustling streets, waterfront skyline, and world-famous sports teams. But when it comes down to it, it's really our food scene that makes this city special.
Toronto's restaurants and bars are an extension of every resident's home. They're where we go to celebrate birthdays, catch up with old friends, and destress after a long day of work.
But the restaurant industry has been uniquely affected by the pandemic and, as dine-in services close across the city and delivery and takeout take centre stage, our favourite bars and restaurants have been forced to adapt or ultimately shut down.
Many have reopened closed doors, added contactless pickup and payment, and created takeout options where there previously were none. And they need our help now more than ever.
This holiday season, it's important that our dollars go towards the hardworking businesses that help keep our neighbourhoods alive and vibrant.
The good news is that you don't have to spend a lot, or even much at all, to support small restaurants in Toronto. In fact, these restaurants all offer dishes that are $15 or under.
And Interac® can help you stay safe while you support local. When you order from any of the below restaurants, you can pick up and pay for your order with Interac Debit (including contactless) or pre-pay online.
Here are 12 Toronto restaurants that you can order from this holiday season, to add a special touch to your evening meals while supporting the small businesses that make our city what it is.
1. Tibet Kitchen
Cuisine: Tibetan and Himalayan
Address: Pickup at 1544 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Order: Tibet Kitchen has been a Parkdale staple for over 13 years. As one of the oldest Tibetan restaurants in the area, you can expect authentic dishes like momos, chicken chili and phingsha made with lots of love.
They take great care of their customers (they hosted a surprise free buffet for everyone on the Dalai Lama's birthday last year) and the quality of their food is top-notch.
You can call to order and pay with Interac Debit upon pickup.
Address: Pickup at 1281 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M6H 1N7
Why You Need To Order: At this popular red-sauce joint, you'll find casual Italian fares like pasta, veal sandwiches, salads, and house-made tiramisu with quality ingredients at an affordable price.
While Sugo joint doesn't offer delivery, you can order online for pickup with contactless payment directly from their website or over the phone.
And if you like their pasta sauce and want some for your own at-home Italian cooking, they sell jars at $10 a litre.
3. Big Trouble Pizza
Address: Pickup at 235 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON M5T 2E2
Why You Need To Order: Big Trouble Pizza serves pies with toppings you won't find anywhere else in Toronto, like organic raspberry jam and balsamic reduction or truffle oil and tangy chili jelly.
They also have a delicious classic Margherita for the not-so-adventurous. Pickup is available at their Spadina location.
4. Tut's Egyptian Street Food
Cuisine: Egyptian street food
Address: Pickup at 567 King St. W., Toronto, ON M5V 1M1
Why You Need To Order: Newly opened, Tut's is a street-food concept specializing in small Egyptian sandwiches that pack a mighty flavour. Their tasty buns are baked fresh in-house.
Individually, the sandwiches are small so it's worth opting for their Tut's Combo (two sandwiches and fries for $12.99) or their Tut's Plus Combo if you're extra hungry or want to share (four sandwiches and fries for $19.99). The Egyptian falafel and grilled kofta are especially good.
They don't take orders over the phone, but the guys over at Tut's say that if you go to their King St. location, it won't take more than a few minutes to get your order ready.
5. Season Six
Address: Pickup at 216 Ossington Ave., Toronto, ON M6J 2Z9, or order online
Why You Need To Order: If you miss the smell of your mom's home-cooked meals, order any of Season Six's creative and beautifully presented home-style dishes as the next best thing.
This farm-to-table restaurant changes its menu every two months, and gets vegetables directly from local organic farms wherever possible. Right now, they have mouth-watering options like Chickpea Tagine, Brisket Goulash, and Pierogis Bigos on the menu, plus vegan choices too.
Season Six has its own delivery service. Simply order from their online kiosk and have your food delivered to your door, or pick up and pay for your order at their Ossington location.
6. Rùa Vàng Golden Turtle
Address: Pickup at 125 Ossington Ave., Toronto, ON M6J 2Z2
Why You Need To Order: Considered by many as one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto, Golden Turtle has been serving authentic pho and Vietnamese cuisine since 1987.
Their vegetarian pho, deep-fried crispy spring rolls, and homemade hot chili sauce are an absolute must on cold winter days.
While this popular spot used to only take cash for pickup orders, they now accept Interac Debit.
7. Rasta Pasta
Cuisine: Jamaican-Italian fusion
Address: Pickup at 61 Kensington Ave., Toronto, ON M5T 2K1
Why You Need To Order: Kensington Market locals come here to get their fill of homemade jerk chicken, but you'll find Torontonians from all neighbourhoods ordering from this popular, no-fuss spot.
Dishes like Dreadlock Pasta, Reggae Lasagne, and Rasta Pasta are where the restaurant gets its Jamaica-meets-Italy namesake, but it's their famous grilled paninis and jerk chicken that really steal the show.
Despite the affordable prices (nothing is over $15), the portions are extremely generous. You can place your order over the phone to pick up and pay with Interac Debit.
8. Mother's Dumplings
Address: Pickup at 421 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON M5T 2G6
Why You Need To Order: Hands down one of the best places to get dumplings in Toronto, Mother's is a small Chinese comfort-food restaurant that serves up a variety of noodles, steamed buns, and — the main event — boiled, steamed and pan-fried dumplings.
You can call in for a pickup order and enjoy this gloriousness in the comfort of your own home.
9. Little India Restaurant
Address: Pickup at 255 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z4
Why You Need To Order: Little India has been serving primarily North Indian cuisine since 1994. Like many other Toronto restaurants, it's giving back to the community during the pandemic.
The Queen St. restaurant famous for its legendary (and affordable) buffets is giving away meals to local shelters, charities, or any other location of your choice over the holidays. Simply order from them online here and they'll deliver your donated meal.
Little India is even offering a 20% discount on pickup orders.
10. Mildred's Temple Kitchen
Cuisine: International fare & brunch
Address: Pickup at 85 Hanna Ave., Toronto, ON M6K 3S3
The brunch line at Mildred's Temple Kitchen is on fire. Fluffy blueberry pancakes, soft poached eggs on flakey croissants, handcrafted burgers with apple relish and garlic aioli — need I say more?
This popular Liberty Village staple has been open for 31 years and is no stranger to long lineups — before the pandemic, people would regularly wait an hour or two before being seated — but with indoor dining now closed, you can pick up your order at 85 Hanna Avenue.
They even have frozen biscuits and scones that you can pop in the oven at home for fresh breakfasts over the holidays.
11. Libertad Mexicana
Address: Order online and pick up at 133 Jefferson Ave., Toronto, ON M6K 3E4
Why You Need To Order: This humble spot in Liberty Village serves up an authentic range of tacos and other delicious Mexican-style fares.
Tacos are $5 across the board and are served packed with toppings on soft, locally made tortillas. You'll want to have a few napkins on hand.
Drop in to place your order and pay with contactless Interac Debit.
12. Blondies Pizza
Address: Pickup up at 88 Ossington Ave. Unit 2, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z4 & 1555 Dundas St. E., Toronto, ON M4L 1K9, or order online
Why You Need To Order: Instantly recognizable by the baby pink pizza boxes, Blondies makes all of their pies with from-scratch dough, homemade red or blonde sauce, and fresh local ingredients.
Customize your pizza (vegan and gluten-free offerings are available) or choose from a selection of pies with fun names like Drake Was Here, Cold Drink/Hot Girl, and Regina, The Mean One.
The Leslieville and Ossington locations currently offer their own delivery service, but Blondies recommends calling your order in as the online service can get booked up quickly. It's important to note that Blondies' other locations are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 or have limited service.