Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Places to eat lunch or dinner in Toronto

Some places I like to eat, when I'm not eating brunch. (updated August 26, 2013)

Woodlot - I love Woodlot. The menu changes pretty often and there's a separate vegetarian menu (it's similar to the regular menu, but it's nice to see a restaurant making this type of effort). My favourite is the pappardelle - I've tried it with wild boar and with lamb and both versions were DELICIOUS. Ribbon pastas in general seem quite good there. The Soma chocolate pot de crème is also delicious. Ultra-popular, reserve if you can - although the walk-in communal table is actually really nice, it's probably my favourite place to sit. College/Palmerston.

Chinese Traditional Buns - You can get Uighur/Xinjiang food here. I mostly just grab a Chinese hamburger to go but sometimes eat in and also get the spicy cold tofu in a bowl thing (no clue what it's really called). And the hand-pulled noodles in any version are good. Plus there are xiao long bao (soup dumplings) here.

Pomegranate/Sheherzade - Persian food. I love both places, I get really strong cravings for their food. A lot. I want to eat some now. College/Bathust.

Hibiscus - Salad salad salad salad salad. Kensington Market.

Jules Bistro - Jules club, half fries, half salad. This has been my order for years, I've been going to Jules pretty much since they opened. I can also vouch that the quiches are delicious. But that club...mmmm..... Spadina/Richmond.

To-ne sushi - There isn't really anything super special here but out of the cheap sushi options on Queen West, I like it best. Everything I've had seems pretty fresh and portions are pretty big. Sometimes surprisingly big. Queen/Spadina (next to Queen Video).

Delight Chocolate - Um, ok, you can't really eat lunch or dinner here but the ice cream is delicious! And they have a delicious, rich dairy-free chocolate ice cream made with coconut milk. Yum!

Akram's - Cheap, tasty, filling and there's a variety of menu options for everyone (meat, veggie and vegan). They also have a wide selection of olives and lots of interesting grocery-type items. Kensington Market.

Khao San Road/Sukhothai - This is pretty much the only place in Toronto where you can get Thai food that actually tastes like food from Thailand (Mengrai being the exception, depending on what you order). Be prepared to wait pretty much whenever you go. The Gra Bong is my favourite! Various locations.

Guu - KINOKO CHEESE BIBIMBAP! Sounds disgusting, tastes delicious. Super loud. Church/Gerrard (look for the line) or Bloor/Bathurst.


The Hoof Empire - Black Hoof and Cocktail Bar. Black Hoof is one of the city's best known restaurants; it's small and doesn't take reservations so be prepared to wait.

Bar Isabel - Grant Van Gameren's restaurant. He helped put the Black Hoof on the map and the food at Bar Isabel is just as good. Awesome interior too, kind of feels like stepping back in time or to a different country.

Samuel J. Moore - Great hours, good food, good cocktails, knowledgeable servers, what's not to like?

Kanto - Not actually a restaurant, this is one of the shipping containers on Dundas at Bathurst (Scadding Court Community Centre/Market 707). Really good Filipino food, especially the lechon kawali. May be a 30 minute wait to get your food if it's busy.

Banh Mi Boys - Korean tacos! I don't really bother getting anything else here, I just like the kalbi beef tacos. Sometimes I get the fried chicken bao.

Scarpetta - Mushroom polenta. Don't bother ordering anything else. If you are very hungry, order two mushroom polentas. You're also best off eating at the bar because that's where the fresh potato chips are. Thompson Hotel.

Boreal Gelato - They have food too but I've only had the gelato and sorbet. So good! Needs to be closer to me!

Chantecler - I like you a lot! Be closer to me! Or bigger!


Beast - King/Tecumseth. On top of the fact that their brunch and dinner menus are tasty, Beast also offers good happy hour options and you can arrange a dinner around a single animal, where each course is a different way of cooking the animal. My post about it is somewhere around here, I'm just too lazy to link to it. And as a super-cool bonus, check out the Group of Seven dinners (a bunch of chefs gather together and present a multi-course meal, different themes for the dinners throughout the year).

Richmond Station - Richmond/Yonge. Lots of great options here, you can opt for the regular menu, a large group family-style dinner, or the chef's tasting menu.

Enoteca Sociale - Somewhere on Dundas West. You can do a big family style tasting menu in the downstairs private dining room. I haven't done this but it sounds delicious.

Momofuku Daisho - Large format meals are fun for a big group. I find these a bit weird - on the one hand, they're a ton of fun - but on the other hand, you're paying an awful lot for fairly basic food. FYI if you plan on ordering the fried chicken meal, check what the chicken is - unlike NYC, the Toronto fried chicken meal I had only offered one chicken, Southern-style, as opposed to getting two chickens (Southern and Korean) in NYC.

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