Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America and home to a melting pot of cultures, offering a diverse culinary scene that will make your foodie heart flutter. You’ve got a lot of choices in this city for dining, from Portuguese to Caribbean and Vietnamese. A mix of tried and true places and buzzing new hot spots, here are the best restaurants in Toronto right now.
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Grey Gardens is part wine bar and part restaurant, where you’ll find locals popping in for a glass of wine and a snack after work or friends enjoying dinner in the back dining room. It’s got a bohemian-luxe address in Kensington Market, where you can dine on Trout with Swiss chard and horseradish, stuffed peppers with chicken sausage and greens and grilled pork tongue, while snacks range from smoked fish dip to foie gras and duck terrine.
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen
If you’re looking for Caribbean food with tons of flavor, head to Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen. They’ve got an in-house pit grill and their own jerk pork and chicken, which takes four days to prepare. Choose from a coconut herb-crusted sea bream and saltfish fritters, oxtail strew and likkle patties made with curried turkey and greens. Make sure to save room for dessert, as the passion fruit and coconut cream pie are a delight for those with a sweet tooth.
Beach Hill Smokehouse
Are you craving Texas BBQ? There’s no better place to experience the deliciousness of authentic BBQ then at Beach Hill Smokehouse. This joint uses a 7,000-pound smoker to serve up meats by the half pound, where you can sink your teeth in anything from smoked brisket to pork ribs, sausages and halal chicken. It’s not true BBQ until you pile on the sides, which include mac & cheese, poblano coleslaw, beans and potato salad.
Farm'r Eatery & Catering
A charming farm-to-table eatery, Farmr is known for using local and seasonal ingredients in their dishes. You can enjoy a guilt-free meal at this restaurant, which serves up comfort food from scratch. Pair proteins such as spiced turkey meatballs and lentil and chickpea fritters with kohlrabi and red kale, sweet potatoes and mushrooms and kale. A perfect spot for brunch, they also have breakfast specials that include sandwiches, rice porridge and brunch mimosas.
Pinky’s Ca Phe
You’ll discover Pinky’s Ca Phe at the first floor of a converted house, where Vietnamese-meets-Philadelpia cooking is celebrated with giant feasts of delectable cuisines. Begin your meal by sampling the lightly fried “banh xeo” crepes stuffed with Tiger’s Milk ceviche with yellowfin tuna, scallops, clams, tom yum spices and coconut milk. If you’ve really got an appetite, go for the “Pho beef dip-you-dip-i-dip” menu item, which is a banh mi cheese steak toasted by a blow torch, stuffed with brisket, Asiago, hoisin and Sriracha, then served with a bowl of pho for dipping.
Dress your best and head to Scaramouche for a fancy date, where you’ll be greeted with white tablecloths and classic European cooking. The view is worth the price tag alone, as it sits on the crest of a hill overlooking Toronto, offering a chance to admire its twinkling lights at sunset. You can dine on roasted duck breast, lamb rack with salsa verde and wild halibut with lemon fennel, while those going all out can enjoy the grilled half lobster. Just make sure to save room for a slice of coconut cream pie with white chocolate shavings.
Kay Pacha is bright and colorful, offering flavorful Peruvian cuisine that will transport you to South America. It’s here that you can start off with chifles, yuca frita, empanadas and Causa de Salmon with Yukon potato puree infused with lime and Aji peppers or anticuchos grilled skewers, the quintessential Peruvian street food. Indulge in classic ceviche or go for the grilled sea bream, daily fresh fish served whole or Arroz la China with tiger shrimp, squid, scallops and baby octopus served with jasmine rice with soy glaze and peppers.
Refined yet casual, the cuisine at Pukka is nothing short of fantastic. Come hungry and dine on beef short ribs with cumin, cloves and cardamom and sliced paneer with shiitake mushrooms, spinach and pistachios. Choose from a menu of British desserts, where you’ll be impressed with the delectable sticky toffee pudding that is an alluring mound of caramel goodness. You’ll also find an extensive wine list, which pairs well with the main entrees like butter chicken, steak vindaloo, stuffed paneer and lamb lollipops.
Yang’s Fine Chinese Cuisine
Dating back to the late 19th century, Toronto’s Chinatown was where working-class Chinese immigrants were found, but in recent generations they’ve made a home in Markham. Yang’s Fine Chinese Cuisine is a must for dim sum lovers, where you’ll find all the usual offerings such as har gow, char siu bao, lo bak go expertly prepared with fresh ingredients. Just be prepared to elbow your way to a table.
If you’re ready to satisfy your sweet tooth, browse the selection at Crown Pastries. Step inside to discover an array of must-eat sweets and daily fresh baklava, from the basbousa (semolina and rosewater syrup) to the borma, which are crisp strands of dough that are wrapped around pistachios. Take home a few warbat, which are flaky dough with a creamy hazelnut filling, and we’re sure you’ll be coming back for more later.
It’s hard to resist the lure of a good pizza, and Conspiracy Pizza are the experts. You’ll find “New York slash Italian hybrid” pizzas here that are made with the freshest ingredients possible. All the proteins are sourced in-house, and their jalapeno-Cheddar sausage bombs with house-pickled jalapenos and banana peppers are a must. The most popular item on the menu, however, is the Bay of Pigs with its white sauce flavor that layers Adamson pulled pork and smoked bacon with red onions, mozzarella and a BBQ mustard sauce.
Centre Street Deli
Built to cater to Jews that moved from Montreal to Toronto in the 1970s, Centre Street Deli looks the same as it did in 1988 with its charming cartoon decor and fluorescent lights. It’s the smoked meat that will lure you in though to this location just outside of the city, where you’ll find comfort food staples like sandwiches and French fries. Make sure to try the kishke, a sausage of chicken fat and matzo meal, and chopped liver, which is pureed with caramelized onions into a smooth spread.