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Welcome to Toronto or what the cool kids call it, #the6ix! Toronto regularly ranks high on “Best City in the World” lists and has the second, yes the SECOND coolest neighborhood in the ENTIRE world. So I’m not being biased when I say Toronto is my favorite place in the entire world and I hope after this weekend you at least understand why a lot of people agree with me. One of the best things about Toronto is its young and vibrant food scene. Toronto isn’t world renowned for its food… yet. However in the past 10 years or so the food scene has grown into what I would argue is one of the best in North America and is a hidden gem in the foodie world.
Due to Toronto’s multicultural nature, again ranking near the top if not the top in the world, there are so many different choices of cuisine in Toronto. This is by no means an extensive list as there are so many options in the city but all the choices are either walking distance or a cheap Uber ride away from the venue.
Late Night Eats 24hr Joints
Toronto for the most part is not a 24hr city but there are a few decent diner style options to eat at if you are looking for dinner after a 9th round loss.
A little pricey for what it is but it’s the closest decent 24 hr spot to the venue. Some of you may have even booked a room in the Thompson hotel above the restaurant. It’s also close to a lot of pubs and bars and clubs so if your plan is to go out drinking on one of the nights this is one of the better choices pre or post drinking binge.
What to order: It’s hard to pinpoint a must order at a diner but poutine is always a good choice. No sane person dislikes poutine.
This is my go to place for afterhours eating. It’s decently priced and has a lot of great sandwiches and various fried things, even fried chocolate bars!
What to order: If you want to go really indulgent get a Pie Milkshake. If they have apple pie that’s my go to shake.
Zets is great Greek diner style food. Some people swear by it but it really isn’t worth the trip that far from the venue unless you head there before your flight as it is very close to the airport.
Fast food alternatives
If you want a meal around the price of McDonald’s but you are aware that Mcdonald’s is a horrible option, these are for you.
The Burger’s Priest
Burger’s Priest is the burger chain that started the whole burger craze that’s been going on in Toronto over the past few years. BP is a basically a copycat of Shake Shack that has matured and come into its own identity. Some in Toronto may say another place has a better burger but no one can argue that BP is one of the top choices for a burger in Toronto.
What to order: I like to keep it simple with The Priest, but The Vatican is just as good as it sounds. Don’t bother with fries. Here’s a link to the secret menu if you are into stuff like that http://www.theburgerspriest.com/secret-menu/.
Bahn Mi Boys
I love Bahn Mi. I’ve ate too many to count but surprisingly I wouldn’t suggest going to Bahn Mi Boys for a Bahn Mi. They are great there but their tacos and baos are just as good and much easier to eat. There are two locations and both are walking distance to great MTG stores.
What to order: I love me a Squid taco but whatever you order you have to share a kimchi fries with someone. It’s covered in pulled pork, kimchi and other goodness. It’s basically their version of a poutine. If you are alone the kimchi fries is good enough to eat by itself or you can get a taco or bao as well if you are really hungry.
Toronto isn’t really a poutine city, but most Americans that travel to Canada want to try our national dish so I am obligated to give you some suggestions.
Poutini’s House of Poutine
One of the two places I’ll go to if I feel for a poutine. A quick Uber from the venue.
What to order: Bacon Poutine. Tastes as good as it sounds.
The other place I’d go to if I was feeling for a poutine. Lots of locations for this chain.
What to order: Bacon Poutine. Tastes as good as it sounds.
Toronto is sometimes known as hogtown due to its history in the meat packing industry. There are a lot of meat and pork options in the city but Bestellen is one of the best. If you only have one splurge dinner during your trip to Toronto this HAS to be it.
What to order: If you have 8+ friends you HAVE to get the whole roasted suckling pig. It’s an amazing experience, extremely filling and well worth the money. Minimum 8 people, $60 per head which includes apps, a whole suckling pig, sides and dessert. Be sure to book 72 hours in advance.
Copacabana/Copa by the Sea
All you can eat Brazillian Steak house. I haven’t ate at Fogo before but I’d imagine this is very very similar. If you like seafood, the “by the sea” location is great. I ate there when it first opened and had A LOT of scallops.
It’s basically a bar that has great selection of beers and ciders as well as an extensive selection of sausages. Lots of room, but on busy nights the wait can be long if you go during dinner and night time drinking hours.
What to order: Duck fat fries. I don’t suggest getting the dirty version. If you like truffles, upgrade to the truffle mushroom mayo.
Probably one of my favorite restaurants. Korean food is just good food. Full of flavor and always makes an impact. Oddsoeul goes the fusion route with great success. It is reasonably priced versus some places and the food is super tasty.
What to order: If they have the pork neck I would definitely get it. Sometimes it’s not available. Basically like a huge order of ribs for around $20-$25. One order can feed 2 easily, possibly more.
New Japanese izakaya that made Toronto Life’s Best New Restaurants of 2016 list. I’ve only ate here once but I am sure I will make many more trips to their restaurant.
What to order: Corn tempura. I’ve never seen this offered anywhere else so I can confidently say that this is the best corn tempura I have ever had.
Brunch is by far the best option to make your trip worth it if you scrubbed out and didn’t make day 2. It’s also a great option if you drank a little too much Saturday night.
This place is a little pricey but servings are decent, it’s super close to the venue and the food is just good. If you got an Airbnb in Liberty Village, which hopefully you did as it’s the closest and probably cheapest option to stay for the GP, you are in luck because School is in the Liberty Village neighborhood.
What to order: Super Cheesy Bacon French Toast. By this point I think you can tell that I like pork, especially bacon. I also love the combination of sweet and salty which this dish does effortlessly.
A quaint little place with a very cozy feel. I don’t know much about the chef/owner but it feels like it is family owned. You really feel the love put into the food. There can be a wait to get in on weekdays so if you plan to go on the weekend definitely be prepared to wait.
What to order: Espressado milkshake. It’s an avocado milkshake with an espresso shot. If you have never had an avocado milkshake this is your chance to change that. I’m an Asian so I grew up drinking avocado milkshakes and other sweet avocado concoctions but as I grew older I realized the rest of the world views avocado only as a savory ingredient. Get it together people!
If it’s warm enough to eat ice cream there are a few spots for you to try and if you want to live like a true Torontonian, then it is ALWAYS warm enough to eat ice cream.
Way over the top soft serve. Worth the price even just for the Instagram pic opportunity. Check out the pics on their website so you know what you are getting into.
What to order: the S’more latte is on point if you don’t feel like ice cream otherwise pick your poison, nothing is a bad choice.
Great ice cream with insanely on point flavors. They produce small batches so the flavor options are always different. There is usually one or two savory options as well if you want an interesting taste adventure. They even have an anchovy and seaweed topping option.
What to order: I would actually stay away from the cookie sandwich option. If you want more than just ice cream go for the cinnamon roll sandwich option with whatever flavor you think will go well with it. It’s a new feature and it’s amazing. Also, there is currently a Mango Pudding with warm coconut sticky rice available and it is the truth.
Glory Hole Doughnuts
I know this isn’t an ice cream spot and I know that doughnuts aren’t traditionally a dessert but it’s worth a trip to Glory Hole if you want something sweet. There are a lot of gourmet cupcake joints around the city but there are very few gourmet doughnut options but even if there were Glory Hole would still be on the top of the list. Yeasty style doughnuts and Cake style doughnuts are on the menu depending on the flavor. Their yeast ones are my favorite but I’m biased to that type of doughnut.
What to order: Toast and Butter is my favorite but if you make the trip get a half dozen or dozen and try a bunch with some friends. You won’t be sorry.
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If you have any questions about Toronto in general, recommendations on places to visitor need any other recommendations for food hit me up on Twitter @RyeAbc. I’ll try my best to help your stay in Toronto a memorable one.