Feeding Schedule In Toronto: Your Guide To The City’s Best Eats
Friday, June 18, 2010
Toronto truly is a city of summer beauty. Actually, most places bathe in brilliance when the sun is shining.
However, for me, Toronto is more than just glittery Queen West (the shopping district) and the infamous Yonge Street — lined with hocked gadgets and over-priced jerseys. To me me this city, like all cities, is more than its controversial new architecture juxtaposed against copper-topped pillars and the bustle of our financial district.
Personally, our beacon of identity (the CN Tower, now with a nocturnal light show), serves no other purpose than directional orientation. I have never been to the observation-deck at the top of the tower, let alone the restaurant that is precariously perched and slowly rotating.
Being a city centered around multiculturalism, Toronto has much more to offer than the typical 10-block radius of downtown “sights.” In the center, you can find Chinese food chains, big-box breakfast joints and Pizza Pizza (Canadian cardboard-pizza corporation) pizzerias. It’s fun to venture into it, but I think it’s more interesting to eat outside the box.
As a nomadic eater-outer traveling far and wide to find good food gives me my daily purpose. Now, having lived in this city for some years, I feel it my duty to suggest some peripheral places. It just so happens that these spots tend to be more delicious, easy on the wallet, diverse in neighborhoods and flavors.
Pho at Golden Turtle: This Vietnamese restaurant is nestled between bars and bistros on the “up & coming” street Ossington, although I’m pretty sure it’s already “up.” The place is always usually full because of the packed bowls of rice-noodle soup (pho) with beef.
Nopales & pazole at Perola: Kensington Market is always busy with people — tourists and locals alike. Yet, few seem to know of the quaint taco-stand in the back of Perola, a Latin American grocery store. As the sign reads outside: “Authentic Mexican tacos made by Mexicans.” Your options are few, but each one delicious. You can have cactus tacos (nopal) or pork & hominy soup (pozole) while teetering atop one of four stools that surround the stand.
Panzerotto at Bitondo’s: Little Italy has many pizza spots, but nothing rivals a deep-fried, cheese & tomato-sauce pizza pocket the size of one’s head. I’m pretty sure the owners take a whole pizza, fold it, fry it, wrap it in foil and sit back, chuckling, as you lug it out the door. That’s amore.
Spicy Portuguese Salami sammy from the Brazil Bakery & Pastry Ltd.: Little Portugal is brimming with bakeries and now, being a resident of the neighborhood and a lover of bread, my life is beautiful. The area has its other small bakery chains, like the Nova Era and Caldense, but the Brazilian Bakery has got an incredible salami sammy. That, and it’s at the top of my street. Also, it seems like every time that I am there, purchasing a sandwich, a can of Sumol pop and a nata (custard tart), that the boss rolls out a rack of freshly-baked buns shouting, “Paper bag! Use the paper bag, not plastic!”
Kitfo and Tibs (or a Vegetable plate) at Nazareth: There are many Ethiopian-food options in the Bloorcourt area. Trying the vast majority of them, we found one that’s got good food and atmosphere. It seems that word spread fast as the once alley-sized spot had to buy the building beside it just to accommodate those lined-up out the door. It’s a hands-on experience, using the infera (doughy-bread) to grab mouthfuls of spiced beef and sweet-potatoes. At the end of your meal, sip on some coffee not only because it will help you digest, but because the owner roasts the beans over coals at your table.
Undoubtedly, nothing beats going to a city and discovering new things for yourself. Nevertheless, using suggestions as jump-off points — to fuel up for a day of walking and observing — is never a bad thing.
By Brit Weaver
About the Author
Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.