It may be September but I’m still making my way through places to eat in Toronto as if summer was in full swing!
Dining out may have looked a little different this year but my hunger to discover new foodie havens in the city has been going strong, from smoky BBQs to Vietnamese street food. Savour the last bit of warm weather by dining on patios or grab to go and lounge with your takeout boxes in the park!
Here are 6 delicious places to eat in Toronto to hit before the seasons change:
Since I can’t exactly hop on a plane right now, at least my tastebuds can adventurously explore places to eat in Toronto. And where better to do that than in Kensington Market where you can find authentic AF eats from around the globe — Jamaican, Mexican, Swedish, Thai, etc…in one neighbourhood. Hit by a massive craving for tacos, I beelined for Tacos Gus. As you wait in line to place your order, consult the dizzying list of tacos, tortas and fresh guac (oh my!) scrawled on wall and grab a fizzy Jarrito to wash it all down.
+ Tacos: Duh. If you’re not at least getting a trio of hefty tacos to yourself, what are you even doing here?! I sampled the barbacoa (braised lamb), pastor (grilled pork) and the pescado (grilled fish) on handmade corn tortillas and gobbled up every single one with glee. The grilled fish was particularly delicious with creamy guac, small chunks of sweet pineapple, sprinkled with cilantro and drizzled with their special hot sauce.
+ Consomé de Barbacoa: Read closely — this is the magic. Like I mentioned, barbacoa is braised lamb; slow-cooked over a fire. Order the consomé de barbacoa, which is the juices from the meat, and sip in tandem or dunk your taco in.
+ Chow down at the counter at the front and watch the interesting characters that meander around Kensington Market or head out back to their enclosed patio, complete with glowing strings of lights.
While doing research for an upcoming blog post covering the gustatory delights of Kensington Market, I discovered this den of deliciousness, Dipped Donuts Inc. This tiny shop tucked away on Baldwin boasts hand-crafted donuts dripping in unique glazes that result in drool-worthy confections like Blueberry Basil, Key Lime Pie, Carrot Cake and Hojicha Raspberry White Chocolate. If you’re searching for new places to eat in Toronto, add this sweet spot to the list!
+ Donut Bombs: All the donuts I tried tasted super fresh but I particularly loved the little “bombs”. Fitting snuggly in my hand, I bit into the sticky peanut butter glazed dough topped with chopped peanut, and house-made raspberry jelly burst out! Flavour country. I also had to sample a baby donut that was frosted with chocolate ganache and filled with a delicate orange cream. Yum!
+ Supporting local businesses in Toronto, Dipped Donuts sources ingredients for their glazes straight from Kensington Market. The glaze on the London Fog donut is infused with Earl Grey tea from the nearby Moonbeam Cafe while the smoked bacon atop the Maple Bacon bombs are procured from Sanagan’s Meat Locker up the street.
One glimpse of glowing paper lanterns and hip neon sign lights, and I couldn’t wait till DZO Vietnamese Eatery opened their doors at McCaul and Dundas. Despite opening during COVID, they’ve been a solid additions to the ranks of places to eat in Toronto with a steady stream of customers congregating to dine on modernized Vietnamese street food. Traditional recipes are remixed and beautifully plated, whether enjoyed on the lively patio or order takeaway for a park picnic.
+ Photine Dac Biet: Embracing Canadian cuisine, this dish is a twist on poutine with Pho spiced beef, mild-flavoured Pho gravy, cheese, basil and crispy shallots.
+ Dry Pho: I love me some broth-less noodles and these rice noodles were mixed with a sweet tamarind soy sauce, fresh herbs, crispy shallots and garlic oil, paired with flavourful skewers of Pho spiced beef (also chicken or vegan options).
+ French Pho Beef Dip: A classic Bahn mi composed of a French baguette stuffed with grilled Pho spiced beef, pickled vegetables, Sriracha, hoisin sauce and crispy shallots. Served with Pho broth for dipping.
+ TBH, everything on the menu looked amazing — the Bún Bò Hue Spicy Noodle Soup with broth that’s been simmered for 8 hours, the pork belly cooked in a clay pot, the garlic rice plates with lemongrass chicken, etc… I’ll probably have to update this post as I eat my way through it.
+ The space is much bigger than it looks from the outside, the interior extending into the back and designed to reflect the lush terraces found in Vietnam.
I’ve always had a soft spot for La Cubana — the hand-lettered signage, the cool mint exterior, the bold red graphics on paper menu placemats, the retro interior. The family-run restaurant brings a taste of Havana to Toronto, serving up Cuban comfort food from platters in a welcoming ambiance and plush booths.
+ Shortrib Medianoche: Topped with crunchy coleslaw and crispy onions, this meaty Cuban sandwich features a flavourful guava BBQ shortrib with just the right amount of spicy kick and a zesty chimichurri sauce to cut through the richness.
+ Cuban Plate: Whether you opt for the achiote-spiced chicken or the slow-cooked pork shoulder, the Cuban Plates come with a scoop of rice and beans, fried plantains (tostones) and a vibrant coleslaw.
+ Buttermilk Donuts: Freshly made and rolled in sugar, they come hot in a paper bag to soak up the leftover grease. YUM!
To enjoy one of the last warm summer evenings, we snagged a picnic table at Madame Boeuf and Flea, one of Anthony Rose’s many restaurants along Dupont Street. The mismatched lawn chairs, corn toss and makeshift wooden pallets as tables lends this “stupid-simple” backyard barbecue joint a country charm making it a welcome find in the middle of the city.
+ Banquet Burger: Looking for a good ol’ burger? This. Is. It. A juicy patty in a soft bun oozing with gooey cheese topped with shredded lettuce, sliced red onion, tomato and crispy bacon
+ “Fat Son” Sundae: This sticky dessert gives a Middle Eastern flair to the All-American sundae with pistachio dukkah, indulgent dulce de leche and light-as-air halva floss.
+ Chef Anthony Rose has completely taken over Dupont Street with his empire of culinary venues that are sure to become some of your favourite places to eat in Toronto. I love eating my way through bagels generously smeared with horseradish cream cheese, salmon caviar and gravlax at Schmaltz Appetizing, comforting smoked meats at Big Crow and Middle Eastern-inspired platters at Fet Zun (formerly Bar Begonia).
If you’re looking for places to eat in Toronto serving killer BBQ, this is it. Cherry Street Bar-B-Que was transformed from a bank into a casual counter-style barbecue house cooking up some serious Southern eats, complete with a spacious patio and hanging lights. Grab box upon box of grilled goodness and head to the nearby Cherry Beach or take it with you to the Docks Drive-In for dinner AND a show.
+ EVERYTHING: Overload a metal tray till it’s brimming with smoky side or back ribs (in half or full pound) and tender brisket then load on the sides: creamy mac n’ cheese, crunchy coleslaw, thick and sweet baked beans and a fluffy cornbread. Wash it all down with a refreshing Kentucky Sweet Tea that has the ideal bourbon to sweet tea to ice ratio.
+ The people behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que just opened up Elm Street Italian Deli which has me dancing with glee since it’s just a short jaunt up the street for me.
I don’t know about you but I’m always on the hunt for new and delicious places to eat in Toronto. But obviously I eat at more places than I can keep up with on here which is why I started and account (@teriakieats) just to house my food porn. Follow along if you want to stay current on all the drool-worthy spots I’m gorging at!
For more recommendations for where to eat in Toronto, check out the first part of Scene + Eaten.
Keep your stalking game strong and follow me @teriaki if you aren’t already!