Last summer, I visited Toronto for the first time ever and I left the city stuffed. Being such a large city, there are SO many places to check out and I really don’t think it’s possible to make it to every spot in one visit. Plus, there is always new places popping up! However, if you are planning to visit anytime soon, I’ve got a few noteworthy recommendations. Here’s to my extremely late recap of some good Toronto eats.
Following the advice of friends, family, and trusty reviews, I’ve narrowed it down to a select number of places that I think are “must trys”. Forgive me if I’ve missed anything, I could only eat so much in the week that I was there lol!
Let’s start with cheap eats:
Banh Mi Boys
392 Queen St West (multiple locations)
Best bang for your buck meal. Banh Mi Boys is famous for their delicious banh mi and baos. The meal is super tasty and filling and the best part is that it’s all under $10.
384 Bloor Street West (multiple locations)
PG Clucks had the fried chicken sandwich of my dreams, I have been craving for something like it ever since I tried it – but haven’t had any luck in Edmonton. Please enjoy a PG Clucks sandwich if you’re in Toronto for me.
280 Spadina Ave
If you’re able to make it to the Chinatown area, don’t skip out on Juicy Dumplings. For less than $5, you can get a delicious plate of Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings) or pan-fried dumplings. The dumplings were indeed, juicy, and it was easily one of the cheapest and best food stops, in my opinion!
For dining options, I really enjoyed:
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen
104 Portland St
Toronto definitely has no shortage of Jamaican spots. Chubby’s caught my eye as I was walking around the area and it was a fun, elevated experience for Jamaican food. Prices are a little higher but the food and service were really great and the playlist was top notch. It was all worth it for me! I recommend their ginger beer, jerk chicken and oxtail gravy.
101 Portland St
Just across the street from Chubby’s, you’ll find Gusto 101 for Italian eats. It’s packed every single night of the week and if you’re lucky, maybe you can even grab a spot on their rooftop patio during sunny days. Make sure to try their truffle pasta or pizza, it’s amazing.
18 Duncan St
Multiple people mentioned PAI to me and it totally exceeded my expectations for Thai food. In comparison to Thai food in Edmonton, which is normally served in a fine dining environment, PAI had a super underground, hip-hop, and lively atmosphere. It was so different but I’m not complaining! Like other popular spots in Toronto, PAI was very busy and there’s normally a bit of a wait.
Their menu is different from traditional Thai spots as they serve casual Northern Thai dishes. I recommend the ‘Pad Gra Grow’, I haven’t seen the dish anywhere else which is a bummer because it was so yummy. On the menu, it’s described as: “holy basil stir fried with your choice of ground pork, chicken, beef or tofu, steamed jasmine rice, thai style fried egg, nam price nam pla sauce”. I opted for ground beef and it was great.
I can’t forget about dessert, of course. While I went to various dessert spots, my absolute favourite place had to be Kekou Gelato – 394 Queen St.
Kekou Gelato had so many unique Asian-inspired gelato flavours, like no other. I enjoyed every flavour I tried, but the most memorable one had to be durian and almond tofu for me.
Other notable places were:
DaanGo Pastry Lab
202 Baldwin St
Although on the pricier end, DaanGo has some very cute macarons that are definitely insta-worthy.
61 Kensington Ave
Located in the well-known Kensington market area, Rasta Pasta is a good go-to spot if you want some authentic Jamaican food for a more affordable price. They are also quite unique as they have a sister restaurant where they have their own take on Jamaican and Italian fusion food. Think pasta with jerk chicken, worth a try! Warning: their jerk chicken has some real good heat to it.
Fuwa Fuwa: If you’re in the mood to try some Japanese fluffy pancakes, Fuwa Fuwa is a great spot to check out. While you’re there, you can also save stomach room for the countless Korean food options on Bloor St.
The bottom line is that if you’re visiting Toronto, there definitely won’t be a shortage of places for you to check out in terms of food and things to do. I, myself, have another entire list of things I still want to do for my next trip (whenever that is)! If you’ve made it this far, I hope this post helped give you a starting point to plan your food stops in Toronto. Honestly, I’d fly back just for the food alone…but don’t worry, there’s also tons of other things to do. Honourable mentions for a first time Toronto vistor include the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, a visit to the Distillery District, and a trip to Niagara Falls!
If you’re still in a rut, one site that I found really helpful for myself while planning my trip was: BlogTO. Food wise, it seems like they have categorized and reviewed the majority of places for readers, lifesaver!