A Taste of Europe
Every summer in August, Torontonians flock to the annual Taste of the Danforth Festival. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for the festival to enjoy delicious Greek food in Toronto. Pan on the Danforth in Greektown has long been recognized as a go-to spot for authentic quality Greek cuisine. Dig in to fresh goat cheese salad, saganaki and moussaka on their sunny street-side patio. If you’d rather stay close to the downtown core, Estiatorio Volos in the Financial District specializes in traditional Greek dishes using local Canadian ingredients.
Do pasta, pizza and pinot grigio sound more up your alley? Then you’ll love Toronto’s selection of Italian restaurants. On College Street West between Euclid Avenue and Shaw Street lies Little Italy, a charming neighbourhood packed with Italian cafés, restaurants and trattorias. Downtown, you’ll find several upscale Italian restaurants including Aria Ristorante, conveniently located close to Union Station.
La Société in fashionable Bloor-Yorkville epitomizes bistro chic – complete with an illuminated stained glass ceiling and two European-style terraces. Feel transported to another era as you enjoy modern French bistro fare or try lounging at their gorgeous dark-panelled bar.
How about Spanish tapas? Patria offers savoury Spanish favourites like bocadillos and croquetas, along with a tasty selection of cocktails and desserts. Also worth trying is Tapas at Embrujo, which boasts a complete Spanish menu, extensive wine list and flamenco shows.
A Taste of the Americas
Who says that Canada doesn’t have a distinct cuisine of its own? At Bannock, the chefs pay homage to traditional Canadian comfort foods reflective of our country’s rich regional and cultural diversity. Likewise at Canoe, Executive Chef John Horne has created a regionally inspired Canadian menu including dishes like Pan Seared Québec Foie Gras and Alberta Lamb – not to mention, the view from the 54th floor of the TD Tower can’t be beat.
Ragin’ for some Cajun? The sights, sounds, and tastes of New Orleans await you at Southern Accent Restaurant, where it’s always Mardi Gras!
A plate of nachos, some tacos and burritos and an ice cold margarita to wash it down with – nothing hits the spot quite like Mexican food. La Carnita, a mobile street-food spot turned restaurant with three locations including Queen Street East, is always a happening spot (the exceptional tacos are worth the line-ups). For a more sophisticated atmosphere, El Catrin in the Distillery Historic District or Los Colibris on King Street serve traditional dishes in an upscale atmosphere.
There’s a whole other continent south of Mexico and its food is as vibrant as its culture. South American cuisine mixes culinary traditions from European, Asian, African and indigenous influences. Experience an authentic Brazilian Rodizio at Copacabana, where unlimited servings of meats are carved right at your table. Or try authentic Peruvian Lomo Saltado (stir fry) with chicha morada (spiced purple corn beverage) at El Fogón on St. Clair Avenue West.
A Taste of Asia
East Asian and South Asian food is as diverse as it is delicious. From dumplings and fried rice, to teriyaki steak and izakaya, to butter chicken and biryani, the choices are endless.
Make your way over to Chinatown on Spadina Avenue (the largest of several Chinatowns in Toronto) for Cantonese classics like BBQ pork and General Tso chicken at Swatow. Then explore the rows of authentic Chinese shops and markets before grabbing a bubble tea. If you prefer a view with your meal, Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine provides scenic vistas of Lake Ontario, along with tasty Cantonese and Szechuan dishes.
Japanese food is about more than just sushi. At Benihana Japanese Steakhouse (winner of WHERE magazine’s “Most Memorable Meal” for two consecutive years), sit back and enjoy a show with your meal as the chefs cook your food teppan-style right at your table. Or gather a group of friends together to share sake, beer and izakaya snack foods at ki modern japanese + bar.
Have a craving for some curry? You’ll find plenty in colourful Little India on Gerrard Street East between Coxwell and Greenwood. In Old Town, Bindia serves up an authentic Indian eating experience with modern flair.
If you prefer your curry Thai-style (red, green or yellow), it’s hard to beat Khao San Road – winner of numerous awards and a regular topper of lists of the best Thai food in the city. Alternately, check out Bangkok Garden – one of only four Thai restaurants in Toronto to be awarded the Thai Select Premium designation from the Thai Consulate, recognizing authentic food and outstanding service.
A Taste of Africa
If you haven’t tried African cuisine, you’re missing out. Toronto has a growing number of Ethiopian and East African restaurants, especially in the west end. Here, spicy meat and vegetable dishes are served on a large sourdough flatbread called injera. There’s no need for utensils – simply break off pieces of injera and use them to dig in.
For some of the best Ethiopian food in the city, head over to Nazareth at Dovercourt and Bloor. The cozy space means there’s often a line-up, but it’s worth the wait. You can’t go wrong with any of the shockingly affordable menu items, but the vegetarian platter is a popular choice.