Toronto has my heart. A city of neighborhoods, each unique. I find my self always drawn to Queen West, because of it’s architecture, coffee shops, independent stores and restaurants. Last year it was named by Vogue magazine as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world, but how not to love the edginess of Parkdale and the Junction, the leafy streets of Leslievielle, the relaxed feel of the beaches, the beauty of High Park and the historical Annex?
When it comes to food and coffee, the city has proven hard to keep up with. I’ve listed some of my favourites places that I love to go to over and over again (hello Bar Raval!)
But first, coffee.
Sam James on Trinity Bellwoods
SJ does cortados right and their iced americanos are what dreams are made of. Great pastries and white walls make your coffee ‘gram even better.
2 words. Almond lattes. Get a cheddar and chive muffin While you’re at it, and then head over to Type books.
Not only are their flat whites amazing but they have my favourite trio. Chia pudding, overnight oats and avocado toast for the win.
Cherry bomb coffee
Thanks to my dear Ana (@bluebirdkisses) for introducing me to Cherry bomb a few years ago. Their lattes, almond croissants and savoury scones make this a favourite spot in Roncy.
You know you’ve found the perfect balance when your favourite coffee shop serves coffee and wine. My friend Lauren (@thisrenegadelove) introduced me to this gem last year and I fell in love with it. High ceilings, that gorgeous owl mural and reclaimed wood tables are the perfect setting to sip your coffee, and then have wine. Life is short 🙂
Serving pilot coffee roasters with paninis, soups, salads and cold pressed juices is how the east side does it. Their patio in the summer time is where you want to be.
They opened a little over a year ago in the beaches. This is where I get my cortados and flat whites when in the area. They also have some pretty rad scones and cookies.
That La Marzocco espresso maker is life and the baristas at Sorry make some of the best lattes in the city. Perfectly branded coffee cups and cold brew are their trademark.
So after grabbing a cup or two, it’s time to head to the places that represent the food scene in Toronto the best.
This won’t come as a surprise to many. Bar Raval is hands down my favourite place in the city. Their hot octopus and shishito peppers are a must, and so is the smoked mackerel. This summer I tried one of the most unique dishes I’ve had there. A salmon tartare with cherries (who would have thought?) My new favourites are their shrimp & romesco, wild mushrooms in oloroso and the squash and watercress salad. Pair it with rosé cava and end your meal with a cafe Raval . Promise me you won’t leave without trying the crema catalana doughnut ( they go fast!) or the cheesecake.
Grant Van Gameren has made the Toronto food scene so much better and continues to do so with Bar Isabel, El Rey, Harry’s Charbroiled and Pretty Ugly, a new bar on Parkdale that I can’t wait to visit.
This is where I go when I’m craving pasta. Their rigatoni arcobaleno is what I usually go for. Mozarella di bufala, zucchini, light cherry tomato sauce and basil. Heaven. I often have it with funghi assoluti, and a glass of prosecco. If you are on the run, go next door to Sud Forno where the pizzas al taglio are delicious and the Nutella bomboloni is the bomb.
Fish tacos? Yes. All of them please. Tacos are my weakness and grand electric on Queen west prepares them to perfection. Have a Paloma or a margarita to go with them and if you still have room, their desserts are pretty fantastic too.
Every time I go to Kensington Market I wonder why I don’t go more often. From now on, El Rey will be the reason I’m there. With ceviche, tostadas and quesadillas on their menu, along with mezcal, you are in for a treat.
Vegan and vegetarian done right. Fresh has a menu that makes it hard to order, mainly because you everything on it. One of my favourites is their powerhouse bowl (avocado, chickpeas, Grilled tofu steaks, toasted sunflower seeds, mixed nuts, tomatoes, red onion and spicy tahini sauce over brown rice). Their cold press juices are to die for and I need to check out their new blue lemonade. That happens to be made with Blue Majik, an extract of spirulina.
Greenhouse Juice Co
With a new location on Queen west, Greenhouse has freshly made smoothies while having Crown Flora as partners to share the space with. Crown Flora’s terrariums made by Adam and Davis are definitely Toronto’s prettiest.
Aussies don’t joke around when it comes to food. Saturday dinette has the best brunch in the city. Their menu is creative (lavender ricotta), the ingredients are fresh and everything is plated beautifully. It’s an Instagramer’s dream.
Tabulé (riverside location)
Four words. Middle eastern food paradise. Try their falafel plate, fried cauliflower, Halloumi salad, (the fattoush one is a winner too) And their cocktail list is fantastic.
Skin and bones
Located in the heart of Leslieville and serving locally sourced and seasonally inspired food, Skin and bones is one of those places you can’t help but to go back to again and again.
They offer dishes to share that make the dinning experience intimate (candles and dim lighting help with that too). Must haves are the grilled octopus, cheese plate, house made gnocchi and mushroom arancini. Their wine list, cocktails and beers from Bellwoods brewery are the cherry on the top.
Let them eat cake (and bread)
Macaron heaven (mojito and salted caramel fan over here!). Gorgeous tarts and buttery croissants make Nadege the city’s cravings central. Their goat cheese and fig croissant is my all time favourite.
Bang Bang ice cream
Brave the line ups and get an ice cream sandwich or a Big Bang cone waffle (to wrap your ice cream of choice). Cinnamon toast ice cream with salted chocolate cookies is my favourite combo.
Bobette and Belle
Stunning cake and macarons might have well been invented at this Leslieville gem, along with cookies and pies. Babette and Belle is my go to spot for lemon meringue pie when I’m on the east side.
Blackbird baking Co.
Blackbird is known for its perfect sourdough bread and baguettes that are without a doubt the best in the city.
What are your go to places in Toronto? Find out how I would spend a perfect day in this city that I love so much, in an interview with my favourite lifestyle app Want Folio. http://wantfolioblog.com/home/wewanttoknow-dialacanelo-dialaskitchen