We spent a few days in Toronto last summer, and I must say – Canada is great ey! It was my first time in Toronto (and Canada), but I’d always had this feeling that I was going to absolutely adore the United States’ northern neighbor. And man, was I right about this inkling. As soon as we landed I got a big smile from the immigration guard, and as opposed to the rather somber mood that the US immigration lines often have, when he said “Welcome to Canada” I really did feel welcome!
We had a bit more than 36 hours in Toronto, and in less than 2 days we managed to eat from 7 corners of the world (and as we walked so much our jeans still (kinda) fit at the end of the adventure). Our food crawl included Canadian dishes (that brunch poutine tho), Italian veal sandwiches, Mexican tostada snacks, Japanese katsu curry, Nepalese momos (dumplings), a pretty authentic pad-Thai, and South Indian dosas.
Here are the top six things I would recommend you eat if you find yourself in Toronto, Canada.
The first stop we made on our whirlwind Toronto tour was St. Lawrence Market, which many say is one of the best food markets in the world. I would definitely class it within the top 5 of my global food market rankings, but nothing beats Barcelona’s La Boqueiria when it comes to food heaven on earth, at least not in my opinion. But St. Lawrence Market is impressive that’s for sure and with what seems like hundreds of food stalls spread out over two floors, this is the kind of place you want to visit with a group of friends who can’t decide what to eat (cause you won’t need to make a decision – you can have it all!) Make sure you go early (we went at 11 am on a weekday), as the place gets really busy around lunchtime.
Foodie tip #1: It’s time to try that famous peameal bacon sandwich at St. Lawrence Market
The first place we hit up after properly exploring all of St. Lawrence Market was the Caroussel Bakery for a peameal bacon sandwich, a Toronto classic. Canadian bacon (omg), dipped in peameal (less omg to be honest), and a bun (it was fine), served warm and freshly made. I wasn’t super impressed. I mean I love bacon. I love sandwiches. I really love Anthony Bourdain (who recommended this place). But this sandwich was missing some sauce, some extra fillings, maybe some toasted bread. I don’t want to mess with tradition guys but I jut wasn’t that overwhelmed. Sad face. But! You still can’t leave Toronto without trying one of these bad boys and I’m really glad I had one.
Foodie tip #2: Try the Italian veal parmigiana sandwich from the basement of St. Lawrence Market (get it with all the cheese)
The other place I’d read about at St. Lawrence Market was an Italian sandwich establishment located in the basement, where they serve up veal parmigiana sandwich with breaded eggplant and mozzarella cheese. The sandwich was huge, it was stuffed with fried breaded goodness, and it was super cheesy. It was so big that we ended up taking out the veal and just eating that (need to save room for later right?) but my god was this a taste explosion.
Foodie tip #3: Have a bacon Bloody Mary and brunch poutine
On our second day in Toronto we decided to skip the public transport and walk from our Airbnb into town. We strolled along Dundas West Street, checking out all the little stores and food shops along the way. By the time we’d walked for an hour we decided it was time for breakfast and a coffee, and lo and behold we stumbled upon Old School, a cafe that served brunch poutine and bacon Bloody Mary’s. Recommendation: Whatever you order, share it with a dining partner if you can – you’ll have more room for more food later.
Foodie tip #4: Head to Bobbie Sue’s for some epic mac and cheese to curb those midday munchies
Alright y’all, this place is as good as it gets when it comes to mac and cheese insanity. You may already have noticed that I have a weakness for this glorious pasta dish, but this mac and cheese was beyond amazing. Located in a shack (basically), you have a number of mac and cheese flavors to choose from including classic (had to put that in), buffalo chicken, pulled pork and carbonara mac and cheese (amongst others). We had the pulled pork because my other half is a major barbecue fan (to be fair so am I), and we shared a small portion. I repeat – we shared a small and it was WAY more than enough for tow people. But by god, every bite was what I imagine a crack addict must feel when they get that much needed hit. Warm. Juicy. Loving. Creamy. Just pure sexiness really.
Foodie tip #5: Have a porchetta sandwich from Porchetta & Co.
This is another Toronto foodie destination that was recommended by Anthony Bourdain, and as opposed to the peameal bacon sandwich this really did live up to our expectations. Pork crackling and roast stuffed in a hot bun with onions, hot sauce and mustard. Simple. Elegant. Divine. Also really friendly on the wallet, but you probably won’t find a seat when you get here as there are only a few bar stools at the window which we were lucky enough to snag.
Foodie tip #6: Hit up the Steam Whistle Brewery for some real Canadian ale
Truth? We tried to go to the Toronto aquarium and the line was insane so when we saw a brewery across the street we thought, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere and we headed straight for the Stream Whistle Brewery. Upon entering this magical establishment (beer is good, mmkay?) we were given a sample of the brewery’s flagship beer, which obvs made us decide to spend the next few hours sipping on Canadian ale and eating giant pickles.
Stay tuned for more upcoming posts from our trip to North America. What are your favorite foodie spots in Toronto? Or anywhere in the world? Leave a comment below or catch me on Instagram @thetastytraveller. ‘Til next time!