What they're eating in Toronto

The Michelin Guide has hit Canada’s largest city, so here are the best dishes to try, from the bread course to dessert.

By Alicia Miller
Published 12 Feb 2023, 07:00 GMT
‘Husband and wife’ Sichuan beef at Sunny’s Chinese.

‘Husband and wife’ Sichuan beef at Sunny’s Chinese.

Photograph by Sunny’s Chinese, Gabriel Li

1. Alder: coconut cream pie

Torontonians have long been obsessed with the seasonal Mediterranean dishes served at Alo and Alobar — both recently awarded stars in the city’s new Michelin guide. But chef Patrick Kriss’s hottest new ticket is Alder, a sleek-but-cosy set up in the Ace Hotel. The thing to order: coconut cream pie. A decadent macaroon crust is topped with a silky wedge of coconut pastry cream, toasted coconut chunks and caramelised white chocolate shavings.

2. Sunny's Chinese: 'Husband and Wife Beef'

Toronto isn’t short of great regional Chinese food, and new Kensington Market spot Sunny’s is putting its own spin on it. A brick-and-mortar outpost of a popular pop-up, Sunny’s serves dishes such as Guangdong-inspired soft tofu with spring onion and ginger oil, and Hong Kong-style French toast with black sesame jam. But the must-try is ‘husband and wife’ Sichuan beef: tripe and shank with chilli oil and peanuts. Even non-offal-lovers rave about it.

3. Carousel Bakery: peameal bacon sandwich

A sandwich stuffed with Canadian peameal bacon — wet-cured, unsmoked and rolled in cornmeal — has been served from a stall in Toronto’s food emporium St Lawrence Market for decades, and yet its popularity never wanes. Be prepared to queue, and eat it au naturel, with just the meaty juices or slather on a lick of mustard. Or go really wild with the breakfast version: furnished with a fried egg and cheese. Once you’ve fuelled up, other vendors hawking sticky maple treats and baked goods await. 

4. Henry's: shrimp toast

The hip young things that flock to Henry’s know it’s not your average wine bar and bottle shop. For starters, this new opening on Queen Street West has a list of fine or quirky tipples that can be hard to come by locally. But it’s the boundary-pushing food, combining Asian and European flavours with Canadian produce, that really excites. The eclectic style is best summed up by the moreish shrimp toast, garnished with lemongrass aioli and mustard. Wash it down with an elegant Meursault Premier Cru.

5. Osteria Giulia: focaccia di recco

Of the many Italian restaurants in Toronto, it was the latest venture from Top Chef Canada runner-up Rob Rossi that caught the attention of the Michelin Guide, which awarded it a star. The Liguria region is the inspiration, and so plentiful seafood — Nova Scotia lobster, grilled sea bass — are highlights, as are the ribbony pastas. The tone is set by the focaccia di recco, which is stuffed with mild stracchino cheese, baked and served with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

Published in Issue 18 (winter 2022/23) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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