With nearly half of its population foreign born, it should come as no surprise that Toronto has one of the most ethnically rich culinary scenes in the world. So rich, in fact, that there is an entire tour company dedicated to foodie-tourism in Toronto. Whether you choose to taste your way around town with chef-guides from The Culinary Adventure Co. or follow your own nose, one thing is certain: You will leave Toronto well-traveled and well-fed.
These five restaurants will give you a taste of Toronto on your culinary journey.
It may come as a surprise, but Toronto has a booming Portuguese food scene thanks to Little Portugal, a neighborhood just west of downtown. The area boasts numerous Portuguese restaurants but the most coveted is Adega Restaurante. The eatery serves an extensive array of Portuguese wines, but it’s items from the homeland like a fish stew bubbling with everything from mussels and shrimp to clams, squid and whatever fish was caught that day that represent Toronto’s mish-mash of cultures.
Toronto boasts several Chinatowns, but by far the largest is in the city’s downtown, where you will find Mother’s Dumplings,, one of the city’s most popular Chinese restaurants. Locals come here to fill their bellies with homemade noodles and buns, but it’s the pan-fried pork and dumplings chef/owner Zhen Feng makes using her mother’s recipe that keeps hungry Torontonians coming back for seconds.
Photo by Jennifer Nalewicki
Nearly every type of cuisine has some version of a pizza, and in Turkey it’s the pide, a thick-crusted flatbread topped with melted cheese and tasty ingredients like spiced ground beef, veggies and eggs. At Mr. Pide in Toronto’s Greektown neighborhood, the most popular item to order by far is the Karisik, a single pide covered in a smorgasbord of toppings like spinach, pepperoni, chunks of beef and roasted lamb.
Also known as Danforth, Greektown is the largest Greek neighborhood in North America. One place in particular where Greeks and non-Greeks alike go to stock up on baklava, spinach swirls and custard pies is Akropolis Pastries. Opened in 1979, this legit Greek patisserie has garnered a local following thanks to its spinach swirls made with homemade phyllo that’s stuffed with spinach, feta and ricotta cheese and baked until perfectly flaky.
Ireland may be better known for beer and whiskey than food, but don’t let that deter you from a meal at The Ceílí Cottage in Toronto’s Leslieville neighborhood. With items like smoked Irish salmon, pickled eggs and bangers and mash, you’ll be transported to the Emerald Isle with each forkful. Also, did we mention that come wintertime the front patio is converted into a yurt?
is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer whose articles have been published in The New York Times, Hemispheres, Details and more.