Now that you know what to do in Toronto, it’s time for the most important travel subject: where to eat!
Toronto’s food scene is surprisingly awesome, with beautifully-presented dishes that are unique and delicious. Here are my three favorite restaurants:
Origin (perfect for brunch)
Origin is in Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence neighborhood. If you eat here on a Sunday, your walk to the restaurant will be serenade with ringing church bells from the dozens of churches in the area.
I love that the menu has non-alcoholic cocktails, so you can sip fun concoctions even if you’re not in the mood to drink. We had the Bikini Bottom with hibiscus, lime and pineapple; the Sweet Revenge with blood orange, pomegranate, rose water and vanilla; and the Sloane Crimsonberry Iced Tea.
For a starter, Marilyn and Sara decided to share the Bufala Mozzarella with pear, rosemary oil, pine nuts and honey. Because the dish was under the “chilled” section of the menu, we assumed that it would be a salad (hence me not wanting to share it with them). But when it arrived, it was actually served on crispy toast. If I would have known that, I would have definitely shared it!
We did all share the Deviled Eggs with souffletine, herbs and smoked bacon. They are the coolest-looking deviled eggs I’ve ever seen!
For their main courses, Marilyn and Sara selected the Origin Brunch Burger with aged cheddar, hollandaise, maple bacon and a fried egg. They loved it!
I ordered the French Toast with banana, whipped cream, peanut brittle and pineapple. Look how fabulously it’s presented!
For more information on Origin, and to book a table, click here.
El Catrin (great for brunch/lunch)
El Catrin has the best Mexican food in Toronto’s Distillery District. It also has a gorgeous outdoor patio, and luckily, since the weather was awful, the interior is just as festive.
For a starter, we had the Guacamole en la Mesa which has avocado, tomato, onion, fresh cilantro and serrano chile and is prepared table side. We also sprung for a special extra ingredient: crickets!
None of us had ever had crickets before, so we figured today was the day! When I suggested it, Marilyn had one of my favorite quotes of the weekend: “Yes to crickets. No to cilantro.” Ha! Because obviously cilantro would just make it gross!
The crickets added more of a crunch, but didn’t have much flavor, except for a slightly-strange after taste. Oh well, at least we tried!
We also started with the Atún Ceviche which has ahi tuna, watermelon, Yucateco mignonette, lime and chive. We thought that the watermelon/tuna mix was really unique.
Because apparently crickets are filling, we decided to share two main courses between the three of us. We selected the Huevos Placero which is three eggs sunny side up over a corn tortilla and served with chorizo, mole sauce, queso fresco and guacamole. It is wonderful!
We also had the Torreja Rellena which is French toast Mexican style, served with mango, whipped ancho chile mascarpone and mezcal maple syrup. It is fabulous!
El Catrin also has fun drinks, like this watermelon margarita with chunks of watermelon.
To find out more about El Catrin, and make a reservation for the interior (the outside patio is first come first serve) click here.
Buca (perfect for dinner)
Buca has wonderful Italian food, so we chose it for our last dinner of the trip. It’s located in Toronto’s King West neighborhood, and has a sleek, industrial feel.
We fell in love with the Nodini, which are warm bread knots coated in olive oil, rosemary and garlic.
The Gnocco Fritto is also a fabulous appetizer, and has tuscan-spiced crisp dumplings and pancetta.
We also enjoyed the Olive Ascolane, which are crisp sausage-stuffed olives.
Buca is famous for its Bigoli pasta, so Marilyn and Sara both ordered it. It is torchio-cranked duck egg pasta with duck offal ragu, venetian spices, mascarpone and basil.
I selected the Carbonara Pizza with buffalo mozzarella, pecorino romano, guanciale, black pepper and hen’s egg yolks.
I liked eating it, but by far my favorite part was using the provided scissors to cut it! Normally I hate ordering pizza in restaurants because it’s so hard to use a knife and fork to cut through crispy crust. Luckily there’s no effort required at Buca. You just snip away!
For dessert, Marilyn enjoyed the Panna Cotta with vanilla goat yogurt, abate pear, almond and maple syrup. As a courtesy to Marilyn, I’d like to point out that those are the waiter’s fingers, not hers!
Sara ordered the Tiramisu di Buca with expresso-soaked tapioca biscuits, zabaglione di mascarpone, chocolate mousse and concerto spuma. Gorgeous, isn’t it?
To find out more information on Buca, and make a reservation, click here.
Now do you see why foodies love Toronto?