We're back with Restaurant Roundup for 2015! This year's theme: Where To Eat This Weekend. Every other week we'll be profiling a different city in Canada with a list of great dining recommendations for you to check out - from fancy to hole in the wall and everything in between! Today Toronto's Stella Yu of Food Junkie Chronicles gives us the low-down on which Toronto restaurants to hit up this weekend!
Brunch or Lunch in Toronto
If you’re craving Italian for lunch, then look no further than Bar Buca on King West. Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., this casual 38-seat café does a great lunch. Order several small plates to share (the bread knots, pesto stuffed burrata, and the cuttlefish are your best bets) or if you’re feeling particularly ravenous, go for their porchetta focaccia with tender roast Tuscan pork, crunchy crackling, mascarpone, cooked apples and creamy garlic sauce. Just promise me one thing: don’t leave Bar Buca without having their buffalo milk cappuccino. It’s a must!
Khao San Road
Sometimes there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of noodles. Case in point: Khao San Roads’s beef brisket khao soi. This modern Thai eatery is often packed during dinner time so I recommend grabbing a quick lunch there instead. Have a glass of cold refreshing Thai iced tea with your bowl of piping hot khao soi and I guarantee your life will never be the same again.
Cute name, seriously good tonkatsu. Hailed as one of the most popular “western style” Japanese foods in Japan, tonkatsu consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet (not to be confused with “tonkotsu,” which is pork bone broth). My lunch pick at Mr. Tonkatsu is their “pork loin katsu with cheese set” which comes with a generous portion of cheese-stuffed pork katsu served with a side of shredded cabbage, miso soup and steamed rice. Their katsudon with pork loin katsu, poached egg and rice is also another one of my favourites.
Toronto Dinner Destinations
Boralia offers one of the tastiest and most interesting dinners I've had in a very long time. Chef and owners Evelyn Wu and Wayne Morris focus on showcasing Canada's indigenous cuisine; think dishes inspired from historic recipes of Canada’s early settlers and First Nations, with some plates dating back as far as the 1600's. The l’eclade (mussels smoked in pine needles), braised whelk, and pigeon pie are not to be missed.
Want to treat yourself to a 25-course tasting menu? Yes. Yes, you do, especially when it’s at Splendido. After 20 years on Harbord Street it's exciting to see that Splendido is still doing such exceptional things. Chef Victor Barry continues to find new ways to push the culinary envelope and does so in a tasting-menu-only format. The restaurant offers two unique dining experiences – The Menu ($120) and The Tasting ($170) – with optional wine pairings for both. The Tasting gets my vote, obviously.
Let’s continue with the tasting menu theme, shall we? After 14 years Sushi Kaji remains one of the best restaurants in Toronto (notice I said "restaurants" not just "Japanese restaurants"). From Wednesday to Sunday, 30 diners will have the opportunity to experience one of two set dinners prepared by Chef Mitsuhiro Kaji and his team. Omakase is the only option at Kaji, and you certainly won't find bento boxes, teriyaki or California rolls there.
Fun Odds and Ends to Try in Toronto
The individually handheld, buttery Kanga meat pies are excellent. Different than the British meat pie, which is typically shared and accompanied with mash and gravy, these grab-and-go Aussie meat pies fit perfectly in one hand. The Kanga pies are made with all kinds of filling: traditional minced beef, butter chicken, chicken pot pie, steak and bacon, pulled pork, and creamy zucchini.
Poutini's is one of the best places for late-night munchies in Toronto. Open until 3:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s a very popular place for the after-clubbing crowd (think line-ups out the door). The “Poutini’s Traditional Poutine” with an added layer of cheese curds will knock your socks off. I guarantee it. If you’re craving more than just gravy and cheese curds then go for “The Works Poutine,” which is the traditional poutine with added sour cream, bacon and chives top.
Available every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. exclusively at the Dufflet beach location, guests can enjoy a selection of sumptuous desserts and canapés from Dufflet Pastries paired with a premium selection of Sloane Teas. All the teas are presented in cute little vials so you can take a sniff before making your decision. The high tea menu itself features scones, petit fours, mini cupcakes, French macarons, and finger sandwiches.
Where Else To Eat This Weekend
Stella Yu is the founder and writer of Food Junkie Chronicles, a food and restaurant blog based in Toronto, Ontario. Food Junkie Chronicles was born in April 2010 and has become one of the most informative and reputable on-line food resources in Toronto. Stella is an important influencer in the food industry with a strong, loyal social media following. Stella has worked with many reputable brands such as Mott’s Clamato, American Express, Just-Eat.ca, Shell, Lincoln, Buick, Smuckers, The Food Network, Daily Bread Food Bank, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Toronto Taste and Tourism Montreal. She is also the co-founder of the food importing and wholesale distribution company, The Hungry Artisan. Find Stella on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.