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food

Toronto’s Best 25 Cheap Eats Under $10

By ALEX BALDINGER AND REBECCA FLEMING
Photography by DAVE GILLESPIE

Mutton kothu roti from Martin’s Bakery

After spending a year scouring the Greater Toronto Area, from Bay Street to the burbs, the editors at Toronto Life magazine assembled a list that proves the city’s food scene is a source of amazing bargains. Here are their top 25 must-try dishes under $10. Visit torontolife.com for 75 more budget-conscious culinary wonders

The Spicy Classic ($7)
P.G Clucks
This is the year fried chicken sandwiches surpassed burgers for bun-filling brilliance on a budget. This perfectly crunchy, ­cayenne-infused slab of Nashville hot chicken, doused with buttermilk ranch dressing, fermented chili sauce and tangy coleslaw, is as messy as it is habit-forming.
610 College St.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel ($6.99)
The Bagel House
It figures that the place that makes the best Montreal-style bagel in Toronto would know how to handle a proper lox and cream cheese sandwich. The schmear is spread thick, flecked with red onions and capers, and layered with smoked salmon, and here’s the best part: it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for all your middle-of-the-night noshing needs.
1548 Bayview Ave.; four other GTA locations

Deep dish slice from Double D’s

Deep Dish Slice ($7)
Double D’s
This is no floppy, unfulfilling slice. This is Chicago-style deepdish, a dense wodge of buttery crust, cheese, fillings such as pepperoni and Italian sausage, more cheese, and a sploosh of crushed tomato sauce, baked in a metal pan thicker than a crime novel. One parm-dusted slice is more than enough for a midday munch, and it comes with a drink.
1020 Gerrard St. E.; 1256 Dundas St. W.
Meat roti ($2.50)
Quality Bread Bakery
The “short eats” (that’s the Sri Lankan term for “snacks”) at this Scarborough bakery are kind of like Hot Pockets—if Hot Pockets were delicious. Spicy dried mutton is tucked into a plain roti that’s then folded up into a palm-sized treat that can’t be beat for a bit more than a toonie.
1221 Markham Rd.

Mapo tofu ($5.99)
Sichuan Garden
For this classic spicy dish, the Chinatown restaurant tosses tender cubes of tofu, ground pork and bean paste in a fiery pool of chili oil dotted with crushed Sichuan pepper­corns. The rice provides some respite from the numbing heat.
359  ­Spadina Ave.

Half chicken with rice ($8.75)
Churrasco of St. Clair
In the city’s west end, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a churrasqueira—and that’s not a bad thing. But this no-frills Portuguese chicken shop on has been turning out golden-brown, budget-friendly birds since 1986. Their combo No. 3—half of a charcoal-grilled chicken served with seasoned rice—is a no-brainer.
679  St. Clair Ave.

Dirty duck fries ($7.25)
Wvrst
King West’s popular beer hall is a seven-day-a-week sausage party, but it makes some pretty great Belgian-style taters that are dirty in the best possible way: fried in duck fat and buried in roasted peppers, jalapeños, sautéed onions and Wvrst’s addictive special sauce.
609 King St. W.

Korean fried chicken from Kaboom

Korean Fried Chicken ($10)
Kaboom Chicken
Legit Korean fried chicken, or KFC, is fried twice and should almost shatter on first bite. This Riverside chicken joint passes the crunch test and then some: the two-piece thigh and drumstick combo—shellacked with a gochujang chili sauce and sprinkled with green onions on a heap of crispy fries—offers more satisfying bites than an entire bucket of that other KFC.
722 Queen St. E.

Eggplant tramezzino ($8.50)
Forno Cultura
It doesn’t much matter what goes on the sandwiches at this King West bakery: the bread—oh, that bread—is the main attraction. But the toppings on this particular herbed focaccia concoction are excellent, too: delicate sheets of roasted eggplant and zucchini with fior di latte, arugula, baby kale and a creamy aïoli.
609 King St. W.

Cheese pupusa
Tacos El Asador ($3.75)
These corny, doughy discs at Koreatown’s long-standing Salvadorean spot are stuffed with queso, and sided with tangy pickled onions, cabbage, carrots and beets, and a teeny paper cup of kicky tomato salsa.
689 Bloor St. W.

Curried vegetable samosa ($1.10)
Sultan of Samosas
The samosas at this North York takeout shop come in almost a dozen different flavours, but we like the curried vegetable one. Each teeny triangle is packed with potato, carrots, green beans and corn, all tossed in a secret blend of north Indian spices.
1677  O’Connor Dr.

Tofu stew ($8.85)
Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu
No matter the season, the windows at this Koreatown favourite are always steamed up. The reason: mini-cauldrons of soon tofu, a spicy Korean stew of kimchee, tofu, pork and a freshly cracked egg that cooks in the boiling, roiling mess. On the side: a stone bowl of sticky purple rice.
691 Bloor St. W.

Barbecue pork skewers ($2.50)
Lasa
The grilled pork skewers at Lamesa’s midtown sister spot are marinated—in true Filipino style—with soy and 7-Up, but they’re a more subtle, less saccharine rendition of the traditional dish. Each one makes for a perfect three bites.
634 St. Clair Ave. W.

Rotisserie chicken sandwich ($9)
Flock
Cory Vitiello’s signature rotisserie chicken is pulled, then heaped on a soft milk bun and decked out with crunchy apple, beet and horseradish slaw; creamy avocado; crisp onions; and romaine lettuce.
330  Adelaide St. W.; three other GTA location

Doubles with curried chickpeas ($1.99)
Drupatis Roti and Doubles
These piping hot pillows of dough stuffed with spiced chana are ubiquitous in Toronto’s Caribbean and West Indian enclaves, and while everyone swears by their doubles joint, Drupatis is one of the standard-bearers. Order them with slight pepper and some tamarind chutney to really savour the spicy sweetness.
1085 Bellamy Rd. N.; three other GTA locations

Nona’s veal eggplant ($9.75)
Uno Mustachio
There’s something almost parental about cradling a hefty sandwich from this St. ­Lawrence Market stalwart. Each one is a couple of pounds of saucy veal, eggplant and parmesan. Topping it with roasted peppers and jalapeños, plus sautéed onions and mushrooms, is an offer you can’t refuse.
95  Front St. E.

Shanghai won tons ($7.99)
Ding Tai Fung dim sum
Tossed in a mixture of chili
oil and soy sauce, these pork-packed dumplings are equally sweet, spicy and tangy, and they deserve some of the
attention usually received by the restaurant’s ever-popular soup dumplings.
3235  Hwy. 7 E., Markham

Gobernador taco from Seven Lives

The Gobernador Taco ($6)
Seven Lives
If you have time for only one taco in Kensington (and there are many), make it this one. Double-shelled to hold the heft of its contents, the gobernador is a delicious mess of shrimp and smoked marlin, all glued together with gooey mozzarella cheese.
69 Kensington Ave.

Hainanese chicken rice ($6.99)
Malay Thai Famous Cuisine
The food court in First Markham Place is full of gems, including this hearty serving of tender, boneless Hainanese chicken and rice cooked in broth, with even more belly-warming broth on the side. Winter and summer colds, you’ve been warned.
3255 Hwy. 7 E., Markham

Three-piece chicken dinner ($8.05)
Chick-N-Joy
Not to be confused with the even-more-east-end chain of the same name, this family-run Leslieville chicken shop has been frying up fowl since 1977. A three-piece dinner here includes a trio of fresh-never-frozen ­country-fried thighs, legs or breasts, a choice of sides, and a roll. Don’t forget to order the famous yellow gravy for $1 more.
1483  Queen St. E.

Whitefish dumplings ($3)
Yan Can Cook
This long-time vendor in the food court of First Markham Place has a borderline-overwhelming menu of Chinese dishes. A sure bet is the fish siu mai: five massive dumplings loaded with whitefish and drenched in a homemade chili-garlic soy sauce.
First Markham Place, 3255 Hwy. 7 E., Markham

Savoury Chinese crêpe ($5)
Lamb Kebab
Look for the routine lineup at Dundas and Spadina to find the street vendor selling lamb kebabs, stinky tofu and jianbing, ­delicious savoury Chinese pancakes. Made to order on a flat-top grill, the paper-thin crêpes are covered with egg, painted with two sauces (sweet and heat), sprinkled with cilantro, green onions and lettuce, and topped with a couple of crispy crackers before being folded up into a tasty multi-layered mess.
492  Dundas St. W.

Chicken mole burrito ($6.99–$9.99)
Carnicero’s
The people who hand out those free samples of pork belly right inside the main entrance of St. Lawrence Market have a hidden talent: they make a damn fine burrito. The rich, smoky chicken mole has a distinct dark-chocolate note, and a few pickled jalapeños offer an extra stab of heat to the bundle, which is stuffed with cheese, salsa, lettuce and sour cream. It’s lightly crisped on the grill before serving.
93 Front St. E.

Crab-and-pork soup dumplings from Shanghai Dim Sum

Crab-and-pork soup dumplings ($7.99)
Shanghai Dim Sum
Don’t pop these perfectly pinched parcels whole: each of the Richmond Hill dim sum restaurant’s xiao long bao with tender crab and pork is filled with piping hot soup that needs to be carefully slurped.
330 York Regional Rd. 7, Richmond Hill

Mutton kothu roti ($6)
Martin’s Bakery
Kothu roti, a Sri Lankan staple, is an ingenious (and delicious) use of day-old bread. For this particular version, crispy roti that’s 24 hours past its prime is grilled on a flat-top along with spicy mutton, chilies and onions. Then, two blunt metal blades chop it all to pieces, ensuring you get a bit of everything with each bite.
2761 Markham Rd., Unit 15

Where’s Where to Après Ski

By Where Writers

So you want to après ski, eh?

From ski hills to yoga studios, and breakfast joints to late night pubs, we’ve created the definitive list for après ski activities in the Canadian Rockies. Without bias, we can certainly declare that our list if the best list. Read on!

 

Pre-après your Day

Sometimes the most important part of your ski day happens before you squeeze your feet into boots.

Saltlik Steakhouse Caesar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretch out before you head out with lululemon Banff. They host free Sunday morning classes so that you can get ready for a whole day of skiing … or recover from one.

Fuel the whole family at Craigs’ in Canmore. This classic diner serves hearty breakfasts that are sure to give you energy for the entire day.

Late night? Rally in Canmore with a fresh-pressed juice from Toniq or a Hangover Wrap from Harvest (718, 10 St., Canmore). If you are in Banff and feeling a little worse-for-wear, grab a day-saving Caesar at Saltlik. Rumor has it that any of these cures will have you back on the slopes in no time.

 

Wear your Ski Boots

In a mountain town you can wear your gear with pride, so long as you know where to go…

Get your après on at these on-hill locales (goggles optional):

  1. The Caribou Lounge at Marmot Basin offers food and drink specials every weekend from 2 till 5 (and that includes Friday).
  2. Mad Trappers resides in the original Sunshine Village ski lodge, so you can après the same way the very first skiers did. Sunshine’s other favourite end of day spot, The Chimney Corner, offers fireside lounging for cold days and an outdoor terrace for sunny ones.
  3. It’s said that the Kokanee Kabin at the Lake Louise Ski Resort has the “best draught deck in the Rockies,” but we’ll let you be the judge of that.
  4. Stop for a late lunch or an early après on the deck at Nakiska’s Mid-Mountain Lodge, or pop up to the Finish Line Lounge for a post-ski poutine.
  5. Pause for a pint at Norquay’s Lone Pine Pub before heading back down into Banff.
  6. If you’ve crossed over into BC for the weekend, treat yourself to a traditional Raclette Après at Panorama’s Elkhorn Cabin, or take in live music and après specials from the Whitetooth Grill at Kicking Horse.

If you can make it up the stairs in your ski boots, we’ll lay a bet that you can dance in them too. You might head to Wild Bill’s in Banff for the drinks, but you’ll wind up staying for dinner and likely late into the night when the live music starts and the real fun begins!

 

Grab Some Grub

Some of us are in it for the adventure, some of us are in it for the party, some of us are in it for the scenery, but ALL of us are in it for the FOOD!

Mountain Mercato Après Ski Special

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bite into the burger of your dreams at Eddie Burger (137 Banff Ave., Banff). The Grass Fed Rancher has us drooling, but maybe you’ll go for the Aussie Burger (topped with grilled pineapple, beets and a fried egg!). No matter what toppings you choose, we’re sure you’ll be satisfied.

If your post-hill cravings are for finer fare, the Juniper Bistro in Banff offers an après ski lounge menu starting at 3 pm, and Murrieta’s in Canmore offers half price appies and $5 beer and wine, Monday to Friday 3 to 6 pm.

Mountain Mercato (817 8st., Canmore) is a local favourite, and with their beer and panini combo for $15, we can understand why. Head there between 4 and 6 pm to get yours.

Baker Creek Bistro in Lake Louise offers their winter appetizer menu from 2 to 5 pm. These seasonal selections pair beautifully with fireplaces and afternoon cocktails.

 

Get Your Game On

If the slopes were great, but you spent all day worrying about the score, don’t worry; you can catch up on all your favourite teams (and Olympic athletes) no matter where you are in the Rockies.

Montana’s Game Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re in Jasper, O’Shea’s has game night specials and Montana’s has great game day door prizes.

In Banff you can cheer on your team at Melissa’s and you won’t miss one word of the commentary because each table has its own speaker. Join passionate locals at Tommy’s, a favourite hangout of everyone in Banff.

Pull up a chair anywhere at the Iron Goat in Canmore. The two-story restaurant has TVs on both floors so you won’t miss the game no matter where you are seated.

 

Après Hour is the Happiest Hour

We’re pretty sure that après ski is French for Happy Hour, no matter what you say.

Crazyweed Crab Fundido

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crazyweed In House Smoked Camembert

 

Jasper Brewing Co. has great vibes and luckily, the end of your ski-day coincides nicely with their Happy Hour. From 3 to 6 pm, enjoy $4 pints of local brews and $1 off mixed drinks from the bar.

Canmore’s Crazyweed calls 3 to 5 pm “Crazy Hour”, probably because they offer a crazy awesome sharing menu including Taber Corn & Crab Fundido and In House Smoked Camembert.

From 5 to 7 pm you will find daily drink and food specials at the De’d Dog Bar & Grill in Jasper. This means $6 pints of seasonal ale and Sriracha cod Sandwiches on Saturdays, and steak night Sundays with $5.25 pints of Keith’s.

 

Soothe It Out

If dinner sounds nice, but your sore legs have you feeling wobblier than Bambi on ice, maybe try out a few of these active recovery methods first.

Wildheart Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildheart Studio

 

Do your stretches at Canmore’s Wildheart in their Snow Flow yoga class on Monday and Saturday evenings. This class is designed to help you relax into a deep stretch after a day on the slopes as well as build strength for your next lengthy ski day. Jasper Wellness offers a similar class, Après Activity, on Saturday afternoons at 4 pm. This class will help you finish off your day by re-lengthening.

The Willow Stream Spa at the Banff Springs offers a variety of massages including a deep tissue massage to help your muscles recover from strenuous exercise or you can soak it out in one of the three waterfall treatment whirlpools.

10 Toronto Steak Houses That Sizzle

The Shore Club

Everything from traditional favourites to new takes on the classic steak dinner

The Shore Club
The Shore Club is located in the heart of the Entertainment District, close to venues like Roy Thomson Hall and the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Along with classic cuts like New York strip loin, bone-in rib steak and filet mignon, you’ll find a steak and lobster dish, braised short ribs and double-cut lamb chops.
155 Wellington St. W.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Ruth Fertel, founder of this international chain, credited the success of her steaks as much to their sound and smell as to their taste. That’s why steaks here are cooked at nearly 1,000 degrees Celsius, served on an incredibly hot plate and doused with a tablespoon of sizzle-inducing butter before they leave the kitchen.
145 Richmond St. W.

Morton’s
This Texas-based steakhouse chain has a modern ambiance but still delivers a proper old-school steak—not to mention an impressive number of side dishes, including sautéed broccoli florets, creamed corn, bacon and onion macaroni and cheese, and parmesan and truffle matchstick fries.
4 Avenue Rd.

STK

STK
Mix the vibe of a modern restaurant with that of an exclusive nightclub—there’s even a live DJ—and you’ve got the STK experience. Along with dry-aged steaks, this restaurant offers some unique drink concoctions, with names like Cucumber Stiletto, Carroted Away and Strawberry Cobbler.
153 Yorkville Ave.

Harbour 60
Don’t be surprised to see a Toronto Maple Leaf or two dining here, considering the restaurant is only seconds from the Air Canada Centre, located in the century-old Habour Commission building. The restuarant offers classic fare and has a seafood menu to rival its steaks, with beluga caviar, a daily selection of fresh oysters and a seafood tower, including steamed lobster, king crab legs, jumbo black tiger shrimp and oysters.
60 Harbour St.

Barberian’s Steak House
Founded in 1959, this is one of the oldest steakhouses in Toronto. Sitting in the dinning room, you get the impression little has changed since it first opened its doors. One thing that definitely hasn’t changed is the attention to detail Barberian’s gives to preparing its steaks, which are all butchered and aged in-house. Be sure to ask for a tour of the must-be-seen-to-be-believed wine cellar.
7 Elm St.

Hy’s Steakhouse

Hy’s Steakhouse
Dark mahogany furniture, rich carpets and intimate lighting complement the high-quality, 28-day-aged Canadian beef on the menu here. The Steak Neptune—New York strip loin or filet mignon topped with asparagus, Dungeness crabmeat and hollandaise sauce—is just one of the house specialties.
120 Adelaide St. W.

BlueBloods Steakhouse
One of the city’s most noted tourist attractions is now home to this upscale eatery. Antique furniture mixes with modern art in the billiard room of Casa Loma—a circa 1900 gothic-revival-style mansion—where the Liberty Entertainment Group recently invested $3 million to create a steakhouse featuring cuts of beef sourced from around the world, plus a drink list of international wines and spirits.
1 Austin Ter.

La Castile
Eat like royalty in a three-tiered, castle-inspired dining room, complete with stained-glass windows and chandeliers suspended from cathedral ceilings. Start your meal with flash-fried calamari, escargots or a plate of Caspian Sea caviar before cutting into a char-broiled USDA prime steak, served with mushrooms or steamed spinach.
2179 Dundas St. E., Mississauga

Quinn’s Steakhouse & Irish Bar
Located in the Financial District’s Sheraton Centre Hotel, Quinn’s is a family-owned-and-operated steakhouse with an Irish flare. Not in the mood for their aged Alberta beef steak or slow-roasted prime rib? Try the Irish stew or Clare Island salmon. Whatever you settle on, make sure to relax afterward with a glass of one of the 240 whiskeys on offer.
96 Richmond St. W.

Q+A: The Dining Empire of Lance Hurtubise

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

Much has changed in Calgary since Lance Hurtubise made his first foray into our city’s culinary scene—as a dishwasher at the age of 12, making $2.10 an hour. From his days serving as a bus boy, waiter, bouncer and manager, to now as President and CEO of the Vintage Group, Hurtubise has seen it all in Calgary’s kitchens over the last four decades. (more…)

5 cocktails we loved in 2017 (and what to eat with them)

By SILVIA PIKAL

Here are five cocktails we ordered again and again in 2017, and the dishes we like to enjoy with them. This is part of our bi-monthly food and drink series, which rounds up eats, drinks and food news!

Mimosas at Buttermilk Fine Waffles

Mimosas at Buttermilk Fine Waffles/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

Freshly squeezed orange juice is a must for breakfast and brunch. The team at Buttermilk Fine Waffles go through about 800 pounds of California navel oranges a week! They’ve recently stepped up their orange game by adding mimosas to the menu, which make use of those oranges and 3 oz of Prosecco. Pair your sweet drink with a savoury waffle like the green eggs and ham (poached eggs, maple smoked ham and aged cheddar).

Buttermilk Fine Waffles, 330 – 17 Ave SW, buttermilkfinewaffles.com (more…)

The Winter Feast

DECADENCE-FEB-9_-2017-142-dimmed

Photo: Kelly Neil

The annual Savour celebration of Nova Scotian cuisine is a favourite with visitors and locals alike

By: Trevor J. Adams

 

Back for it’s 15th year, the Savour Food & Wine Festival is the year’s biggest celebration of Nova Scotia’s culinary scene. The festival brings together talented mixologists, innovative brewers, award-winning winemakers, and chefs aplenty, sharing their creations at several events.

“The Savour Food & Wine Festival has grown from a small show to a series of exciting events that captures the essence of the food and beverage culture in Nova Scotia,” says Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which organizes the event.

The festival starts with Dine Around (January 15 to March 15), a unique program that invites restaurants around Nova Scotia to showcase local products, with offerings ranging in price from $25 to $45. Dishes will be a mix of three course prix-fixe menus, plus small plates. At press time, participating Halifax restaurants include Gio, Durty Nelly’s, and The Stubborn Goat.

RARE-AND-FINE-FEB-24,-2017-10 SAVOUR-MAR-9-19

On February 1, the Lord Nelson Hotel on South Park Street hosts the city’s definitive event for cocktail lovers: Imbibe. Nova Scotia’s top mixologists come together for one night to create 30+ sample-size cocktails, many showcasing local spirits and ingredients. Some 25 restaurants and bars are slated to take part.

Up next on February 8 at the Prince George Hotel on Market Street is Decadence, a unique tasting event pairing wines with delectable savoury dishes and luscious desserts. Discover how wine pairings enhance both the sweet and savoury creations crafted by Nova Scotian Community College (NSCC) Culinary Arts students. All dishes are designed and prepared by students of the Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts programs, under the direction of their chef-instructors.

The Rare & Fine Wine show at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street on February 16 is a must for serious wine aficionados. Sample top-scoring wines from Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa Valley, Piedmonte, Veneto, and Tuscany, amongst others. Relax to live jazz as you sample from our selection of 40+ wines, rated 90+ points by major wine publications—all available in Nova Scotia for the first time. Throughout the night, Bishop’s Cellar staff will be on hand to sell any wines you want to take home.

Craft-Beer-Cottage-Party-109IMBIBE-JAN-26_-2017-23

Be among the first to visit the new Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street as it hosts the eponymous Savour Food & Wine Show on February 22. It showcases 100+ Nova Scotian restaurants and wine and beverage producers. Take in the evening and let your taste buds run wild as you explore samples of delectable foods, cocktails, and wine presented by Nova Scotia’s finest.

Capping the festival is the Craft Beer Cottage party on March 3 at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road. Sample beers from local and nearby craft breweries while you play summer games like washer toss, or chill in an Adirondack chair and enjoy the live music. There will be picnic tables and delicious beer-friendly food available for purchase. Ticket price includes unlimited beer samples.

Three New & Notable Ottawa Restaurants

By Joseph Mathieu

It seems like every time you turn around a new restaurant pops up in Ottawa. We aren’t talking about franchises, but unique eateries with their own personality. The newest additions to the city’s food scene are beautiful, interesting, and far from a flash in the pan. Here is a roundup of new and notable restaurants that opened in 2017.

The Albion Rooms’ Heritage Room

33 Nicholas St., 613-760-4771, thealbionrooms.com

Open every day 11 a.m. to late

An often-overlooked gem is hidden in plain sight at the base of the Novotel on Nicholas Street. The lounge chairs and low tables visible from the hotel lobby are only the tip of the iceberg of The Albion Rooms, which includes a polished bar with standing tables, a glass-walled charcuterie station, and a dining room. The restaurant’s newest addition is hidden in the back, called the Heritage Room and themed like a British gastro-pub. Its rounded booths, cozy corners, and satellite kitchen serve up a breakfast buffet every morning, and dinners on Wednesday to Saturday. The harvest table can be the buffet display or sit a 10-person party. The restaurant’s three pillars remain craft cocktails, local beers, and a farm-to-table menu, all of which are well worth exploring.

Tried & True (and something new): Mushrooms on toast ($14) and elk tartare ($15) are nice additions by head chef Jesse Bell, but you really should try the charcuterie board (from $10)

Photo by André Rozon

Sur-Lie

110 Murray St., 613-562-7244, surlierestaurant.ca

Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m to 11 p.m.

If you have an interest in locally-inspired modern French cuisine, this is the place for you. Opened last February, sommelier Neil Gowe’s Sur-Lie offers elegant fine dining without the pretension. If you want to eat like the pros, try their $80 five-course tasting menu — and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. The menu is seasonal, made with fresh produce and game from the ByWard Market and the surrounding region, and always aims to bring in the best quality ingredients. Each plate is a piece of art that you are welcome to remix with your fork.

Pretty much omg: Local rabbit and fowl tartine ($18) for lunch goes a long way, and dinner is a win with the squash bisque ($10) and Québec fois gras torchon ($20)

Photo by Rémi Thériault

Citizen

207 Gilmour St., 613-422-6505, townlovesyou.com/citizen

Open Thursday to Monday, from 6 p.m. to late

First-timers will feel right at home in this casual wine and small plates nook. With dedicated staff, Citizen builds on the success of its big sister Town (296 Elgin St.) but is really a restaurant apart. Its wine list features bottles from around the world that pair well with menu items from all over the map — influences range from African to Spanish, and Italian to French. Something new (and meatless) by guest chef Mike Frank shows up on every Monday menu. Co-owner and chef Marc Doiron is comfortable creating new dishes for new wines, and the suggested dessert is a wonderful case in point. There are no beers on tap, but it’s hard to notice with such a generous selection of bottled beer from near and far. 

Love at first taste: Falafel and eggplant ($14) or the pork belly with mojito salad ($18), and definitely go for the concord grape tart ($12)

2017 Food and Drink Holiday Gift Guide

Explore Toronto’s fantastic shopping scene to find gifts for friends, family and anyone else on your list.

Nuremberg-style Lebkuchen cookies ($24 and up)
Pusateri’s Fine Foods, 57 Yorkville Ave.; other locations, pusateris.com

Click below to view a slideshow of great food and drink gift ideas:

Toronto’s Thin-Crust Craze

DEVOUR SOME OF THE BEST NEAPOLITAN PIZZA OUTSIDE OF ITALY

Terroni offers up a delicious menu of thin-crust creations. (Photo by Dylan + Jen.)

Queen Margherita

A strict Vera Pizza Napoletana adherence is why these traditional pies are a reliable favourite. Perfectly blistered crusts are topped with hearty certified San Marzano tomato sauce and fired in a Naples-made oven.
1402 Queen St. E.; 785 Annette St.; 772 Dundas St. W. 

Terroni

Terroni’s extensive list of ’zas embraces all the hallmarks of the southern Italian tradition. Your margherita or quattro stagioni arrives at the table as a whole pie, leaving you to decide the size of your slices.
720 Queen St. W.; 1095 Yonge St.; 57 Adelaide St. E.

Pizzeria Libretto

One of the first restaurants on Toronto’s thin-slice scene now includes five always-packed locations (and a takeout-only spot) across the city. Toppings such as Ontario prosciutto and duck confit are must-tries.
221 Ossington Ave.; 550 Danforth Ave.; 155 University Ave.; 545 King St. W.

Via Mercanti

Romolo Salvati’s mini pizza
empire adds a creative flair to its authentic flavours. For example, its signature Via Mercanti is a two-pizza-layered masterpiece—a ricotta, mushroom and spicy soppressata-covered pizza hides under a full margherita pie.
188 Augusta Ave.; 87 Elm St.; other locations

Lambretta Pizzeria

The signature dish at this family-friendly joint is the prosciutto-laden Lambretta pizza, with a crispy crust that cradles fior de latte, arugla and cherry tomatoes. Or, if meat-free is more your style, try the marinara, vegeteriana or funghi. 89 Roncesvalles Ave.

A Taste of Ottawa: The Capital’s Signature Dishes

BeaverTails, shawarma, poutine, perhaps pho. The capital isn’t lacking for acclaimed fast-food options. But stop for a minute and take your taste imaginings to a higher plane. What restaurant dishes are Ottawa classics?

These are unique to a particular dining room, and beloved by legions of fans who extol their virtues far and wide. Signature dishes might be innovative and complex, but they could just as easily be simple. Nevertheless, they have two things in common: they’re instantly cherished and nearly impossible for the chef to remove from the menu.

Any debate over a definitive list could last well into the night, so we’ll just start here with six picks.

Les Fougères’ Duck Confit

783 rte. 105, Chelsea, Quebec, 819-827-8942, fougeres.com

Chef Charles Part’s duck confit is legendary. Little wonder, since the chef-owner has been refining it for upwards of two decades. It boasts a skin that’s deliciously crisp, and the accompanying potato galette is always perfection.

Benny’s Bistro Salmon Gravlax

119 Murray St., 613-789-6797, frenchbaker.ca/reservations

Benny’s Bistro has been serving up “French fast food done right” for years. Its house-made salmon gravlax is a thing of beauty, with an oozy sunny-side-up egg, a warm fingerling potato salad, and olive tapenade on the side.

Mariposa Farm’s Foie Gras

6468 County Road 17, Plantagenet, 613-673-5881, mariposa-duck.on.ca

This farm’s ethical farming practices produce tons of delightful goodies, but none quite as delicious (or coveted) as the duck foie gras.

The SmoQue Shack’s BBQ Chicken

129 York St., 613-789-4245, smoqueshack.com

There’s barbecue and there’s the way chicken’s done in Kentucky: a spicy rub, a sugar and honey brine, and an apple wood smoke. The SmoQue Shack’s secret sauce? A bourbon glaze with hints of vanilla.

Absinthe’s Steak Frites

1208 Wellington St. W., 613-761-1138, absinthecafe.ca

Absinthe sees a large and devoted following for chef-owner Patrick Garland’s steak frites. Its marinated hanger steak paired with hot fries is a don’t-you-dare-take-it-off-the-menu staple.

Allium’s Banoffee Pie

87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313, alliumrestaurant.com

This yummy pie has a graham cracker crust filled with layers of creamy toffee, sliced banana, and heaps of whipped cream, all topped with chocolate shavings.

Top 5 Arts & Food Pairings

Get dinner and a show by pairing a performance with a masterpiece meal at one of these local restaurants.

Housemade pastas at The Mitchell Block are the perfect prelude to curtain raising at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Try tender agnolotti stuffed with sweet potato and sage bathed in brown butter.
• 173 McDermot Ave, 204-949-9032

The oldest continually running theatre company in Canada, Le Cercle Moliere delights with whimsical French language performances. Stop in at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain before a show and dine on filling tourtiere covered in maple cream sauce at Stella’s bright, welcoming space.
• 340 Provencher Blvd, 204-447-8393

Make a pitstop at the Saddlery on Market, steps from the Centennial Concert Hall, before watching one of Winnipeg’s most venerated arts institutions perform. Roasted beet and goat cheese salad (pictured) will have feet tapping even before the Royal Winnipeg Ballet takes stage.
• 114 Market Ave, 204-615-1898

Magical adventures unfold on the Manitoba Theatre for Young People stage. Take advantage of the theatre’s location at The Forks and slurp up a plate of spaghetti bolognese at the Old Spaghetti Factory inside the Johnston Terminal.
• 25 Forks Market Rd, 204-957-1391

At the Winnipeg Art Gallery, glimpses of Wanda Koop’s work grace the walls. After touring the exhibits, head to the museum’s penthouse level, where Table restaurant serves scrumptious exhibit-inspired lunches.
• 300 Memorial Blvd, 204-948-0085

Toronto’s Best Breweries

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Photo by Carlo Mendoza.

Over the past few years, the city has seen an explosion of new microbreweries, each with their own speciality techniques. Here are some of the city’s best craft brewpubs, where you’ll find everything from classic ales and lagers to experimental sours and goses.

Indie Ale House

With creative brews, a cozy atmosphere and a fantastic menu this Junction alehouse has it all. The frequently rotating selection focuses on rare ales like Belgian sours, double IPAs and English porters, plus beers made using ancient brewing techniques. Once a month, Indie Ale House collaborates with a guest brewer to create experimental one-time-only beers. Grab a tasting flight to sample the range of ales and pair with a juicy short rib burger or the crispy southern fried chicken. 2876 Dundas St. W. 

Signature brews: Barnyard Instigator, Broken Hipster, Breakfast Porter

Henderson Brewing Co.

Henderson’s unassuming building, tucked into an industrial area south of Bloor Street near Lansdowne subway station, is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. This award-winning brewery houses some of the best suds in town, created using brewing techniques inspired by those used in Toronto at the beginning of the 19th century. Each beer has a Toronto theme, drawing inspiration from the city’s past and present. The featured July beer, for example, showcases work on its label by Kaley Flowers, an award-winning artist from last years’ Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Stay for a pint and get a close-up view of the brewing process, or take home some bottles or growler. 128A Sterling Rd.

Signature brews: Food Truck Blonde, Henderson’s Best,
Union Pearson Ale

Bandit Brewery

This microbrewery on Dundas Street West used to be an auto body shop. The former garage now houses brew tanks and its parking lot is a bustling patio filled with communal tables. Bandit has the atmosphere of a friendly German beer garden, with a uniquely Toronto twist: it features a mural and glasswear bearing the image of our unofficial municipal animal, the “trash panda,” or raccoon. Beers range from sour goses to hoppy IPAs to smooth lagers, and the menu includes delicious bar snacks like ale-battered cheese curds. 2125 Dundas St. W. 

Signature brews: Cone Ranger, Hoppleganger, Dundas West Coast IPA

Left Field Brewery

Both sports and beer fans will enjoy this baseball-themed brewery in Leslieville. In just a few years, husband and wife team Mark and Mandie have gone from sharing tank time with other breweries to opening their own space and widely distributing their brews to restaurants across the city. Left Field’s dog and kid-friendly location is decorated with baseball paraphernalia, like a salvaged scoreboard from Ohio that displays the business’s hours. There’s also a bottle shop where you can pick up favourites like Day Game session IPA, Cannonball Helles lager and Maris pale ale. 36 Wagstaff Dr.

Signature brews: Eephus, Sunlight Park, Wrigley

Burdock

Burdock, a combination bottle shop, restaurant and music hall, is one of the most innovative breweries in the city, trying out diverse styles of beer on a regular basis. Its brewers cite the wine world as a source of inspiration, and draw ingredients from a variety of producers, such as Niagara farmers and foragers and Ontario hop growers and wineries. The brewer began a barrel program in 2016, and it’s now starting to release some of its aged creations. The kitchen’s claim to fame is its sourdough bread, although there’s a lot more range to the menu, including a delicious selection of Ontario cheese. 1184 Bloor St. W.

Signature brews: The selection is constantly rotating, but the West Coast Pilsner is often on tap

Bellwoods Brewery

Bellwoods Brewery, a landmark brewery and bottle shop on the hip Ossington strip, is extremely popular, especially on sunny days when the patio comes alive. The rotating selection of pours range from aromatic pale ales to double IPAs to imperial stouts to farmhouse ales, and the special-edition bottled brews (including barrel-aged releases) means that there’s always something new to try. The small-but-tasty menu includes beer-friendly pairings like duck meatballs and smoked bratwurst. 124 Ossington Ave.

Signature brews: Jelly King, Roman Candle, Jutsu

Amsterdam BrewHouse

This waterfront drinking destination features 800 seats– 300 are located on one of four patios perfect for catching the lakeside breeze. The on-site craft brewery produces Amsterdam classics, as well as seasonal and small-batch releases from the Amsterdam Adventure Brews series, some of which have been barrel aged for more complex flavours. The comprehensive menu, which also suggests beer parings, features pub fare like the 3 Speed lager-battered fish and chips. 245 Queens Quay W.

Signature brews: 416 Local, Big Wheel, Boneshaker

Mill Street Brew Pub, Beer Hall and Brewery

The original Mill Street pub offers cold pints of the brewery’s most popular drafts, as well as small batch and seasonal offerings, like the refreshing ginger beer. Kick back with a pint and a bite to eat, or catch a guided tour to learn about the brewing process. Just around the corner, the newly renovated Mill Street Beer Hall features additional space and menu items for hungry and thirsty Distillery District visitors. A new on-site nano-brewery produces innovative and experimental, super-small-batch brews (some just a few barrels’ worth). 21 Tank House Ln. 

Signature brews: Original Organic Lager, Tankhouse Ale, 100th Meridian