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Toronto, Ontario, Here I Come

I tweeted something similar, but I thought I’d ask here: tomorrow (Thursday) I head to Toronto for a little over a week. What must I do? Eat? Drink? Understand, these are the things I know I like:

  • awesome hole-in-the-wall ethnic cuisine
  • great breakfasts
  • great relaxing afternoon pub
  • coffee coffee coffee (drip, not espresso, and comfortable places to drink it)
  • museums with an historical bent
  • museums with local quirk
  • relaxed, fun neighborhoods
  • pinball

Suggestions? Add ’em in the comments. Thanks!

  1. Hi Peter, welcome to Toronto. Here are some of my recommendations, but it really depends on the neighbourhood you’re staying in.

    Go to Starving Artist for their waffles, including waffled bacon. It you’re staying in the core, it’s probably a bit out of the way, but accessible by TTC. I also love Saving Grace and Ella’s Uncle across the street is a great place to people watch in Little Portugal.

    In the afternoon, I’d pop into Smokeless Joe’s for a beer. It’s a bit pricey, but great beer selection and oysters on the half shell. Also, they don’t play music very loudly so it’s actually relaxing.

    For fun and chill neighbourhoods, I think mine’s the best: Bloorcourt/Little Portugal/Little Italy. On Thursdays, it’s worth going to Dufferin Grove Park for the farmer’s market (3-7pm) and to sit and read a book.

    I’m sorry I can’t help you with pinball but if you tell me what kind of ethnic foods you’re interested in, maybe I can help.


  2. Good restaurants:
    Universal Grill (top rated ribs, great weekend brunch)
    Disgraceland (bit of a hipster place, also good brunch — peanut butter and bacon french toast, and veggie eggs bennie are the specials)
    Mitiz’s on college — new, with great french toast and buckwheat pancakes
    Saving Gigi’s, Manic Coffee, Linux Caffe — good places for coffee. the last in particular is interesting for its FLOSS bent
    Island Sushi in little italy has good all you can eat

    take a walk around Kensington market, just west of chinatown (queen and spadina) — some more good coffee, good bakeries, great cheese shops, lots of characters.

  3. Want quirky? Try the BATA Shoe Museum. Just down the street from the Royal Ontario Museum.

  4. * awesome hole-in-the-wall ethnic cuisine:

    Southern Accent has great Cajun; check Yelp for recommendations (they have T.O. listings).

    * great breakfasts
    some great authentic diners – try the Gem on Queen St., Top of the Senator by Dundas street.

    * great relaxing afternoon pub – depends what neighbourhood you’re in; the Annex has a few – try Pauper’s.

    * coffee coffee coffee (drip, not espresso, and comfortable places to drink it) – where to begin! Lots in the Annex and all over; wifi tends not to be free in T.O. but there’s Lietteri, which has free wifi, I think.

    * museums with an historical bent – Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM) – quite good, ignore the icecube monstrosity in the entrance way. The Art Gallery of Ontario’s also excellent.

    * museums with local quirk – try the Gardiner (right by the ROM) for Ceramics, the Textile Museum, Hockey Museum, Museum of TV ( and the Design Exchange ( There’s also Casa Loma (not a museum per se, but still neat).

    * relaxed, fun neighborhoods – All of downtown is great, but the Annex, Chinatown and Queen Street (both West, near Spadina, and ‘West Queen West’ near Dovercourt) are tops.

    * pinball
    no idea – can’t help you – 20 years ago I’d say Yonge Street but alas, gentrification set it 🙁 Try Yelp’s search.

    Hit me up if you need more specifics. I don’t live there anymore, but the trip down memory lane was appreciated.



  5. Mi Mi’s is great Vietnamese:

    go check out Queen Street (west of yonge street) – lots of restaurants, bars. the AGO is up a few blocks. the art school next door has a funky building on stilts. and then you’re a few blocks from chinatown. and then if you continue west on queen, you’ll hit the hip part (some say), with small art galleries, the drake hotel etc.

    toronto has lots of neighbourhoods. i used to live in the Danforth (the greek neighbourhood) which has its charm.

    a great city. i live in seattle now and often miss it.

  6. I second Starving Artist! they make a waffle with dill and put smoked salmon with cream cheese on it; it’s incredible – and yeah, they have the traditional Belgian kind as well (and good coffee). Just outside the Lansdowne subway exit and north a bit.

    If you want something a little more central, the Java House on Queen W and Augusta (I believe) is cheap and excellent (all day breakfasts and the like, as well as sandwiches, shrimp skewers, quesadillas etc). Their pitchers of sangria and salads with house mango chutney vinaigrette stuff are to die for!

    Toronto is like a microcosm of everything… I would take a queen streetcar east to the Danforth (and out to the Beaches) for some greek food and sunshine. and the Bata shoe museum is particularly quirky.

    Good luck on your trip, Peter!

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