Here are all my favourite go-to restaurants for when the foodie in me gets its way. Not saying that these aren’t “healthy” because many of them offer amazing options and use great ingredients, they are just not advertising themselves as healthy.
Pizzeria Libretto: Probably my favourite pizza in the city and when they opened up across the street from me, it was GAME.OVER, because now I can go anytime. Favourite menu items: any of their pizzas, my favourites are the margherita pizza and the roasted cremini mushroom. They don’t have a gluten free option, but they offer spelt which is really good too. The arugula salad, beet salad and Rocco’s salad are all great appetizers as well.
Portland Variety: This is a cute and casual stop that makes great food, I love their brunch as well. For weekend brunch just go for the Fried Egg Bravas, it is delish!
Le Sélect Bistro: This is my favourite brunch in the city, it gets busy, so make a reservation. If you go in the spring/summer, try and sit outside it is really pretty. Also, get a mimosa and by that I mean get a bottle and do it up right, #yolo. This restaurant uses only the best ingredients, such as pastured eggs, grass fed bison and all fish are sustainably sourced. Favourite menu items: the only thing I get time and time again is eggs benedict with gravlax. I have also ventured off and ordered the risotto which is great and the steak and eggs as well. If you can, you must order a croissant, it is THE BEST! I have only been for dinner once and it was delicious, but brunch is my favourite.
Gusto 101: There isn’t much more to say than WINE ON TAP… Well there is more to say, but that is pretty awesome and it is only $1 an oz. The food is always good and so is the vibe, if you can sit outside or up top in the summer do it. Favourite menu items: both the kale salads are delicious and I usually add salmon to it to make it a full meal. The arancini is also good as are the brussels sprouts and shishito peppers and if you are going for pasta, the bucatini is nice. For dessert, splurge and get the pistachio gelato cookie!
Terroni: This place is always busy, so you must make a reservation at any of their locations, I really like the Adelaide location. Favourite menu items: just go for the pasta here it is so good. I love the bolognese and the tonnarelli (truffles are life) and the cavatelli.
Miku: This is a chain from Vancouver and in my opinion serves some pretty good sushi and aburi. Favourite menu items: I always go for a variety of sashimi and aburi sushi and for appetizer the pan seared scallops are also really great.
Lee’s: Not much needs to be said about this spot or Susur Lee who is beyond talented, but this remains one of my favourite spots to go to for special occasions. I am always impressed with the food and the service. Favourite menu items: the Singapore slaw is out of this world amazing and I always get it plus watching them mix it up and explain the ingredients always gets me, sometimes I add sashimi to it. The lettuce wraps are great as are the Peking & Char Sui Duck Breast and Tuna Sashimi & Spicy Tartare. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Buca: With three locations in the city, you can’t go wrong with any of them, it really depends on the vibe and food you are looking for. Head to Bar Buca for a quick bite/drink, or Yorkville for more seafood and fish or King Street for more meat and pasta/pizza. Favourite menu items for Yorkville: the branzino is excellent and the cured fish platters, the squid ink pasta is also really good. King Street: any of the platters are good, the funghi pizza and zucca pizza are great, the Spaghetti al Nero Di Maia is one of the best pastas I have ever had outside of Italy. I am sure any of the pastas are. I went for my birthday and they gave me a box of fresh pasta and instructions on how to make it at home, which I made the next day and loved it too! Honestly this was better than the traditional free cake you get at restaurants.
O & B Canteen: I love dropping into this place for a quick dinner pre baseball game in the summer. Sitting outside is great plus they are always changing up the menu with seasonal variations and lots of vegan, gluten free and dairy free options. If you go on game day (baseball) in the summer, they usually have really fun options as well.
La Carnita: I love coming here for tacos with lots of people so that we can try different ones and of course indulge in a pitcher of sangria. They always are playing great music and the vibe there is a lot of fun. My fave tacos include: In cod we trust, chorizo and the tostada, guac and Mexican street corn are also great options.
El Caballito Tequila Bar: I love going here to hang out on the patio in the summer and having some sangria and by some, I mean a pitcher 😉 plus the food is great too. My favourites include the guac and chips and as for tacos I like the beef, pork, spicy shrimp and the poblano pepper one.
Antler Kitchen and Bar: This restaurant is inspired by Canadian cuisine and features a ton of local and regional ingredients that is very well thought out and different. I have been a few times and the food is always really good, be prepared it is meat heavy. My favourites include: the mushroom tarte tatin (appetizer) and the rack of deer (main), it is seriously soooooo good.
Dandylion: A vegetable forward spot in the city that makes veggies the centrepiece of the plate, which I love. The menu is short, but inventive and different from lots of others in the city. A definite must in my opinion!
Baro: With three floors, there is a lot to discover here, so it depends on what you are in the mood for here, you can have food, drinks and some dancing. As for the food, I loved the tostada, chorizo and ceviche and as for the main the duck was really good. They also make great cocktails!
Piano Piano: I was so excited to check this place out because expectations were high! Executive chef Victor Barry who ran Splendido (one of the top restaurants in Toronto) wanted to create a spot that is more family friendly while still serving great food. He definitely succeeded, this place is awesome! My favourite items included: Crispy Chicken Saltimbocca (appetizer), and the caesar salad, as for the mains, I love their bitter pizza (all the kale!) and the veal (although this is quite large, so suitable to split).
Rodney’s: All the oysters please! I used to not like oysters, but in the last 4-5 years, I have grown to love them. I usually go for a platter of various oysters and some champagne because why not?! Oysters contain a good amount of zinc which is great for our skin and our sex drive, how appropriate right?
Montecito: This two-storey restaurant is basically an homage to all things California and the menu is reflective of that. I have been here numerous times and I am never disappointed with the food, service and ambience. The vibe is very farm-to-table and they focus on bringing in high quality produce and meats, which I am all about. Favourite menu items: get the kale salad (so good!), the meatballs (appetizer) and for the main I am all about the chicken which is so juicy, it doesn’t taste like regular chicken, the short rib is also pretty good and as for a side, get the potatoes (so good).
Pai: I do love Thai food a lot! But I am extremely picky when it comes to my fave dish, pad thai which can be really gross if not made right. I love Pai because it is authentically Thai and I love the flavours so much. My go-to order is the pad thai and the Gaeng Kiaw Wan, which is a green curry dish served in a coconut, bliss! As for an appetizer, I like the garlic shrimp and the spring rolls. A similar Thai restaurant that is also really good is Sukhothai and Khao San Road. Here is some leftover Khao San Road pad thai!
Jacobs & Co.: This place is expensive, but the steak is always soooo good, so if you are craving a nice night out and some good steak, this is the spot to go to. Admittedly, I often will buy a good quality grass-fed steak and pan fry it at home on my cast iron when I have a red meat craving because this is cheaper, but my boyfriend loves steak, so we hit Jacobs for special occasions. The caesar salad prepared table side is absolutely delicious and a must in my opinion. As for sides, the potatoes, mushrooms and rapini are great. As for the steak, I love the grass-fed option.
So, let me know if you have any favourites in the city that I should check out!