Culi­nary smack talk a good sign for food city

Our cover story fea­tures some of the best foodie ’hoods in town

Midtown Post - - News - by Ron John­son

Toronto has of­ten been de­scribed as a city of neigh­bour­hoods. We like it like that, this idea of small, unique ar­eas of the city knit­ted to­gether to be­come cos­mopoli­tan and world-class. Def­i­nitely world­class, to the point of ob­ses­sion.

But we also like to throw shade at each other, claim­ing the man­tle of best neigh­bour­hood for our­selves. Of course, what makes up the per­fect lit­tle neigh­bour­hood is a mat­ter of much dis­cus­sion and in­cludes a vast ar­ray of some­what sub­jec­tive cri­te­ria.

For some, a mas­sive chunk of gated land and heaps of pri­vacy is all that is needed, for others, ac­cess to tran­sit and parks and bike lanes, plenty of bike lanes. Those in the beau­ti­ful Beaches neigh­bour­hood only need nod to­ward the lake and their own stretch of sand, for in­stance.

But there is one thing at or near the top of most lists: food, namely restau­rants and plenty of them. Sure, down­town restau­rants have long held the edge. The hippest and most cre­ative chefs in town have sought out af­ford­able lo­ca­tions on the west side of the core for years now, es­tab­lish­ing culi­nary mec­cas in the most un­likely of place such as Oss­ing­ton Av­enue, and leav­ing high-priced hip­ster hov­els in their haute-cui­sine wakes.

But then the east side started lur­ing a few bearded, tat­tooed chefs to the other side of the river. And what of Dupont and the land con­quered by An­thony Rose? New culi­nary hot spots are open­ing up in some truly sur­pris­ing places. Heck, even the in­dus­trial lands of Lea­side have a new pizza spot con­sid­ered by some to be one of the best in all of the land.

To wit, our cover story: a foodie brouhaha of epic pro­por­tions, where we high­light the best restau­rants both new and old and try to de­ter­mine whether or not the ’hoods out­side of the core can com­pete with the hot­shots hang­ing their aprons down­town.

Sure, there might not be com­pe­ti­tion when it comes to quan­tity, as there are lit­er­ally hun­dreds if not thou­sands of restau­rants down­town. But, we have our gems too.

Look at Rose’s new Madame Boeuf & Flea, serv­ing up some of the city’s best burg­ers, or his now-iconic Fat Pasha — here is a guy with food so good he has al­most sin­gle-hand­edly trans­formed a stretch of Dupont into a lit­tle foodie heaven.

There aren’t too many restau­rants down­town that com­mand that level of de­vo­tion, even if it’s helmed by some­one with the ini­tials GvG (yes, you, Grant van Gameren).

Have a look, and take to so­cial media to let us know your thoughts. Let the culi­nary smack talk be­gin.

Chef Grant van Gameren

RON JOHN­SON

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