READERS’ CHOICE 2017 FOOD & DRINK
BEST AFRICAN RESTAURANT LALIBELA 869 Bloor West, lalibelaethiopianrestaurant.com Homestyle-cooking, served up in bountiful platters, is the signature of this charming Ethiopian spot in Bloorcourt. Pile on the vegetarian dishes, or indulge in carnivorous options like a buttery ye beg key wat. No matter what you choose, the fresh injera bread, traditional Ethiopian coffee and friendly service is a constant. RUNNER-UP ETHIOPIAN HOUSE 4 Irwin, ethiopianhouse.com BEST ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET MANDARIN Various locations, mandarinrestaurant.com RUNNER-UP KOREAN GRILL HOUSE Various locations, koreangrillhouse.com BEST BARBECUE RESTAURANT BARQUE SMOKEHOUSE 299 Roncesvalles, barque.ca West-end carnivores need no introduction to Barque but for the uninitiated: “meat” chef David Neinstein and his BBQ empire. Barque boasts a 500-pound smoker that turns out 12hour briskets, chicken and ribs (all in house spice blends, which you can pick up at sister spot Barque Butcher Bar up the street). But they don’t stop there – dishes like Cajun mac and cheese and smoked duck tacos are worthy picks, too. RUNNER-UP THE STOCKYARDS 699 St. Clair West, thestockyards.ca BEST BAKERY BUNNER’S BAKE SHOP 244 Augusta, 3054 Dundas West, bunners.ca RUNNER-UP BLACKBIRD BAKING CO. 172 Baldwin, blackbirdbakingco.com BEST BAR BAR RAVAL 505 College, thisisbarraval.com This stunning Spanish-inspired architectural wonder is the place to go for sherry cocktails and tapas snacks. If you’re a responsible gourmand, it’s impossible not to feed into the hype. Everything from the cocktails, wine list, pintxos menu, service, coffee and environment is deeply considered and well played. RUNNER-UP THE ONLY CAFE 972 Danforth, theonlycafe.com BEST BARISTA JAY GALBRAITH, ROOSTER COFFEE HOUSE roostercoffeehouse.com RUNNER-UP KJELL, SAM JAMES COFFEE BAR samjamescoffeebar.com BEST BARTENDER TEDDY FURY, THE HORSESHOE thehorseshoetavern.com RUNNER-UP PATRICIA WILSON, BUDDIES IN BAD TIMES THEATRE buddiesinbadtimes.com BEST BEER SELECTION THE ONLY CAFE 972 Danforth, theonlycafe.com RUNNER-UP WVRST 609 King West, wvrst.com BEST BREAD BLACKBIRD BAKING CO. 172 Baldwin, blackbirdbakingco.com Since 2014, bread lovers have flocked to this Kensington bakery for Simon Blackwell’s crispy-skinned baguettes and gorgeous challah. But Toronto restaurateurs were in on this secret way before the retail location opened – and they still supply loaves and rolls to some of the best spots in town. RUNNER-UP ST. JOHN’S BAKERY 153 Broadview, stjohnsbakery.com BEST BREAKFAST LADY MARMALADE 898 Queen East, ladymarmalade.ca RUNNER-UP AUNTIES & UNCLES 74 Lippincott, auntiesanduncles.ca BEST BRUNCH LADY MARMALADE 898 Queen East, ladymarmalade.ca Brunch spots come and go in Leslieville, but the lines outside Lady Marmalade return every single weekend. The spring-green dining room is forever rammed with folks jonesing for Benedicts with cochinita pibil or cheddar-and-spinach-infused waffles with tomato crema. The Lady is set to move further north to Broadview early next year, but we’re willing to bet the people will follow. RUNNER-UP INSOMNIA 563 Bloor West, insomniarestaurant.com BEST BULK FOOD BULK BARN Various locations, bulkbarn.ca RUNNER-UP MOBERLY NATURAL FOODS 2044 Danforth, moberlynaturalfoods.com BEST BURGER THE BURGER’S PRIEST Various locations, theburgerspriest.com RUNNER-UP DOOMIE’S 1263 Queen West, facebook.com/DoomiesToronto/ BEST BURRITO BURRITO BOYZ Various locations, burritoboyz.ca
Nothing destroys hunger like a burrito, and Burrito Boyz has been a reliable standby for years, thanks to its tasty bricks of goodness loaded with fillings like steak, shrimp, calamari, haddock and even soy protein. Customize yours further with 17 or so toppings, including homemade hot sauce, gluten-free tortillas and plenty of homemade options. RUNNER-UP FAT BASTARD BURRITO Various locations, fatbastardburrito.ca BEST BUSINESS LUNCH RICHMOND STATION 1 Richmond West, richmondstation.ca RUNNER-UP CANOE 66 Wellington West, canoerestaurant.com BEST BUTCHER THE HEALTHY BUTCHER 565 Queen West, 298 Eglinton West, thehealthybutcher.com RUNNER-UP SANAGAN’S 176 Baldwin, sanagansmeatlocker.com BEST CAESAR HOGTOWN VEGAN 1056 Bloor West, 382 College, hogtownvegan.com RUNNER-UP THE DRAKE HOTEL 1150 Queen West, thedrakehotel.ca BEST CAFÉ ROOSTER COFFEE HOUSE 479 Broadview, 343 King East, 568 Jarvis, roostercoffeehouse.com Though two of its locations (on King East and Jarvis) are smack dab in business territory, the Rooster has never lost the secluded vibe that made the original (on Broadview) such a smash hit with east-enders. The ever-cheerful baristas and killer espresso (courtesy of Pilot) don’t hurt, either. RUNNER-UP SNAKES & LATTES 600 Bloor West, 489 College, 45 Eglinton East, snakesandlattes.com BEST CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT THE REAL JERK RESTAURANT 842 Gerrard East, 1004 Kingston, therealjerk.com When Rihanna and Drake put the Real Jerk in their Work video, they let the world in on a secret that east-end residents have been hip to for two decades. Ed and Lily Pottinger made their name on moist, fiery jerk chicken, curry goat and Jamaican roti. Thanks to fierce local support, they’ve been able to spin the business into two successful locations (in Leslieville and the Upper Beaches). RUNNER-UP ONE LOVE VEGETARIAN 854 Bathurst, oneloveveg.tel BEST CATERER FOOD DUDES 24 Carlaw, thefooddudes.com RUNNER-UP DANIEL ET DANIEL 248 Carlton, danieletdaniel.ca BEST CHARCUTERIE THE BLACK HOOF 928 Dundas West, theblackhoof.com RUNNER-UP SANDY ALEKSANDER FINE FOOD 1183 Queen East, sandyaleksander.ca BEST CHEAP EATS BANH MI BOYS 392 Queen West, 399 Yonge, 2365 Yonge, 95 The Pond Road at York University, banhmiboys.com RUNNER-UP SNEAKY DEE’S 431 College, sneaky-dees.com BEST CHEESE CHEESE BOUTIQUE 45 Ripley, cheeseboutique.com The first words out of every cheese lover’s mouth (at least, the printable ones) after they walk into Cheese Boutique: “I never want to leave.” The place is a massive shrine to all things cheesy; owner Afrim Pristine stocks the store with selections from all over the globe, as well as a bomb shelter’s worth of preserves, oils and other goodies. Be sure to check out the boutique’s exclusive series of cheeses – they’re all named after Pristine’s dog, Henry. RUNNER-UP GLOBAL CHEESE SHOPPE 76 Kensington, facebook.com/GlobalCheese/ BEST CHEF DOUG MCNISH, DOUG’S PUBLIC KITCHEN 561 Marlee, dougmcnish.com McNish is something of an unsung hero in the Toronto food scene. The Doug’s Public Kitchen chef entered the world of kitchens as a teen and soon grew interested in organic and plant-based dining. He’s still pushing the boundaries of vegan eating, having released three cookbooks and thrilling diners with the lunch and brunch dishes he doles out at his midtown kitchen. RUNNER-UP GRANT VAN GAMEREN, BAR ISABEL 797 College, barisabel.com
BEST CHICKEN WINGS DUFF’S FAMOUS WINGS 558 College, 1604 Bayview, duffsfamouswings.ca RUNNER-UP ST. LOUIS BAR AND GRILL Various locations, stlouiswings.com BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT MOTHER’S DUMPLINGS 421 Spadina, mothersdumplings.com RUNNER-UP ROL SAN 323 Spadina, 416-977-1128 BEST CHOCOLATE SOMA CHOCOLATEMAKER 443 King West, 32 Tank House, somachocolate.com RUNNER-UP CHOCOSOL TRADERS 1131 St. Clair West, chocosoltraders.com BEST COCKTAIL BAR SAUCE ON DANFORTH 1376 Danforth, sauceonthedanforth.com The east-end watering hole with a courtyard patio, Sauce boasts an array of craft beers, 20s-themed cocktails and live jazz music. It’s all brought home by a warm, inviting atmosphere and retro Victorian-meets-bordello decor that makes it an ideal spot to pull up a stool if you’re in need of glamour or comfort – or both. RUNNER-UP BAR RAVAL 505 College, thisisbarraval.com BEST DATE RESTAURANT WOODLOT 293 Palmerston, woodlottoronto.com Woodlot makes for an exquisite datenight destination. The low lighting and whiffs of wood smoke from its on-site oven make for an warm, cabin-like glow. But it’s the food – like house-made pastas and oven-roasted confit duck – that really brings the romance factor. As a bonus: the menu comes in carnivorous and vegetarian sections, because everybody knows opposites attract. RUNNER-UP LE SELECT BISTRO 432 Wellington, leselect.com BEST DELI CAPLANSKY’S DELI 356 College, 156 Cumberland, caplanskys.com RUNNER-UP YAM CHOPS 705 College, yamchops.com BEST DELIVERY BANJARA 796 Bloor West, 164 Eglinton East, torontobanjara.com RUNNER-UP GERRARD PIZZA 1528 Danforth, gerrardpizza.com BEST DESSERT WANDA’S PIE IN THE SKY 287 Augusta, wandaspieinthesky.com RUNNER-UP NADÈGE PATISSERIE Various locations, nadege-patisserie.com BEST DIM SUM RESTAURANT ROL SAN 323 Spadina RUNNER-UP MOTHER’S DUMPLINGS 421 Spadina, mothersdumplings.com BEST DINER THE LAKEVIEW 1132 Dundas West, thelakeviewrestaurant.ca How many places do 24-hour service any more? The Lakeview is a perennial safe harbour in the tempestuous party strip of Ossington. It’s always there for you and your cravings: drunk munchies, datenight burgers, hangover breakfast, a civilized lunch with the folks. Cornmeal chicken, killer breakfast sandwiches and cheap pints are among the many options. Everyone leaves happy. RUNNER-UP CARDINAL RULE 5 Roncesvalles, cardinalrulerestaurant.com BEST DONUT GLORY HOLE DOUGHNUTS 1596 Queen West, gloryholedoughnuts.com RUNNER-UP VON DOUGHNUTS 713 Danforth, vondoughnuts.com
BEST FALAFEL TABULE 2009 Yonge, 810 Queen East, 2901 Bayview, tabule.ca RUNNER-UP GHAZALE Various locations, ghazale.ca BEST FARMER’S MARKET EVERGREEN BRICKWORKS FARMERS’ MARKET 550 Bayview, evergreen.ca RUNNER-UP THE LESLIEVILLE FARMERS’ MARKET 20 Woodward, leslievillemarket.com BEST FISH HOOKED Various locations, hookedinc.ca RUNNER-UP DE LA MER Various locations, delamer.ca BEST FISH & CHIPS OLDE YORKE FISH & CHIPS 96 Laird, oldeyorkefishandchips.com RUNNER-UP HOOKY’s 893 Queen West, hookysfishandchips.com BEST FOOD TRUCK THE AREPA REPUBLIC instagram.com/theareparepublic/ Rolling onto the T.O. food truck scene in 2015, this Latin-oriented kitchen on wheels brings the “Venezuelan experience” to you. It’s titular dish – cornbread sandwiches stuffed with toppings like savoury pulled pork or plantain and avocado – are the signature. But it’s been known to branch out into empanadas and tequenos (aka cheese sticks). RUNNER-UP FIDEL GASTRO’S fidelgastros.com BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT LE SELECT BISTRO 432 Wellington, leselect.com RUNNER-UP CLUNY 35 Tank House, clunybistro.com BEST GASTRO-PUB HOUSE ON PARLIAMENT 454 Parliament, houseonparliament.com RUNNER-UP BELLWOODS BREWERY 124 Ossington, bellwoodsbrewery.com BEST GREEK RESTAURANT ASTORIA Various locations, astoriashishkebobhouse.com RUNNER-UP MEZES 456 Danforth, mezes.com BEST ICE CREAM/GELATO ED’S REAL SCOOP Various locations, edsrealscoop.com In the summer months, the sidewalks outside Ed’s four locations (in the Beaches, Roncesvalles, Leslieville and Mimico) are home to plenty of happy customers (from ages zero to infinity) chowing down their fave flavour. After so many years in business, it’s racked up over 100 rotating offerings to choose from, available in scoops, pints, cakes, affogatos, milkshakes – the sky really is the limit. RUNNER-UP BANG BANG 93A Ossington, bangbangicecream.com BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT BANJARA INDIAN CUISINE 796 Bloor West, 164 Eglinton East, torontobanjara.com RUNNER-UP LAHORE TIKKA HOUSE 1365 Gerrard East, lahoretikkahouse.com BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT TERRONI Various locations, terroni.com RUNNER-UP ENOTECA SOCIALE 1288 Dundas West, sociale.ca BEST JAMAICAN THE REAL JERK RESTAURANT 842 Gerrard East, 1004 Kingston, therealjerk.com RUNNER-UP ONE LOVE VEGETARIAN 854 Bathurst, oneloveveg.tel BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT KINKA IZAKAYA 559 Bloor West, 398 Church, 4775 Yonge, kinka.com RUNNER-UP JABISTRO 222 Richmond West, jabistro.com BEST JUICE BAR VILLAGE JUICERY 540 College, 99 Roncesvalles, 2409 Yonge, villagejuicery.com RUNNER-UP PULP KITCHEN 717 Queen East, pulpkitchen.ca BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT PIZZERIA LIBRETTO Various locations, pizzerialibretto.com RUNNER-UP LOUIS CIFER BREW WORKS 417 Danforth, louisciferbrewworks.com BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT KOREAN VILLAGE RESTAURANT 628 Bloor West RUNNER-UP BUK CHANG DONG 691 Bloor West BEST LATE-NIGHT RESTAURANT SNEAKY DEE’S 431 College, sneaky-dees.com RUNNER-UP THE LAKEVIEW 1132 Dundas West, thelakeviewrestaurant.ca BEST LATIN RESTAURANT TACOS EL ASADOR 689 Bloor West RUNNER-UP EL AREPAZO 181 Augusta, arepazo.ca
BEST LOCAL MICROBREW LEFT FIELD BREWERY 36 Wagstaff, leftfieldbrewery.ca The east end’s fave microbrewery is still hittin’ it out of the park after four years. Its velvety Eephus – a brown ale – has become a fixture on local draught lists, along with its bright Sunlight Park Saison. With the core lineup of brews going strong, they’ve been freed up for welcome experiments like the Brick & Mortar Coffee Porter collab with neighbours Pilot. In short, these are fine utility players with a long career ahead of them. RUNNER-UP BELLWOODS BREWERY 124 Ossington, bellwoodsbrewery.com BANH MI BOYS 392 Queen West, 399 Yonge, 2365 Yonge, 95 The Pond Road at York University, banhmiboys.com As menu prices creep ever higher, Banh Mi Boys remains blessedly, refreshingly cheap and delicious. From baguette sandwiches to stuffed Chinese bao and tacos to kimchi-topped fries, nearly everything on the menu clocks in at $7 or less. The pricier offerings include duck confit and blackened mahi mahi subs, but even the $5.50 five-spice pork makes for a filling, tasty lunch. RUNNER-UP THROUGH BEING COOL 1277 Bloor West, @tbcvegan BEST MARTINI PARK HYATT ROOFTOP BAR 4 Avenue, toronto.park.hyatt.com RUNNER-UP LIBRARY BAR AT THE FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK 100 Front West, fairmont.com BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT PLAYA CABANA Various locations, playacabana.ca RUNNER-UP EL CATRIN 18 Tank House, elcatrin.ca
BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT TABULE 2009 Yonge, 810 Queen East, 2901 Bayview, tabule.ca RUNNER-UP PARAMOUNT FINE FOODs Various locations, paramountfinefoods.com BEST PATIO DRAKE HOTEL SKY YARD 1150 Queen West, thedrakehotel.ca The Drake Hotel’s rooftop Sky Yard is allseasons, but it’s best during summer months. Enjoy seasonal comfort food, cocktails and other libations next to cool art as Queen West buzzes below. RUNNER-UP ALLEN’S 143 Danforth, allens.to BEST PIZZA PIZZERIA LIBRETTO Various locations, pizzerialibretto.com RUNNER-UP APIECALYPSE NOW! 735 Bloor West, apiecalypsenow.com BEST POUTINE SMOKE’S POUTINERIE Various locations, smokespoutinerie.com From local fast-food upstart to Canadian ambassadors to the world: the poutine chain with the goofy bespectacled logo has managed to make itself utterly synonymous with our national guilty-pleasure snack. The classic recipe still satisfies, but an ever-growing menu of topping options (Korean BBQ, bacon cheeseburger and Philly cheesesteak, to name a few) will crush even the most robust of hunger pangs. RUNNER-UP POUTINI’S HOUSE OF POUTINE 1112 Queen West, 617 King West, poutini.com BEST PRIX FIXE RUBY WATCHCO 730 Queen East, rubywatchco.ca RUNNER-UP SIDECAR 577 College, sidecarrestaurant.ca BEST PUB HOUSE ON PARLIAMENT 454 Parliament, houseonparliament.com RUNNER-UP CEILI COTTAGE 1301 Queen East, ceilicottage.com BEST RAMEN KINTON RAMEN Various locations, kintonramen.com inton rises above the ramen pack. Its seven GTA locations feature some of the best bowls in town, built on fullbodied pork broth and lighter (but no less flavourful) chicken broth, and packed with thick or thin noodles. Rounding things out are top-notch sides like takoyaki and karaage. RUNNER-UP MOMOFUKU NOODLE BAR 190 University, noodlebar-toronto.momofuku.com BEST RESTAURANT BAR ISABEL 797 College, barisabel.com They say you never forget your first, and that’s particularly true in the case of local mega-chef Grant Van Gameren, whose first outing, Bar Isabel, has left a permanent mark on local diners. The intimate atmosphere and heavy focus on Spanish classics, including gorgeous octopus and shrimp à la plancha, allowed Van Gameren to pioneer the formula he later perfected at Bar Raval. RUNNER-UP KHAO SAN ROAD 11 Charlotte, khaosanroad.ca BEST ROTI GANDHI INDIAN CUISINE 554 Queen West RUNNER-UP ISLAND FOODS 1182 King West, 1310 Don Mills, island-foods.com BEST SANDWICH CALIFORNIA SANDWICHES Various locations, eatcalifornia.com RUNNER-UP BANH MI BOYS Various locations, banhmiboys.com BEST SCENE THE DRAKE HOTEL 1150 Queen West, thedrakehotel.ca
RUNNER-UP 69 Nassau, 416-340-1110 BEST SCOTCH SELECTION THE CALEDONIAN 856 College, thecaledonian.ca RUNNER-UP ALLEN’S 143 Danforth, allens.to BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT THE CAPTAIN’S BOIL Various locations, thecaptainsboil.com RUNNER-UP NORTH POKE 179 Baldwin, northpoke.com BEST SERVER ASHLEY CRAIG, APIECALYPSE NOW 735 Bloor West, apiecalypsenow.com We’ll let owner Jen Bundock praise Apiecalypse’s FOH/bar manager, who is universally beloved by customers, herself: “She is half-gothic-metalhead and half-walking-Simpsons-reference (complete with her own rescued greyhound). She has eaten pizza every day for the last two years, broke straightedge to become obsessed with all things beer, is an import from Halifax, and WILL remember your birthday.” RUNNER-UP MARIE MICHELE P, MAPLE LEAF TAVERN 955 Gerrard East, mapleleaftavern.ca BEST SPLURGE RESTAURANT WOODLOT 293 Palmerston, woodlottoronto.com RUNNER-UP SCARAMOUCHE 1 Benvenuto, scaramoucherestaurant.com BEST SPORTS BAR REAL SPORTS BAR & GRILL 15 York, realsports.ca/barandgrill/Toronto RUNNER-UP ROUND THE HORN 331 Roncesvalles, facebook.com/roundthehorn331 BEST STEAKHOUSE BARBERIANS 7 Elm, barberians.com RUNNER-UP THE KEG Various locations, kegsteakhouse.com BEST TACO LA CARNITA Various locations, lacarnita.com RUNNER-UP SEVEN LIVES 69 Kensington, @SevenLivesTO BEST TAPAS BAR RAVAL 505 College, thisisbarraval.com RUNNER-UP RELISH BAR & GRILL 2152 Danforth, relishbarandgrill.com BEST TEA GENUINE TEA genuinetea.ca Founders David O’Connor and Sarah RUNNER-UP DAVIDSTEA Various locations, davidstea.com BEST THAI RESTAURANT PAI 18 Duncan, paitoronto.com Jeff and Nuit Regular have no shortage of great Thai properties across town – a quartet of Sukhothai locations, plus glimmering new arrival Kiin – but Pai really is something special. The nightmarket-inspired eatery does punchy riffs on the cuisine of chef Nuit’s northern Thailand, set against a backdrop of fluttering flags and lively tunes. A new lunchtime takeout operation has alleviated the lineups (a little). RUNNER-UP SUKHOTHAI Various locations, sukhothaifood.ca BEST VEGAN RESTAURANT FRESH Various locations, freshrestaurants.ca RUNNER-UP APIECALYPSE NOW! 735 Bloor West, apiecalypsenow.com BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT PLANTA 1221 Bay, plantarestaurants.com RUNNER-UP FRESH ON EGLINTON 90 Eglinton East, freshrestaurants.ca BEST WINE BAR CIBO WINE BAR 522 King West, 133 Yorkville, 2472 Yonge, cibowinebar.com This sleek Liberty Group mini-chain, which has a trio of Toronto locations and three more in Florida, is all about wine. The extensive selection is best approached the Italian way, with abundant carbohydrates. Luckily, the menu boasts dozens of pizzas and pastas that pair well with just about every glass and bottle. RUNNER-UP MIDFIELD WINEBAR & TAVERN 1434 Dundas West, midfieldwine.com BEST WINE LIST LE SELECT BISTRO 432 Wellington, leselect.com RUNNER-UP ENOTECA SOCIALE 1288 Dundas West, sociale.ca
Banh Mi Boys is a favourite spot for affordable grub.
Lady Marmalade is the top choice for breakfast and brunch.
Best bar winner Bar Raval has delicious tapas snacks.
Pizza Libretto wins best pizza.