A guide to fan­tas­tic Filipino fare

A foodie trip to Bathurst and Wil­son, T.O.’s of­fi­cial Lit­tle Manila

Richmond Hill Post - - FOOD - by David Ort

The Filipino slice of T. O.’s di­verse, multi-eth­nic pop­u­la­tion is one of the city’s largest. Ac­cord­ing to 2011 cen­sus data, the cat­e­gory for Ta­ga­log and other Filipino lan­guages is ranked fifth among mother tongues in Toronto, with over 37,000 who speak it at home.

Un­der­stand­ably, such a large com­mu­nity is spread across the city with pock­ets of FilipinoCa­na­di­ans in Mississaug­a, Scar­bor­ough and down­town. In 2015, the City of Toronto granted the Bathurst and Wil­son area the of­fi­cial nod as our Lit­tle Manila.

Among the con­cen­tra­tion of Filipino busi­nesses in the area, es­pe­cially the stretch on the north side of Wil­son, west of Bathurst, this is one of the eas­i­est places to crawl through a rep­re­sen­ta­tive spec­trum of Filipino food.

Here’s our guide to what to eat in Lit­tle Manila.


The boast­ful name is a sharp con­trast with Da Best’s mod­est in­te­rior and se­lec­tion of com­fort­ing, homestyle pas­tries. Span­ish bread, with doughy white ex­te­rior and but­ter-and­sugar fill­ing, best epit­o­mizes this sim­ple idea (and is even bet­ter if you get it to go and warm it up at home). The hopia ube with a pur­ple yam in­te­rior is flashier but just as com­fort­ing. 365 Wil­son

Ave., 647-430-8328


The out­door grilling sta­tion in front of their neigh­bour, Cusina Lounge, is a mouth-wa­ter­ing pre­view for Jollytops. Pork in adobo sauce is one of sev­eral bright spots from the steam ta­ble here. Friendly staff are happy to make rec­om­men­da­tions to help pare down the large se­lec­tion. The ab­so­lutely mas­sive spring rolls are also a high­light. 288

Wil­son Ave., 416-633-9233


Named af­ter the na­tional flower of the Philip­pines, this spot has a busy, con­vivial in­te­rior that feels more like a decades- old com­mu­nity hall than an eatery. De­spite the club­house at­mos­phere, the staff is wel­com­ing and friendly with new­com­ers.

Ev­ery restau­rant should copy one idea from SV’s play­book: two of their spe­cial­ties, the pancit Sam­pa­guita and fried chicken, are both avail­able in a smaller size so that sam­pling a va­ri­ety is less of a task. The former is a rich, sat­is­fy­ing, kitchen sink–style take on a stir-fried dish that in­cludes both glass ver­mi­celli and yel­low Shang­hai-style noo­dles plus a hodge­podge of shrimp, a trio of meats (chicken, pork and beef ) and veg­eta­bles. Mean­while, the duo of sauces — one sour and spicy, the other sweet and umami-laden — is the chicken’s strong­est fea­ture. 322 Wil­son Ave.



This north­ern out­post of FV Foods, a Cana­dian–Filipino mini chain, pos­sesses a large counter of hot food op­tions with a ros­ter of sta­ples in ad­di­tion to daily spe­cial­ties. Mon­day, for ex­am­ple, will al­ways see pork menudo be­ing dished out: a com­fort­ing dish of pork and liver stew in tomato sauce. Spring rolls and fried ba­nana will sate the less ad­ven­tur­ous eater.

How­ever, the wide ar­ray of im­ported Filipino prod­ucts and sweet baked goods is where FV re­ally shines. Leche puto, a light, rice- based flan with a sweet top­ping, is a spe­cialty. The pichipichi, or sticky rice cakes are multi-coloured eye candy, and the maja mais has a sweet cus­tard stud­ded with sum­mery corn ker­nels. 280 Wil­son Ave., 416638-2700

Clock­wise from left: FV’s spring rolls and fried ba­nana, their pichi-pichi, Da Best’s hopia ube

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