Throughout the years, Queen West has seen many changes. Once the hip home to Speaker’s Corner, Queen and John acted as the hub on the strip where people would come to see and be seen. Who doesn’t remember hanging out around the MuchMusic building at some point in their childhood? But Queen West has more than just faded memories of childhood’s past: incredible music venues like the Cameron House, the Horseshoe and the Rex and well, a lot of super underrated eats. While Toronto’s coolest retail strip has never been seen as much of a food destination, it may be time to take another visit and check these places out A.S.A.P!
Lamesa Filipino Kitchen
669 Queen Street West
Looking for the perfect introduction to Filipino food? Then your first stop should be to Lamesa, near Queen and Bathurst. Their staff are incredibly friendly and willing to go the extra mile when walking you through the beautifully curated menu. The best part is that it won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Our recommendation is the Kamayan (hand to mouth) feast available on Sundays from 5 pm to 9 pm. It’s part tasting menu and part experience, but all around fantastic.
554 Queen Street West
There is a huge debate in Toronto on who has the best rotis. We would be remiss if we didn’t throw our vote behind Gandhi, one of the originals in the city. While this space isn’t really conducive for eating-in, if you happen to grab a seat at one of the two tables there, you’re in luck. The menu is decently varied with a wide array of rotis and other main dishes. We always order up the chicken korma roti – it’s nothing short of fantastic, and well, huge, full of flavour and warm with the requested level of spice. This is a must-try for any roti lover in the city.
783 Queen Street West
Got a Mexican craving but want to go a little higher end than your regular Burrito Boyz stop? If you haven’t checked out Milagro on Queen, then you must put it on your list. Boasting a beautiful rooftop patio which is perfect to drink margaritas on in the summer, the restaurant is like stepping right into Mexico City. Using traditional recipes that have been passed down through the years, you’ll find flavourful ceviches and delightful takes on tacos and burritos. One of our favourites is the Atlántica tostada featuring lime marinated shrimp, cucumber, pickled onion, serrano and chile crema — mmm.
259 Queen Street West
The city is full of great pho restaurants, but there is something special about Pho Vistro. For starters, it touts itself as the healthy pho option using all-natural ingredients and broth that is free of MSG. Seems promising, right? It gets better… They also offer a vegan pho! So if you’re looking for a bit of a different take on the typical pho offering, stop in here. I would recommend trying their Vietnamese-Style Chicken Wings made with real Canadian maple syrup.
Come and Get It
676 Queen Street West
Snack Bar, $$
Looking for something casual while you grab a drink with a friend? You have to drop into Come and Get It! The menu concept is simple enough: pick your flavour profile and then select how you want to eat it – slider, poutine or wrap. If you can’t come up with your own combination, there is an entire menu of selections that will keep you busy ranging from $12.75 to $16.75. Check out the jerk chicken poutine made with plantain chips, which is a winner in our books. But remember, this is a snack bar so come prepared to order lots if you want to leave full.
65 Duncan Street
Meat Pie, $
Want a grab and go treat? Then you have to head over to Kanga to get your hands on one of their Aussie-style meat pies. Feeding pies to Toronto since 2012 (first in pop-ups across the city and now their brick-and-mortar location), the shop offers 8 different types of pies ranging in price from $6.50 to $6.85. The Butter Chix and Kiwi Classic pie are two of the shop’s best sellers, and two of the best introductory pies when trying out Kanga. One pie will likely not fill you up, so plan to get two!
461 Queen Street West
Squeezed in between many other food options, you could easily walk by. But trust us, you’re going to want to stop inside. This place is tiny with only four seats, so here is hoping you can get one. The sushi restaurant serves up square-sized bites in salmon, tuna and California that make for the perfect Instagram photo. But what you really wanna try is the new food trend: The doshi, aka doughnut-shaped sushi. Yes, it’s as tasty and awesome as it sounds.
What’s your favourite underrated restaurant on Queen West? Did we miss any? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.