Yonge and Sheppard is a culinary scene hidden gem and late-night hotspot that Torontonians need to discover, according to Libby Roach…
The Yonge and Sheppard area has never been known for its stunning dining options. But with a mini population boom happening by way of condo after (green) condo, the prospects can only get better with each new tower.
In the meantime, your best bets for navigating the culinary options around good ol’ Mel Lastman Square aren’t merely limited to donkey-themed franchises or the Golden Arches. Choose your own eating adventure and check out some of North Toronto’s best bets for getting fed at Yonge and Sheppard.
Just a pinch south of Sheppard, this tiny restaurant is sandwiched in between a hair salon, a guy who will buy your gold, and a random hookah lounge/sports bar/restaurant. Don’t let the neighbouring neon lights distract you — this cozy Italian spot has a toasty wood-burning oven and a variety of inventive pies to keep things interesting. Service is charming and warm, all helmed by the owner and her trusty pizza maker.
If you’re looking for some reliable maki, Sushi Moto has you covered. With a modern and clean interior, this place has passed its latest Toronto DineSafe with flying colours, which is a step up on some of its Spring Garden competitors. Communal tables, big screen TVs, and comfy booths will keep the drinks flowing, and maybe just lube you up for a night of karaoke after.
Han Ba Tang
New-ish restaurant Han Ba Tang (taking over after Tandoori House finally closed) has been open for almost a year, just north of Sheppard on Yonge. Modelling itself as a Korean pub, this hotspot specializes in fusion food with a little East-meets-West in their takes on tacos, kimchi fries, and spicy bulgogi — served in a massive cast iron skillet. Known for their original soju-based cocktails (they make their soju in-house), this bar definitely breaks the mold for uptown eats.
The fourth of what is sure to be more, Kinton Ramen opened just north of Empress on Yonge Street late last fall. They — unsurprisingly — have been a top spot for steaming bowls of ramen, a satisfying (albeit temporary) cure to the winter blues. This tidy spot only has a dozen or so tables, including the communal ones up front, so be prepared to share a spot or be left out in the cold.
Everyone seems to know this chain of restaurants with locations downtown, in Richmond Hill, as well as Yonge and Sheppard (just north of Empress on the west side of Yonge). There’s a good reason for that — it’s reliably tasty authentic Chinese food offerings are so much more satisfying than the meek incarnations like Canadian-style sweet n’ sour chicken balls that appear on most menus (but should never leave a mall food court). At Asian Legend, the draw is the dumplings, sometimes containing hot soup or steamed with ground chicken or pork. Either way, they’re always delicious.
Which of the best restaurants near Yonge and Sheppard have you already tried and what did you think? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewTheVibe.