There are many great restaurants around Toronto, each with their own exceptionalities, bits of charm, and little (or big) bites of heaven. Many of these restaurants are “the whole package,” with flawless service complimenting enchanting ambiance and delicious food. Many of them just do one thing really, really well. Here’s an ode to some of the dishes that made Toronto restaurants famous.
The Restaurant: Lee
The Dish: Singapore Slaw
Whether your sources tell you it takes 16 or 19 ingredients to construct this internationally lauded lettuce-less salad, it only takes one (or two) mouths to devour it. Susur Lee’s signature dish originated at Susur (2000 to 2008) but took center stage at Lee when it opened in 2004. And it only takes 18 ingredients to make it, by the way.
The Restaurant: Mistura
The Dish: Beet Risotto
It took nearly 20 years to develop the recipe for Massimo Capra’s acclaimed red beet risotto. Expertly textured and vibrantly coloured, the kitchen at his Davenport restaurant pumps out around 40 servings a day on weekends.
The Restaurant: Bar Isabel
The Dish: Octopus
While many believed that Grant van Gameren’s Crown Salumi would take center stage at his Iberian inspired outpost, it was his whole grilled octopus that seriously sucked people in. Bluntly stated, it’s fucking awesome.
The Restaurant: Carmen
The Dish: Paella
There’s sure to be a great debate about who boasts the best paella in a city that has gone bonkers for Spanish food over the past 18 months. Whether you’re in the Carmen camp or not, there’s no debate over the fact that Chef Luis Valenzuela makes one of the most savoury and affordable saffron spiked dishes in town.
The Restaurant: Black Hoof
The Dish: Bone Marrow
The second van Gameren dish to make it onto this list, there’s nary a Toronto food special that hasn’t featured the Hoof’s bone luge (think: Bourdain’s Layover and Vice Munchies, etc.). Like it or not (and I do), this trend catapulted the nose to tail eatery into the next stratosphere of Toronto restaurant superstardom.
The Dish: Neapolitan Pizza
Another world where personal preference and die-hard allegiance will dictate whose pie one loves best. Given the amount of doughy, crispy, cheesy (some even VPN Certified) joints that continue to pop up around T.dot, it’s worth mentioning that whether you prefer Via Mercanti’s casual charm, Libretto’s trendiness, Gusto 101’s gorgeous patio, or the uptown flavour of Marcello’s or Pizza e Pazzi, there are plenty of places to get your fix.
What are some of your all-time favourite dishes in the city? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.