Toronto is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities — and if you don’t believe us, just take a look at the city’s culinary scene. In restaurants, cafés, markets, and grocery stores scattered across the Six, you’ll find delicious dishes from every corner of the globe. Together, these establishments have produced a food scene you’ll want to explore thoroughly.
Let’s start with the city’s delicious restaurants. At Quetzal, a Mexican restaurant that smokes many of its offerings over a wood-fire stove, there’s no need to limit your order to a couple of appetizers and just one main — here, the cooks serve up their delicious dishes family-style, and you’ll be grateful for the chance to sample several different menu items. We recommend starting off with the aguacata dip (made with white beans and cheese) and the tetela (a stuffed corn masa that’s oozing with cheese), then trying the coal-roasted sweet potato, the pollito (a whole Cornish hen that comes with pickled cactus), and the arrachera (a massive portion of extremely tender, well-flavored steak). The smell of smoke will linger on your clothing and in your hair, but the trade-off is worth it; you’ll return to your hotel with a full stomach and your inner foodie satisfied.
Pai, a beloved local Thai restaurant, is another stop you’ll need to add to your foodie bucket list. (But if you’re visiting on a weekend, you might want to do yourself a favor by making a reservation as early as possible, as the word is out on how good this place is.) The restaurant, which is named after a town in northern Thailand, specializes in pad Thai, but you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose to order. To get your meal started, ask for the grabong (fritters made from freshly shredded buttercup squash), and if you’re not in the mood for pad Thai, we recommend trying the curry, khao soi, or pad gra prow (a spicy rice dish).
If you have a hankering for Chinese food while in Toronto,Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine serves up standard fare with incredible views of Lake Ontario. The restaurant is tucked inside a large commercial building, making it a little difficult to find, but on the bright side, it’s located within easy walking distance of several downtown hubs, including the CN Tower and the Delta Hotel Toronto.
As far as excellent lunch spots go, Soufi’s is a popular Syrian restaurant and café located on buzzing Queen Street West. To many travelers and Torontonians, Syrian cuisine isn’t an extremely familiar iteration of Middle Eastern cooking, but Soufi’s provides the perfect introduction. Read the menu carefully, making sure to pay special attention to the various ways that the chefs can prepare their manaeesh (flatbread served with spices and toppings); order something like the zaatar manaeesh for an authentic Syrian experience, and something like the pizza manaeesh for a fresh twist on an old classic. Before you leave, satisfy your sweet tooth with the knaffeh (baked cheese served with orange blossom syrup), and enjoy a Turkish coffee for a quick caffeine fix.
If you’re in the mood for a quick Italian meal, stop in at Sud Forno, a bistro offering everything from panini to pizza, meatballs, and baked goods. The staff is friendly, the interior is aesthetically pleasing, and the food is delicious — and with locations on both Queen Street West and Yonge Street, it shouldn’t be too inconvenient to make an excursion to this little eatery.
In the evening, when you’re in the mood for a drink, make your way to Bar Raval, a warm, beautifully designed space on College Street. Bar Raval offers Spanish-style drinks and tapas, as well as Basque-style pintxos. For drinks, you can choose between cocktails like the Wu Collins and Element of Chance, non-alcoholic options like the Lake of Fire, a small selection of beers, and a long list of wines. Whether you choose to munch on a meaty option (like the smoked lamb belly) or a lighter appetizer (like the fried eggplant served with honey), you’re in for a treat.
And of course, no food guide to Toronto would be complete without mentioning the city’s finest markets. For example, the St. Lawrence Market, located just down the street from the Gooderham Building (Toronto’s very own flatiron structure), is home to culinary traditions from all around the world, as well as an abundance of seafood. At Churrasco St. Lawrence, you can chow down on Iberian specialties like Portuguese-style grilled chicken and pastéis de nata, and at European Delight, you’ll find pierogies and other Ukrainian dishes. Yianni’s Kitchen, meanwhile, serves up delicious homemade Greek foods — and that’s just a small sample of the diverse cuisine available in the market.
On the other side of the downtown core, Kensington Market serves up international food with a flair. It’s not exactly a traditional market — rather, it’s a small neighborhood that’s home to a huge number of restaurants and stores. Here, you’ll find fusion options like Rasta Pasta (a Jamaican-Italian hybrid restaurant that isn’t afraid of incorporating bold flavors into its menu), as well as Caribbean markets, Mexican joints, Chilean spots, cafés, pizzerias, taquerias, and vegan- and vegetarian-friendly locales. In the summer, the area comes to life with large weekend crowds, pop-up vendors, and a market experience that feels more like a block party, so make sure to stop here if you’re visiting during the warmer months!
No matter what kind of food you’re craving, we promise that you’ll find it in Toronto — and we can guarantee that you’ll go home raving about the unforgettable meals you enjoyed in the Six. Bon appétit!
Eager to learn more about Toronto? Check out the rest of our official travel guide. We’ll see you in Ontario!
The Marriott International portfolio of hotels in iconic neighborhoods across the Greater Toronto Area promise to be the perfect hosts for your next visit. Iconic brands like Westin, Sheraton and Delta are joined by Canada’s first St. Regis hotel and the world’s richest travel program, Marriott Bonvoy. Enjoy member exclusive rates and experiences when you book direct at marriott.com.