Canadian cuisine isn't well known around the world the way Chinese or Italian cuisine is. It's a rare city outside the country that has a Canadian restaurant, and it's not often you hear someone say, "let's get Canadian for dinner tonight."
But this lack of a true national cuisine is one of Toronto's strengths as a great food city. After all, this is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, and successive waves of immigration from around the globe have made Toronto a fantastic place to eat.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Toronto, and you'll be ready to enjoy what the city has to offer. No matter what you like to eat, you'll find it here. Whether you want to indulge in the best fine dining Canada has to offer or chow down on some of the best street food in Toronto, you'll find it all here, and it's all delicious. And don't worry if you're trying to avoid meat. The best vegetarian Toronto restaurants can help you enjoy some of the most delicious food items in the city without eating animals.
With such a great food scene, it would be a shame to visit Toronto and not try some of the city's signature dishes. Here's a rundown of some of the best out there.
Toronto Food: Bagels
Technically, Montreal is the epicenter of the Canadian bagel world. But if you can't make the journey to the biggest city in the French-speaking province of Québec, you'll find plenty of transplants from the city who have set up bagel shops in Toronto too. Bagels are a big business in Canada, and they make the perfect breakfast food to keep you fueled up while enjoying the city.
For an authentic Montreal-style bagel, head to St Urbain. These bagels are baked in a wood-fired oven and smothered with a thick smear of cream cheese that makes them a tasty way to start your day and a true icon of Toronto.
Toronto Food: Khao Soi
Pai Northern Thai Kitchen on Duncan Street is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular Thai restaurants Toronto offers. The restaurant is inspired by the cuisine of Northern Thailand and the city of Chiang Mai in particular.
One of the standout dishes on the menu is khao soi, a coconut curry noodle soup that is perfect for chilly days in Toronto. The dish is made with egg noodles, chicken, and pickled mustard greens, and it's served with a side of lime, chili, and shallots to add some extra flavor.
Toronto Food: Poutine
Poutine is one of those dishes that you either love or hate. For the uninitiated, it's a dish of French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. It might not sound like much, but it's surprisingly addictive.
This is another dish that has made its way to Toronto from Montreal. However, good food knows no borders, and poutine has become Canada's national dish. Served piping hot, the gravy melts the cheese into a delicious mess, making this an incredible hangover food as well as a hearty and filling meal. Whether you get it from a nearby food truck or from one of Toronto's many poutineries, this gravy and melted cheese dish is guaranteed to satisfy. It's also a classic pub grub item that you'll find on menus throughout Toronto.
There are plenty of places to get poutine in Toronto, but Smoke's Poutinerie is widely regarded as one of the best. With multiple locations across the city, it's easy to get your fix, and there are plenty of different variations on the dish to try, from traditional poutine to vegetarian and vegan options.
Toronto Food: Peameal Bacon Sandwich
One food item from Canada that has become famous around the world is bacon. Often known as Canadian bacon in the United States, here in Toronto, it's known as peameal bacon. This type of bacon is made from lean pork loin, which is then cured and rolled in cornmeal. It's a delicious and unique twist on traditional bacon and the perfect sandwich filling. Much juicier and less crispy than regular rashers, it also makes an exceptional breakfast food.
The peameal bacon sandwich is a Toronto classic, and you'll find it on menus all over the city. But if you want to try the best, head to Carousel Bakery in the St. Lawrence Market. This sandwich is simple but effective, with freshly baked bread and plenty of peameal bacon. There's also a vegetarian option for those who don't eat meat.
Toronto Food: Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
Another classic sandwich from Toronto's neighbor to the east is the Montreal smoked meat sandwich. This dish is made with beef that has been salt-cured and then smoked, and it's served on rye bread with mustard.
Like poutine, Montreal smoked meat is something of a national dish in Canada, and there are plenty of places to get it in Toronto. Wolfie's Deli is one of the most popular places for this sandwich, and they've been serving it up since 1975. If you're looking for a taste of Montreal in Toronto, this is the dish to try.
Toronto Food: Nanaimo Bars
These bars are named after the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, but they're enjoyed all over Canada. They're made with a crumb base, custard filling, and chocolate ganache topping, and they're incredibly rich and delicious.
You can find Nanaimo bars in bakeries and cafes all over Toronto. You probably won't need more than one as they are so sweet, but for travelers with a sweet tooth, this is a treat you definitely don't want to miss.
Toronto Food: Butter Tarts
These tarts are a classic Canadian dessert, and they're made with butter, sugar, and eggs. The filling is similar to that of a pecan pie but without the nuts.
The crusts of butter tarts are usually shortcrust or pastry and they can be either baked or unbaked. They're often served with raisins or other dried fruit, but some people prefer them plain.
If you want to try some of the best butter tarts in Toronto, head to the Butter Tart Factory on Yonge Street. They have a range of different flavors to choose from, as well as vegan and gluten-free options.
Toronto Food: BeaverTails
These fried dough pastries are a Canadian favorite, and they're shaped to look like beaver tails. They're usually served with cinnamon sugar or chocolate sauce, and they make a delicious treat.
You can find BeaverTails stands all over Toronto, but one of the best places to get them is at The Beavertail Cafe on Queen's Quay. This cafe also has a great view of the city, so you can enjoy your pastry while taking in the sights.
Toronto Food: Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is another food that has become synonymous with Canada, and it's produced in the eastern provinces of Quebec and Ontario.
The syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, and it has a unique flavor that is perfect for pancakes, waffles, and porridge. It's also a popular ingredient in baking.
If you want to try some of the best maple syrup in Toronto, head to The Maple Leaf Tavern on Dundonald Street. They serve up a delicious pancake breakfast with plenty of syrup, and they also have a range of other maple-flavored dishes on the menu.
Toronto Food: Baja Fish Tacos
It's a long way from this northern city to Baja. But that doesn't mean you can't find good Mexican food in Toronto, and Baja fish tacos are a prime example of that.
These tacos are made with fresh fish, and they're usually served with a cabbage slaw and chipotle mayo. Other toppings include sour cream and salsa for that classic Mexican flavor. You can find them at Mexican restaurants all over Toronto, but one of the best places to get them is at El Catrin on Distillery Lane.
Toronto Food: All Dressed Chips
These chips are a Canadian favorite, and they're made with a mix of different flavors, including ketchup, sour cream, vinegar, salt, and pepper. It may sound strange, but the tangy flavor of these potato chips has made them a hit all across Canada.
There's nothing fancy about this particular treat. You'll find all dressed chips at supermarkets and corner stores throughout the city. But if you're looking for a quick snack to eat on the go while keeping it classically Canadian, these are a great option.
Toronto Food: Kimchi Potstickers
These fried dumplings are a popular Korean dish, but they're also enjoyed in Toronto. They're made with a pork and vegetable filling, and they're served with a dipping sauce.
The kimchi potstickers at Sue-Ann's Fish & Chips are some of the best in the city. The shop is located in Koreatown, so you can be sure that the potstickers are authentic.
Toronto Food: Signature Singapore Slaw from Lee Restaurant
Lee Restaurant has become an icon of Toronto food and is one of the best restaurants to visit while you're in the city. Part of the reason for that is its unique Singapore slaw. This dish combines 19 different ingredients, including daikon, shallots, and pickled red onion, into a tasty, tangy, and aesthetically beautiful salad that will leave you wanting more. This is more than just one of the best dishes on our list for vegetarians. This is one of the best dishes Toronto offers and definitely something you should try for yourself when you're in the city.
Toronto Food: Pupusas
Fried corn cakes stuffed with cheese and refried beans are a classic Salvadorean dish. But thanks to Toronto's status as an immigrant destination, you'll find pupusas in restaurants all over the city.
There are plenty of places to get pupusas in Toronto, but one of the best is Pupuserias Y Restaurante El Triunfo. This Salvadorean restaurant serves up some of the most delicious pupusas in the city, and it's well worth a visit if you're looking for a taste of Central America. You may also find them offered on the menu of a local food truck or two. Pupusas are practically made to be incredible street food and are perfect for eating on the go. Whether you get them from a food truck or in the dining room of a classic Salvadoran coffee shop, you'll wonder where this treat has been all your life.
Toronto Food: Pit Master Platter at The Carbon Bar
This is definitely not one for the vegetarians. This meat feast features buttermilk fried chicken, pulled pork, ribs slathered in barbecue sauce, and beef brisket. It's a lot of food, but it's the perfect dish to share with friends if you're looking for something hearty and filling.
The Carbon Bar is one of Toronto's best barbecue joints, and this platter is definitely one of the highlights on the menu. So if you're in the mood for some good old-fashioned comfort food, this is definitely the dish for you. Just make sure you come hungry!
Toronto Food: Vegetarian Chili from The Friendly Butcher
Even meat-eaters will enjoy this vegetarian chili from The Friendly Butcher. It's made with a range of different beans, including black beans and kidney beans, as well as corn, tomatoes, onions, and a mix of spices. It's hearty, filling, and perfect for a cold winter day.
Vegetarian chili can often be on the bland side, but that's certainly not true of this dish. You won't need hot sauce to spice this dish up — though it's there if you need it.
With so many incredible restaurants in Toronto serving cuisines from around the world, there's no possibility of not finding some great to eat. Whether you want something classic like steak frites served with Belgian fries at a high-end wine bar or would prefer to hit the food trucks of Toronto and gorge on poutine and Nanaimo bars, you'll find plenty to like. And when the calorie count starts getting a little too high, check out the best hikes in Toronto for some great ways to work off everything you've eaten.