Toronto is known for being a multicultural city, and naturally, this means we have an abundance of local food businesses that specialize in cuisines from all over the world. The last year has not been the easiest on small businesses, which is why I try to order from local businesses that truly feel the impact of every order. This isn’t a hard thing to do when local businesses in Toronto have some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, and some of the nicest people. If you’re wondering what Toronto has to offer, or are looking for something new to order for takeout or delivery, check out these food gems:
I love Middle Eastern food, and Azkadenya has to be one of my favourites in the city. Their food is packed with flavour, and the portions are huge! The restaurant is on Queen Street West, right near Grange Park, which makes it the perfect food for a picnic. I tried the tawook on rice platter, and my friend tried the Jerusalem street style platter. The hummus stole the show for us as it was fresh and paired perfectly with both of our main dishes, as you might have noticed in the picture above. It’s close to one of my favourite bubble tea spots, Coco Fresh Tea & Juice, and their tea pairs perfectly with some chicken and rice!
The best cookies in Toronto, without a doubt, are Craig’s Cookies! I attended a panel that the Ryerson Ted Rogers Pride Alliance hosted with the owner, Craig Pike, and found out the famous base of their chocolate chip cookies is a family recipe from his mom. Craig used to make the cookies himself and experimented with adding different treats in the cookies when he was first starting out. After many successful pop-ups, he was able to expand to three permanent locations. His humble story makes me an even bigger fan of all of his amazing cookies, but if I had to choose a favourite it would be the cookies and cream cookie.
If you’re looking for a sushi burrito, poke bowl or salad, I highly recommend Rolltation. They have a wide array of fresh ingredients, classic flavours like their miso salmon sushi burrito and build-your-own bowls like the teriyaki chicken bowl, which I usually order. Something unique that they have is their rice burgers, which have flame-grilled buns that are made of rice. If you want to know more, you can check out a video I did with Rolltation a couple of years ago.
If you can’t decide between Italian food and Caribbean food, this fusion restaurant is the perfect choice for you! Rasta Pasta combines the classic flavours from both cuisines for unique menu options that are made from scratch. I got the Irie fettuccini with jerk chicken and parmesan cheese, and my mouth couldn’t have been happier. Aside from their pasta fusion dishes, they’re also well known for their grilled jerk paninis.
There are quite a few places in Toronto that can make a good pizza, but I recently came to love Maker Pizza for its unique topping options. My favourite pizza of theirs is the Tropic Thunder which has chilli infused pineapple, pickled jalapeños, pickled red onion, mozzarella, bufala mozzarella, parmesan, red chillies and mint. I love spice, and so naturally this pizza seemed perfect for me the first time I saw it, but what caught me off guard was the mint. It seemed like an interesting choice for a pizza, and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted. If you like to keep it simple, the margherita pizza is also a must.
Bloomers is a Toronto staple and the perfect choice for dessert, whether you’re vegan or not. Their doughnuts and other goodies are baked fresh every day with new seasonal flavours shared daily on their Instagram stories! My favourite flavours so far have been the cranberry orange and coconut cream! The cinnamon sugar was close behind as it melted in my mouth and reminded me of my childhood favourite Tiny Tom Donuts. Just writing about these doughnuts is making me want to order some right now!
Indian food is wonderful for takeout because it tends to hold its heat and taste just like the restaurant by the time it reaches your home. Benares is my favourite spot in the city because of its large menu with flavour-packed food. The coconut rice has my heart. The grated coconut and nuts in it make the rice tasty on its own, but it also pairs well with the butter chicken and chicken hariyali. They have an abundance of bread offerings including garlic naan, as well as naan stuffed with spinach and cheese or onion, which I highly recommend ordering with your meal.