Sunday Brunch – Toba

Toba 243 King Street East 416-367-8622 Brunch for two including all taxes, tip and coffee: $43 I’m a sucker for a pretty face. While our reviews here at TasteTO generally focus on the food, service and décor always play a part in the overall experience. And while it’s usually the case that the artwork hanging […]

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Sunday Brunch – Cafe Du Lac

Café du Lac 2350 Lakeshore Boulevard West 416-848-7381 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 If Toronto wasn’t already known as a brunch town, just wait until people really start feeling the recession pinch. Already considered much more economical and family-friendly than dinner at a high-end restaurant or a business lunch, brunch […]

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Housewarming at the Temple

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen 85 Hanna Avenue, Suite 104 416-588-5695 Moving house can be a stressful time, but ultimately one of renewal. It can be hard to leave a place where so many great memories were made, but it’s also invigorating and inspiring to start with a clean slate in a new space. Such is the […]

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We’re All Family Here

Mother’s Dumplings 79 Huron Street 416-217-2008 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and soda: $25 I’m not exactly sure how I’ve managed to miss this place for so long. Shortly after Mother’s Dumplings started getting good buzz in the food-loving community, the husband came home with some leftovers from his lunch there and it’s […]

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Sunday Brunch – The Harbord Room

The Harbord Room 89 Harbord Street 416-962-8989 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $43 Restaurateurs spend a lot of money making their places look elegant. Only sometimes is that comfortable elegance actually achieved; more often than not many restaurants feel stilted, contrived and downright inhospitable, which is generally not the original goal. […]

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Falling Flat

Tortilla Flats 458 Queen Street West 416-203-0088 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and margaritas: $80 This was supposed to be a review of Tattoo Rock Parlor. But when we arrived to an empty restaurant, then waited for a server who never appeared while bad rock music blared on the sound system, we bailed. […]

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Dinner on the Roof of the World

Tibet Kitchen 1544 Queen Street West 416-913-8726 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer: $50 A week from today, the eyes of the world will be on China. Some people will watch with fingers crossed, cheering on their country’s athletes, while others will direct their attention toward the potential political protests that may […]

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Rolling out the Roti For Caribana

The debate could go on for hours. Long into the night, likely with much ranting and arm-waving, the people of Parkdale are always willing to argue over which neighbourhood roti shop is the best. In an area where residents are alarmed if they don’t wake up to the smell of curry, preference is based predominantly […]

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Sunday Brunch – The Ultimate Cafe

Ultimate Café 293 King Street West 416-977-9690 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30   Ultimate is a big claim when it comes to a restaurant. Working with the definition “not to be improved upon or surpassed”, calling yourself the ultimate anything sets the standard of quality pretty darn high. Higher than […]

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Sunday Brunch – Lula Lounge

Lula Lounge 1585 Dundas Street West 416-588-0307 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $34   “Hey, did you know Lula does brunch?” my husband asked, waving a colourful postcard that he had found on the sidewalk at me. “We should go!” And so we do, because we like brunch and because we’ve […]

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One City, One Table

It could have been, truly, a clusterfuck, but the weather gods and organizing gods shined down on the One City One Table event today at the Distillery District. Part of the Luminato arts festival, this food fair took over a whole block with one long table down the centre, and local restaurants offering tastings and […]

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The Harlem Shuffle

Harlem 67 Richmond Street East 416-368-1920 Dinner for two with all taxes and tip plus beer or wine: $110 The Harlem Shuffle – an R&B song originally written and recorded by the duo Bob & Earl in 1963, named after a line dance step that is an homage to the dance clubs that existed during […]

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Sunday Brunch – Dunn’s Famous

Dunn’s Famous 284A King Street West 416-599-5464 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $34 I’m still looking for a Jewish Grandma. Seriously, there must be some kind-hearted elderly lady out there hoping for someone to drop by and eat their homemade gefilte fish. Call me. In the meantime, until someone adopts me, […]

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Comfort and Grace

Grace 503 College Street 416-944-8884 There’s a recession coming. Gas prices are going up, the housing market looks set to crumble and everyone is preparing to tighten their belts. Inevitably, at the table, our thoughts will turn to comfort food. Hearty, healthy fare from the family recipe books will win out over expensive, exotic ingredients […]

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Sunday Brunch – Rustic Cosmo

Rustic Cosmo 1278 Queen Street West 416-531-4924 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30 I am, admittedly, one of those people who go out for brunch specifically because I hate making eggs benedict at home. It’s not that I can’t, but the endeavour inevitably leaves me cranky, covered in hollandaise and left […]

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The Good Kind of Loud

Allen’s 143 Danforth Avenue 416-463-3086 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer: $90 The hot new thing for restaurant critics these days is to complain about the volume at the places they’re reviewing. Having to scream across the table to be heard is never a good thing, and the more, um, mature, our […]

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Sunday Brunch – Oyster Boy

  Oyster Boy 872 Queen Street West 416-534-3432 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $55 Walking along Queen West on a sunny morning heading to Oyster Boy, a car passed us blaring a tune that was predominantly accordion music. We couldn’t really tell if it was a Newfoundland jig or some “welcome […]

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Sunday Brunch – The Beaver

  The Beaver 1192 Queen Street West 416-537-2768 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee and juice: $34 Beaver Loves You.   The sentiment may be genuine, pre-emptive or merely provocative; (“Dude, I love beaver too!!”) but there’s no denying that the note on the bill at this funky restaurant on the edge […]

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Where Curly Fries Come From

At first, I was sure I must be dreaming. Pretty ladies stepped out of nowhere to hand me free samples of cheesecake, gelato, or cashews. There was beer, wine, and grilled kangaroo. Everywhere I turned there were displays of gorgeously decorated cakes. Chefs stood over hotplates cooking up dishes of pasta or rosti potatoes, free […]

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A Multicultural Feast at Senses

  Senses 328 Wellington Street West 416-935-0400 I’ve gone on record as saying that I don’t like foie gras. That was before I had the foie gras as prepared by Chef Patrick Lin at Senses.   Working on the “try it ten times” theory as espoused by Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, I continue to […]

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Sunday Brunch – Mitzi’s Sister

  Mitzi’s Sister 1554 Queen Street West 416-532-2570 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip, plus coffee and juice: $40 I have a love/hate relationship with the brunch at Mitzi’s Sister. I love the homey, laid back vibe, the friendly servers, the eclectic tunes, and the constantly changing garnishes on what is likely my favourite […]

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Sunday Brunch – Sunset Grill

Sunset Grill 1 Richmond Street West (and other locations) 416-861-0514 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $23 People like breakfast. They want it hot, fast and familiar. They’re even willing to stand in line for it if that combination can be guaranteed. Thus is the business plan on which the Sunset Grill […]

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Sunday Brunch – Niagara Street Cafe

Niagara Street Café 169 Niagara Street 416-703-4222 Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $52 I’ve always heard good things about the Niagara Street Café. It’s original incarnation was run by a mother/daughter team who used free-range and organic ingredients. When it transferred hands in 2004, it continued to gain accolades, particularly at […]

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Feeling Brazen

Brazen Head Irish Pub 165 East Liberty Street 416-535-8787 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer: $80 In the still-barren wasteland of culinary choices that is Liberty Village, a beacon has been lit. Yes, yes, there’s Thuet and Liberty Café, but there really isn’t a cozy place with a decent beer selection and […]

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The Orange Glow of the Disco Era

Okonomi House 23 Charles Street West 416-925-6176 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and tea: $30 Despite its reputation as “Toronto the Good”, our fair city was supposedly quite the hedonistic place during the disco era. Centred around the Yonge Street strip, beautiful young things in white suits or wrap dresses and wedge heels […]

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Yes, We Have Some Bananas

  Johny Banana 181 Bathurst Street 416-304-0101 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer/juice: $35 So I was at one of the many restaurant opening media thingies we get invited to. And while the booze was flowing, the food was sparse, and small when it actually appeared. On an empty stomach, a couple […]

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It’s Hip to Be Square

Art Square Café 334 Dundas Street West 416-595-5222 brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $33 I have a thing for tiny little tucked away cafés. They’re the kind of place I’d open if I ever became a restaurateur; someplace cute and cozy with great food and no pretension. The only problem with […]

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My Little Dumpling

Yu Shan Dumpling Cuisine 771 Dundas Street West 416-869-0606 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer (no dessert): $40 I’m always jonesing for the dumplings from that other dumpling place over on Huron Street, but never seem to make it over there. So when I found myself at Bathurst and Dundas recently, and […]

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Out of Africa

One of the coolest things about Toronto’s many cultural neighbourhoods is how they’ve evolved over the years. One group of immigrants moves out, another moves in to create their own community in their new home. During years of overlap, communities exist side by side and somewhat intertwined. The most recent example of this cultural mosaic […]

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Hail to the ‘Dale

People don’t really think of Parkdale as being a foodie paradise. And yes, if you’re looking for high-end health food items, organic meat or artisanal bread or cheese, you’d be mostly out of luck. But as one of the most multi-cultural neighbours in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, we’ve got a […]

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Turning the Tables

I’ve had this book sitting on my desk for so long that I’ve partially forgotten what the damn thing’s about. But it’s been sitting here because I’ve been meaning to write about it, because I not only enjoyed it but found it incredibly useful. Food bloggers will likely recognize the name Steven Shaw as the […]

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‘Wich Hunt

It’s fairly common knowledge that if you want to make money in the restaurant industry, you don’t open some high end joint specializing in truffles and caviar and lobster and champagne. Oh, sure, those places do well, but for most people who have mortgages and kids and car payments, $200 meals are for special occasions […]

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Maroc the Casbah

The Sultan’s Tent & Café Maroc 49 Front Street East 416-961-0601 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beer/wine: Sultan’s Tent – $110, Café Maroc – $90 The first visit was the typical cliché – it was my birthday and I was fascinated with belly dancing, so I dragged everyone to the Sultan’s Tent. […]

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The Ruined Oysters

So another Summerlicious event has come and gone. I continue to be underwhelmed. This bi-annual event where Toronto restaurants offer a super-cheap prix fixe meal continues to deserve its bad rap – both in regards to cheapo customers and craptacular service. I only did two restaurants this year, figuring it was all I could handle. […]

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The Pickle Barrel Gets Healthy

When we started this site some six months ago, we determined that our mandate was to cover anything and everything to do with food in Toronto. It’s easy to fall into the foodie trap of focusing on either cutting-edge and high end places, or hole-in-the-wall spots serving “authentic” cuisine from various cultures and completely ignoring […]

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Sweet Treats on the Street

To say that the City’s Street Treats Fair was a resounding success would be a huge understatement. That line-up provoked a refrain of “Holy Shit!” from any number of people who entered Nathan Phillips Square from the north-east corner and were confronted with the throngs of people as they rounded the Peace Garden. Crowds were […]

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So Long, Jerry!

Tomorrow, my neighbourhood of Parkdale loses one of its most interesting citizens. After 19 years of standing behind a counter every day, Jerry of Jerry’s Fish and Chips will be retiring. He will chop those potatoes, and batter that fish for the very last time. Originally from Guyana, where he left in fear because he […]

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Zippity Street Food

Zippie Café 1718 Queen Street West 647-723-9292 lunch for two with all taxes tip and juice (no apps): $33 In the whole debate we’ve been having in Toronto about street food, one thing seems to have been forgotten – that it should be not only delicious, but simple and easy to eat with the hands. […]

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Treated Like a King at Udupi Palace

Udupi Palace 1460 Gerrard Street East 416-405-8138 Dinner (no dessert) for two with all taxes, tip and mango lassi (unlicensed): $40 Everyone who visits Little India inevitably has their favourite place to eat. Mine happens to be a chain. Yes, a chain. Udupi Palace has locations in Maryland, Illinois, Seattle, Queens and Mountain View, California […]

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Plates From Brazil

Cajú 922 Queen Street West 416-532-2550   The word authentic gets bandied about a lot these days – to the point where I wonder if some writers know what it actually means, especially when it comes to food. In our cultural mosaic of a city, where so many cultures have their traditional foods on offer, […]

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Sunday Brunch – beerbistro

beerbistro 18 King Street East 416-861-9872 Three course brunch for two with all taxes and tip: $90 There’s an old cliché about the difference between night and day, but I’ve actually found a good example for which to apply it. I guess you could say I’m one of those “sensitive types”, or maybe my hearing […]

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Good Phở Fo’ Shizzle

Phở Asia 21 1208 King Street West 647-436-0680 Dinner for two with all taxes, tip and beverage: $30 My immediate neighbourhood is not well known for its fine dining. Sure, there’s a couple of awesome Ethiopian places within walking distance, not to mention The Gladstone, The Drake, Beaver Cafe, and some interesting Tibetan restaurants if […]

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Mitzi’s Cafe and Gallery

Mitzi’s Café & Gallery 100 Sorauren Avenue (at Pearson) 416-588-1234 lunch for two with coffee, tax and tip; $35, cash only Think for a moment about your perfect neighbourhood café. It would be small and cozy, hidden from the beaten path, but still busy enough to flourish. There would be funky mismatched furniture, artwork on […]

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The Cost of Service

The Toronto Star is reporting that Joe Badali’s restaurant has backed down from a proposed $2 levy against their servers to cover the costs of cleaning aprons. A popular Toronto restaurant has backed down after trying to claw back most of the extra 20 cents an hour it has to pay its minimum-wage waiters. Joe […]

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Helpful Dining Tips for ‘Licious

A few days ago, someone over on a LiveJournal community posted about a server they knew who got stiffed on a tip during Summerlicious. Summerlicious, for those of you not familiar with it, is a two-week long event where participating Toronto restaurants offer a three-course prix-fixe menu at a significantly reduced price. It’s typically a […]

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