It’s no secret that as a foodie, sometimes I get a little bit restless. Yes, I love Portland, but there’s always that itch to travel, just on the horizon. 2017 has been a great year for traveling to new places. So far, I’ve been to Nashville, and I just got back from 4 days in Toronto. If you love traveling, like me, it’s always helpful to know where some of the hot spots are, before you even get there. Check out these hot spots of Toronto!
If you’re looking for a place that captures the magic of Harry Potter without traveling to see J.K. Rowling, Toronto’s The Lockhart is the perfect place to stop. It’s definitely not in the easiest part of town to get to, so I’d recommend getting an Uber, but the journey is totally worth it. It’s a little hipster, but the magic of Harry Potter and Hogwarts is still there. Drinks are Elixirs and Potions, and range from things like the Better Beer (essentially Butter Beer) the Gin Weasley, and the shareable Inferi, which is quite literally, served on fire. Other subtle tributes to the Harry Potter world include the wall down to the bathroom being wallpapered with pages from the books, and a neon All Was Well sign that captures your attention the second that you sit down. I can’t comment on the food, as all we tried were drinks, but it’s a must for Harry Potter fans who are in the area and looking for some hot spots of Toronto!
For us non-Canadians, poutine is just another side dish, which usually makes great drunk food after a night of drinking. In Canada, poutine is a big deal. Like, you’ll find a poutine shop on almost every block as you venture through downtown and beyond. If you want your true poutine fix, you go to Poutini’s House of Poutine! The sizes aren’t exactly small, medium, or large. It’s more of, even the small sizes feel like they are the size of your face. While in Toronto, I tried 4 different kinds of poutine, and Poutini’s came out on top. The cheese curds are fresh, the gravy is flavorful and thick, and the fries don’t get soggy. This is a poutine that holds up quite nicely as you stroll around the city at night, or just eat it at the shop.
If you’re going to write a guide to anything in Canada, it would be a crying shame to not go try some poutine. So if you’re looking for a poutine recommendation, Poutini’s House of Poutine is the place to go. It’s classic poutine, although they do have other variations available: fresh hand-cut fries, homemade gravy, and melty cheese curds on top. It is so good! I especially enjoy poutine after a long night of drinking, but if you want to pretend to be Canadian, I think you can honestly get away with eating poutine for every meal. Nobody is going to judge you for that in Toronto, that’s for sure.
Birthdays and anniversaries are a big deal to me. Part of the reason there was even a trip to Toronto was because it’s my boyfriend’s birthday. Long story short, he’s a HUGE Candians fan and wanted to experience the best that Toronto had to offer him. So, we went to an all you can eat Brazilian steakhouse called Copa Cabana. If you like meat, this is the place for you. If you’re a vegetarian, I can’t imagine why on earth you would stop by. The Copa Cabana experience starts with the Galleria, which is a series of meats, cheeses, breads, and delectable sides.
Word for the wise: don’t pick up very much, because you need to save all of the room in your stomach for meat. And when I say meat, I do mean meat. Garlic steak, filet mignon, lamb, chimi churri, chicken, salmon, and the list goes on and on. 2 hours of eating is easier said than done of course. We were tapped by the end of the first hour. After this meal, I honestly thought I was never eating another bite again.
Craft Beer Drinkers: Amsterdam Brewing, Steam Whistle, and Mascot Brewery
It’s not vacation without a little bit of day (and night) drinking, right? Like Portland, there are some quality craft breweries to try, though it definitely seems like the style is a little bit lighter than what Portland is brewing.
The eponymous Toronto brewery is Steam Whistle, with history and a light, premium pilsner that is known all across Toronto.What’s different about Steam Whistle? They only brew one beer, but this means that they can focus on ingredients and quality with their brewing process. If you’re in Toronto, a taste and a tour are worth your time.
If you’re looking for more beer, it’s time to go downtown to the waterfront. Check out Amsterdam Brewing, which is an extremely popular brewery with brews found across Canada. Unlike Steam Whistle, Amsterdam makes many different kinds of beers, from light to strong and hoppy. And of course, when you’re drinking and taking in a brewery tour right off the plane (because my boyfriend and I don’t understand the concept of down time) then you hope that said brewery serves food.
Amsterdam has amazing pizza! Wood fired, incredibly fresh ingredients, and it tastes pretty damn good with any of their beers. Talk about a win! Pictured above is their Brewmaster’s Sausage pizza made with mozzarella, mushrooms, sausage, and a wort reduction. Beer lovers and pizza lovers alike will love this classic on the list of hot spots in Toronto.
I can’t say much about Mascot, since we just stopped in for a beer before heading over to Second City for a show, but the Uber Raspberry that I ordered was pucker worthy! This had some of the qualities of a lambic, but was also incredibly sour. The location had a very millennial/hipster feel to it, so we fit right in. The food menu looks pretty awesome, so if you have more time than I did, definitely stop in for a meal and a beer.
If you’re looking for dessert poutine, you need to take in a Toronto Blue Jays game. I’m not sure if it’s a limited time thing, but as of May 2017, they were serving a dessert poutine of churros, ice cream, and caramel drizzled on top. Oh heaven, I have found you, and dessert poutine is mind blowingly delicious.
There’s plenty of cool little spots to check out in Toronto, I would recommend at least one day of just walking around past downtown and seeing what you find! Enjoy these hot spots of Toronto? Let me know in the comments!