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Ontario Backroads

 

A Taste of Toronto

 

She tours Toronto's neighborhoods by public transit....
To get to know the real Toronto, you have to explore its neighborhoods. The beaches, for a walk along the boardwalk and to explore antique shops, quirky stores and restaurants in the area; Kensington Market, for a true sense of the city's rich multicultural mix; Greektown on the Danforth for a taste of the Mediterranean and great nightlife. College Bus Street and Corso Italia (St. Clair Ave. between Dufferin and Landsdown) for traditional Italian shops and sidewalk cafes and trattorias. Best solo-friendly tip to take all this in: buy a one-day pass from the Toronto Transit System. It's only $6.50 for unlimited travel.
Sally Armstrong, Homemaker's Editor-in-Chief


A cooking teacher's favorite Moroccan restaurants...
I teach Moroccan cooking but when I don't feel like doing it myself, I eat at Boujadi (220 Eglinton Avenue East) or Kensington Kitchen (124 Harbord Street). The hospitality at Boujadi is wonderful and the ambiance at Kensington is delightfully warm. At night it is candlelit and in the summer you can enjoy their backyard patio. Both these neighborhood restaurants are very suitable for the solo diner and both are reasonably priced.
Ettie Benjamin Shuken, food stylist, caterer and cooking teacher


Thai on Queen West
I enjoy Bamboo (Queen West at Soho) Great cold Thai spring rolls, pad thai, good wine by the glass, cold beer, and funky music. What else do you need?
Rita Zekas, Entertainment Writer, Toronto Star


Best elegant dim sum in town...
Lai Wah Heen is a typical Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant serving the best quality dim sum meal in Toronto. The Chinese way of culinary appreciation involves the presentation, smell and taste of food. This venue offers even more -- elegant ambiance and service. Steamed shrimp dumplings, Steamed Rice Flour Rolls with seafood or meat and Fried Spring Rolls are the basics on the menu. But Lai Wah Heen also offers specialty dishes such as Fried Lobster Roll with Mango, Fried Emu Dumpling and Steamed Yunnan Ham & White Cabbage Dumpling. They are priced from $3.30 to $4.80 per dish or $1.80 a piece for the house specialties. You might have to wait a bit as all dishes are prepared only after ordering. This ensures the impeccable taste, freshness and presentation of your food. Remember the magic of dim sum -- the more people at your table to share, the more dishes you can try. Lai Wah Heen Chinese Restaurant is on the 2nd Floor of the Metropolitan Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto.
Karisa Lui, Senior Marketing Executive, Hong Kong Tourist Association


Dim sum in Chinatown...
I hope you will try Golden Country Restaurant located at 466 Dundas West. This is where I meet my friends to eat dim sum the way I ate it in China. There is much variety and the prices are good.
Lily Lee, Toronto Student


Dining 'round the world in Toronto...
Three ethnic restaurants I happily recommend are The New Rag Nager (649 Yonge St., Bloor subway) for Indian, Mai Thai (2364 Yonge St., Eglinton subway) for Thai and The Pantheon (407 Danforth Ave., Chester subway) for Greek.
Sally Armstrong, Homemaker's Editor-in-Chief


Yummy Korean in Koreatown...
One of my favorite Toronto spots is Koreatown (Bloor St. W.) between Bathurst and Christie St., Bathurst Station Subway Stop). It's only a few blocks long, but the place is full of herb shops, acupuncture centres, and Korean restaurants. A popular staple in most restaurants is the Kalbi savory marinated Korean beef ribs, often grilled at your table. Great with several side plates of tasty vegetables.
Fangie Lao, Membership services, Tourism Toronto.


Break up your browsing with pizza...
Queen Street West is an interesting strip to browse and browse and browse...lots of "prop" and antique shops as well as interesting funky clothing stores. Feet getting sore? Need some recoup time? Stop in at Teronni's (720 Queen West corner Bathurst) for delicious 10 inch, thin crust, wood oven pizza that is a perfect pick-me-up.
Ettie Benjamin Shuken, food stylist, caterer and cooking teacher


Best French toast in town...
My favorite female-friendly spot? Butler's Pantry Cafe serving the best French Toast in Toronto! Expect thick slices of fresh bread, delicately coated in warm maple syrup, heaped with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream! Scrumptious! (Must be enjoyed with a large bowl of Café au Lait). Their homemade salad dressing is a well-guarded secret. The Jambalaya -- also a must-try. Pop in for heavenly desserts after a movie at the Revue Theater or a walk in High Park. The funky wait staff, a whimsical tea pot collection and overflowing community bulletin board add to it's unique charm. Line-ups are brief and magazines are available for those who must wait. Window seats are prime perches. The owners support local artisans by featuring monthly exhibits and, they allow artisans to keep all sale proceeds. (371 Roncesvalles Avenue, Streetcar #504)
Tara Wilkinson, Photographer, Director of Public Relations, Choice Hotels Canada


Italian from a travel editor's point of view...
My favorite lunch spot is Caffe Volo on Yonge Street just a couple of blocks south of Bloor. It's a funky little place where a woman alone feels quite comfortable. You can even cozy up in a corner with a book, glass of wine or coffee and spend a few hours there. In summer there's a side patio which is great for Yonge-Street-people-watching. Food is southern Italian and is just like your Italian mamma would make if you had an Italian mamma: fresh soups, tapenades and bruscettas, calamari, sandwiches bursting with goodies, gorgeous salads, delicious pastas and tantalizing little pizzas. For your special occasions they make luscious cocktails, or you can settle for a beer or carafe of wine.
Anne Wallace, Editor-in-chief, Travel Scoop.


Italian from a tour leader's point of view...
A few years ago I came across a great little restaurant that was so friendly, I always go back -- Oro Restaurant on Elm St. The atmosphere is modern, the owners Domonic and Connie are a friendly Italian couple. They often come by your table for conversation about anything you may mention from the weather to the food. Chef, Oscar Turchi creates authentic Italian dishes that are incredibly delicious and true to the flavors of my home village in Italy. I'm so tired of those Italian want-to-be restaurants who's menu is dictated by price, not flavor. Last time I was there I even got some cooking tips from Oscar, great conversation from Domonic and super food. When I need to dine along, I like to treat myself and be in the company of good people. This one I highly recommend.
Lynn Ogryzlo, Tour Operator


A favorite of mine in Little Italy...
White Bread Ellipsis on 503 College Street offers great breads and interesting sandwiches, good omelets and French toast. They're opened for dinner but I've only eaten brunch and lunch there. I prefer the main dining area rather than the new add-on part with patio. Ellipsis has a very soothing atmosphere -- I call it a cross between a French country cafe and a sanitarium. Perfect for winding down!
Ettie Benjamin Shuken, food stylist, caterer and cooking teacher


Very, very Vietnamese...
I just discovered Dai Nam, a small Vietnamese restaurant (221 Spadina, just south of Dundas). Expect basic tables and chairs, but a menu that goes on forever. I had a seafood soup that was full of big chunks of seafood, and a broth flavored with fresh lime juice. My friend had another dish served atop vermicelli noodles, underneath was a small salad with fresh mint in it. Very impressive and very reasonable -- you can have a complete meal under $10.
Debbie Hubner, Travel Industry


Still to come, Toronto women's best health and beauty secrets. Click here.

 

 

 

 

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