As you see the classic Canadian sights and recently expanded cultural centers, sample the city’s diverse flavors such as the many varieties of charcuterie, European-style food market eats, and Ontario ice wine—what better way to explore this multicultural city than a weekend culinary tour around the world? . Top it all off with some shopping and decadent chocolate and you have a perfect getaway.
Spicy Dinner: Start your introduction to the city in the bustling Entertainment District. Perched on a second floor along King Street West, DHABA Indian Excellence was recently remodeled into a brightly-lit neutral space. Wake up your taste buds with their take on chaat, a traditional Indian savory snack. Their avocado chaat papdi combines crunchy wafers and vermicelli with bright yogurt and chutney; be sure to also order some naan (flatbread from the tandoor oven) for the side. Choose from classic Indian mains served in a simple, modern style such as tikka masala or perhaps charcoal-fired tiger prawns.
Evening Entertainment: After your meal, enjoy a little walk along this busy stretch of King West; you won’t have to travel far for a post-dinner drink. If you have time before 10pm, take a quick ride to the top of the CN Tower. At 1,815 feet high, the tower has views that are equally dazzling by day and night. Be sure to test your courage with a walk on the glass floor.
Market Breakfast: If you’re an early bird, you can get a bite to eat at St. Lawrence Market starting at 5am Saturdays, but you don’t have to worry about running out of choices if you sleep in. Weekends can be crowded, so slow down and enjoy this sprawling food market with all of your senses. Enter through the Old City Hall and seek out the popular Carousel Bakery for a peameal bacon (also known as Canadian bacon) sandwich with your choice from a variety of mustards, including spicy and maple. For an even sweeter start to the day, try a butter tart, a mini-pecan pie without the nuts. Browse the stalls and you’re sure to find some edible and unique gifts to bring home, such as local wines, handmade soaps, or imported cheeses.
Deli Lunch: Next it’s time for some Eastern European influence at Caplansky’s Delicatessen where you can have a hearty sandwich in a casual, sit-down setting. House-smoked, hand-cured meat on rye bread is the classic option; there’s also smoked turkey, pickled tongue, and chopped liver. On the side, enjoy some knishes (savory pastries), latkes (potato pancakes), and a selection of dill pickles, pickled red peppers, and pickled tomatoes. After lunch, continue your ramble with a walk through the Kensington market neighborhood’s cluster of independent shops with an international influence, or Chinatown.
Dinner and a Drink: After such a worldly day, sip some local flavor and enjoy the daily changing menu at Wine Bar in Old Town. Each of the twenty or so small plates are listed with suggested wine pairings, but the charming sommelier is also available to help you find your perfect pour from the larger wine menu. Have a seat at the bar and watch your organic and seasonal meal come together, perhaps with a charcuterie plate or their own version of poutine—a Quebecois dish traditionally made from French fries, cheese curd, and gravy. Be sure to try a sweet Ontario ice wine such as Hidden Bench’s “Terroir Cache.”
Brunch: Sleep in before heading to the revamped and expanded Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Architect and Toronto native Frank Gehry also designed the museum’s airy restaurant, FRANK, from the bright translucent tables down to the sleek flatware and dramatic display of wine bottles. Dishes such as brown butter scrambled eggs with chanterelle mushrooms are equally as visually appealing—and tasty too! It’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing modern Canadian meal before browsing the art in this stunning museum.
Shopping and a Snack: After your culture fix, head to the posh Yorkville neighborhood for some trendy shopping and a divine afternoon treat. MoRoCo combines a chocolate boutique with café and lounge that serves cocoa-influenced cuisine. Sipping chocolate and chocolate fondue are popular options in the funky salon setting, but there are also savory food options with a French influence. It can be hard to resist making your own s’mores at the table over an open flame—what sweeter memory of a Toronto weekend?