Khao San Road
There’s a reason why this is one of the most popular restaurants in town: this place has excellent food. I first wrote about it here. When I first went there, it was in search of Massamun curry (my favourite at the time). They have this dish, and all my friends loved it but I fell in love with Khao Soi instead, and to this day, it’s still one of my top picks. This is the sort of place where you can bring out of towners, and they’ll get why Toronto is such a foodie city. Consistently excellent food, great location and just the right hip ambience to appeal to almost everyone :)
For full disclosure, I must say that I’ve since discovered that Suko Thai (which I tried post challenge) used to be Khao San Road’s sister restaurant (and the original!), which is just as good with a lot of the same dishes, and no line up so I go there more often now.
Beast is one of those places where the unpretentious, cozy service makes you wonder if the kitchen will be able to whip up some of the most innovative, quality and delicious dishes you’ve ever had, and then not knowing how to contain your happiness when it you realize that it does. Ok, that sentence probably made no sense, but that’s the rambling of a happy-full-stomach. I’ve been to this place thrice, and wish I could go more often. Tucked away on a quiet side street off Bathurst, this was one of my favourite discoveries. The restaurant is super small, but with strategically placed tables, interesting art work on the walls and a brilliant menu inspired by Canadiana featuring local ingredients, eating at the Beast as a memorable experience. Go with friends, order at least 3 items from each section of appetizer/main etc and keep the wine flowing. It’ll be worth it!
I just really enjoy this restaurant. Right in the middle of Spadina, it just exudes a fun, relaxed atmosphere and when you can have a solid steak frites or cote de boeuf, followed by an awesome selection of pies and other desserts, you can’t go wrong. Vive casual french bistros :) I’ve been to this restaurant several times, with different groups of friends, and so far, it’s never been a disappointment.
So I debated writing about this place because until a month ago, this was one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto. But since at the time of the challenge, and for a while afterwards, I LOVED this place, I decided to include it anyway.
I have been to Ka Chi at least 30 times that I can think of. There were times when I went there 3 times in a week, I loved it so much. This one particular dish with ricecakes, beef and vegetables in a sweet tangy broth filled my dreams, had me gallavanting off in search of the right ingredients to replicate this dish and in general, had everyone I know shaking their head in amusement whenever it was my turn to suggest a place to eat. It had to be Ka Chi.
So what was it about this place? This was my first foray into Korean food, right after my obsession with Korean dramas started. The explosion of flavours of the beef broth and the rice cakes, especially the ginger, just permanently stained my brain for ages. And all the side dishes, particlarly the simple boiled potatoes… I was in heaven. As I said, it was all I could think for a while. Kind of like falling in love at first sight, and walking around with a goofy grin on your face :)
Terra Cotta Inn
Strictly speaking, it is actually outside Toronto but I really like it and it’s close enough anyway so I’m including it in my list. Terra Cotta Inn is in a cozy old building with several different options (pub, restaurant, patio etc), each with a slightly different menu. The setting is very picturesque and lovely, and makes me think of romantic getaways, small town living and the Gilmore Girls. Weird, I know but I wouldn’t be surprised if Suki popped out of the kitchen to make sure you taste one of the dishes!