Toronto may not be the most common spring break destination, but it's a city that should be on everyone's bucket list. Toronto is full of culture and excitement. And as I found out from my spring break there this year, Toronto's food scene is out of this world.
We arrived in Toronto around noon, and needed to wait somewhere before our Airbnb check-in time. So, we hopped on a shuttle from the airport that took us to downtown.
We walked around looking for a place to grab a bite to eat and stumbled across Elephant & Castle. Intrigued by the open space, we went in.
We started with the Truffle Parm Potato Crisps, which was a great welcome to Toronto. They were crispy and delicious. My favorite part of homemade potato crisps are when they're a little soft in the center as these were. Simply perfection.
Next came the Lamb Burger topped with tzatziki, tomato, red onion, and arugula. I'm a huge fan of lamb burgers and this one did not disappoint.
And finally, the poutine. It's a Canadian staple that you can find all over the city. Traditionally, it's made of fries, cheese curds, and a gravy. Elephant & Castle's rendition is called The Works. It's topped with bacon, tomato, sour cream, and green onions.
The ambiance of Local 1794 was inviting and comforting. A brick wall was lined with wines and spirits, encompassed by a long wooden bar.
We started with some cocktails and the Piri-Piri Shrimp & Cali. It was plated beautifully with tiger shrimp on one side and spicy calamari on the other. The center of the plate had a tangy apple celery slaw, the perfect acid to balance the rest of the dish.
We split the Chicken & Brie Wood-Fired Pizza. The crust was a perfect combination of chewy and crispy. It was topped with sliced chicken breast, brie, rapini, roasted garlic, and a sun-dried tomato pesto. The pesto was so incredible that I plan to recreate it at home.
After a full morning visiting Ripley's Aquarium of Canada and the CN Tower, we were hungry for a big meal. It's a 10 minute walk to the beautiful Toronto waterfront, which is right where Amsterdam Brewhouse sits.
This was the perfect place to warm up after walking through the cold. We started with a flight of beer, which was the best way to try lots of their house brews.
We went all out on the beer and the food. Things started with their Amsterdam Pretzel, piping hot and delectably crispy on the outside and a slight chew to the middle.
We also got the buffalo cauliflower, one of my favorite things to make in my own kitchen. Amsterdam Brewhouse makes a great plate of their own. The cauliflower's crisp texture is highlighted underneath a layer of spicy buffalo sauce.
Amsterdam Brewhouse absolutely kills it with their recipe for poutine. The fries, cheese curds, and gravy make every bite perfectly divine.
Batch was about a 15 minute walk from our Airbnb, taking us right through the Ryerson University campus. By the way, they have an outdoor ice skating rink for students.
Their cocktails were fresh and light, the perfect start to the meal. The Ontario Trout jumped out at us on the menu, so we had to try it. The trout was served flaky and crispy, over succulent butternut squash and creamed kale. Some bacon jam was poured on top for an extra savory flavor and contrasting texture.
After a thrilling day at the Hockey Hall of Fame, we walked 10 minutes just southeast of the downtown Toronto area. I was still floating from my visit to the Hall of Fame, and our lunch at Paramount continued the state of elation.
Paramount stood out on the sidewalk as we walked by. We walked in and were immediately struck by the enchanting smells of Middle-Eastern cuisine.
We started with likely the best hummus I've ever had. It was creamy and full of flavor. Everything one could ever hope for with a plate of hummus, served beside fresh and hot puffy pita bread.
After devouring the hummus, we had arayes and fattoush salad with chicken schwarma.
This was our first time trying arayes, and it didn't disappoint. It's kafta stuffed pita cut in triangles and char grilled. I had only tried kafta in meatball form before this place, but these arayes are something I will definitely seek out in the future.
I'm a huge fan of fattoush salad because of its light texture and deep flavors. Paramount gives you the option to top fattoush with chicken schwarma, we couldn't pass up on that kind of opportunity. The schwarma itself is crispy and full of flavor.
Dinner rolled around, and we decided to have more poutine because why not. We had heard great things about Smoke's Poutinerie, and tried their Triple Pork Poutine and the Nacho Grande Poutine.
The Triple Pork Poutine was as decadent as it sounds. Filled to the brim with pulled pork, double smoked bacon, and Italian sausage, this poutine had huge flavor to every bite.
The Nacho Grande Poutine is nothing short of its big name. The box was overflowing with the homemade chili, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and jalapeños. It was a great combination of bold flavors and interesting textures, and it was the perfect accompaniment to Bachelor Monday.
Our morning began at the Ontario Science Centre, which was a super cool place with lots of hands-on exhibits. After the museum, we headed to the St. Lawrence Market right near downtown.
The smells at the St. Lawrence Market are enticing and the crowds are mesmerizing. Every stand seemed wonderful, but we decided on Buster's Sea Cove towards the back of the market.
The Shrimp Po' Boy was juicy and succulent. The shrimp was lightly breaded and definitely fresh. The bread was crispy and the perfect holder for the stuffed sandwich.
We also tried the Haddock on a Bun. The haddock was flaky, light, and reminiscent of days spent on a sunny beach.
And then there was more hockey. A game at the Air Canada Centre was magical. So much history has occurred there, and so many amazing players have skated on that ice. At the game we had typical game fare, pizza and popcorn.
The arena also had lids for the beers to avoid spillage. I was immensely impressed by the ingenuity.
As our trip came to an end, we knew we had to go out with a bang. And there's no better way to say goodbye than with breakfast.
Over Easy was highly accessible by subway and it was definitely worth the travel by subway carrying suitcases.
There's no better way to end a trip to Toronto than with poutine, and we did exactly that. Over Easy serves up an excellent breakfast poutine. These guys pile on cheese curds, bacon, baked ham, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce on top of home fries. Nothing says decadent like egg yolk dripping down poutine.
An item that stuck out on the menu was Bruschetta Eggs, partly because it's the first thing listed. It's poached eggs on top of toast, and the whole thing is covered in a bruschetta mix. The side of home fries and a few cups of coffee made this breakfast the perfect end to the trip.
Grab your passport and go
Toronto is a wonderful city and if it's not already on your bucket list, it should be. From the Hockey Hall of Fame, to the Science Centre, to the CN Tower, to all of the food, Toronto is a unique destination.