Call it a renaissance. Call it culinary resilience. Just don’t call me late for dinner. Cabbagetown, one of Toronto’s most long-standing neighbourhoods is having its moment. With an influx of restaurants to suit all tastes, there’s never been a better time for a night out on the town.
Johnny G’s Café
A classic greasy spoon style diner, Johnny G’s stakes a claim to Toronto’s best home-made burger. With over 30 years in the neighbourhood, head over for brunch, and try and nab one of the coveted window seats. The perfect spot for weekend people-watching.
478 Parliament St. website N/A
House on Parliament
A house just isn’t a home if the food’s not on-par. Luckily, this local favourite delivers on British classics, redefining the standard pub grub. Laid-back but full of life, settle in with a sampling from their wide selection of Scotches and you’ll soon be among friends.
454 Parliament St. http://www.houseonparliament.com/
This quirky café is choc full of character. Quainte and charming, their short carte is nevertheless inspired. The hot-chocolate is a highlight, a testament to the warmth in the room. It’s a date-night destination you’d never expect.
559 Parliament St. http://www.merryberry.ca/
Taking residence in the old Winchester Hotel, this Izakaya style restaurant flirts with sensory overload, but does it in style. Kingyo is Japanese for goldfish, so expect plenty of lustrous thematic cues. That goes double when your meal arrives. The refined, artfully presented plates are a feast for the eyes, and flicker across the tongue.
51B Winchester St. http://kingyotoronto.ca/
Authentic Northern Italian food with ample portions, F’Amelia makes the familiar exceptional. With its dining room in a converted neighbourhood home, F’Amelia amps up the home-cooked appeal. Using locally sourced produce for its signature dishes, it’s a meal the whole family can feel good about.
12 Amelia St. http://www.famelia.com/
Kanpai – Japanese for “bottoms up” – offers an homage to Taiwanese street food, and hip hop classics, with its innovative tapas style menu. Taiwanese food is a fusion of Japanese and Chinese culinary styles, so there’s tastes you’ll be sure to recognize. But the main attraction is their transcendent take on fried chicken.
252 Carlton St. http://www.kanpaisnackbar.com/
The Local GEST
The classic “Canadian” comfort food at The Local GEST is anything but. Sourcing all their produce from their farm at the Elm Grove Collective in Sutton, Ontario, each meal starts from certified organic seeds and grows on you with every repeat visit. With local music, art on display, open mic and trivia nights, this local truly has something for everyone.
424 Parliament St. http://www.thelocalgest.com/
Peter’s Cajun Creole Pizza
Italian by way of Louisiana, Peter’s Cajun Creole Pizza is what you get when you mix your clams and crawfish with manicotti. Brace yourself for the big flavours of the bayou, but save room for the dry-rubbed wings. Their not-so-secret speciality.
415 Parliament St. http://www.peterscajunpizza.ca/
Where now celebrated Toronto chef Nuit Regular started it all, the small menu at Sukhothai makes a big impact. Flavourful and authentic, these dishes from the master of Northern Thai cuisine consistently impress. Take a break from your usual Pad Thai diet with stellar renditions of Khao Soi or Gaeng Phed.
274 Parliament St. http://www.sukhothaifood.ca/parliament/
Zakkushi is the second Izakaya restaurant on this list for good reason. A great place to unwind after work, Zakkushi truly stands out is for its authentic yakitori. Skewered meats cooked on an open grill using Japanese sourced charcoal, you’ll quickly find a favourite ordering per skewer. Start your search with an or order of unagi, or pork and leek.
193 Carlton St. http://www.zakkushi.com/carlton/