The Lowdown on Hogtown (Toronto)
Collected by Karolyne Ellacott, AFAR Local Expert
This past year has shown me far more of this vibrant city than I'd ever imagined. Hop on a bike and let this act as a guide, not a map, to the city––there's plenty more to be discovered on the way!
1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, Canada
When the Drake Hotel opened in 2004, it not only enhanced the Toronto hotel scene, it helped revitalize the West Queen West neighborhood. This long before the rapper Drake (no relation) became known as a Toronto ambassador. The design-oriented...
Parkdale, Toronto, ON, Canada
This west-end 'hood used to be a swanky waterfront spot until the Gardiner Expressway was built, drawing a working-class community. A bit of an unraveling followed, and it wasn't until recently that Parkdale got its groove back. Now the...
928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1W3, Canada
The Black Hoof gets a lot of press and for good reason. Their food and concept is different and simply one of the best. From the tongue on brioche, the bone marrow with chimichurri and foie gras with nutella on banana bread (yup...you heard that...
208 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1T8, Canada
Perched across the street from the ROM (or the Royal Ontario Museum, to be official), Museum Tavern is a great spot to rest weary gams. The nostalgic brasserie is outfitted with a copper ceiling and tufted stools by the bar. Undoubtedly, these...
1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J6, Canada
Stay in one of the 37 artist-designed rooms at the Gladstone, Toronto's longest-running hotel, and you'll be feeling the design vibe by morning. The Snapshot room incorporates vibrant images of Toronto's High Park and gives a treehouse feeling to...
405 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2N1, Canada
Roncesvalles is definitely a neighborhood worth visiting, and this gift boutique is a great excuse to do so. It's only been open for a year but has plenty of loyal followers and lots of fun finds ranging from baby gear to napkins with faux wine...
69 Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2K2, Canada
Seven Lives is a relatively new addition to the city's taco scene, which has been dominated by Grand Electric and La Carnita. Formerly tucked into a food court, this Kensington eatery has branched out into a home of its own thanks to the buzz...
3040 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P 1Z3, Canada
Located in Toronto's Junction neighborhood, Delight ticks all the right boxes: organic, fair-trade, local, and delicious. The shop is known for its chocolates, but the ice cream is equally noteworthy. As smooth as gossamer, it's the best in the...
2188 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E 1E6, Canada
Perhaps a titch out of the way for your average visitor, Tori's Bake Shop is well worth a visit if you're about to amble around the Beaches. The space is oh-so-pretty, with minty accents subtly reminding customers that they're in a green...
93 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C3, Canada
Stationed inside the St. Lawrence Market, a veritable treasure trove of edible goodness, Carousel Bakery is where you'll find Hogtown's original peameal bacon sandwich which manages to be both lunch and a history lesson all in one. Curing pork...
Old Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
In India's north, Tibetan influence is everywhere—most prevalent in Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama himself resides (when he's not jetting about the world, that is). Armed with pins proclaiming "I heart momos," my friend and I would relentlessly...
3092 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P 1Z8, Canada
Located in the city's ever-cooler Junction 'hood, this magical shop is an essential stop when strolling along the strip. Though you may initially peg it as a boutique for girls, there are actually plenty of items directed at those over the age of...
790 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, Canada
Rock Lobster hasn't been a proper restaurant for long. This Ossington eatery got its start at the Toronto Underground Market, a monthly event which allows non-pros with a flair for food to show off their chops to masses of hungered folks. When...
929 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1J6, Canada
Being able to impress Torontonians with something brand spankin' new is no easy feat, but Leslieville Pumps has done just that. Located in––where else?––Leslieville, this joint is a bit of everything rolled up into one cool package: smokehouse,...
1374 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L8, Canada
When Torontonians heard that French pastry chef Bertrand Alépée was set to open a patisserie in Parkdale, tongues wagged. While the emerging ’hood had embraced plenty of hot-to-trot restaurants, the idea of locals coughing up $6 for an saccharine...
93 1, 2 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z2, Canada
Walk down Ossington any afternoon and you are bound to encounter a mysterious snaking line emerging from a rather nondescript space. Despite the fact that this is Toronto, not Reykjavik, locals have been queueing up Scandinavian style to get their...
60 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON M4W 0A4, Canada
When famed chef Daniel Boulud first set up camp in T.O., there was was plenty of excitement swirling around his Canuck debut. Café Boulud, housed in the swishy new Four Seasons, was destined to attract the city’s finest. Thing is, it didn’t quite...
53 Scollard St, Toronto, ON M5R 0A1, Canada
Chef Rob Gentile has swept a masterful hand through Toronto, wooing foodies with his perfect Italian fare. First came Buca, followed by the more casual Bar Buca, and most recently Buca Osteria, located in the chichi Yorkville neighbourhood. The...
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