Toronto, Canada: Top haunts for a treat, a meal and a drink

A city finding itself on the global stage, growing and glowing, Toronto is now more than ever a city for foodies. Dotted throughout downtown and well beyond, you’ll find a litany of indie coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and, for better or worse, pop ups hopping on a trend.

For us, a handful of staples make up the very best of Toronto food and drink. Places we love for what’s on the menu, sure, but even more so for the warm hospitality that makes you feel welcome in the bustling downtown of Canada’s biggest city.

Before taking off on our global adventure, we made one more visit to our top three Toronto spots for food and drink, to show some love and savour one more bite.


Kekou Gelato

13 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1, Canada
facebook.com/kekougelato

Freshly made in-house, the gelato at Kekou is bar none. Launching from a teeny converted house just barely before Toronto’s ice cream craze hit, Kekou quickly became a favourite to Baldwin Village locals before the rest of the city caught on (in part thanks to a second location over on Queen West).

The shop scoops out incomparable flavours, each with a uniquely Asian twist, innovating summer after summer to deliver tastes that are more akin to a walk through a night market than your usual ice cream parlour. Vietnamese Coffee, Whisky Green Tea, Soursop and Osmanthus Plum Berry are just a few of our favourites, but stop in for a sample and you’re sure to find something to perk up your own palette.

Osmanthus Plum Berry gelato from Kekou is a sweet treat on its own, but pair it with the Peanut Sesame for a flavour reminiscent of the best pb&j.

Osmanthus Plum Berry gelato from Kekou is a sweet treat on its own, but pair it with the Peanut Sesame for a flavour reminiscent of the best pb&j.

La Palette

492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2B2, Canada
lapalette.ca

About a decade ago now, we stumbled into a little restaurant in Kensington Market, looking for a special meal. We were young, broke, but ready for one big night. What we found did not disappoint. Not only did we eat like kings, we kicked off a love affair with the best restaurant in town (at least that’s what Anne will say to anyone who’ll listen).

Co-owner Shamez Amlani is a the kind of guy who can make anyone feel like a regular in this cozy French bistro. Pull up a seat at the bar - always our preference - and you’ll quickly feel right at home. Anything off the menu is sure to delight, but we have extra heart for the restaurant’s preparation of snails, mussels, fish and steak, and horse tartare for the brave. Paired with a bottle of wine and the daily creme bruleé, you’ll leave wondering what took you so long to come back.

Now calling Queen West home, La Palette’s bistro set up and big open window front make it a comfy spot to eat and imbibe any time of the year.

Now calling Queen West home, La Palette’s bistro set up and big open window front make it a comfy spot to eat and imbibe any time of the year.

Bathurst Local

322 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5T 2S3, Canada
bathurstlocal322.com

At first pass, you might miss the door to this hidden gem. We sure did. Tucked into yet another old house, this low key bar offers no flash, no frill, just the perfect place to settle in for the night with a couple of friends and a few more whiskies. It’s exactly the kind of haunt you’ve been wishing for but never knew existed.

The beauty of Bathurst Local is in everything it doesn’t have - bright lights, loud chatter, elaborate menus, and so on. The dimly lit bar serves up just a handful of cocktails, a few craft brews and a rotating selection of the best priced whisky in town. For the latter, trust Glenn behind the bar to share his recommendations - the man knows his stuff and, not unlike his bar, he’s never let us down.

Watch the night drift by from the warm ambiance at Bathurst Local and remember to grab a grilled cheese when you need a little accompaniment to the drink.  

Watch the night drift by from the warm ambiance at Bathurst Local and remember to grab a grilled cheese when you need a little accompaniment to the drink.