This one was a tough one. Settling these based on the thought: If I were to die after eating a piece of any of these dishes,would I die happily?
And yes, yes I will! I almost feel selfish for keeping these on the down low for so long, that, two of the twelve are no longer available… I present to you 12 dishes that, without a doubt, will be the best of the sort that you’ve ever had. A few of these picks are of course from my Top Toronto Eats of 2014
1. Fried Chicken Skin in Sea Salt & Teriyaki Sauce ($1.90)
ZAKKUSHI | 193 Carlton Street, Toronto
$$ – 5:30PM~1AM – Japanese Grill
After the surprise of a slurp of refreshing Takowasabi and falling in love with the atmosphere at Zakkushi, these two skewers is what tied it all together for me. This was one of the mystery Chicken skewers they use to have on their menu. Both flavours were incredible. Upon bite, we both took a deep gasp in appreciation of it’s beauty. We were ready, then and there, to take the rest of the dishes and 10 more to go and run into a movie theatre. The crispiness of the Fried Chicken Skin tastes just like Pork Crackle – just with a thinner, and bouncier bite. Imagine that.
2. Baked Eel Puff Pastry ($5.30)
CROWN PRINCESS | 1033 Bay Street, Toronto
If anybody has dined with me, they would know about my profound love for eel. And it here was, presented before me in all of it’s glory. This is always a must-order at Crown Princess. The genius behind this menu item better have gained a damn decent royalty, because this simple looking pastry is extraordinary. Always spot on – a puffy pastry flaking apart, and a juicy, sticky-sauced eel upon bite. Ugh.
3. Khao Soi ($14)
PAI NORTHERN THAI KITCHEN | 18 Duncan Street, Toronto
$$ – 11:30AM/5PM~10PM (Mon~Sat/Sun) – Thai
I honestly never knew how bad I’d fall in love. Filled with Fresh Egg Noodles and “Chicken Drumsticks“, in a Golden Curry.The Khao Soi was wonderfully smooth and incredibly full of authentic flavours. It was insane. And that topping of Crispy Egg Noodles?! Mix it all in when you’re ready. The only disappointment was my expectation of peeling meat off the Chicken Drumsticks – the chicken arrived boneless, they did all of the dirty work for me.
4. Beef Brisket Rice Noodles ($5)
WONTON TIME | 4392 Steeles Ave East, Toronto
$ – Chinese
This baby is situated in the Market Village next to Pacific Mall. My mate that introduced this place to me did not rave at all about their headlined Wonton Noodle Soup, but, instead, for this – their Beef Brisket Soup. Wow. I didn’t expect to be swooned. You’ll need two bowls of this, but, it is rich and absolutely perfect. You can taste the love. Don’t forget to order a cup of Soy Milk!
5. Kinoko Bibimbap ($8.80)
GUU SAKABAR | 398 Church Street, Toronto
$$ – 11:30~2PM & 5PM~11:30PM (to 12:30AM Fri & Sat) – Japanese, Tapas
Kinoko Bibimbap. The risotto of Japan – and, folks, this is the part where we fall in love. Incredibly rich in flavour, I can’t believe that there was no meat in this! This sizzling hot-stone bowl is brought beautifully assembled with it’s components of Rice, Mushroom, Cheeese and Seaweed Sauce, and stirred up right before your eyes. One of the best you’ll experience in Toronto, guaranteed.
6. L.A Beef Short Ribs ($14.95)
KIMCHI HOUSE | 149 Dundas Street West, Toronto
$$ – Korean
Simply mouth-watering. The L.A Beef Short Ribs are always, always perfectly cooked, holding it’s juices and incredible flavours. I’m going to cheat and sneak in that their Seafood Pancake ($13.50) sitting by side will be a wonderful conpanion to your meal! Oh god. It has to be the best Korean Savoury Pancake that I’ve had – an ample assortment of vegetables and seafood bits.
7. Daily-made Agnolotti ($11)
CAFE BAR PASTA | 1588 Dundas Street West, Toronto
$$$ – 8:30AM~11PM (Tues-Sat) – Cafe, Italian
Hold those expectations high! The most wonderful surprise when this arrived at our table – these adorable Agnolotti resembled my all-time favourite childhood dish, Banh Bot Lot. This had plenty of wonder. Filled with Ricotta, Artichoke and Dill, it broke apart so beautifully. Incredible.
8. Porchetta Stuffed Focaccia ($12)
BAR BUCA | 75 Portland St, Toronto, ON
Held at one of my all-time favourite restaurants during brunch, the Porchetta Stuffed Focaccia. Filled with Roast Tuscan Pork, Farm Eggs and Mostarda, a juicy wonder. The Focaccia Sandwich was was soft and salty, you could really taste the rosemary throughout. The perfect dish to share as two pieces are enough though since it is a bit oily, you can almost feel it’s drenching because of how rich and delicious it is.
9. Duck Confit & Potato Hash with a Fried Egg, Hollaindaise & Greens ($18)
ROSE & SONS | 176 Dupont Street, Toronto
$$ – 9AM~12AM – Comfort Food
[No longer available] A wonderful well-seasoned Duck Confit on top of a salad filled with Cranberries and Walnuts, this was a true beauty, The Duck was extraordinary, I’m in awe that it was a regular on the brunch menu!
10. Spicy Crispy Beef ($13)
BAZARA ASIAN CUISINE | 188 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
$$ – 11:30AM~10PM – Asian Fusion, Sushi Bar
Don’t be underestimated by it’s simple name and appearance. The Spicy Crispy Beef is one of my (no longer, top secret) favourites in the West. No spice held here, and wonderfully marinated. The pieces of beef were chewy from being deep-fried, so they were just as juicy as you’d imagine. The thick and sweet sauce generously coating it all took the whole dish home.
11. Chicken & Waffles ($17)
INSOMNIA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE | 563 Bloor Street West, Toronto
$$ – 10AM~2AM – Breakfast & Brunch, Comfort Food
The slaw was delicious, it was of the much more creamier type, and the two pieces of waffles were of a sweet batter, the whole thing wonderfully drenched in Maple Syrup. But, hold on, that wasn’t all. The Fried Chicken was a complete different story, in three dark meat pieces, it was very lightly coated in fine breading. I would do it over and over again.
12. Garlic Doughnuts ($7)
BAR HOP | 391 King Street West, Toronto
$$ – 12PM~2AM – Bar
Craft beers and a food menu that you will automatically fall in-love with upon first skim. I’ve come upon Bar Hop with craft beers as it’s sole purpose, but I vow to no longer make Bar Hop as my post-dinner stop, I will let it become my entire evening. Their Garlic Doughnuts were paired with a beautiful Bone Marrow and Garlic Aioli – it was so, so good. Doughnuts of perfect density, and strong tinges of garlic. Beautiful.