I am truly a West Coast girl. It’s ingrained in my very being to look down my nose at everything Toronto. And although I’ve been able to weasel my way into every trip imaginable over the years, Toronto hasn’t been somewhere I’ve run to come to. In fact, even though Ben comes to Toronto at least once a year, the last time I was here was 10 years ago. But I’ve been in an adventurous type of mood lately and when the opportunity came up to visit the “center of the universe” I decided to take it.
So busy at work lately this distraction couldn’t have come at a better time. But so busy at work lately, I didn’t have a lot of time to research this trip. I reached out to a few friends for suggestions on where to eat. Knowing that Ben would be busy working most of the time, I didn’t do a lot of advance planning for the trip. I also knew I’d be hanging out with some food loving friends, so I was hopeful that good food would find me.
On our first night, we ended up at the Beer Bistro recommended by a brew master friend. The beer list was absolutely amazing and puts Stellas in YVR to shame. Unfortunately, the food was just ok.
The next day, I was still struggling with feeling so unenthusiastic about Toronto, so a friend did his best to change my mind, on a night he dubbed “the Toronto sampler”.
We started by wandering through the Distillery District which was funky with all its brick buildings.
We stopped at the Mill Street Brew Pub to sample the Lemon Tea beer which was light and refreshing and perfect for a hot afternoon.
Next stop was Black Hoof for what was one of the highlights of my TO adventure. Black Hoof is a gem, you can’t make reservations though and it’s small. With that in mind, we were there by 6:30 and were able to snag some seats at the bar.
I got a bit caught up in the conversation at this point and didn’t take photos of the two other dishes I delighted in. One was the fluke crudo, which was light and a nice contrast to all the meat we were eating. The other was the horse sammy, (there was a lot of horse being served in Toronto). This raw horse was way better than the raw horse from the night before and I started to appreciate how tender and flavourful Mr Ed can be.
If my night ended at Black Hoof, I would have been happy but my dining companions wanted me to experience a true Sampler so off we went. Our next stop at Starfish Oysterbed & Grill was more for their benefit than mine. They know I love oysters though and knew I’d be in to sample a dozen.
Starfish seemed to be a great hangout for the WAY-over 40 crowd, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying my Oyster stout and dozen assorted East Coast oysters.
The last stop on my Sampler was at the best damn sports bar I’ve ever been to, (and recently voted the best sports bar in North America by ESPN). Real Sports Bar and Grill located outside the Air Canada Centre. Monday Night Football was on the screens and the crowd was definitely in to the game which made for a fun end to the night.
Beer Bistro – 18 King Street East
Mill Street Brewery – 55 Mill Street, Building 63
Black Hoof – 928 Dundas Street West
Starfish Oysterbed and Grill – 100 Adelaide Street East
Real Sports Bar and Grill – Maple Leaf Square, 15 York Street