Stratford and Toronto Recommendations

Maple leaves
Maple leaves photographed by William Warby.

I am writing to you from Canada, where I am spending two weeks at the Stratford Chefs School outside of Toronto: I’ve been invited as their Gastronomic Writer In Residence (I know, right?), and I’ll be devoting my time to working with the students on various assignments to hone their food writing skills.

I will also be hosting a few public lectures and events in Stratford and Toronto; please see the full details here. I hope to meet some of you then!

And although I have a full schedule with little free time, I’m hoping to explore my surroundings a bit, and I’d like to ask for your best recommendations: what are some of your favorite places in Stratford and Toronto, and what’s not to miss? Thanks in advance for your insights!

  • I live in Windsor, ON currently and I have lived in Toronto in the past.

    There are a lot of wineries in Southwestern Ontario that are worth visiting.
    Niagara on the Lake has a huge selection of World Class Wineries. Essex County also has several really fantastic wineries and some fantastic ice wines.

    If you are able, try to book a table at Eigensinn Farms just outside of Toronto. It’s a very small farm-to-table resttaurant that has the most amazing reviews (can’t say I’ve been though because it’s a little on the pricey side for my budget)

    Definitely check out the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto on a Saturday morning. That is my favourite place to go in the city. You can find all kinds of foods. Sample the eggplant sandwiches downstairs at Mustachios. They do not disappoint.

    The distillery district in Toronto is very charming and houses a swanky chocolatier (SOMA), a fantastic coffeeshop with some of the best coffee in the city (Balzac’s) and a micro-brewery (Mill Street).

    I personally like vintage shopping in Kensington Market. It’s really an eclectic part of the city with lots of great vintage shops.

  • I’ve never actually been, but Stratford’s apparently the place to see Shakespeare on this side of the Atlantic. Supposedly they adhere rather strictly to the original interpretations and style (I’m more of an experimental theater lover, but to each their own), but it’s the best you’ll find if you’re looking to spend a night at the theater.

  • Delphine

    quelle chance ! à toronto j’ai adoré le drake hotel (sur west king st si je ne me trompe pas), où il y a un super restaurant / bar avec un rooftop bien équipé pour l’hiver, une boutique géniale, et une plutôt belle carte…
    Sinon j’étais allée bruncher au swan, petite adresse sympa pour le weekend, et j’avais fait du bateau sur le lac ontario (souvenir inoubliable !!), mais c’était en septembre, donc le temps ne sera sans doute pas le même…
    Et pour finir, la mill st brewery, ancienne brasserie recyclée en lieu plein de boutiques et bars géniaux, qui vaut vraiment le détour !
    Enjoy !

  • Tracey

    While Langdon Hall is about an hour from Stratford, it’s excellent. I have not eaten in Stratford for a while, Suresh Doss, who runs Spotlight Toronto has, and may be a good source.

    Suresh is @spotlightcity on twitter.

    Enjoy your time!

  • April

    I moved back to the US from Toronto a few years ago. If you want to do something touristy, head for the CN Tower. You’ll find some interesting fare that will be somewhat familiar at Petite Thuet ( ). The architecture on Univ. of Toronto’s campus is not to be missed. Definitely hit little italy for gelato ( Jet Fuel for coffee ( If you are on U of T’s campus and need a little something, try Bar Mercurio ( The Royal Ontario Museum is just off campus and had a recent renovation. There is also the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario, a few blocks from campus) and Bata Shoe Museum (also close to campus).
    Take time to look at the graffiti, especially near King St. It was impressive when I lived there. Most of all, have fun!

  • A whole year there? I hope you don’t miss Paris too much, and get to see a bit of our east coast.

    • No, it’s just for two weeks!

  • Garry

    Elora, St. Jacobs, Niagara-on-the-Lake, the wineries of the entire Niagara Peninsula, Kitchener farmer’s market, etc.
    Contact me if you’d like a ride. Gives me a reason to visit them again.

  • You mean over the winter too! Bundle up my dear. Luckily Stratford’s a nice town. I love Baldwin Street in Toronto between Spadina and McCaul. A perfect little village. College Street and Clinton is the most lively dining district. Cafe Diplomatico is a favourite. Nothing fancy. Also Queen Street, west of Spadina is filled with interesting little spots. Barque on Roncesvalles is so hip it hurts right now but I don’t care for Barbeque. Another place that fails to disappoint is La Bettola on Victoria Street. I hope to see you at one of your Toronto events.

  • Katie

    If you have time on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, try to visit the St. Jacob’s farmers market (located between Stratford and Toronto). It is not as impressive at this time of the year, but it is still pretty amazing!

  • Beatrice

    Well, if you’re in Toronto, you MUST do a winery tour in Niagara Peninsula. And if you only have time for one, chose Inniskillin. They are the kings of icewine. You’ll get to taste various types of icewine, the most spectacular being the sparkling one. You won’t mind the Cabernet either :) Then, schedule a visit to St. Lawrence Market in Toronto on a Saturday morning and another to Kensington Market on a Sunday.
    As for restaurants, my recommendations are Gamberoni (Italian, midtown) and Duken (Ethiopian, downtown East).
    You might also want to try out Susur Lee’s restaurants (not sure which ones are still in the business).
    The beauty of Toronto resides in the multitude of cultures that live here and have brought their cuisines along.
    Welcome to Toronto, Clotilde. Glad to help if you have more questions.

  • Norlinda

    Found a great chocolate maker in the Distillery District in Toronto.
    Truly worth a trip there if you love chocolate.

  • Nice! definitely check out Fresh in toronto as well as Kensington Market for some interesting restaurants…have a wonderful stay!

  • Wow – that’s exciting! In Stratford, my favourite resto is York Street Kitchen. I love grabbing a wrap and walking along the river. Asking about Toronto is a whole other ballgame – there are so many wonderful things to do, see and eat here. Where to start?? :)

    Feel free to email me specific questions. :)

  • Katie

    Rheo Thompson Candies is something of an institution in Stratford. I think their mint smoothies where better when I was little, but they are still great. My person favourite are the chocolate covered gingers! It is located at 55 Albert St, in Stratford!

  • ac

    the black hoof – housemade charcuterie

    • Heather B

      Rheo Thompson chocolates has my vote!

  • Vicky

    If you can get access to a car, I definitely second the recommendation to visit the Niagara region: the Falls are really very impressive, and have a somewhat different character in each of the different seasons. The restaurant at Vinelands (which is one of the nearby vineyards) is generally reliable. Otherwise, if you can tour the St. Jacobs-Elmira region, particularly on a Sunday afternoon, you can see Mennonites driving in horse-and-buggy and in vestimentary attire from the 19th century. One feels somewhat like a voyeur, which is a tad uncomfortable, but it is fascinating to see their farms as well. You have, unfortunately, arrived just a week too late for one of the more interesting rural sites not too far from Stratford, i.e., Saint Marie among the Hurons – they closed last week. But you may want to also considering going to ‘the coast’ – driving to Goderich from Stratford would be about 30 minutes, and then you can head up the coast towards Kincardine (Southampton is a particularly artsy town), and possibly as far north as Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. This will expose you to grandeur of traditional Canadian landscapes!

    In Toronto, I very much second the recommendations to try the Kensington and St. Lawrence markets. There is a lot of fairly good (and a lot of very mediocre) Asian food in Toronto – much, much, MUCH better than what is available in Paris – and I would probably focus on getting my fill of Chinese, Indian, Korean and Vietnamese. A high-end option for Chinese is Lai Wah Heen, in the Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto.

  • Laura

    If you’ve never tried Korean silken tofu soup, Toronto has an incredible restaurant (that serves pretty much only this soup!) Here’s the link.

    I second the Drake Hotel recommendation! And if you want to get a feel for the city, there’s a recent movie called “Scott Pilgrim” based on a graphic novel set in the city – it’s hilarious.

    • I hadn’t realized Scott Pilgrim was set in Toronto! I saw it recently — good to know. And I love Korean cuisine, so that’s a great suggestion.

  • Karin

    Top Toronto recommendations:

    1) Rua Vang Golden Turtle for totally authentic, cheap and excellent vietnamese food. Toronto chefs often eat here. On Ossignton, which has awesome vintage shopping and is very hip right now.
    2) Pamenar in Kensington market – best coffee I’ve had in years, very delicious sandwiches, and a great place to start or finish exploring in Kengsington
    3) The Brickworks – great organic market on Saturday (is often very busy and quite yuppie), but its a beautiful place in Toronto in the valley with nice little walking trails and fantastic fall colours.
    4) Distillery district- fun historic area, and SOMA is worth the visit.
    5) Indian food in Toronto. Mount Everest on Bloor st west in the Annex is great (try the malai kofta). Also great is Amaya- they have a range of restaurants, the Indian room is fantastic, but all are solidly delicious.
    6) Fresh – for delicious well cooked vegetarian food (do not confuse with freshii, a salad bar that sucks). They have locations on spadina (just south of queen west- a fun shopping area) and in the annex at bloor and spadina. Their veggie burgers are outrageously good.
    7) If you want to try some great Jamaican food, you can try Albert’s real Jamaican, near St clair west subway station (just west of Bathurst).
    8) the Bata shoe museum- really world class interesting specialty museum.
    9) For cheap and cheerful, maybe not the most authentic, but delicious thai curries etc, try salad king, just north of the eaton centre on yonge (its upstairs).

    I also just wanted to mention that (in my opinion) most of Baldwin street is overpriced and not such good food. Nice ambiance though.

    Have a great visit! I hope this helps you a bit. It’s nice to give you recommendations when your book helped me so much in Paris

    • Nicole

      I second all of the above–these were some of my favorite places when I lived in Toronto. Additionally, the Black Hoof is a must, and Barque serves shockingly good bbq (a surprise for this southern girl). Pomegranate is fabulous Persian, and the best ice cream in Toronto (Big Chill–try Polar Paws) is right down the street. I also loved Lahore Tikka House!

      Have fun!

  • justine

    enjoy your time in toronto!
    here are some restaurants you must try:
    the black hoof
    pizzeria libretto
    enoteca sociale
    japango (amazing sushi!)
    the county general
    gilead cafe
    khao san road

  • Monforte cheese is a must!

  • NS

    Toronto: I second the recommendations for Acadia and Gilead Cafe. I’d also add Marben, and Keriwa Cafe to that list.

  • juli

    Bienvenue a l’Ontario! In Toronto the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair is on from Nov4-13 at Exhibition Place(near the lake, about 3km west of George Brown College. They have a website: In a sense it is about ingredients — especially animals! Farmers bring cows etc from all over Ontario & Quebec to compete, plus there is Olympic-style horse competition, cart horses , giant pumpkins… very traditional, one of the few times city kids can see farm animals …

  • Bonjour,

    I spent a few days in Toronto with my love, here’s a review of the things we did (but it’s in French).

    Here’s the link.

    Have fun,

    From Montréal

  • Zoe Lawlor Hill

    Kensington Market: Go for the market bustle of a small town. You’ll find more local and handmade goods here with an authenticity that St Lawrence market has lost over the years.

    While you’re in Kensington, try Agave y Aguacate: simple Mexican food made by a 17-year veteran chef, hidden in the back of a churros bakery. 214 Augusta Avenue, across from Jumbo Empanadas, inside Pancho’s Bakery.

    The Bellevue Cafe: For a young and gorgeous taste. Also in Kensington Market.

    Downtown Area:

    Osteria di Terroni (on Victoria St. just south of Queen St.) The other locations serve rather entry-level Italian food, though very good. But the Osteria seems like a labour of love, with no fear of risk taking or conforming to expectations. Housemade everything or imported from Italy.

    And stay away from College Street if you want anything decent. Except for Grace (College and Bathurst) and Woodlot (Palmerston, south of College.)

    Brockton General on Dundas St. West: go for dinner.

    Nadege Patisserie, Queen St West and Gore Vale. French pastries. Or Clafouti, across the street.

    The Burger’s Priest: Burgers, no shortcuts. Coxwell and Queen.

    Enjoy! And remember, the thing with Torontonians is you have to make the first move, they can be very reserved and uptight (which makes them seem cold). It’s like you’re on a first date with everyone you meet.

    They will open up.

  • Caroline

    Go here to see some great Canadian art!!!

  • anne

    In Toronto, a must try is La Palette for wonderful French food & great atmosphere.

  • Stratford, home of Justin Bieber.

    Just saying.

    Welcome to the city!

    • Wow, I had no idea! Not sure what to think. :)

  • Mary

    In Stratford you must go to the place where all the actors eat – Madelyn’s Diner, 377 Huron – for breakfast or lunch. Try their special garlic sandwich! Love the way they serve scones, toasted on grill. And lots of pies to enjoy. Locally popular! Many good places to eat in Stratford – forget Toronto. The best Pavlova is at Ye Old English Pub, although other places beat their general menu. We spend 2 weeks at a time there and never run out of great eating places.

  • Hi! In Stratford make sure you have dinner at Rundles (right on the river and attached to a cooking school!) and also Down the Street Cafe for delicious dinners and wonderful atmosphere (moroccan design) also for a sandwich def. go with the above mentioned York Street Kitchen, take it to go and stroll the river for swan gazing. Everyone says Rheo Thompson for chocolates but Derek Barr at Chocolate Barrs chocolate shop is so friendly and has amazing handmade chocolates and candies and he used to work at Rheo. If you want a specialty coffee def. try Balzacs! I love Stratford!

  • piparkukas

    La Palette is now closed. A shame really since it was one of my fave places. Toronto is a huge treat because of the ethnic diversity represented. I would definitely stroll through Kensington market for a flavor of the different cultures in Toronto. Historially it was the litmus for conflict in the world and was settled by Jews, then Hungarians, Portuguese, Vietnamese, now Central and South Americans. Great empanadas etc. Take a stroll down Spadina to soak in the Asian culture.
    As a Torontonian living on the West Coast I can tell you that I miss good jerk. Definitely check out a Jamaican Jerk place as others have recommended. Mr Jerk is a chain and more take out. The Real Jerk is more mainstream but the food is decent. It’s on Queen East. You’re not goign to get jerk in Paris :) And thanks to Toronto’s big West indies population the bar is high. Agree about the Black Hoof. And definitely try some poutine. Many people try and do poutine in the US. It’s never right. Poutini’s is the best in Toronto in my humble opinion.

    • KJ

      La Palette is still open – they’ve just moved to Queen Street West. New location and still a favourite of mine.

      Clotilde, I’ve been reading your blog for years and do hope to score a ticket to tomorrow’s 6:30pm event at George Brown.

      I’m in Toronto and echo some of the other recommendations. Try Pizzeria Libretto or Enoteca Sociale. Dundas Street West is really hopping these days. A new favourite place to grab an evening cocktail is at BHCO, which is just across from the Black Hoof. Highly recommend BHCO. Other sights include the AGO, perhaps some shopping along Queen Street West, west of Bathurst. I also love grabbing interesting Canadian made gifts at The Distill Gallery in the Distillery District. Awesome cafes for a latte include Erzra’s Pound along Dundas Street West & another location near the Dupont Subway Stn, Aroma in the Eaton’s Centre, Orange Alert near the AGO and White Squirrel near Trinity Bellwoods Park. Have a great time!


  • Kevin

    Check out the Beaches neighborhood – take a walk on the boardwalk along the lake and enjoy the views! Lived there for 8 glorious years and broke my heart to leave and come back to the States.

  • I hope you have a lovely visit and get to see some of our beautiful maple trees in full colour!

    Do you like Chinese dumplings? If you do, you must eat at Mother’s Dumplings on Spadina in Toronto. It looks humble, but they only serve dumplings and they are the best dumplings ever. EVER.

    Also, if you like art, the Art Gallery of Ontario in downtown Toronto is really wonderful. They have a great permanent exhibition of Canada’s best-known painters, collectively called The Group of Seven (Lawren Harris, Tom Thomson, etc.). Since you’re also out in the country in Stratford, I think you will recognize the Canadian landscape in their paintings.

    Have a wonderful time!

    • I adore Chinese dumplings, and they’re very lackluster in Paris, so I’m hoping to hit that place for sure!

      • Loretta

        I agree with Stephanie about Mother’s Dumplings! Though do stick with the traditional white wheat wraps and avoid the whole wheat wrapped dumplings…

        Another terrific spot in Chinatown is called Chinese Traditional Buns (Dundas, west of Spadina).. Their buns and dumplings are good, but their hand-pulled noodles have a wonderful chewiness to them! The best comfort food…

        And for a pre- (or post-)lunch snack, at close to the NE corner of Dundas and Spadina, there’s a little stand beside a bakery where a woman grills spiced lamb on skewers…

        Enjoy your visit!

  • Nick Vanderknokke

    Ohhhh!! you can’t miss going to Prince Edward County!!! a couple of hours east of Toronto – take the VIA train – wonderful wineries and great local foods – you just missed ‘Taste of the County’ a fabulous fair of local food and wines – if you get a chance to meet famous Toront chef Jamie Kennedy get him to take you to ‘The County’ – he has a place there and would show you all the ‘hot spots’ – it really is very very special!

  • Everyone, thank you so much for taking the time to share your recommendations! They all sound like wonderful ideas, and I’m excited to try as many as I possibly can. I’m very grateful — thank you.

  • Jay

    No recommendations I’m afraid, as I live in Vancouver, but do want to say I envy your visit to the Stratford Chef School!

    I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know much about the school until a documentary, and part soap opera it seemed, was aired on the Canadian Food Network.

    I enjoyed learning about the school and following the daily ups and downs of the 12 students featured. I’ve often wondered what became of two of my favourites, Richard and Joyce, after graduation.

    Enjoy your time at the school Clotilde, I hope to get there myself one day. And, my goodness, good luck deciding on the many fantastic activities and eateries that have been recommended!

  • chris

    So very glad that you’re coming here. I’m envious of people who get to meet you at your occasional gatherings in Paris. So much to say, some of which repeats the above.

    In Stratford:
    So many good places to eat, it’s hard to go wrong – and you’ll have lots of recommendations from people at the Chef’s School. But definitely eat some Monforte Cheese – and make an effort to meet the owner, Ruth Klahsen – she’d be fascinating for you to talk to. Visit Callan books on York Street, a wonderful small quirky bookstore with a charming gregarious owner. Must stop at Balzac’s for coffee (or Mariage Freres tea). You might also find Bradshaws worth a visit – high end kitchen and tablewares.

    As I said in another email, I think you’d like Artisinale in Guelph. I second the recommendation of Langdon Hall, as well.

    Niagara vaut le voyage. Visit some of the wineries (my personal recommendation is Cave Spring in Jordan – the restaurant there has the most stunning view). And you really should see Niagara Falls. It seems hackneyed and you have to drive through lots and lots of ticky-tack to get to it, but once you’re there it’s a majestic and overwhelming experience. Also in Niagara area is the excellent restaurant Treadwells in Port Dalhousie ( ).

    In Toronto, first I’ll comment on what you might do after the Nota Bene lunch, if not otherwise committed. Very nearby (less than 10 min walk) are two excellent museums. First is the small but superb Textile Museum ( ). Second is the Art Gallery of Ontario already mentioned above – see especially its collection of Group of Seven paintings (think of it as a Canadian variant of “Impressionism”). From either or both of these museums it’s a short further walk to see Kensington Market (mentioned above) and then have Chinese dumplings at Mother’s Dumplings (recommendation seconded). Or you can visit Baldwin Street instead.

    Another option is to walk south, instead of north from Nota Bene and visit the TIFF Bell Lightbox, our newly built Cinematheque. It’s a wonderful venue for cinema and there’s always something worth seeing (on November 6 they’re showing the charniing new Kaurismaki film “Le Havre” as well as “The Birds” and “39 Steps”).

    If you can come to Toronto the day before your Nota Bene lunch, you must must must take in the final performance on Saturday November 5 of Opera Atelier’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni ( ). It will be opulent, dramatic, and unlike any production that you’ve seen before. I’m sure there are lots of people who would be glad to put you up for the night, if necessary (my wife and I among them).

    Near George Brown College is the St. Lawrence Market, mentioned above (not as much fun on Thursday as Saturday). If you go, make sure that you visit Rube’s Rice in the basement to see dozens of premium rices.

    Before (or after) the Cookbook store signing you might want to visit the Royal Ontario Museum (visit the Mineral Gallery and the First Peoples Gallery). Or you can go to the Ceramic Museum that’s across the street from the ROM. Or walk a little further to the Shoe Museum – an excellent museum that’s much more exciting than you might expect. Or walk in Yorkville and look at the tony shops (make sure that you find Boutique L’Elegante for practical but high quality re-sale clothing).

    For peak, unique and pricy dining experiences I have two recommendations:
    First, Eigensinn Farm (recommended above). However, their barn burnt down recently and I’m not sure what’s up at the restaurant.
    Second, Hashimoto, which serves exquisite kaiseki meals in a very beautiful private setting ( ).

    Some Toronto restaurants:
    Khao San Road – excellent Thai food (not far from TIFF Lightbox and Nota Bene)
    Chiado – Portuguese seafood
    Mangia & Bevi – good pizza and pasta, very close to George Brown
    Pizza Libretto – excellent pizza on Ossington, where there are lots of hip galleries and stores. – but the wait for a table can be excrutiating
    Hiro Sushi (right by George Brown) or Sushi Couture (25 mins from the Cookbook store and 8 from the shoe museum) or Sushi Kaji (best in town, but in the middle of nowhere)
    Scaramouche – a long established jewel where you will be cossetted
    Pomegranate or it’s next door sister Sheherzade(for Persian food) or Negroni (for sandwiches/pasta) if you’re on College – there is good food on college. The dizi at Sheherzade and the aloo qeysi at Pomegranate are especially worthwhile, and may not be easily available in Paris.

    Many people have mentioned SOMA. There are a number of locations in Toronto now. You must visit at least one of them.

    Enough (too much) already – I think you’ll like Ontario.

  • Welcome to Ontario!

    I was born and raised in Toronto, but I have spent the past few years living abroad. That said, Toronto taught me everything that I know about good food and I will forever be grateful.

    My favourite place for brunch is Saving Grace. Arrive early or else you’ll be waiting easily half an hour for a table. That said, the wait is worth it. This place is special. Its eccentric decor and innovative menu is irresistibly charming.

    Across the street is the black hoof – a must for meat lovers –

    Another great place for brunch and with the best croissants in the city: bonjour brioche. The restaurant is in Leslieville and the whole neigbourhood is packed with charming restaurants. Try Mercury Espresso Bar for coffee, Lady Marmelade for breakfast or lunch, Tomi-Kro for Asian-Greek fusion for a classy dinner, and the Ceili Cottage for oysters, wild Irish mussels and sticky toffee pudding.

    You must visit Kensington Market. It is full of vintage stores and small shops. Courage My Love is the best of the bunch for vintage clothes and jewelery. The Emporium Latino is my favourite destination for fresh pupusas – On the same street is Toronto’s best cookbook store as well as Model Citizen – a treasure chest for clothing and jewelery mostly from Canadian designers.

    Also, the LCBO (Ontario’s liquor store) has an excellent publication. They always have exciting recipes and you can pick up a copy of ‘Food and Drink’ for free at any LCBO. Acq Taste is a new food publication from Toronto and i highly recommend it:

    My favourite restaurant for dinner and oysters: Star Fish Nearby is the Gilead Cafe – a project of Jamie Kennedy’s and a great place for lunch.

    One final recommendation is outside of Toronto, in Orangeville, but the place is so quirky and the food is so good that it is worth the drive: The Mono Cliffs Inn.
    Eat in the cellar pub. The decor (old brick walls and a model train buzzing about) will make you feel like you are in a different era, but the menu is both classic and contemporary. They serve the best liver pate that I have ever had.

    There are so many other places that I would love to recommend, but this is a good start.

    Enjoy Toronto and bon appetit!

  • Diana M

    I highly recommend a small restaurant in Dundas ON called Quatrefoil.
    Food I still dream about.

  • If you don’t have a car to travel to Niagara theere is a great resaturant on College Street called Grace that you would love.

  • Heidi

    Guys let me get a pen and paper…I’m moving to TO soon so hope Clothilde doesn’t mind me freeloading these tips! Clothilde don’t forget to bring back your reviews – when you’ve decided what to try! Have a wonderful Ontario fall, bisous

  • Chester

    Hi Clotilde

    I grew up in that area – If Shakespeare is still in season, GO!!! Sooner to a comedy – the comedies are more physical and just great in that theatre.

    I love Centre Island in Toronto – see if you can find the maze and have fun playing in it!

    Try to see Niagara Falls – take the Maid of the Mist, just because you’re there. (I apologize for Homeland Security’s rudeness if you go to the US side of the Falls – I think the Maid of the Mist is worth it.)

    Maybe visit Niagara on the Lake, which used to be beautiful but has become a bit commercial

    Canada has wonderful figure skaters training at the Granite Club in Toronto, which has some pretty enchanting spots.

    Can’t wait to hear what you find!!!

  • Welcome to my neck of the woods! I look forward to seeing you at the GBC event :)

    Stratford is fabulous. Here are my picks:
    – slow food market
    – balzac’s cafe for coffee/hot chocolate
    – chocolate barr’s (great chocolate covered pretzels)
    – simple fish and chips (sustaimable goodness)

    Toronto… so many options!
    – St. Lawrence Market
    – Brickworks Farmers Market (Sat AM)
    – Kensington Market/Chinatown (stop by Agave y Agucate for Latin american eats)
    – Khao San Road (great Thai)
    – Black Hoof (great restaurant that uses “alternative” parts of the animal)
    – I recently had a GREAT meal at Acadia (great shrimp and grits and seafood)
    – Pizzeria Libretto
    – I’d also try west indian food while you’re here since it’s lacking in Paris. For quick takeout downtown try Ritz (locations at Yonge/College, Yonge/Dundas) or Island Foods at King and Dufferin

    I agree with a lot of the above about the out of city recommendations but given your limited driving 2+ hours each way out of the city may be a bit much. There isn’t a lack of fun to be had in Toronto so don’t feel pressured to leave :)

    Enjoy and I’ll see you on Thursday!

  • I live in Toronto and I hope to see you in one of your Toronto gigs, either at George Brown or The Cookbook Store!

    The most obvious recommendations for you are: St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, and Chinatown.

    If you want to compare the quality of French pastries here and in your country, go to Nadege on Queen Street West (Owner Nadege Nourian is from Lyon, France and comes from 4 generations of pastry chefs).

    Please enjoy tour stay here in Stratford and Toronto!

  • Susan

    It’s been a few years since my last trip to Toronto so I’m glad to see that Jamie Kennedy (see Sasha’s post) is thriving; apparently his current restaurant is Gilead Cafe. Wonderful food, local, thoughtful without being overthought.

    And do try to see Niagara Falls, it’s extraordinary in spite of the tourist trappings.

  • Joan

    lucky students..lucky Stratford…lucky Toronto!

  • Elizabeth Pruyn

    Hi, When I was visiting Buffalo NY we crossed over to Toronto see the Shoe Museum. It was worth the drive. I also enjoyed the area around Niagra on the Lake. Enjoy!

  • Hi Clotilde, bienvenue à Toronto!

    About a month ago I went alone to Kensington and looked hungrily at all the Mexican offerings. There are a few to choose from, and all are quite good.
    This time I went to El Trompo, on Augusta Avenue, which has a tiny sidewalk patio. I ordered the tacos with pork and pineapple, and they were so fantastic.
    You get 5 small tacos with annato-cured garlicky roast pork, mixed with pineapple and herbs in small soft just-made tacos. Perfect. Read about Toronto’s tacos here:
    Another thing which has been hinted at is our dim sum. It’s really good, even when it’s not the best you can get. We often go to the top of Dragon City Mall, to a busy restaurant full of rolling dim sum carts and calling-out servers, called Sky Garden. It’s pretty good. We order things like har gow (shrimp dumplings) and shiu mai, (pork dumplings) and our favourites are the sesame balls, steamed garlic pea shoots and dumplings with chive and shrimp. Another place for dim sum on Spadina is called Bright Pearl Seafood House, at Spadina and Dundas. It’s got mostly seafood stuff as the name suggests, and there’s a nice shrimp dumpling with orange flying fish roe on top.
    As has been suggested, the best place for pastries is definitely Nadège, a patisserie at Queen Street West and Niagara Streets. Coming from Paris, you might want a break from pastries, although I can’t imagine!
    Enjoy your time here.

  • Anonymous

    Clotilde! A PS! Ft. Erie Ont – there’s a Chinese Restaurant called Ming Teh – proprietor is called “Shaw” – he’s also a painter. His restaurant is on the Niagara River near the Peace Bridge. He and his family came to Canada before the USA had normal relations with Mainland China and we had our first taste of non-commercial Chinese food. Call him up and tell him who you are! He travels all over the province for the best ingredients, like fish… maybe he would share some of this with you – they are a lovely family. When they first arrived, they offered to give us an evelope to mail him the money for our dinner bill!

  • Chester

    Another PS – Michael Schmid is a small farming hero who has resisted government efforts to shut him down – his farm is in Durham, Ont. (You don’t have enough time!!!)

    Also there’s a Russian kvass maker in Concord, Ont.

  • There’s a pretty good selection in Kitchener-Waterloo (about 30 minutes from Stratford, heading east towards Toronto). If you head to King St in Waterloo, there are a ton of good places, The Bauer Kitchen, Charbries, 21… There’s a Patassarie just up from The Bauer Kitchen that is amazing. And if you’re looking for a place to get most of the brands you’d find at home (or at least in some parts of Europe), as well as Canadian foods, good meats, breads, cheeses, etc, Vincenzo’s is right beside The Bauer Kitchen. That’s all I can think of right now, but if you’re looking for something specific, let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

  • Nicole A

    Without a doubt, Soma chocolatier in the Distillery District right downtown! And you must try their Mayan hot chocolate. The whole area is quaint and fun.

    If not there, than the St. Lawrence Market. It will remind you of Europe….

  • Jerry

    Some great suggestions for you here. Hopefully the weather will hold up and it won’t get too rainy/cold for the rest of your stay. I am looking forward to hearing about your Toronto experience and what you think of it!

    Just a heads up that BIXI is now available in Toronto (like Veleb I think it is called in Paris). GReat way to get around the main parts of the city. check out before you get into TOronto to see more.

    Kensington is pretty unique to the city, worth checking out… and if you plan to cook while you are in town than it is a good place to get some great ingredients.

    Brickworks is a great area too with a lot of interesting programming going on.

    Keep an eye out for The Grid newspapers and for NOW magazines. They are free weekly newspapers that will give you some insight on what is going on in town while you are here if you want to enjoy some things besides eating :)

    Going try to come and see you on Thursday. Yours was the first food blog I ever read :)

  • It looks like you have enough tips to fill a guidebook! But I had to add my two cents – Toronto is one of the best places in the world for enjoying dim sum. Worth looking into that. Some tips here.

    Also, you might find Fabarnak, a new restaurant in a community centre in Toronto’s gay village very interesting. It basically focuses on local, seasonal produce and everything is made from scratch, in house and it’s all for a good cause – all proceedings go toward the community centre next door. Very very cool place.

    You’ll find the most recent menu in their facebook page.

    and you MUST visit Kensington Market. It’s really the food soul of Toronto.

  • Check out Kensington Market in Toronto.

    Marben – delicious and adorable
    Chinatwown – Asian Legend

    Best burger of your life at Burger’s Priest.

    and Cowbell for amazing nose to tail dining experience.

  • Jerry

    Forgot to mention, I am not sure what date you leave on but if you are around on the 19th try to get into the Toronto Underground Market. Google it (also known as TUM). It is a new thing but it has been getting a great reception. I am going for the first time this time around. Tickets are “sold out” officially but they are making some available at the door later in the evening…. plus, I am sure some of your Toronto foodie friends can pull some strings :)

  • Mary Ann Madigan

    For lovely spots to visit in Stratford area,I am sure that Anna Olsen’s bakery is a must. She has also made several recommendations on her shows as to where to go in the area….
    Enjoy your visit to one of the nicest areas in Canada.

  • Natasha

    Bonsoir Clotilde!

    So excited you are in southwestern Ontario! Hope you like the great autumn weather we’ve arranged for you; of course it can turn on a dime, but it IS November after all. I’ve experienced bone-chilling cold in Paris as early as October too!

    You’d need to be here for a year to get to all of the tours recommended to you above, and some (but not all) of the restaurants cited above are a foodie’s dream!

    I am late to the ball Clotilde with my suggestions for great meals, but given the company you’ve been keeping the past 2 weeks, I assumed (erroneously) you would only receive recommendations for high-end gastronomic offerings. From personal experience, especially on a first visit to a new establishment, I much prefer a restaurant that prepares a familiar dish phenomenally well to being at the mercy of a chef’s fusion experiment!

    In this spirit, I have 2 positive experiences to add to your must try list:

    Ruby WatchCo
    730 Queen Street East at Broadview

    One standout Prix Fixe offering nightly featuring the freshest locally-sourced ingredients. Menu changes daily. $49 for a multi-course experience. See website for what’s cookin’ tonight! Chef / Owner Lynn Crawford is quite well known in Canada having been featured in several tv shows, and I happily promote a successful team of female chefs as well.

    Mistura Restaurant
    265 Davenport Road
    Toronto, ON M5R 1J8
    416-515-0009 ‎
    Thurs-Sat 5:30-11:0pm

    Contemporary Italian. Chef Massimo Capra is a well-known tv chef, but his philosophy is to prepare simple seasonal food well. Everything is good but I am recommending Mistura for one dish specifically, the Lobster Risotto.
    The current menu features Red Beet Risotto, but the chef has prepared the Lobster Risotto on request for diners before, so it might be worth asking!

  • I was at a really good restaurant last night in Toronto called Terroni, on Queen st w. They actually have other locations as well. Strongly recommnend! The apps were great, pizza, wine and dessert too! I will be writing about this visit in my blog as well (

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