Canadians love their Tim Horton’s, burgers, and poutines, and although many argue authentic Canadian cuisine doesn’t truly exist, one thing is true- Toronto has a thriving, diverse food scene. In fact, the absence of a single traditional cuisine in Toronto has cleared the way for an array of cuisines from around the world.
The selection of food choices you can find in Toronto highlights the city’s multicultural diversity. You can find cuisines from Chinese to Italian, Portuguese, Indian, and much more. In addition to ethnic cuisines, Toronto is also home to many fine dining establishments and chain restaurants, from casual to upscale dining. Food trucks and pop-up restaurants flood the city, and it’s safe to say the last thing you’ll be when walking the streets of Toronto is hungry.
In today’s world, food is being photographed more than anything else as culinary trends are shared daily on social media, making it a huge part of our every day lives.
As the culinary landscape of our city continues to grow, we wanted to sit down with Maddy Goldberg, one of Toronto’s young, passionate cooks to understand why food is such an integral part of a city’s culture.
What sparked your interest in culinary arts?
My desire to work in a kitchen stemmed from my love of food and desire to eat good food often.
For as long as I can remember I have loved food and eating. I was the kind of five-year-old that would ask my mom what we’re having for breakfast at the dinner table – my family still makes fun of me for it. Over time my love for food grew into a realization that everything I have ever eaten is an accumulation of ingredients prepared in a certain way using specific techniques. Early on I began researching how everything is made; from ranch sauce to fresh cheese, I was hooked. When I was about 15 I remember running out of bread in my house and, knowing that bread is not grown from the ground, I searched how it is made and began making all the bread for my house. I was obsessed but believed it was a hobby, not a profession I would go into.
How did you get started?
After high school, I went to the University of Guelph where I studied social work. Through my studies, I had the opportunity to work in various co-op jobs where I quickly realized my love of food was much more than a typical hobby. My mind would constantly wander back to food, cooking, menu planning and researching everything there is to know about the subject. I was so distracted by learning about food and cooking new items that I realized I don’t just want to follow this into a career – I need to.
How to great restaurants impact culture?
Great restaurants bring people and cultures together in one place to share food, drinks, and conversation. Everyone must eat but not everyone can cook well, which is why great restaurants are so important. Restaurants allow people to discover quality food with friends or family in a comfortable atmosphere without any distractions. Cooking defines who we are as humans, as we are the only species on the planet that cooks! Food is such an important part of our culture, which is why everyone should take the time to try, discover, and eat everywhere possible. We are lucky to have so many amazing options in Toronto.
What are your favourite restaurants in Toronto?
The sheer diversity of Toronto’s food scene makes it somewhat daunting to navigate. Here are Maddy’s top favourite restaurants in Toronto
This butcher shop meets steakhouse is my go-to restaurant for any celebration. They age their own meets, cure in-house and have new specials every day. Tip: if you’re with a party of 6+ try to reserve the butcher’s block table.
One of Yorkville’s hidden gems. It is much less expensive than the typical restaurant in this area but hits all the marks on food. Great place if you’re looking for drinks and sharing plates. Best part – you can practically always get a last minute reservation.
Dumplings are easily one of my favourite foods and this cheap Chinatown stop has the best in Toronto.
Fresh and sustainable Italian food in a dark downtown setting. Order the burrata pizza or you’re truly missing out.
The Burger Shack
Last but definitely not least. Best cheap burger in the city, hands down. So many toppings to pick from and the burger to bun ratio is on point. Owned by a Greek family so if you’re not in the mood for a burger you can opt for their souvlaki plate or pita. But beware: it’s cash only!
No matter where you go, it’s clear that food is one of the most important aspects of Toronto culture. Nearly every culture has its own food, and its own customs associated with eating food, and Toronto is a great place to experience the tastes from around the world.
From Little India, Little India, the Danforth, Koreatown and beyond, there are thousands of establishments to try Toronto’s eclectic food offerings. Find Maddy’s favourite restaurants and thousands more on Kibii!