Toronto’s east-end neighbourhood is a foodie’s paradise where you’ll find an incredible selection of authentic international cuisines.
Spanning the Bluffs, Rouge River, Victoria Park Avenue, and Steeles Avenue, Scarborough is one of the most diverse areas in the GTA. As such, there’s a plethora of restaurants and dessert shops that’ll allow you to hop from country to country without driving too far. After you layer in the patio spaces, you really can’t say no. The best part is that you can enjoy all of this deliciousness outdoors! Just make sure to bring with you a huge appetite.
The Avenue Restaurant and Lounge
In Trinidad, there’s a popular hub of nightlife and food on a street called Ariapita Avenue which locals just call “De Avenue”. That’s the inspiration for The Avenue in Scarborough where they’ve brought that same vibe of hanging out to the beat of music, food, and drink to the city.
Here, the flavours of the West Indies meet Chinese food. Hot spices and a mix of crispy and tangy BBQ sauce perfectly melds with fried rice, lo mein, and chow mein. You also have to try their Chilli Chicken Poutine along with their Mac and Cheese Pie.
Tucked away on the side of the storefront is a patio space featuring picnic benches, umbrellas, and Caribbean beats. You never would have known just by driving by this unassuming plaza.
TIP: The portions here are huge so be prepared to come here on an empty stomach. Their patio is open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day which is perfect for those late-night cravings.
There are some foods that you crave and normally would have to fly around the world to get. Luckily for you, Scarborough has a number of imports that bring the world to you. One such nostalgic classic from Hong Kong is Honeymoon Dessert. They specialize in serving traditional Chinese desserts infused with modern touches. The fruit used is always fresh and they are best known for their mango.
TIP: For first-timers, the trademark Snow White Sago in Vanilla Ice along with the Mango Pillows are always a winner. If you’re feeling adventurous, they also have a full section of the menu dedicated to delightfully stinky durian.
The Scarborough Bluffs and Bluffer’s Park is a must-do for anyone coming to Scarborough. With its chiselled and dramatic rock cliffs, outstretched peninsulas, and sandy beaches, the perfect place to accompany your visit is Bluffers Restaurant, which floats in the middle of the marina.
Often a venue for special events, they have a gorgeous elevated view of Lake Ontario, the Bluffs and surrounding yachts. The use of locally sourced produce, meats, and fine craft beers complements the natural beauty, cool lake breeze, and glistening sun of the patio.
A few dishes to try while you’re here are the Halibut Fish & Chips and Lobster Benedict (brunch special) which both fit the incredible scenery while you’re on their patio.
TIP: Dog lovers rejoice: their patio is pet-friendly!
Something very distinct embedded in the fabric of Taiwanese cuisine is the bustling energy that you find in night markets, powerful smells and all the choice that comes with it. Above all, it’s food that’s approachable and delicious.
Mabu Generation’s latest location is in Scarborough and what you can expect is a modern Taiwanese fusion where they’re best known for their hot pot, sizzling plates and highly Instagrammable desserts.
TIP: Their menu is massive but favourites are their Popcorn Chicken appetizer, House Special Spicy Hot Pot entrée and Mango Honey Cube Toast dessert.
Fishman Lobster Clubhouse
If you love lobster, you’re going to fall in love with Fishman Lobster Clubhouse. Their outrageous Lobster Mountain is a feast for the eyes and your stomach. Fresh lobster cooked in a Hong Kong-style and stacked sky-high, sprinkled with addictive crispy garlic and french fries. I love that part of the experience includes being able to see the lobster you’ll be eating before they cook it, so you know it’s fresh.
When you arrive, one thing you’ll see is how robust their outdoor dining is. Rain or shine, you’ll be able to have your lobster tower with the breeze of the fresh air thanks to their expansive outdoor layout.
TIP: The Lobster Mountain Dinner is for four to five people but could easily feed six or seven. While large, their patio fills up quickly so make sure to call in advance to make reservations. Lastly, ask them about their VIP card which grants you 5% off if you pay by cash. Note that they also only accept debit or cash.
Authentic Mexican food is few and far between in Toronto but Mexitaco is one of those hole-in-the-wall joints in Scarborough that locals swear by. The secret is that their newest location near the Scarborough Bluffs also has a comfy patio space tucked behind, which makes this a must-visit this summer.
Something that will catch your eye are their Birria tacos. These are addictively sweet, sour and spicy tacos with fall-apart juicy slow-cooked beef that are then dropped in a taco shell that’s fried to a crisp. The hype on Birria is real!
Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot
Liu Yi Shou is a famous chain from Chongqing, China that welcomes visitors to Sichuan-style all-you-can-eat hot pot. That speaks to the spicy broth that is covered in chilli oil with peppercorns and dried red chillies that bob up and down once the giant pot is fired up.
It seems totally counterintuitive to have a steaming hot pot in the summer but you’ll find crowds of people clamouring to get a spot during the busy dinner hours. This location has a large patio space with comfortable seating to cook your selection of meats and vegetables to cook in that broth to your delight.
TIP: If you don’t eat spicy food, I recommend either the double flavour pot which allows you to have a spicy broth on one side and a non-spicy one on the other or just doing a single pot of non-spicy broth.
This bohemian Czech and Slovak restaurant is located adjacent to the Scarboro Golf and Country Club and with its elevated view, provides guests lush green surroundings to enjoy whether for lunch or dinner. Prague Restaurant’s patio is elegantly decorated with plenty of canopies set up to provide ample shade for guests.
Their menu features an array of traditional cuisine but what really stands out is their schnitzel which is easily one of the city’s best. You’ll also love their authentic Spätzle, Goulash, Pierogi and Pork Roast.
Karaikudi Chettinad Restaurant
If you’re craving South Indian food, this is the spot for you. The cuisine featured here is from the Chettinad region of the state of Tamil Nadu, which is characterized by aromatic and spice-rich dishes. They also have a selection of North Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisine, resulting in a wide menu of choices.
Their patio space is divided into a covered gazebo that can accommodate large groups and also a number of smaller tables that follow the front of the restaurant for outdoor dining.
TIP: Local favourites are their Mutton Sukka Dry, Hyderabad Biryani, Tandoori Chicken and Chili Paneer.