You can find a classic and authentic version of just about any dish in Toronto. But for a true taste of the city, look no further than our growing number of restaurants that serve fusion cuisine.
These spots mix and match flavours and techniques from different cultures to create exciting and sometimes unexpected new dishes in a way that mirrors the diversity of our city.
From gnocchi with ackee and salted codfish to pho poutine, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a mash-up that just works. It’s a trip around the world in half the time at a fraction of the cost of a plane ticket.
Here are 6 restaurants to get some of my favourite fusion dishes.
You’re actually treated to a 3-for-1 experience here: they’ve got a Jamaican menu, an Italian menu, and a fusion menu that brings both of these worlds together, featuring dishes such as Jerk Chicken Lasagna and Scampi Linguini tossed in a coconut and cream curry sauce.
The spices and herbs from the Caribbean combined with traditional Italian ingredients complement each other extremely well, so it’s no surprise that Rasta Pasta has become an institution in Kensington Market.
Make sure to try the signature Rasta Pasta, a serving of gnocchi with your choice of sauce, combined with ackee and salted codfish, Jamaica’s national dish.
Also see: 10 Iconic Eats in Kensington Market
They specialize in Nikkei cuisine, the marriage of Peruvian ingredients and Japanese techniques. It’s a fusion that’s actually grounded in over a century of culinary history, highlighting the freshness and bold flavours that both cultures have to offer.
Each dish is a work of art, with sushi, ceviche, and grilled meats being the main focus of the menu here. But vegans and vegetarians need not fear: they have a selection of dishes for you too!
For fans of octopus, I recommend the Tentáculos De Pulpo, served with spicy yuzu and a purple potato puree. But anything off of the robata grill (a Japanese method of grilling with charcoal) is sure to be a hit.
The Haam in the Entertainment District is your one-stop shop to get two of the best things in life: sushi and tacos. Their menu features a wide variety of shareable plates, offering all the staples of Japanese, Korean, and Latin cuisine and allowing you to experience all the flavours of these different cultures in perfect harmony.
For a complete experience, be sure to try the Lobster Grande roll with salmon, deep-fried lobster, tortilla chips and jalapeno salsa, and the Bulgogi Taco, a dish that you can only find at the intersection of Korea and Mexico. Round out your meal with the Lychee Sangria and now we’re really having a fiesta!
You might accidentally walk past Seoul Shakers in Bloordale due to its nondescript exterior. But step inside and you’ll find an intriguing selection of kitschy antiques and neon lights that will make you feel like you’re in a tiki bar set in the Stranger Things universe.
They’ve created a distinctive moody vibe here, but it’s the food and drink menu that has cemented this place as a local favourite. You’ll find unique takes on some Korean classics blended with other influences, like the amped-up Hwe Dup Bap and Galbi Empanadas.
Be sure to try the Roast Kimchi Chopped Cheese, a next-level set of sliders that proves that kimchi really is the perfect companion to any dish.
Dzo Viet Eatery
No doubt the first thing you’ll notice when you step into Dzo Viet Eatery is the colourful lanterns that hang throughout the restaurant, designed to transport you to the alleyways of Hoi An. At Dzo, you’ll find a contemporary take on Vietnamese dishes, many of which are a fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine themselves.
Their signature dish is the Photine—a pho poutine that’s a Vietnamese take on a Canadian classic. It features the expected french fries and cheese curds but adds a rich pho broth, grilled spiced beef, basil and crispy shallots for those familiar Vietnamese flavours.
Their cocktail list is just as inspired, with drinks like the Old Hanoi (an Old Fashioned featuring Vietnamese spices) designed to take you on a quick trip to Southeast Asia.
You’ll find an assortment of the most distinctive dishes here, like the Jerk Chicken Chow Mein. Chef Craig’s innovative approach to fusion cuisine has earned him critical acclaim and a loyal following.
Make sure to book a seat at weekend brunch, where you can try more fusion dishes like the Fried Chicken & HK Style French Toast and Patois Eggs Benny, an updated take on this classic dish that incorporates a Jamaican patty and oxtail gravy. If you’re looking for a spot that gets to the heart of what Toronto’s culinary scene is all about, this is it!