Dig into 25 iconic dishes that capture the flavour of Toronto, from our official city sandwich to Canadian classics, fusion fare and more.
Hungry? You’re in luck! You’re in one of North America’s best foodie cities, with ample options for every taste.
From grab-and-go food stands to cool Toronto restaurants, we’ve got your appetite covered. Try these 25 must-eats to explore the 6ix, one bite at a time.
Must-eat #1: Peameal bacon sandwich
Toronto’s official sandwich pairs thick, meaty back bacon with a soft fluffy bun—honey mustard optional. Try the legendary sammy at St Lawrence Market’s Carousel Bakery.
Must-eat #2: Poutine
Canada’s national dish of thick-cut fries topped with gravy and gooey cheese curds got its start in rural Quebec circa the 1950s. Now you can find iterations across Toronto. Tuck into poutine and other comfort food faves at the Toronto Food Truck Festival (August 4–7, 2023).
Must-eat #3: Pow Wow Tacos
Head to the Dashmaawaan Bemaadzinjin Indigenous Food Market for this iconic dish. Their version features fry bread smothered in venison-bison chilli with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and green onions.
The pop-up market takes place at Fort York National Historic Site every Thursday (3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) through September 28, 2023.
Must-eat #4: Hawaiian pizza
Surprise: Hawaiian pizza was invented in Ontario! Restaurateur Sam Panopoulos created the infamous pineapple-and-ham pie in 1962, and it can be found in pizza joints across Toronto and internationally.
Must-eat #5: Jamaican patties
While recent years have changed Toronto’s patty scene (RIP subway patties, we miss you!), you can still find hot, crispy goodness at Kensington Market’s Golden Patty. It comes in chicken and vegetarian options, but Spicy Beef is the classic.
Must-eat #6: BeaverTails
Shaped like a beaver’s flat, paddle-shaped tail, this iconic Canadian pastry consists of deep-fried dough smothered in sweet toppings like chocolate hazelnut spread, apple pie filling or a minimalist dusting of cinnamon and sugar. Stroll our lakefront, then grab one at BeaverTails Toronto Waterfront.
Must-eat #7: Rasta Pasta
Kensington Market’s greengrocers, food shops, and takeout stands have catered to wave after wave of new-Canadian tastes. Rasta Pasta offers the most multicultural of Toronto mashups: Jamaican meets Italian. Their Jerk Chicken Lasagna is pure Toronto.
Must-eat #8: Montreal-style bagels
Real-deal Montreal bagels are a labour of love: each hand-formed bagel is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood-fired oven. Try St. Urbain Bagel (inside St. Lawrence Market) for 15 flavour takes on the fave.
Must-eat #9: Roti
Toronto is a roti mecca where regional options abound. If you’re here during Toronto Caribbean Carnival (August 3–7, 2023) stop by the TCC International Food Festival (August 6, 2023) for island cuisine pop-ups. Otherwise, try Randy’s Roti for Trini flavours or Pam’s Roti Shop for Guyanese flair.
Must-eat #10: Momos
Must-eat #11: Chinese BBQ
Downtown Chinatown’s Spadina Avenue strip offers a variety of venues where you can dig into heaping bowls of rice or noodles topped with BBQ duck, pork or squid. Follow your eyes as you stroll the street: you’ll see perfectly roasted meats displayed in the windows.
Must-eat #12: Bannock burgers
An Indigenous staple, this unleavened flatbread can be baked, fried or deep-fried. Gerrard East’s Tea-N-Bannock uses a fluffy fried bannock bun as the base for their hearty Alberta grassland-raised bison burger.
Must-eat #13: California Rolls
While some dispute the origin of California Rolls (both Toronto and Vancouver lay claim to its invention), we can all agree that this Canadian fusion sushi is a crowd-fave with its accessible combination of crab, tobiko, cuke and avocado. It’s a staple at sushi shops across town.
Must-eat #14: Dim sum
Combine two Toronto rituals: dim sum and brunch. Fill up on har gow (shrimp dumplings), fung zao (black bean sauce chicken feet), lo bak go (turnip cake) and other classics. Hit Spadina Avenue’s Yin Ji Chang Fen or, for Lake Ontario views, Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine.
Must-eat #15: Jumbo Empanadas
If you’re hungry for empanadas, only Jumbo Empanadas will do. This Kensington Market restaurant got its start as a humble food cart back in 1991, and since then, has almost singlehandedly popularised Latin American–style empanadas in Toronto.
Must-eat #16: OG vegan cuisine
While Toronto is now recognized as one of the best cities for vegan restaurants, pan-Asian King’s Café was serving seitan, TVP and un-chicken back in the ’90s, way before plant-based hit the mainstream.
Must-eat # 17: Hodo kwaja
Must-eat #18: Banh mi
While fusion banh mi is trendy and delicious, you can’t beat the classic, which pairs crusty French bread with Vietnamese cold cuts (or tofu), nem nướng and crunchy pickled daikon and carrot. Dig into the deal of the century with $4 banh mi at Chinatown’s Banh Mi Nguyen Huong.
Must-eat #19: Tea and scones
Fancy a cuppa? You can indulge in the social ritual of traditional afternoon tea, complete with British-style scones, tea sandwiches and sweet treats in tea rooms and upscale cafés across the city.
Must-eat #20: Halifax-style donair
A Nova Scotian riff on Middle Eastern street food, the donair consists of seasoned rotisserie-cooked beef served in a wrap with veggies and (lots of) sauce. It’s the addictive condensed milk, vinegar and garlic sauce that defines the Halifax version. Try it at Koreatown’s East Coast Donair and Grill or Cabbagetown’s East Coast Donair.
Must-eat #21: Street hot dogs
Hit Nathan Phillips Square year-round for festivals, photo ops and cheap-and-cheerful food truck fare, including our famous street meat. What makes Toronto dawgs so unique? Size (huge!), sausage (Italian, Polish, vegetarian) and toppings (more options than you can pile onto just one hot dog).
Must-eat #22: Pastéis de nata
Or hit Canada’s Wonderland’s Taste of Portugal Festival (August 12 & 13, 2023) to nibble yours between thrill rides. (Fun fact: the singular form of the pastry is “pastel de nata,” but no one has just one!)
Must-eat #23: Butter tarts
Pure Canadiana, sweet and caramel-y butter tarts can be found almost anywhere in the country. But skip the supermarket versions for superior tarts from artisan bakers like East Chinatown’s Gerrard Street Bakery or local chain Sweetie Pie.
Must-sip #24: Beer
Approximately 70 craft breweries work out of the Greater Toronto Area, making the city rich in suds. Looking to sample our lagers, IPAs and saisons? Try a beer flight on The Ultimate Toronto Beer Crawl or visit the Top 5 Brewpubs Along the Danforth.
Must-eat #25: Carnival fare
The Canadian National Exhibition (aka CNE or The Ex) is a late-summer tradition for generations of Torontonians.
With midway rides, arcade games and OTT carnival food, it’s a must for intrepid foodies. While this year’s lineup hasn’t been announced, expect boundary pushers like 2022’s infamous 2-foot-long tacos, ice-cream stuffed croiffles (croissant waffles) and ketchup ice cream.