Bring your appetite — and your culinary curiosity — as you explore the eclectic restaurant scene of midtown’s St. Clair Avenue West.
Family-owned eateries rule in this tidy neighbourhood in Toronto’s St. Clair West area. Warm up with a full breakfast at one of the many welcoming cafés, an inexpensive lunch special that will hit the spot, or stop by for dinner after a crisp winter walk through this multicultural, restaurant-centric neighbourhood that draws diners from across the Great Toronto Area.
Best restaurants for breakfast in Wychwood
Put Emma’s Country Kitchen on your breakfast list if you love sky-high fresh-baked biscuits, homemade donuts and groaning plates of eggs, sage-and-onion sausage and home fries — or classics like eggs Benny.
Pain Perdu means French toast, and that’s just one of the authentic French dishes you’ll find at this café of the same name. This small, unassuming space is famed in the surrounding Wychwood and Hillcrest neighbourhoods for its French toast served with creme anglaise, Croque Monsieur and veggie quiches.
If it’s more of a peck than a meal you’re after, try shabby-chic café Baker & Scone for scones both savoury and sweet, and warm up with its coffee and tea options. Likewise, Les Moulins Lafayette and Fleur du Jour offer superb breakfast pastries of the French variety, like pains au chocolat and almond croissants.
Best restaurants for lunch in Wychwood
Lunch like a local (and save some dough, too!) on super-thin chicken schnitzel at Hungarian spot Black Tulip or on umami-packed grilled beef and rice or vegetarian pad thai next door at Chai Pochana. Both offer lunch specials for around $10!
Toronto’s unofficial quick lunch food is the Jamaican beef patty, and you can scratch that itch for tender, flaky pastry surrounding seasoned beef at Gerry’s, along with other Caribbean specialties like jerk chicken and oxtail in this tiny spot open since 1977.
Southern barbecue is the specialty at Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder (not to be confused with Stockyards shopping mall further west on St. Clair Avenue. This dining-counter-style eatery serves comfort foods like BBQ beef brisket sammies, fried chicken and waffles and mustard-seared smash burgers.
Other lunch spots include the chain Pi Co. for simple wood-fired margherita pizzas or Riz on St. Clair for gluten-free pan-Asian faves like curry fried rice with coconut cream or lemongrass halibut.
Best restaurants for dinner in Wychwood
On a snowy evening, nothing could be more snug than a candlelit dinner and steak frites or buttermilk-tamarind glazed chicken at the always-bustling Rushton. This elevated-casual restaurant on the corner of Rushton and St. Clair is the unofficial dinner hub of the neighbourhood. It’s followed closely by the Southern Italian food offerings (like eggplant parm and gorgonzola gnocchi) and the rustic vibe at Ferro, across the street.
The pretty pink pastel walls and sunny, modern decor of Aviv Immigrant Kitchen are an instant mood booster. Feast on Mediterranean-style tahini and pomegranate apps, kebab entrees, or inspired global offerings like guava pork ribs with Caribbean coleslaw.
After a hunger-stoking winter walk, sometimes nothing else will do but a hearty plate of fish and chips. In this case, Sea Witch is your top spot. Pick between haddock, pickerel, halibut and cod, all served hot inside their puffed-up, crispy batter coating. This casual Wychwood fave often draws lineups (indoor eating options may be in flux due to the pandemic).
Inventive local food with a foundation in French classics is the specialty at FK, a fine-dining restaurant at St. Clair and Arlington. The menu changes, but past offerings have included bucatini with truffles and parmesan cream, duck leg confit with butternut squash risotto and lobster puttanesca.
Lamesa is a Filipino-inspired eatery with a chill, art-school-but-make-it-foodie atmosphere. Try a fried chicken silog plate (all silog plates come with garlic fried rice and a fried egg) or chicken adobo rice bowl, perfect fuel for a frosty Toronto night.
Getting to Wychwood:
Take the Line 1 Yonge-University subway to St. Clair station, then catch the 512 St. Clair streetcar westbound to Wychwood, Christie or Arlington Avenue stops.