Best Places to Eat Like a Local in Toronto

When I travel, I really like to soak up the local culture. There may be no better way to do this than by experiencing the food scene. I’m not big on chain places, and really prefer to support mom and pop businesses. In Toronto, there is so much to choose from! Forget melting pot: It’s a tapestry of diversity. And that’s clear in the cuisine. Here’s a list of the best places to eat like a local in Toronto.

Queen Street Warehouse – I won’t bury the lead here: All of the items on the menu are $4.95 and the portions are huge! With a DJ spinning music till 2:00 a.m., this place definitely has a bar vibe, but it’s in no way a dive. The atmosphere is chill and the patrons are typically the millennial-after-work crowd.

Drake Commissary – Mix a poppin’ bar, an urban café, a fresh bakery, and an artisanal general store together and you’ll get the fabulous Drake Commissary. This beautiful, convenient space is one you’ll never want to leave, and with live music, interactive elements like the photo booth, and cozy couches, you don’t have to! The delicious dishes are (mostly) healthy, and often, locals will stop into the grocery section to pick up heat and eat items to take home for an easy meal.

Caplansky’s – Two words: beef bacon (the header photo above says it all). This legit Jewish deli serves good ol’ fashioned latkes and Ruebens, while staying in touch with the younger crowd. Because they have such a great social media game, and have three convenient restaurants and a food truck, locals love them.  Caplansky’s tirelessly offers breakfast, deli classics, dinners, desserts, a kids menu, and even cocktails, so there really is something for everyone.

Rasta Pasta – Get ready to have your mind blown with this restaurant’s unique infusion of Jamaican and Italian cuisines. Here, you’ll take your food and go eat it elsewhere because there isn’t anywhere to sit, but you won’t be going for the ambience. You’ll be drawn in by the Dreadlock Lasagna, Irie Pizza, and Dutch Pot Oxtail! Rasta Pasta makes home cooked Jamaican dishes, like Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas, Salt Fish with Ackee from scratch in their kitchen in Kensington Market. But it’s actually their paninis featuring savory marinated jerk chicken and fresh salad that they’re most known for. Hungry yet?

The vinyl cover wall in Copetin.

Copetin – For fine dining, head to Copetin, which serves elevated Canadian cuisine with vast ethnic influences. Be adventurous and try the charcoal grilled octopus, tea smoked squab, or sea bream. This light-drenched space has a chic-meets-rock and roll feel, with backlit bar shelves, vintage album covers on the walls, sleek wood and dark leather finishes.

Mi Taco – When you’re craving fresh, modern, Mexican food, Mi Taco is where it’s at! All of their items, many of which are organic, are homemade daily. They even have seafood and vegan options on the menu. The atmosphere is casual, but trendy, in this bright eatery.

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