According to Vogue, Toronto is the city that all food lovers should be flocking to. According to Prime Minister Trudeau, the entirety of Canada will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis by July 1, 2018. According to me, these are the seven Toronto food experiences no cannabis-enhanced human should miss.
1. The Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles
Are you a sweet-and-savoury appreciator? Head directly to Toronto’s iconic Kensington Market, where the Dirty Bird is serving up the classic southern American sugar-and-spice dish of chicken and waffles. This space is super casual, with limited seating. More often than not, there will be a line-up but trust us, it’s worth the wait because the fried chicken is golden and tender, and the waffle on-point. Since opening, the Dirty Bird has become known for their signature dish ‘the ODB,’ which has heaps of boneless dark meat piled on top of a maple buttered waffle and dressed in a sweet and tangy sauce. You won’t be able to get the fork into your mouth fast enough. (79 Kensington Ave, 647-345-BIRD)
2. Seven Lives Tacos
One of the best taco joints in Toronto, period. Seven Lives serves up fresh, authentic tacos that are bigger than most and stuffed full of unique amazements. Our pick? Their legendary Gobernador topped with smoked tuna, shrimp, and queso cheese. Key facts: Seven Lives takes cash only and almost always has a line. Order your tacos to go, grab a seat on an outdoor bench, and chow your way to heaven. (69 Kensington Ave, 416-393-4636)
3. Junked Food Co.
If there’s such a thing as Munchie Heaven, Junked Food Co. is it. The fare is ridiculous and fun, like big cups of cookie dough or sandwiches made with waffles. But what you really want to get your hands on is one of their Smash Bags. What is it? Well, it’s when Junked Food takes a snack-sized bag of Doritos, rips it in half, and spoons in delicious toppings like cheese, lettuce, sour cream, hot sauce, pico de gallo, and jalapenos. Best in show: the Mac Smash, which also has a hefty heap of—you guessed it—mac and cheese. (507 Queen St W, 647-343-5326)
4. Hollywood Cone
If you have a sweet tooth, you absolutely must visit Hollywood Cone, a larger-than-life take on all things ice cream located right in the middle of Queen Street West. Hollywood’s classic Mutant Shakes are huge thick handspun creations involving toppings like cheesecake and brownies and ranging in price from $10.99 to $18.99 (and totally worth it). Want something healthier? Try the epic 18-inch banana split, boasting multiple bananas, voluminous ice cream, chocolate AND caramel drizzles, topped off with a dollop of whipped cream. (1167 Queen St W, 647-350-2662)
What kind of Canadian list would this be without poutine? While poutine is famously a Montreal street snack, some places in Toronto have nailed it and NomNomNom is one of them. Their menu offers a slew of different poutine variations but you’ll want to stick with the classic traditional here, which is everything you’ve ever dreamed of: squeaky cheese curds, thick brown gravy, just the right amount of salt. The portions are generous and shareable, and the service is quick and friendly. Best part? While this poutine stand is served out of a storage container street truck, NomNomNom is open year round for all your poutine cravings. (707 Dundas St W, 647-636-0707)
6. When The Pig Came Home
For those craving Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches outside the confines of Montreal, this deli in Toronto’s West End has you covered. With a small lunch counter and outdoor bench seating for four, this deli will make virtually every one of your sandwishes come true. From porchetta to peameal bacon, this place offers it all and does it well. Try their house-made hot sauces and mustards on your sandwich or live with regret forever. (3035 Dundas St W, 647-345-9001)
7. Street meat
Hot-dog street vendors are a key part of the Toronto’s character and life. As in New York, you can’t walk a few blocks without running into a cart offering up spicy Italian sausages or thick all-beef hot dogs with a ridiculous array of toppings and sauces. Working all hours of the night and in every season, Toronto’s hot dog vendors valiantly serve up the best street meat you’ve ever had—especially if you’re wandering around high and hungry. (Anywhere in Toronto)