Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

The Good Eatin’ Guide

I hope you’ve eaten breakfast, because today we’re going to take a quick look at some hidden gems for dining here in Toronto.  Let’s start with one that Danielle and I finally tried last night.

Champion Shawarma – Pape, just north of Danforth (just outside Pape station)
I’ve walked past this place more than a few times and seen the counter with all their fresh-looking fixin’s staring back at me.  It also smelled delicious.  Well, last night we gave in and grabbed dinner there.  Mmmm.

As a Montrealer, Danielle is a bit more of a pro when it comes to shish taouk (as it’s called there).  Not being limited by the same bylaws that made the street dog the quick meal of choice in Toronto, shawarma is huge there, so she’s the pro… and she was impressed.  The pita were huge, heavily loaded with both meat and fixin’s and the meat was far from greasy.  They were also VERY reasonably priced.  It’s too bad that it’s on my way home.  I’ll be eating there nearly every day now.

George’s BBQ – Dundas and Pembroke, just west of Sherbourne
I’ve mentioned George’s before.  It’s just steps away from my old house and was a frequent food contributor in my life as a Duke at Pembroke Castle.  Sure, there’s no place to sit inside and you’ll be rubbing elbows with strippers, crack dealers and their customers while you place your order at the counter, but the food is delicious.

You can also look forward to the colourful employees telling stories that vary from PG-13 discussions of cars to X-Rated descriptions of the previous night’s customers.  Also, they’re open until 3am.  I recommend their homemade burgers, or their quarter chicken special.  I hope you like fries, because they heap them up like crazy.

La’Zeez Shawarma – Gerrard, just west of Jarvis (beside “Hooker Harvey’s”)
Honestly, I only know of these places in the Hood because I use to live there.  Danielle and I ended up here by complete accident during last year’s Gay Pride Parade.  I would want to compare the food to Champion side-by-side, but I’m pretty sure they are comparable… and good!  La’Zeez used much more spice and hot sauce though, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Dangerous Dan’s – Queen and Broadview
This place has a special place in my heart… right next to the  obstruction that will no doubt cause the heart attack that will kill me.  The food here is actually nothing special, it’s the environment and the portion sizes.  It’s always a good time, but it’s rarely a great meal.

The Amazing Mystic Muffin – Jarvis and Richmond
I found this place after reading this review on Torontoist.  I figured it couldn’t be nearly as good as they raved, so I visited one day for lunch.  It’s not as good as it Torontoist made it sound… it’s better.   Few Torontoians find themselves in the Jarvis and Richmond area during AMM’s serving hours, but if you do, make the trip.  You won’t regret it.

Chopin Restaurant – 165 Roncesvalles (6.5 short blocks north of Queen)
Although this is a great restaurant, it is really only getting a mention because I felt the above list was a little too East-Toronto-centric.  That’s probably only because everything that’s cool is east of Yonge Street (sorry Karim).  For a full review of Chopin, you can see what I said about it back in the spring.

Feel free to add your favourite lesser-known restaurants in the comments and I’ll try to check them all out.


3 Comments so far

  1. Danielle January 10th, 2008 2:42 pm

    Hey, you forgot to include a review for Fare Bistro, on Queen Street East near Carlaw. We tried this place out for our New Years’ eve celebration and what a delight it was. Delectable food, awesome presentation and reasonable portions. A great way to ring in the new year…that is until I diluted my three-course meal with way too much alcohol at the party to follow!

  2. Brad Jarman January 10th, 2008 4:43 pm

    This must be the first time George’s BBQ has appeared on any good-eatin’ list, ever.

  3. Dan May 12th, 2008 11:40 am

    Champion at 721 Pape Ave: Food was below par, almost no flavour. Very bad and rude service. No washroom facilities, fridge used to store food was WARM and probably dangerously growing bacteria.

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