Toronto – and especially the areas around King St West, Queen St West and West Queen West – simply heaves with cafés and restaurants, everything from smart and expensive designer places to informal neighbourhood joints. Some of the best emphasize their use of Canadian ingredients – fish and wild game, particularly – but there’s no real distinctive local cuisine per se. Prices range from upwards of $60 for a meal at fancier restaurants, to bargain-basement cafés where a decent-sized snack or sandwich works out at just a few dollars. The majority of places fall somewhere in between – a $35 bill per person for a two-course meal, excluding drinks.
Many of Toronto’s traditional bars are rough-and-ready places that look and feel like beer halls. Indeed, until the 1980s, it was common for most city bars to have one entrance for men accompanied by women, the other for men only, and even today many of them remain firmly blue collar. Others – and these are the pick – feature a wide range of “craft” beers from any number of small and emergent breweries, or concentrate on live music, or have morphed into clubs. Nearly all serve (bar) food of some type or other.