1. G For Gelato

G For Gelato

Toronto, Canada

This Italian cafe serves fine thin-crust pizzas, panini, and espresso coffee, but I come here specifically for the gelato. It’s the best I’ve had outside of Italy! Flavours change daily and you’ll find unusual ones like “blueberry and lavender” or “water melon and cucumber”. It’s conveniently located two blocks north of St-Lawrence Market. #italian #cafe #gelato #cheap-eats #casual

2. Harlem restaurant

Harlem Restaurant

Toronto, Canada

Although it’s more popular as an evening spot with live music on Friday and Saturday, I like coming to Harlem for brunch. You can try Southern/Caribbean-inspired brunch items like “southern fried chicken and waffles” or the “Harlem Benny with sweet potato pancake and collard greens”. They have an enclosed patio decorated with murals for warm days. #southernfood #casual #free-wifi

3. Lee

Lee

Toronto, Canada

Lee is star chef Susur Lee’s original Toronto restaurant. The food fuses East and West into some pretty creative dishes, like the signature salad made from 19 ingredients: it’s meant for two, it’s huge, and it’s addictive. The decor is stylish but cheerful, and the service unpretentious. #fine-dining #fusion #food

4. Beerbistro

Beerbistro

Toronto, Canada

I think of Beerbistro as a classy restaurant for beer enthusiasts. Located right next to the Financial District, it’s popular with the business crowd. Every menu item, from salad, to meat, to pizza, is followed by a suggested beer pairing. The beers, mostly from Canada and Europe, are presented on their own menu, accompanied by tasting notes. #beer #bistro #food #fine-dining

5. Los Colibris

Los Colibris

Toronto, Canada

Toronto is not known for its Mexican food, but Los Colibris has a real Mexican chef (from Veracruz) so the food is authentic and delicious. Main courses come in large servings, such as the Chiles en Nogada pictured here. For cheaper fare, head to companion restaurant El Caballito downstairs, which specializes in tequila and tacos, also very good. #fine-dining #mexicanfood #downtown

6. PAI

PAI

Toronto, Canada

Enjoy delicious Northern Thai cuisine, prepared by a real Thai chef, in a pub atmosphere. Pai is my new favourite Thai restaurant in a city full of Thai restaurants. The pad thai and green curry (shown above) are my usual benchmarks and are both wonderful. Arrive by 6 PM to avoid lining up. It will get full and it will get noisy! #thai #food #casual

7. Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine

Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine

Toronto, Canada

If you love dim sum but not the bustle of Chinatown, head to Queen’s Quay Terminal for award-winning dim sum in a quiet airy space with view of Lake Ontario. Make a reservation and ask for a table by the window. Dim sum carts come around but you can also order from a menu. Two of us stuffed our faces for CAD$47, which is pricey for dim sum, but you’re paying for the view and location. #chinese #food #dimsum #casual #view

8. Pure Spirits Oysters House & Grill

Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill

Toronto, Canada

Housed in a renovated Victorian building in the pedestrian Distillery District, this seafood restaurant features a large outdoor patio for warm days. Wash down the fresh fish and oysters with a beer, sake, or specialty cocktail. “All-you-can-eat mussels” on Mondays and $1.50 oysters on Tuesdays. #seafood #patio #fine-dining

9. Ouzeri

Ouzeri

Toronto, Canada

Ouzeri has been my favourite Greek restaurant in Toronto for years. The rosemary pie (above) and the tender grilled calamari are favourites of mine. If you’re really hungry, you can’t go wrong with the fixed-price menu. Service is friendly and they have a small patio up front. #greek #food #casual #patio

10. Bonjour Brioche

Bonjour Brioche

Toronto, Canada

Known for its true French-style croissants – some of the best in the city – this cozy buzzing space makes you feel like you’re in France. The menu of quiches, omelettes, and tarts at affordable prices packs in the locals on week-ends. Not open for dinner and closed on Monday. They don’t take reservations. #french #cafe #food #bakery #cheap-eats #patio

Featured image: G For Gelato.