Toronto’s hidden gems: Six restaurants to explore in the city
By Aneesh Chatterjee
Posted on August 30, 2021
Want to step off the usual path of the same old restaurants and try something new? These hidden eateries are loved throughout Toronto, and offer a variety of experiences.
1. Bampot Bohemian House of Tea and Board Games | 201 Harbord St.
This cozy spot offers an excellent variety of black, oolong, rooibos, green and white teas, yerba mate and seasonal blends. They also serve hearty meals and snack platters from Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. Come here for the vibrant and welcoming décor, well-made food, and a unique tea-drinking experience. Their wide selection of party games makes this board game cafe the perfect place for group gatherings and family outings.
2. The Gem | 1159 Davenport Rd.
Known for its quirky, old-world charm and heartwarming food, The Gem is a characteristic little restaurant praised for its large portions and popular pub foods, like nachos, wings, burgers, and pulled pork sandwiches. With beer on tap, a sunny patio, and distinctly aged interior décor, the ambience is uniquely bold, but welcoming. You’ll also find a jukebox offering a nostalgic collection of vinyl records. This is an excellent spot to meet up with friends or enjoy a beer. Just keep in mind—they take cash only.
3. Country Style Hungarian Restaurant | 450 Bloor St. West
This restaurant may be small, but their food doesn’t compromise in portion sizes or flavor. Generous and hearty meals like schnitzel, goulash, paprikash, and sauteed chicken liver are among the many delicious choices found here. The interior décor is simple and humble, much like the food. Also another cash-only establishment, it’s perfect for comforting meals on cold winter days (or any day, really).
4. Loga’s Corner | 216C Close Avenue
The Tibetan classic street food found at Loga’s Corner should be frequented by any dumpling lover. Although it’s a small and humble spot, they serve momos in sizeable portions at great prices. Both the soft and fluffy steamed momos and crispy, chewy fried ones are served with a distinctly flavorful and spicy chilli sauce. Loga’s Corner offers a strong homage to the beloved street food culture staple.
5. Rendez-Vous | 1408 Danforth Ave
The atmosphere is dim and cramped, but this authentic Ethiopian restaurant boasts a range of distinct dishes that have consistently impressed diners. With many dishes served alongside injera, a regional Ethiopian flatbread, the menu’s extensive offerings of lamb, chicken, beef, and vegetarian meals are definitely worth a try for any hungry explorer. Their drinks menu is no less versatile, offering a range of spirits. Perhaps the more impressive experience is the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony performed at your table.
6. Okonomi House | 23 Charles St. West
Some of the authentic foods this Japanese joint serves are okonomiyaki, a savory pancake stuffed with your choice of protein (including bacon, pork, beef, chicken, scallops, shrimp, or a seafood deluxe), classic Japanese burger steak, teriyaki dishes, and yakisoba. While seating options are limited for groups, single customers can sit at the bar and watch the chefs prepare these delicious pancakes, teppanyaki style. Whether you’re with friends or by yourself, this is a memorable experience—as long as you can get a seat.