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Toronto Neighbourhood: Little Italy

November 17, 2017

Little ItalyLittle Italy

Also referred to as College Street West, Little Italy is known for it’s superb Italian-Canadian restaurants. During the weekends the streets are buzzing with visitors and locals dining on the outdoor patios. The Italian trattorias have a casual, family-friendly vibe and they are all about good, traditional recipes cooking with fresh ingredients.

Little Italy isn’t a 100% Italian neighbourhood – while there is a strong Italian community there is also a significant Portuguese population located around the Portugal Village shopping centre and the First Portuguese Canadian Cultural Centre.

Must Visit Spots in Little ItalyLittle Italy

  • La Forchetta Ristorante is the classic Italian dining experience, with pasta and meat dishes originating in the Old Country. Plus – they have a superb wine list to pair with your entree.
  • If you are into live music there are a lot of great places to check out in Little Italy, including the Mod Club or the basement of Nightowl.
  • Check out Cafe Diplomatico. Known as “The Dip” by locals, this coffee shop and restaurant has become an institution for caffeine fiends in Toronto. It also serves up all of the Italian classics including paninis, pizzas and more. If it looks familiar to you, it’s because filmmakers often use it as a set.
  • Rita’s Italian Ice serves up delicious frozen treats in a ton of different flavours – the ultimate treat for a warm day.
  • Check out the Italian Walk of Fame – where stars line the sidewalk with the names of famous Italian Canadians.

History

Large numbers of Italian immigrants came to Toronto in the early 20th century, settling in the area around College Street in the affordable Edwardian homes there. Most found work on the railways or in road construction and many started businesses in the area.

It was during the 1920s that Little Italy really became recognized as the commercial and residential centre of the Italian community in Toronto. These days the area is home to the largest Italian Little Italycommunity that is located outside of Italy and it is a popular area of the city for visitors to explore.

How to Get There

It’s quite simple to get here via the TTC. You can arrive from Queens Park or start from College Station on the Yonge-University-Spadina Line. Then, from there you can catch the 506 Carlton streetcar towards High Park traveling west on College Street. You can disembark anywhere between Bathurst Street and Ossington Avenue.

You can also travel from Bathurst Station on the Bloor-Danforth Line. When you exit, catch the 511 Carlton Towards Exhibition streetcar traveling south on Bathurst Street. You can disembark at College Street West. Exploring this street on foot is a delight, give yourself plenty of time to dip into the little shops and cafes to sample what they have to offer.

What’s your favourite Little Italy spot? Let us know in the comments below.

Food & Recipes, toronto toursim, Vacation Travel

The Best Beer Gardens Toronto offers

August 14, 2017

Beer Gardens TorontoDrinking and eating outdoors is a popular Canadian pastime. The weather is only nice for a fraction of the year, so we like to make the most of it before the snow starts to fall again. Why not spend every possible moment enjoying the sunshine? Plus, after a big day of sightseeing and wandering all over Toronto, there’s nothing more satisfying than settling into a chilled out beer garden and taking a big sip of a cold frothy one. Here are a few of the best outdoor beer gardens Toronto offers.

Granite Brewery

This popular beer garden in Mount Pleasant and Eglinton has been around since before the hipster trend of craft beers in Toronto. It is a great chilled out space serving a selection of classic English style beers that are made on site. You can choose to hang out on the outdoor patio on the front that faces the street, or the more private back patio that overlooks a lovely garden. If you really fall in love with the chilled out atmosphere you could consider tying the knot here – the Granite Brewery hosts weddings.Beer Gardens Toronto

Mascot Brewery Beer Gardens Toronto

Located in the heart of downtown on Mercer Street, this casual and sunny beer gardens Toronto is a great place to grab a drink with friends on a hot summer’s day. There are communal picnic-bench style seats perfect for socialising and there is even a food truck to fulfil your beer-fueled appetite. The AstroTurf on the floor and the laid back vibe makes it feel like you are just hanging out at your buddy’s house for a weekend barbeque. If you are visiting with a larger group, it is even possible to order a five litre keg of craft brew which you can self-serve.

Amsterdam Brewhouse

This great watering hole has a large beer garden right on the waterfront, which comes to life with laughter and conversation every summer. There are three different outdoor areas you can sit in, depending on how close you want to be to the water.

This Brewhouse also offers a superb selection of beer, including several special housemade brews. The selection changes every month, so Beer Gardens Torontoevery time you come back you will find something new on the menu to try. They also serve food – yummy bites that pair well with a cold glass of beer such as Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings, Amsterdam Pretzel and Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Feta Cheese.

The Pilot Tavern

Check out the “Flight Deck” of the Pilot Tavern, a rooftop beer garden offering sunshine, great food, cold drinks and a great atmosphere. High on a roof in Yorkville, it is removed from the hustle and bustle of the street and it is fully equipped with retractable awnings and heaters so you can keep on drinking no matter what the weather. In fact, it has been around for more than 70 years and was named by the readers of the Globe and Mail as Canada’s Favourite Patio.

Where are your favourite beer gardens in Toronto? Let us know in the comments.

Business Travel, Downtown Toronto, Family Vacations in Toronto, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Vacation Travel

Best Spots For Toronto Brunch

May 15, 2017

Toronto BrunchWhether you want to fuel up before a day of exploring the city or recover from enjoying Toronto’s nightlife, you’re sure to find a fantastic brunch in this city. There are so many places in Toronto that make brunch an art form, so here are some Toronto brunch places to head where you can start your day off right with a big delicious serving of your favourites.

Toronto Brunch – Country General Riverside

Feast on the enormous Croque Madame with fried egg, pulled pork and BBQ sauce and you won’t be hungry again until dinnertime. Or, treat yourself to the sweet and savory delights of French toast and fried chicken with buttermilk and maple syrup. This South Riverdale spot believes in the “Go big or go back to bed” philosophy when it comes to brunch.

Starving Artist

Do you love waffles? (Who doesn’t love waffles?) If so, this Toronto brunch spot is your dream destination. You can enjoy any type of waffle you could possibly dream of – from waffle BLT sandwiches to mini waffles with peanut butter and banana and even a waffle s’more. The main location on Bloordale is always very busy, so check out the second location inToronto Brunch St. Clair West where the lines may be shorter.

Karelia Kitchen

Have you ever had a Scandinavian brunch before? If not, here’s your chance to see what Nordic breakfast food is like. Try the smokehouse platter so that you can start your day with pickles, preserves, Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and flatbreads. Or, try the delicious potato pancakes served with beets, poached eggs and smoked trout.

La Cubana

If smoked fish for breakfast isn’t your thing, how about somewhere with more of a Caribbean vibe? La Cuban is a Cuban restaurant with the laid-back Havana vibe and an excellent brunch menu. You can feast on poached egg with slow roast pork or chimichurri-spiced steak and eggs. Of course, most of the dishes on the menu come with the classic side of rice and beans.

Lady Marmalade

Toronto BrunchThis very popular Toronto brunch spot is known for its superb selection of Benedicts. They offer up a great choice with creative ingredients, such as brie-avocado-bacon or tomato and pesto with cream cheese. However, the savoury waffles are also mind-blowing – as is the AM Poutine with hash browns, hollandaise sauce and cheese.

Queen & Beaver Public House

If you are looking for simple and hearty Toronto brunch food, this is the place for you. The pancakes are not too thick, not too thin, but served just right with a scoop of lovely maple peanut butter ice cream. Or, you could have a traditional proper full English breakfast with bacon, fried egg, baked beans and tomatoes.

These are just a few of Toronto’s best brunch spots that may be close to your furnished apartment in Toronto, so head on over and fill up on some delicious food. Dont forget these restaurants and cafes for comfort food. Why start your day hungry when brunch in Toronto is so good?

Business Travel, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Toronto’s Best Breweries

May 4, 2017

Toronto Breweries with LogoLife is too short to drink bad beer. Fortunately, there are several breweries in Toronto that have dedicated themselves to the art of crafting the perfect pint of suds. The craft beer scene in Toronto is thriving and these creative and hardworking brewers really take their beers seriously. Here are some of Toronto’s best breweries to sample some of the delicious local brews.

Left Field Brewery

This baseball-themed brewery knocked it out of the park at the Canadian Brewery Awards. They took home the gold for “Wrigley” – a refreshing North American style pale ale. Any of the beers in their line-up are sure not to strike out, so give them a try. If you are feeling adventurous and like dark and sweet beers – try the marshmallow mocha stout called “Sweet Jesus.”

Amsterdam Brewhouse

This is the oldest craft brewery in Toronto – it was established as a brew pub way back in 1986. Sit back in one of the comfortable Adirondack chairs and sip on the Barrel Aged Double Tempest, the Boneshaker IPA or the 3 Speed Session Lager. The food menu is also pretty great and pairs well with the beer, with yummy snacks such as mac & cheese croquettes, Amsterdam pretzels and Toronto's Best Breweriessweet potato fries.

Toronto’s Best Breweries : Mill Street Brew Pub

This is another one of the city’s original craft brewers and it offers a great selection of 15 beers on tap, from seasonal brews to signature ales. They also offer traditional German Bierschnaps (the first time a Canadian microbrewery has attempted them), so why not give

them a try? They are a beer based spirit distilled in the only copper pot still in North America.

Granite Brewery

This family owned brewery is a local favourite and they have been around for over two decades. They make English style ales in small batches and they have won a lot of awards for their creations. Their cask ale Hopping Mad has been highly acclaimed at the Golden Tap Awards for the past three years.

Steam Whistle Brewery

Steam WhistleToronto's Best Breweries are gold medal winners at the Canadian Brewing awards and once you taste their delicious ales you will understand why. They have a sampling bar where you can take free sips of all of the different types of beers and find your favourite. You can also take a 30-minute tour of the facilities to see how the beer is made, then finish the tour with a cold bottle.

Get Well Brewery

Not only does this cool hangout have excellent craft beers, it also has pinball machines, retro 80s style arcade games and a very chilled out vibe. If you like Pale Ale, try the hoppy Pineball Wizard. Or, check out their currently nano-brew, which is always changing.

These are just a few of Toronto’s best breweries to start a local crawl of Toronto.  And why not check out some of our picks for restaurants for groups! Enjoy responsibly and have fun!

Food & Recipes

THE FIVE MOST CANADIAN FOODS TO EAT

April 7, 2017

CANADIAN FOODSIt’s difficult to define “Canadian Cuisine” as the country is such a diverse melting pot of influences from other cultures.

However, there are a few dishes that have come to be known as Canadian Foods. Here are a few of the most popular Canadian foods to eat. These are foods that are iconic to Canadian culture and although none of them are particularly healthy, they are essential foods for any visitor to Canada to try.

Poutine

“What’s so special about chips, cheese and gravy?” you might ask. However, this French Canadian dish is so much more than that. TheCanadian Foods cheese must be cheese curds, which have a particular “squeak” when you bite down on them. The gravy should be thin, meat based and peppery and the chips should be crispy on the outside and soft on the outside. Some poutineries will offer dozens of different variations, including toppings like bacon, chicken, sausage or even lobster.

Nanaimo Bars

Named after a city on Vancouver Island, these rich and filling dessert bars are irresistible. They have a crunchy, chewy brownie base that usually features chopped nuts, a creamy custard middle part and a layer of smooth chocolate on top. There can also be variations with different flavours added to the custard, such as mint or mocha. Nanaimo bars are incredibly satisfying and are a classic dessert to bring to any CCanadian Foodsanadian potluck. The best place to try them is their namesake city, so follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail.

Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a sweet and delectable Canadian delicacy. They have a flaky exterior and are light and sugary. Sometimes they have walnuts are pecans inside, other times raisins. They are yummy and bite sized, so it’s easy to eat too many of them! They have a long history – they were eaten in the early 1600s by the first pioneers.

Tim Hortons Timbits

Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution and every Canuck knows the thrill of rolling up the rim of their coffee cup to win a free donut. Even better than the donuts are the Timbits – tiny donut balls just big enough to pop in your mouth. They are fluffy and soft, with a sweet glaze and come in a range of flavours including apple fritter and blueberry.

TourtièreCanadian Foods

This style of meat pie originated in Quebec and is made with finely diced pork, beef or veal. Wild game such as venison is also sometimes used. There is no one correct filling for a Tourtière – the type of meat depends on the region. Sometimes in coastal areas salmon is used. It is traditionally served at Christmas, but many French Canadians will eat it all year long.

There are so many other Canadian foods and treats that didn’t make it onto this list, including Kraft Dinner (packaged Macaroni and Cheese), Montreal smoked meat, Saskatoon berry pie, ketchup chips, maple syrup, split pea soup, Newfoundland Jigg’s Dinner, Canadian bacon, Beavertails and much more. Let us know your favourite Canadian foods in the comments!

Be sure to also check out our blog on our picks for restaurants and cafes for comfort food!