Read my latest Toronto travel guide for Trivago.

Recently ranked the best city to live in the world by The Economist and having the

second coolest neighborhood (West Queen West) in the world by Vogue, Toronto is

quite the media darling of late but it’s no surprise to the many who lovingly call Toronto

home. Having lived in the city for most of my life now, I constantly find myself

discovering amazing spots to eat, drink, and shop. Here’s a morning to night rundown of

some of my old standbys and new favorites.

Start With Brunch

I’ve always been a sucker for delicious cross-cultural concoctions and Patois’ fun family-

style Caribbean-Asian soul food is no exception. Playful brunch items include the Hong

“King” Kong Waffle, which is a Hong Kong-style egg waffle, topped with macerated

strawberries, whipped cream, drizzled Nutella and crispy plantain chips, and the Patois

Eggs Benny with two spicy Jamaican beef patties, poached eggs, jerk Mortadella and

the smoothest Hollandaise. This is definitely not your ordinary scrambled eggs with

bacon and hash browns.

For a fresh farm-driven breakfast, head a little more west to Farmhouse Tavern, or its

offspring Farmer’s Daughter, in the Junction Triangle. Both spots post their brunch

menus every weekend on Facebook but expect their impeccably done staples like the

Eggs Benny with bacon, kale, or gravlax and the Backyard Burger topped with a

perfect sunnyside egg to be there and if you’re lucky, seasonal surprises like the fried

green tomatoes that I still think of and salivate about to this day.

Bonus: If there’s one thing that makes the sometimes 2-hour lineup (yes, Torontonians

love their weekend brunch) all worth it, is the Super Cheesy Bacon French Toast at

School. Imagine gooey cheddar-jack cheese oozing to perfection.

Get Shopping

Born in Vancouver, OAK+FORT is all about classic, clean designs and to top it off, the

price point is insanely affordable. Their new Toronto shop on Queen West features

slouchy sweaters, well-constructed pants, and generous scarves for men and women in

comfy shades of grey, camel, white, and black. These are pieces you’ll want to live in

and wear every day.

For a well-curated selection of labels like Acne, Rag & Bone, and Isabel Marant, head

over to Ossington’s Jonathan+Olivia, and then go next door and hit my favorite spot in

the city for vintage designer pieces, I Miss You.

Take A Break

For a necessary caffeine fix, pop by any one of four Sam James Coffee Bar locations

or the charming Louie Craft Coffee in Liberty Village. If coffee isn’t really your thing, an

authentic yerba mate at El Almacen always does the trick.

Treat Yourself

If fancy spas and facials are a bit too intimidating but you still want to pamper your skin,

a healthy Dermalogica skin treatment at their International Dermal Institute is the way

to go. To continue your body prep for the evening ahead, there’s only one place to go to

for all your waxing needs, The Ten Spot (several locations in the city).

Pre-dinner Snacks and Cocktails

New joint, Bar Fancy is just the right place to get your snack game on. With crispy fried

chicken (served with white sliced bread and a pickle, no less) at $2 and half-price

oysters, this happy hour can’t be beat. A few minutes walk away is OddSeoul where

you can indulge in Korean-flared bites like bulgogi cheesesteak and spicy Korean

chicken wings.

For a pre-dinner cocktail or two, head to the cosy Montauk bar on Dundas West. A

gigantic chalkboard wall lists unique creations as well as every classic cocktail you

crave of, like delicious Negronis, Manhattans, and French75s.

Time For Dinner

The warm woods of the interior and nightly fun crowd at Bar Isabel on College Street

make for an inviting vibe. Mix that with the creative Spanish fare—shared family-

style—which includes a perfectly grilled half or full octopus, jamon croquetas, whole sea

bream ceviche, and the incredibly delicious cocktails, like the Baraganna with charred

pineapple infused 1800 tequila, cointreau, padron pepper and sage simple syrup and

lime juice, make it pretty common to want to spend the entire night here.

Another favorite is the newly opened DaiLo. There is so much love and innovation

poured into each dish at DaiLo where old-school Chinese staples meet French tradition

with a modern Asian twist. It’s an irresistible combination that results in menu

highlights like Hakka Brown Wontons with toasted sesame oil, house XO sauce and

almond crumble and Ponzu Beef Carpaccio consisting of 90 day Olliffe rib cap, yuzu

soy caramel, truffle dwarf peach, pickled chili and fried garlic. While you’re at it, try the

inventive cocktails at the LoPan bar downstairs, like the Ansei Treaty with sake, white

tea and Dolin dry vermouth.

Grab A Night-cap

Head over to Kensington Market for no-fuss drinks and an intimate front patio at

Ronnie’s where hours will, no doubt, fly by in the best way possible as you catch up with

friends while the drinks never stop flowing. Then, roll over to the perpetually packed and

always fun hidden haven that is Cold Tea for a nightcap.

Late Night Munchies

Chinatown is basically a hop, skip and a jump away from Kensington Market and after

the bars have closed, a feeling of “hangry” eventually ensues, making a visit to Rol

San for some greasy/amazing dim sum a must. For run and go munchies, join the line-

up at Poutini’s for poutine that always hits the spot. You will thank yourself tomorrow.

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