As I headed to North America, even though it wasn’t to the States, I was pretty determined to track down some good hamburgers – given how difficult it is to find hamburgers in London these days!
My first stop in Toronto was The Burger’s Priest, ‘redeeming the burger one at a time’. It immediately caught my eye on the lively Queen Street and did not disappoint as my first meal of the week. Hearty and tasty with a focus on simplicity, certainly a winning approach in my opinion. Delivered in a small and intimate location where you could over hear some typical Torontonian tittle-tattle, I discovered that Canadians, as well as us Brits, can only actually seem to talk about hamburgers when eating hamburgers!
The second burger joint I tried later in the week – Holy Chuck, famous for the ‘Go Chuck Yourself’ challenge with a SIX patty burger, trumped the Burger’s Priest effortlessly. Needless to say I wasn’t mentally prepared to ‘Go Chuck Myself’ however the human sized portions I indulged in where excellent. I was intrigued by the ‘Holy Duck’ which was served with Foie Gras but instead I opted for the ‘Jerky Cow’ and was very pleased with my choice.
Fancy Frank’s Gourmet Hot-Dogs was the next place to catch my eye on Queen Street and is well worth a visit, offering a wide range of hot-dog toppings and an awesome variety of Poutine – french fries with a light gravy and cheese curds. Although it sounds like something you’d possibly expect on the bank of the Humber rather than the bank of Lake Ontario, it’s now my favourite dish. Aren’t Canadian’s supposed to be healthy?!
My favourite spot to drink was Weslodge, winner of the OpenTable Diner’s Choice 2015. Great cocktails, Gatsby-esque decor… and they serve Poutine at all hours – what more could you possibly want?
Now if you’re in the mood for a more artisan experience I would wander down to St. Lawrence Market, an indoor market packed with specialty vendors, on Saturday morning (jet lag ensured that this was at the crack of dawn for me!). This place is obligatory for any visit to Toronto – just to wander around and take in the sights and smells of the different stalls is a worthwhile experience not to mention that the food was fantastic too, especially the Chicken Parmesan with hot peppers from Mustachio’s.
Finally, no conversation about hospitality in Toronto is complete without a mention of Tim Horton’s. Found on pretty much every street corner, they have perfected selling decent coffee at a record-breaking speed. Most mornings, I sat mesmorised by the interactions between the Torontonians and their servers – ‘Double double*’, ‘Coming up’ x Infinity! I will admit that there’s ‘decent’ coffee anywhere, but their USP is undoubtedly the fact that they sell the finest chocolate chip muffins in the world. I wish I could have brought some back with me!
If I ever decided to leave London for pastures new, or we were taking votes on the city for Ignite’s next office – Toronto would certainly be a serious consideration. In the meantime, if the Tim Horton’s franchise ventured this side of the pond that would be just fine by me.
Here at Ignite, hospitality is a passion that lives in our agency. To find out what our dedicated team of experts can do for your hospitality business, please get in touch.
*Coffee with double cream, double sugar’.