Nadege, Trinity Bellwoods, Toronto

I’m a huge fan of the Trinity Bellwoods area, and if I was looking to reside in Toronto, I’d give that a good go. I had walked past Nadège Patisserie quite a few times over my week in Canada. I’ve always possessed a major sweet tooth so I knew I had to try it at some point. It’s a good patisserie, but it wasn’t one of my favourites. I ordered the Nadege donut ($8.00) which is ended up really being a cake. There’s layers of caramel chantilly, salted caramel cream, crisp praline wafer and almond shortbread. The presentation seemed a little bit off, there was an blip of glaze. Once you spoon in, the layers all come together. And it’s satisfactory. The caramel notes are balanced and the creaminess is delectable. The textures between crisp and soft didn’t get gel for me. So good, but not as stellar here as some of the other patisserie desserts I’ve had (see: Bibelot). Plenty of options so maybe I would have had more success with another choice.

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7.5/10

Nadège Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Hot Oven Bakery, Roncesvalles Village, Toronto

One of my mornings in Toronto saw me heading along to the Hot Oven Bakery. Established in 1957, there’s a few of these bakeries dotted around Canada. The tourist in me saw it as any other neighbourly bakery mind you, it has a friendly, warm vibe. Perfect for getting up with a smile on the day. I opted for one sweet item and one savoury. I liked the sesame seed topped ham and cheese pastry. It’s fresh, light and a good touch of salt. Whereas I found the Chelsea bun much too sugary. The Glacé cherries coupled with a rich syrup ended up intoxicatingly sweet.

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Tim Hortons, Liberty Village, Toronto

Like most things I came across in Toronto, I have a real soft spot for Tim Horton’s. I love their long hours, the fact there is one on every corner, and of course, some delightful eating. My other visit to Tim Hortons involved a bacon and egg muffin, berry muffin and cookie. Perfect calories to build up stamina for a busy day of adventuring. The baked items are all fresh and deliciously naughty. The muffin was Fruit Explosion flavour, and there was definitely a boom in that bad boy. Their baked good make me happy and they are better than one might expect.

6.5/10

Tim Hortons Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kinka Izakaya Original, Church & Wellesley, Toronto

Transport yourself to Japan with a night in at Kinka Izakaya. It’s available in two locations of Downtown and Annex. It turned out to be my most memorable dining experience during my time in Toronto. It’s a bustling Japanese experience, full of authenticity and good eating. From the moment you step into the restaurant and get shouted at by all staff, you know you’re in for a proper treat. In true izakaya style, the food is served in sharing style and it arrives at seemingly random increments. The ambience of Kinka is electric and that continues in the dishes. They’re full of flavour and passion, served with a deft hand. All the items we ordered were fantastic with a few standouts. There are plenty of choices to navigate and with a contagious atmosphere it’s impossible to leave Kinka Izakaya without a smile.

kinka-calamari

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Milestones, Downtown Yonge, Toronto

After our Niagara Falls tour we popped into Milestones for a later afternoon chill and drink. Our first pick was too packed, but we managed to find a space on the balcony of milestones. Service was rather awful, staff were umm and ahhh-ing us as they worked out if there was space or not. And then something about if we were dining in or not. But a drink is a drink. I had the Moscow Mule, and the pour wasn’t as small as many big hands may suggest. It was to expectations. Overlooking the Eaton Centre and Dundas Square, Milestones has one of the best views in the city. That’s the main reason its worth checking out. I guess there was a humorous situation reflecting disingenuous service when the server asked where we were from and stopped paying attention after the first person answered. I tutted.

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7/10

Milestones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Diperie, The Danforth, Toronto

Any special occasion commands a dessert finish. And my final dinner with my friend (at least for this trip) was no different. I commanded him into La Diperie, a funky little outlet that offers soft serve-based dessert mixes. Originally starting out in Montreal, there’s been a little bit of movement with this store being the first in Toronto. It’s a minimalistic fit out, with a maximised menu offering. From six base soft serve options, you also pick a dip and any number of toppings. Coconut, oreo, pretzel, sprinkles, and many, many more, you’re completely spoiled for choice.

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The price of the waffle/ cone/ sundae does add up quickly, so we went a bit more basic in selecting one of the pre-arranged combinations. Chili chocolate dip and corn chips sums it up. The chili chocolate was too much for the both of us, there was quite a bit of heat in that dip. Soft serve was a bit too melty, and could have done with the size up. The corn chips eh, was weird and quirky enough. The soft serve itself is decent but ultimately maybe not the right choice/ thought it was overpriced for what you get.

6.5/10

La Diperie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dairy Queen, Bloor Street West, Toronto

Dairy Queen, also known as DQ, is a massive chain of stores that sell fast food along with soft serve ice-cream. I wanted to try the latter, but ended up trying the former. I blame the weather. There’s almost 5,000 stores across the world, so it’s not the type of place you need to seek out. We sought it for a quick bite whilst making our way to the mall on foot. We had one order of the potato skins, and another of the pretzels. There was only one staff member on so the poor thing was running around trying to dispense our snacks whilst serving others. Fortunately, the food is indeed fast and it doesn’t take long for it all to be over.

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New York Fries, The Annex, Toronto

New York fries is a chain! Can’t say I’ve seen too many businesses being carved out of the humble potato chip. There’s stores in odd locations like the Middle East and Asia, they wouldn’t have been my first guesses. With a name like New York Fries it all about one staple product, and that’s exactly what we ordered. Basic, skin-on, freshly fried fries. Happy. There’s various seasoning packages available and it makes total sense to liberally apply some flavours on, creating a savoury cloud of salty dust. Service was functional and it wasn’t too long for us to start ingesting then. And it’s a good fry. You can tell it’s fresh potatoes and nothing frozen or dried out like a chain store. So I was happy enough with my chips, but possibly not the most inventive thing out there.

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6.5/10

New York Fries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taylor’s Bakery & Ice-cream, Niagara-on-the-lake

We had a morning stop over at Niagara-on-the-lake on the way to Niagara Falls. Being a Good Friday there was some worry that everything would be closed, but thankfully they stayed open as it is a bit of a tourist throughway. Taylors just happened to be the closest venue from the bus stop and I dived in to sample one of the maple pecan ice-creams that Canada is so famous for. Despite warning of being mega sugary, it’s not overbearing and the nuts are nice too. There’s a bunch of bakery items which looked fair and the staff were efficient to dispense out the orders to the crowds of selfie-stick waving tourists. And then onto, the falls!

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7/10

Taylor's Bakery & Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Amsterdam BrewHouse, Harbourfront, Toronto

If you’re looking for a lakeside brewery and restaurant hotspot check out the Amsterdam BrewHouse. It’s a staggering 14,000-square foot restaurant that seats over 500 guests. So it’s not a place that you particularly need to book ahead. But it does indeed get busy. We indulged in a calorie-heavy lunchtime, building up our reserves for a frantic first day in Toronto. We made good measure of the drinks with a tasting flight, and ordered the lemon chicken schnitzel, buffalo cauliflower and brisket cheese burger. The schnitzel was my favourite here, and also the favourite of the many schnitzels I have entertained. It’s an ultra-crisp coating with sour notes and a good serve of vegetables underneath. The burger and cauliflower were also decent, slightly salty and slightly tangy, in that order. Amsterdam BrewHouse is handy spot with good views on a clear day, so a most worthy drinking hub despite a touristy locale.

amsterdam-cauliflower

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