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Seven hidden Toronto restaurants that locals swear by

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Whether you plan on heading in to Toronto for a tour or for a quick business trip, you’re eventually going to have to eat. And what better way to fill your empty stomach than with some of the city’s best food? But rather than going to those fancy patio restaurants that line every street in Toronto, take a trip to one of the hidden restaurants that you’re bound to fall in love with.

Just because these places are out of sight, or just wouldn’t typically catch your eye, doesn’t mean that they serve bad food. On the contrary, these restaurants serve some of the best food in all of Toronto. So don’t be afraid to get a little lost on your hunt to find one–it’ll be worth it in the end.

1. Big Crow

Although this restaurant is hidden behind Rose and Sons, it offers up some of the best family-style barbecue food in Toronto. Imagine having everything from cornbread and ribs to trendy foods like salmon poke, all within reach. This is heaven—and we finally found it.

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Rose and Sons Big Crow

2. CaFfino

If you’re willing to take a bit of an adventure through a back alley, you can expect one heck of a reward. CaFfino’s a classy Italian restaurant that’s hidden behind another building on King Street (far away from the rest of reality). You simply can’t go wrong with anything on their menu.

3. The Empanada Company

Whether you’re in downtown Toronto or not, we promise that this one will be worth the trek. The Empanada Company, though hidden from the closest main street, delivers empanadas stuffed with every kind of savoury and sweet filling imaginable.

A photo posted by Cristian (@empanada_company) on

4. Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant

This wonderful gem lies just on the outskirts of Toronto and is the perfect place for any vegetarian who misses the taste of meat (without all the ethical or dietary consequences). Somehow, this restaurant has mastered the ability to mimic the texture and taste of meat using only non-meat products. Steamed fake pork buns? Yes please! Don’t get us started on the fake black bean chicken or black pepper steak on a hot plate—you sure this stuff is fake?

Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant

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5. Pizzeria Via Mercanti

Okay, so maybe Pizzeria Via Mercanti isn’t hidden in an alley or behind a building. But it’s not the most eye catching of places, which is why we’re telling you to go. When you’re craving pasta or pizza or salad, or anything authentically Italian, this place is on par with CaFfino.

6. Smoque N Bones

This barbecue-focused restaurant takes up such a tiny corner in a slew of other small shops and restaurants. Which is why we never expected the food to make such a massive, not to mention delicious, impact on us. If you’re craving some beer and a pile of tender meat, this is the place to go.

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7. Sweet Jesus

This fantastical ice cream shop is stuffed into a little corner between two other buildings, but we can guarantee you won’t get lost finding it. Not when there’s a huge line going out the door and down the block every single day of the week. Their ice cream, dipped in every imaginable topping, is good enough for a god.

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