Some Metropolis’ have a signature dish. For example, Vancouver, British Columbia is known for its salmon. Unfortunately Toronto does not have a signature dish. But if you are interested in eating a Canadian dish, you can try a poutine, originated in Quebec during the 1950s. A poutine contains fries, cheese curds and gravy. It may sound like an odd combination but it does taste good. Rather than having a signature dish Toronto is known as a multicultural city therefore there are many different types of eating establishments, such as Chinese, Korean, Indian, Greek and etc. At the end of the day choose what you prefer because Toronto carries many options.
DINING TIP: If you are curious to other customers’ experience at a particular restaurant, go visit www.yelp.ca or www.urbanspoon.com to find reader reviews. This may assist in deciding what restaurant to visit.
DINING TIP 2: I understand in some countries when you ask for water, at a restaurant, they will provide you with a bottle water and charge you a fee. In Toronto, that is not the case and from all restaurants I have visited getting a glass of water is FREE.
Every once in a while when I hang out with friends, I will enjoy ramen for dinner. Ramen is a Japanese style instant noodle in soup with meat and vegetables. A place I sometimes go to for ramen is Ryus Noodle Bar (www.ryusnoodlebar.com), located at 33 Baldwin Street. The ramen at Ryus Noodle Bar is good in quality. Also, if you are willing to pay a little more, you can create your own preferred ramen meal, such as having extra noodle, meat and etc. onto the bowl of ramen. A nice thing I appreciate about Ryus Noodle Bar is you can order a combo meal, which includes a bowl of ramen, an appetizer and a drink. See the picture below for the ramen combo I had, it contains a ramen bowl with extra noodle, 5 pieces of gyoza and a beer. Not all ramen restaurants have the option of creating a ramen combo meal. Although the waitresses in Ryus are not completely fluent in English they still make up for it by providing quality customer service. Also the price of a meal at Ryus Noodle Bar is not bad too. NOTE: Sorry for poor picture quality.
As a tourist when I visit a new destination, I usually like to try that destination’s beer. During my time in Vancouver, I made the effort to enjoy a pint of Granville Island, beer from Vancouver, with my meal. Toronto does have some local beer, which includes Steam Whistle, Mill Street and Amsterdam. I suggest you put the effort to at least try one of these three stated brands because part of the experience of being a tourist is to try what that vacation spot has to offer. In Toronto, the minimum age requirement to drink alcohol is 19 years old; servers can reject a customer if it is believed the consumer does not look 25 years old, therefore bring ID. NOTE: You can usually order beer at restaurants or pubs, but when you purchase beer to go you can only purchase it at the “Liquor Control Board of Ontario” (LCBO) and the “Beer Store,” no you cannot purchase beer at supermarkets.
For Toronto, when dining at a restaurant or a pub, a tip is usually expected. For acceptable service the expected tipping rate is 10%. If the service was good the expected tipping rate is 15%. For excellent service the suggested tipping rate is usually at least 20%. If the service was atrocious you can avoid leaving a tip. At times restaurants may have the tip as part of the bill, if that is the case it becomes your decision if you want to tip extra, based on how you feel the service was. Occasionally when you visit a cafe or small independent fast food restaurants you will notice a “tip jar” next to the cashier. In this situation tipping is more of an option than expected. If I feel pleased with the product I received I usually leave some change but that is just my opinion.
I am aware that eating out everyday on your vacation can prove to be expensive and to save on costs you might want to cook at the place you are living at. In Toronto, the supermarkets you see most frequently are FreshCo, Loblaws, Metro, No Frills and Sobeys. FreshCo and No Frills have a very basic presentation to their supermarkets but carry lower prices, in comparison to Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys. Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys put more emphasis on presentation in their supermarkets but carry higher prices, in comparison to FreshCo and No Frills.