Can you believe it’s already March? Seems as if yesterday it was Christmas, and now things are really picking up with assignments and midterms/exam preparation. For me, this means spending more time on and around campus (as my phone’s data usage will attest to) and therefore eating out with more frequency—with my bank account weeping softly in the background.
I’ve been to a few really great places for lunch, dinner or even just to sit and drink coffee, and I’ve compiled a list of a handful of them for anyone else trying to decide where to have their next meal—either alone or with some friends!
421 Spadina Avenue
Sydney’s star rating: *** .8
My first visit here I knew I would have to return, and I have 3 times since September. The authentic Chinese cuisine is so savoury and comforting, and the soothing jasmine tea they provide each table really continues that vibe. It’s nice for small groups because you can get a bunch of stuff and share all of it, but I’ve also come here alone to catch up on readings and have lunch and had an equally pleasant experience. They take cash and debit, and are often busy—though I’ve only had to wait for a table once. You have to try the green onion pancake and the pork dumplings!
559 Bloor St W
Japanese, Tapas/small plates, drinks
Sydney’s star rating: ****
Ah, Kinka! I would recommend coming here for dinner with some friends. The atmosphere is super friendly and also l o u d. All the servers greet you when you walk in, and if you order the sake bomb, get ready for everyone to scream at you while you slam your fists on a table. The food is creative and flavourful as heck, 100% recommend the carbonara udon. It’s more pricey than Mother’s Dumplings, but the vibe and fun drink selection makes up for it.
382 Spadina Avenue
Pizza, Italian, Salad
Sydney’s star rating: ***.5
Sporting an innovative selection of pastas, pizzas and salads, this delicious Italian restaurant near Kensington has something for any kind of person to enjoy. The prices are great, and it’s perfect either alone or with a few friends. A review from yelp puts it perfectly: “simple fresh ingredients combine together to create unique meals bursting with supreme flavours.” I suggest the arugula salad (goat cheese and dried apricots!) and patate pizza (white truffle oil makes me cry tears of joy). Another small thing that I appreciate is that they give you a whole pitcher of water for the table, and the staff are casual and kind.
388 Spadina Avenue
Sydney’s star rating: ****
Okay, so maybe I come here more often than I’d like to admit. The food is just so delicious, and there’s the kind of variety of yummy-sounding options that keeps me coming back to try that thing that I saw someone order last time that was BEAUTIFUL. They have all kinds of unique desserts and entrées, and WIFI!!! I spend about two hours here each time I come, it’s the kind of place you can settle down and do homework while you sip a fancy tea latte and nibble on some cake.
Pi and Co
1200 Bay Street (and other locations around the downtown area)
Sydney’s star rating: ***.4
Close to Victoria College campus and down the street from the ROM. Not really a place to sit down and have a meal with more than 2 friends, I mainly love this one for it’s build-your-own-personal-pizza style with UNLIMITED TOPPINGS. There are a whole bunch of great options for cheese, veggies and protein. The service is super fast, right next to the subway, and relatively inexpensive. This is great to grab on the way home or before spending a few hours in Goldring catching up on assignments.
Let me know if you visit any of my favourite spots, what you ordered and if you liked it!