Dave Food Map - Toronto - Downtown Chinatown

Toronto has a huge restaurant scene, with great restaurants popping up all the time.  It’s also been a little bit since I’ve been to Toronto, so I thought that I’d tell you about some of my long-standing favourites that have stood the test of time, for me.

This week we are going to go to Toronto's Downtown Chinatown. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Toronto established in 1878, when Toronto was a spry 85 years old. Which is young for a city. Old for a person though.

Another great thing about downtown Chinatown is that you can find almost anything there. Last September, when we were at CHFA in Toronto, we couldn’t find our fridge thermometer we needed for samples. I volunteered to run to the closest Canadian Tire to pick one up.

No luck.

So, I checked their website and it said the Canadian Tire at the Eaton Centre had 99 fridge thermometers. If you know anything about Toronto, driving to the Eaton Centre is a big pain in the ass, but they had 99 of them.

Why would they have 99 fridge thermometers? That seems excessive.

As it turns out, the Eaton Centre Canadian Tire did not have 99 fridge thermometers. They didn’t even have one.

Then Mr. Borgjford suggested Tap Phong Trading Company and they had it and almost anything else you could think of for a kitchen. Anyway, I got to do a slow driving tour of Toronto. So there's that.

Anyway, on with the food!

taste of china logo

Taste of China

338 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON

This may be a controversial statement: Taste of China is my favourite Chinese Restaurant in Toronto – and Toronto has a lot of great Chinese food.

We even have a picture of this restaurant in our kitchen. Mr. Borgjford gifted it to us when we moved to Nova Scotia. Look at me name dropping famous people again.

Let me tell you how I like to eat here. It's always great to go with a bunch of people, so you can try more things. I love starting any meal here with the watercress soup with pork cheek. It’s so good with a nice sprinkle of white pepper.

You have to ask for their special chili sauce with fresh chilies, because it goes so well with the food. Especially the Deep-fried egg-tofu that is crispy on the outside and melty soft on the inside.

Deep-Fried Egg-tofu with chilies and garlis

I also love the brilliantly red fried pork loin with chef’s special sauce. Another nice treat is to pick a live fish from their tank, freshly steamed in a beautiful brothy sauce. I could probably go on and on about the menu (scallops with king oyster mushrooms and garlic shoots).

Speaking of the menu, I rarely use it. This is the type of restaurant where you want to talk to the waiter and ask them what they recommend, find out what is special or in season. They know what you should eat.

Pho Xe Lua

Pho Xe Lua Vietnamese Cuisine (Spadina)

254 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON

I remember when my friend Junichi introduced me to this restaurant years ago. I haven’t spoken to him in years, but he is really cool and knows a lot about sneakers. Anyway, the pho was really good.

They give you the thai chilies. You can get the pho with the tripe and the tendon. Number 101 on the menu. I mean, you can get the pho without the tripe and tendon, but why would you? Would you get an ice cream cone without the ice cream? Just the hotdog, plain? Live a little!

I also recommend having the pork skewers. And the jack fruit fresh fruit milk shake. And that is all I can recommend, because that’s what I always get. And I can only recommend the Spadina location, because that’s the one I go to. 

Pork Skewers with peanuts

There are a lot of Pho places in Toronto, and a lot are very good. This one is my favourite.

Check out the map:

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to let me know any places you recommend in Downtown Chinatown or anywhere else in Toronto!

Love, Dave

PS - I know it is risky mentioning his name three times, but here is a picture of Mr. Borgfjord! You can even meet him, maybe, when we are at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto this Spring.

Mr. Borgfjord