West Queen West has been attracting global attention since being named runner-up on Vogue’s list of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods. Despite comprising only a short strip between Shaw Street and Gladstone Avenue, West Queen West manages to pack in more than 50 diverse restaurants. With cuisines ranging from local to Ethiopian, here are a list of spots to check out in Toronto’s hippest creative centre.
The Gladstone Hotel is a Toronto institution that perfectly captures the feeling of West Queen West’s indie scene. This Victorian-style hotel is home to the Café at the Gladstone, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu is mainly bistro-style cuisine with a few unexpected dishes like pad see ew and vindaloo pork adding interest to the selection. With an ever-changing rotation of beers and creative cocktails, the café is ideal for a full meal or even relaxed post-work drinks. Plus, the Melody Bar, found just across the lobby, features live music and DJs on most evenings.
As the name suggests, Poutini’s House of Poutine specializes in poutine. This little takeaway restaurant more than does justice to the Canadian classic, preparing the dish with hand-cut PEI potatoes, fresh cheese curds from Mapledale Farms, and gravy made in-house. Seating is offered at semi-communal tables or it’s also a perfect spot for grab-and-go late-nights eats. The restaurant gains extra points for its eco-friendly use of biodegradable containers and compostable cutlery. The small menu also includes a vegetarian poutine with gravy made from an onion, leek, celery and carrot stock; in addition to bacon, pulled pork and gluten-free versions of the dish.
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