The Carbon Bar
With its slick exterior on the south side of Queen East, The Carbon Bar provides a cool atmosphere and even better food. Barbeque fans can get their fix with the Pit Master platter, BBQ rib mac ‘n’ cheese, and dry hanger steak. Seafood lovers have options like the Fishmonger’s platter and South Atlantic red snapper. With a menu meant for sharing, it’s popular for groups of friends.
The Carbon Bar, 99 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 947 7000
If you’re a fan of grilled cheese, this is one of the East Side’s best-kept secrets. Prohibition Gastrohouse is known for many things, including brunch, hooch hour (twice-a-day happy hour specials), mac ‘n’ cheese, and oysters. However, you have never tried anything as delicious as their pulled pork grilled cheese. With a side of duck fat tater tots and a $5.09 glass of draught beer, it’s a guaranteed heavenly experience.
Aft Kitchen & Bar
Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Aft Kitchen & Bar has become a popular BBQ destination. The menu caters to everyone. From the spring salad to the pulled pork sandwich to the shrimp po boy to the mac ‘n’ cheese. Keep in mind Saturday and Sunday nights are dedicated to Texas BBQ-inspired dishes a real treat for meat lovers in Toronto.
Aft Kitchen & Bar, 686 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 346 1541
La Carnita’s Queen East location is a great addition to its growing taco empire. This location is a bit smaller than the others but still has all the fan favorites you know and love. Start off your meal with tortilla chips and guacamole or Mexican street corn. Taco lovers can enjoy staples like In Cod We Trust, tostada de ceviche, beef cheek, and carnita. It is well worth the trip if you’re craving Mexican food in the East End.
La Carnita, 780 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 344 0780
Open only for breakfast and lunch, Lady Marmalade is often listed as one of the best breakfast spots in the city. Their eggs benedict selection has catapulted them into the brunch spotlight with traditional and non-traditional options like fresh tomato, cream cheese and pesto. If eggs benny doesn’t peak your interest, there are more savory and sweet options, and don’t discard their lunches. Salads, bowls, and sandwiches also make for delicious and healthy options for later in the day.
Lady Marmalade, 898 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 351 7645
From the outside, Leslieville Pumps looks like an unassuming old-time general store, but on the inside, it has some of the best barbeque in the city. Their loaded poutine (with pulled pork), corn fritters, and smoked butter chicken are some must-try options. Most of all, you have to try the Southern beef brisket sandwich. Besides being mouthwateringly delicious, it’s been named the best sandwich in the city.
Leslieville Pumps, 929 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 465 1313
Eastside Social is Queen East’s answer to the growing popularity of seafood-centric restaurants in the city. Their skate schnitzel, smoked trout, and salmon tartare are just a few coastal fare options that help make this restaurant memorable. If you’re not a big seafood fan, entrées like the grilled flank steak or fried chicken are worth trying. The restaurant’s maritime-style comfort makes it a great place for a first date.
Eastside Social, 1008 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 461 5663
Winner of Now Magazine’s 2015 Reader’s Choice Poll for Best Italian Restaurant, Ascari Enoteca is a Leslieville favorite. This Italian restaurant is open for dinner and has every item of authentic Italian food that you crave. Try the spaghetti alla carbonara or the carpaccio di manzo con bagna cauda. Share a plate of the broccolini fritti or spiducci d’agnello. Everything, even the pasta, is made fresh daily.
Ascari Enoteca, 1111 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 792 4157
PO BOX 1192
Only about a month old, PO BOX 1192 may still have a lot to prove, but right now, it’s definitely worth the trip. Located in Rock Lobster’s former Queen East location, PO BOX 1192 delivers reasonably priced snack options for everyone. One of the standout dishes is the butternut squash gnocchi, which will literally make you want to order more. With DJs on Friday and Saturday nights, this restaurant definitely has the potential of being a popular spot.
PO BOX 1192, 1192 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 850 3650
There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian options in the downtown area but Tori’s Bakeshop in The Beach stands out due to their wide variety of eco-friendly and all-natural organic items. Doubling as a bakeshop and a café, Tori’s Bakeshop is known for their vegetable-forward dinner menu. Their shaved seitan with savory pancakes and their cheese slab are some of the items that have you coming back for more.
Tori’s Bakeshop, 2188 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 647 350 6500
By Teya Zuzek