In the days since the most horrific scene Toronto has witnessed in modern times the neighbourhood is healing, attending vigils, walking together and comforting each other. These are necessary steps to confronting any tragedy. And while moving on is never going to be an option, we need to take steps to take Yonge Street back. Being there for each other is a great first step, but getting out and supporting the dozens of local businesses and restaurants that make up this vibrant community is a powerful way to show that although despicable events can happen anywhere, we won’t back down. This is our city, the best in the world.
Here are some of our favourite restaurants and eateries in North York.
Chae Kim’s bar on Yonge, just north of Sheppard boasts bar bites in a lively setting, with wood clad walls and high tops and communal tables setting the scene. A self-proclaimed Korean-Fusion restaurant, Chae’s eats match perfectly with the boozy cocktails, it’s a great place to meet up to start the night off, or for a few drinks before last call.
Getting yelled at is only part of the fun, one step inside this Japanese restaurant just tucked in off Yonge features a sexy patio, rotating menus and smaller plates built to be shared. Chu-Highs are mandatory here- it’s an upscale vodka soda, with fresh whole fruit for you to DIY mix + garnish.
Ramen fans in the know head to Kinton Ramen for their porky broths, spoon in hand and ready to slurp. Kinton’s tidy spot near Empress Walk is similar to the other locations, now spanning over to Japan as well.
Chae Kim’s sibling to Han Ba Tang is closer to Finch, on Yonge Street. The heritage wooden doors and glowing warm lights guide you inside the Japanese restaurant, dedicated to authentic udon noodles with modern interpretations.
Vegans across Toronto have been making the pilgrimage to Nanashake for cool treats since they launched a few years ago in the Emerald Park towers (or Hulk Towers to us locals). Soft serve style cones and cups are made with frozen bananas and crushed cashews, with fun flavours and let’s be real, cute monkeys all over the place doesn’t hurt a bit! These Hulk Towers are also home to Allwyn’s, a necessary stop for patties, and Poke Eats, a contender for best poke bowl in the city.
This corner coffee shop aims to set the bar higher with their grab and go format of well-stocked made in house sandwiches, salads and breakfast eats. North York has been flocking since they opened in the fall, with friendly service and two floors for ample seating in the c-office.
Look for the lineup and you’ll know you found the spot. The first export restaurant from Japan for this brand, Konjiki scored a Michelin star for it’s efforts back home, with robust bowls like the only-on-Wednesday Lobster Ramen, with a lobster cream reduction. Grab a cone on the way out, the matcha soft serve is delightful.
My fave place on the Yonge corridor for sushi has been holding court since shutting out the Black Sheep pub almost a decade ago. Grab a spot at the bar to see the magic happen first hand. And if you’re into spicy eats, the Crazy Roll is legendary.
All photos by Libby Roach.