With the busy lifestyles that many Canadians have, eating out is a common pastime. Most restaurants have take-out as well as eat-in facilities, so many people pick up a quick meal on their way home after a busy day’s work. There are inexpensive, casual chains and expensive, upscale options.
There are also many small delis, bagel shops, pita places, Chinese take-outs and other ethnic restaurants that function mostly as fast-food or take-out restaurants. These can be found throughout the city in any area where there is a lot of shopping available. Most of the big restaurants are a part of a chain, which are quite popular in Canada due to the consistency in product from location to location. Chain restaurants are usually family-friendly and do not require formal attire. While the food is usually good quality, it does not have the level of quality you might expect from a specialty restaurant.
Of course, there are many more restaurants that are independent. Most of the ethnic restaurants are not part of a chain. Likewise, gourmet restaurants tend to be independent. For those looking for more than a meal, Toronto has many places that offer entertainment with dinner. These dinner theaters are wonderful places to experience and can make for an interesting night out.
It’s no secret that Canadians are passionate about their coffee. It is possible to find a coffee shop within 2-3 blocks throughout much of the city. The most popular, and by far the best-known, coffee shop in Canada is Tim Horton’s. It isn’t uncommon for people to refer to getting a coffee as picking up a “Timmy’s”. Of course, Tim Horton’s is far from the only coffee shop in town. Most of the other coffee shops are parts of chains, but there are also many other independent merchants.
With so many options available it may seem difficult to find a place to eat. Fortunately not only are there plenty of selections, there are also many ways to find a decent restaurant.
Word-of-mouth is still the best way to find out what places are the best to try. By asking your coworkers and your neighbors you can find out a lot about the local eateries. Many high-quality meals can be found in places you might never have thought to try.
There are also a number of websites specializing in restaurant reviews:
The Toronto newspapers will list restaurants and are filled with advertisements from various grocery and fast food outlets. You can also look up restaurants in the Yellow Pages, or online at http://www.yellowpages.ca. Another idea is to drop by a tourist information depot and pick up a guide book for the Toronto area. Many of these guidebooks have coupons offering decent discounts at a variety of locations.
Of course, sometimes the only way to find out is to try it. Don’t be afraid to stop in at any interesting looking restaurant or food market and give it a try. Menus are often posted by the door, or can be requested before you sit down. Torontonians are used to people from all around the world, so most places are very open to people from all walks of life. With all the variety available you could eat at a different place for each meal of the day for a full year and still not have tried all of the places to eat in the Toronto area.
Opening hours for Toronto Restaurants tend to vary, depending on the clientele and specialty. Coffee shops and restaurants that serve breakfast generally open at 7:00 AM to service early risers and commuters who are going to/arriving at work. Most downtown restaurants and food courts open their doors at around 10:00 AM for the lunch crowd, while the more fine-dining establishments may only be available for dinner service, opening at 3:00 or 4:00 PM. Closing times also vary, with food court booths and lunch places catering to the business crowd shutting down around 7:00 PM. Family restaurants will generally accept customers up to around 11:00 PM, while bars and pubs adhere to a 2:00 closing time.
There is no real consistency in Toronto with regards to reservations. Some restaurants are more than happy to reserve a table for you, while others (particularly places near major tourist attractions and other high traffic areas) will not. It’s best to call the restaurant you plan to visit or check their website, to see if reservations are required.