Welp, it’s getting a lot colder outside and a little harder to deny that winter is here. With a combination of the cold, the dark days of the winter, and the ongoing *gestures at world* all that, we find ourselves frequently wrapped up in our best blanket, craving the food and drinks that comfort us. From warm, hearty meals and rich desserts, to old familiars and fine drinks, this post is to celebrate the things you can find in Old Town Toronto that help us feel like all will be right with the world.
What can give the warm and fuzzies better than a hot cuppa? How about $500 bucks. You still have a chance to earn $500 each for yourself and a local OTT business through the Shop Old Town Toronto 2 Win contest! Spend more than $25 at any OTT business, upload a photo of your digital receipt, and immediately be entered in our weekly draw. While there is a limit of one receipt per business per day, you can submit receipts from multiple businesses daily. For more info check out shopoldtownto2win.com Contest ends December 19th.
Need we say more about the remarkable healing powers of chocolate? They can make a bad mood better with one bite and it pairs so well with watching a movie in bed.
Neo Coffee Bar – neocoffeebar.com
When the situation demands something decadent, rich, and probably chocolatey, the good people at Neo Coffee Bar will answer the call with their selection of desserts and seasonal treats. We personally can’t stop drooling over their Quatre Chocolate Mousse, a four-part chocolate cake featuring ginger chocolate mousse, chocolate sponge cake, chocolate glaze with chopped almonds and cocoa nibs, and a Japanese hōjicha caramel brûlée.
Do we really need to write any more? That description alone should have you firing up your phone to make an order. Trust us, just writing about it made us stop to do order one. Or three. Okay, maybe ten.
“Go Big or Go Home” Hearty Meals
You know the types of meals we mean here. The ones with massive portions that leave you unbuckling your belt and patting your belly with affection as you drift into a lovely nap on the couch. If good food is an act of self-care, these meals are a day at the spa.
SukhoTHAI – sukhothaifood.ca
If you’re in the mood to treat yourself, you may as well go with the best. The famous SukhoTHAI, especially their Wellington location, has long been a favourite spot for delicious and soul healing Thai food in Old Town Toronto. From their signature pad thai dishes and spring rolls to their downright incredible stir frys and garlic shrimp, SukhoTHAI has a way of making a comfortable night in ordering delivery an experience to remember.
Pearl Diver – pearldiver.to
Look, it’s time to be honest here. We could write up a lot of amazing things about Pearl Diver and why they’re an amazing source of comforting foods. The quality and freshness of the ingredients, the care and talent that goes into cooking them, the easy customer service that won’t harsh your mellow, the fantastic selection of raw oysters,all of that is really really great. But it all seems to be a bit overshadowed by a dish they call the SEAFOOD TOWER, which…the name alone whispers sweet promises of a cozy food coma. The tower is a highlight of some of the best to be had at Pearl Diver, containing 12 oysters, pickled mussels, a crab leg cluster, shrimp cocktail, and seared tuna. And if you want to be extra decadent with it, the Seafood Tower is available for delivery so you don’t even have to change out of your sweatpants.
Le Papillon on Front – papillononfront.com
Ah, Tourtière! The great French-Canadian meat pie that warms us right down to the bones. Traditionally served in the winter time, it’s the perfect blend of rich and hearty, with a single slice guaranteeing to fill you up but leaving you always wanting a second or a third. If you can get them freshly made you’re in for a treat and if you can get them from a good restaurant, you’re considered very fortunate. Thankfully, Le Papillon on Front has both with the sale of their in-house tourtière baked fresh and available in half portions (though it’s advised that you buy extra as you’ll want leftovers). As long as you order 24 hours in advance, you can get your delicious meat pie freshly made for lunch or frozen for just the right time.
George St. Diner – thegeorgestreetdiner.com
Whether or not you hail from the Emerald Isle, nothing really beats waking up on a chilly winter morning and tucking into a classic Irish Breakfast, made all the more comfortable and cozy when it’s cooked right at home and you can stay in your PJs. If that image is making you hungry, then the only solution is to place an order with The George Street Diner! They have a wide range of luxury food hampers, but the one that’s been catching our eye is the Irish Breakfast Hamper. The basket features a box of Barry’s Tea, link sausages (both regular and cocktail), black and white pudding, Farrelly’s famous orange marmalade, a packet of Rashers, a tin of Heinz baked beans and Mccann’s steel-cut oatmeal, and of course a bag of Farrellys famous Irish Soda Bread Mix.
Sound good? Then place an order for curbside pickup or delivery and make sure you have your appetite!
Make it Italian
Now, comfort food doesn’t necessarily have to do all the heavy lifting to make you feel good. Sometimes it’s as much about the surroundings as it is the food. Imagine it now, it’s 7pm, you’re in your living room with pyjamas on, a warm blanket wrapped around you, and the lights dimmed while you’re watching something good on Netflix (We’ve been SUPER into The Queen’s Gambit lately). What would make that scenario better? Pizza. Or pasta. Heck, a nice slice of quality ‘za, a massive plate of hearty pasta, or even a good Italian sandwich would just elevate the experience of an already lovely movie night at home.
Cantina Mercatto – cantina.mercatto.ca
For a good pizza we’re lucky to have a little more than a few go-to places. Obviously Mercatto Cantina is a solid choice for inspired Italian cuisine (their pasta selection is out of this world), but for comfort food purposes nothing quite beats their pizza. Favourites include the classic Margherita and the always hearty Prosciutto, with arugula, tomato, grana padano, and fior di latte.
Fusaro’s Italian Kitchen – fusaros.com
We’re also a huge fan of Fusaro’s Kitchen on Richmond St. East, where along with their fabulous Rigatoni alla Bolognese and to-die for paninis (We always go with the Otto, with extra La Bomba mayo), they make a dang good pizza. We’d heartily recommend the Mamma, named for that lovely person who shouldn’t have to remind you to eat your vegetables. It has basil pesto, grilled zucchini & eggplant, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, mozzarella.
ARDO – ardorestaurant.com
But if it’s a more substantial meal of quality Italian fare you’re after, the good folks at ARDO have put together some fancy ready to make at home options with fresh house-made pasta, ragu, and their famous La Salsa di Pomodoro tomato sauce. And if you want something sweeter, they have cannoli kits which should satisfy. Additionally, if you’re looking for a hearty comfort meal on a holiday that might be a little different this year, Ardo is currently taking pre-orders on their Christmas Dinner for Four, which features wood fire oven slow roasted roast beef, fried & roasted delicata squash, cauliflower & Sicilian olives, Pasta Ncasciata, and a beautiful dessert of Tira Arancia.
Enjoy a Tipple
Remember what we said about making a cozy experience even comfier? Well experts agree that a calm evening with some smooth jazz playing on the stereo can only be made better with a bottle of fine quality drink. For a bonus bit of sweetness, the satisfaction of knowing you paid for it at a reduced price is just *chefs kiss* a wonderful feeling. And hey, if you feel like a quality bite while picking up some nice wine, you couldn’t be in better hands.
Nami Japanese Restaurant – namirestaurant.ca
The crew over at Nami Japanese Restaurant are continuing to offer their wide selection of wines and sake at half price. The Andean Malbec or Château Lagrave Paran Bordeaux Supérieur in particular should prove to make for a cozy evening in, though it would be worth it to ask the knowledgeable staff about what sake to pair with your night in. And if you find yourself relaxing so much that you forget dinner, Nami offers a late night menu from 8-11pm. You should order the Premium Bara Chirashi, which has Chutoro, Hokkaido Uni, kura, Unagi, Amaebi, Tamago, and a chef’s choice of other fine ingredients because frankly, you’re worth it.
HOTHOUSE – hothouserestaurant.com
HOTHOUSE, who are opening up their extensive wine cellar for takeout at half price! From a velvety 2017 Michel Grands Bourgogne Pinot Noir to the light and bubbly Veuve Clicquot Brut, you’re sure to find something nice to drink. Want to pair it with an equally comforting meal? Their famous Jambalaya should do the job!