Bomb Bathurst eats: Annex restaurants for lunch and dinner

Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood in an epicentre of localshops, charming Victorian homes, and best of all, some of the city’s mostbeloved restaurants. If you find yourself peckish on the bustling Bloor Streetstrip, stop in at one of these Annex haunts and hotspots for a casual-meets-classy lunch or dinner. [Photo courtesy of Schmaltz Appetizing

Live Organic Food Bar

1
264 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R 1V7

Raw, gluten-free, and vegan fare at its best is found at one of Toronto’s original health-conscious restaurants. But if you’re expecting a to-go salad bar, think again. With exposed brick and modern décor touches, the Dupont space is a decidedly more sit-down-and-chat type restaurant than Live Organic’s Liberty Village location. Top picks include the sweet potato pad Thai, the nachos, and a sample from the colourful selection of made-fresh smoothies. Dessert? The raw chocolate crepes and tiramisu are must-tries.

Chadwick's

2
268 Howland Ave, Toronto, ON M5R 3B6

North American with British slang and Latin soul; that’s how Chadwick’s describes its unique approach to casual-yet-complex fare. What that translates to? Mac n cheese with salda verde and cojita, mole BBQ beef ribs, and Guatemalan smoked brisket (they’ve also got a slew of veggie-friendly dishes to boot). Whether you’re hungry for brunch, lunch or dinner, this Dupont-dwelling restaurant is a long-time favourite among Annex lokes, and it just went through a menu and interior revamp. Summer patio? Check.

El Furniture Warehouse

3
410 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X5

With a food menu where everything is priced at $5, and a sleek interior to boot, EL Furniture Warehouse has achieved serious hotspot status among the Annex’s many resto-bars. A garage door window provides open-air, people-watching bliss at the front of the shop, while the back area hosts the vibes of a modern tavern: wood-clad, plenty of exposed brick, and moody lighting. There is almost perpetually a line-up at this spot, but it moves quickly and it’s worth it for what awaits inside.

Fresh on Bloor

4
326 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W5

If you’ve heard the legends about the superiority of Fresh’s vegan and gluten-free kitchen, we’re here to tell you the rumours are true. Choose from salads and bowls chock-full of tofu steaks, miso gravy, veggies and more. Fresh juices and smoothies will provide an shot of energy, but if you’re looking for something heftier, the range of veggie burgers, which feature made-in-house almond and grain patties, is expansive and come with all the guilty pleasure fixin’s – did some say grilled bacon tempeh?

Schmaltz Appetizing

5
414 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R 1V9

We know you’ve seen the #Schmaltz Instagrams. Those with a hankering for authentic Jewish-style bagels, superior schmear, and all the smoked fish they can get their hands on find what dreams are made of at Anthony Rose’s appetizing shop on Dupont. While there’s not much in the way of sit-down eating, you can pop in for a hefty bagel sandwich to go. With herring, pastrami gravlax (yes, it exists), smoked sturgeon and more also on the roster, we suggest you stay for a few samples, too.

Paupers Pub

6
539 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y6

One of Toronto’s oldest pubs also happens to be one of the Annex’s best spots for a pint and a burg, or a cheap Sunday Caesar. It’s all charm at Pauper’s – the twosome velvet-covered booths and gold railings create the unmistakeable vibes of a classy British watering hole, while the selection of local craft beer and upgraded pub fare make it an eatery worthy of every Toronto foodie’s palate. Oh, and did we mention the rooftop patio? It’s one of Bloor Street’s best for weekday lunch or a weekend meeting spot for you and your thirsty pals.

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

7
386 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X4

For expertly rendered thin-crust pizza in the Annex, head to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria. With gorgeous domed windows, exposed brick, and luxe leather booths, Famoso is date-worthy to say the least, ideal for a casual meal in an inspired interior. For a midday nosh we suggest the lunch special, which includes a “pizzetta” (mini pizza) served with a tomato bisque, Caesar or Napoli salad. Dinner fare ranges from fresh Neapolitan pies with a smattering of intriguing ingredient combos to pastas, salads and sandwiches.

Hey Lucy Cafe

8
2-440 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X5

With three locations across the city – one in the heart of the Annex – Hey Lucy has become a Toronto go-to for lunch, brunch, dinner, drinks, late night eats, the list goes on. Wraps, calzones, paninis and pastas dominate the lunch menu (our drool-worthy pick: the flatiron steak wrap with Parmesan, Asiago and roasted red peppers), while dinner offers a broader range of wood-fired pizza and heftier entrees like steak frites and bacon fettuccine carbonara. To boot, the side-street patio is one of the summer’s prime locales for a daytime refresher with pals.

By The Way

9
400 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X5

Contemporary Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare is the name of game at this Annex mainstay, a cozy restaurant and patio on the Bloor Street strip proper. You’ll see locals dining here at all hours of the day, since the spot serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. We suggest a few selections of mezes (falafel, Israeli salad, marinated beets, and some seriously legendary hummus) – you’ll quickly discover why By The Way has earned a reputation for some of the hood’s best healthy meets oh-so-satisfying grub.

Mr Tonkatsu

10
520 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y3

When you’re in the mood for Japanese-meets-fried-goodness (arguably a culinary category all its own), this mom-and-pop eatery at Bloor and Bathurst should be your first stop. Compact as it may be, Tonkatsu boasts some of the meanest fried pork in town and is a particularly good pick if you’re looking for a quick bite for lunch or dinner. The chicken karaage don with soba noodles is a customer fave, as is the pork loin katsu meal (served with the full gamut of necessary accoutrements).

Our talented brewmasters are among the most beloved makers in the city, having carved out Toronto’s status as a destination for award-winning craft beer. Although the culture is home-grown and goes way back, post 2011, a slew of new spots have popped up across the city. Here are the stories behind both our famed microbreweries and innovative newcomers on the scene. [Photo credit: Celine Kim]
From second-storey terraces to canopy-covered courtyards, 2016 has been a good year for Toronto’s patio game. We’ve got the goods on the brand-new brewery on Roncesvalles and the Lakeshore’s most recent party-worthy spot. East to west, these resto-bar newcomers have created inspired outdoor spaces so you can start patio season off right. [Image credit: iStock.com/Sean Pavone] 
On Sunday May 1st 2016, the Artscape Wychwood Barns hosts TO’s largest festival for gluten-free foodies. With workshops led by gluten-free experts and over 65 food vendors to sample from, this event is a must-attend for wheat-sensitive Torontonians. From cupcakes to malt beer and cider tastings, the Gluten Free Garage is where to snack up and stock up this weekend. [Photo by Franco Deleo; courtesy of the Gluten Free Garage]
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