Toronto’s tasty Caesar salads

Feeling like a not-so-virtuous salad? If you prefer your greens coated in creamy dressing and laced with fresh Parmesan and crispy bacon, dig in to the Caesar salad offerings at these nine Toronto restaurants.

Jacobs & Co Steakhouse

1
12 Brant St, Toronto, ON M5V 2M1

This upscale steakhouse in King West specializes in premium cuts of meat and refined hospitality. In keeping with the sophisticated old-money ambiance, Caesar salads are prepared from scratch tableside in a rather ceremonial fashion. Ingredients are delivered across the dining room on a cart and chefs theatrically toss, assemble and serve the dish right in front of your eyes. Guests can also opt to add white anchovy for a fishier flavour.

The Gabardine

2
372 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5H 2W9

Bay Street suits take long lunches at this downtown restaurant while enjoying upscale pub fare and vintage cocktails. The garlicky Caesar salad (available at both lunch and dinner) is a meal in itself but also makes a great warm up to the heavenly mac ‘n’ cheese. Crunchy romaine hearts are topped with double-smoked bacon, rosemary croutons and soft-boiled eggs — the runny yolks add a deliciously creamy texture.

Fonda Lola

3
942 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G8

Put down the fork and take a bite out of the hand-held Caesar salad wraps at this colourful Mexican cantina on Queen West. The classic bowl salad is reimagined with bib lettuce folded around candied maple jalapeño bacon, Caesar avocado mousse and fresh parmesan cheese. Even the most devout Caesar fans will be thrilled by this palate-pleasing variation that delivers a sweet and spicy twist.

Barque Smoke House

4
299 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2M3

It might seem counter intuitive to order a bowl of salad at a BBQ joint, but its hard to pass on the Barque Caesar. The bowl of greens arrives dressed with grated cheese and large chunks of sweet-yet-salty candied smoked bacon that’s prepared at the back of the restaurant in the house smoker. If you want to make it extra carnivorous (you are in a smokehouse, after all), add pulled chicken or smoked shrimp on top.

Gusto 101

5
101 Portland St, Toronto, ON M5V 2N3

Housed in a converted auto garage, this King West trattoria attracts a cool clientele with its honest Southern Italian cooking and dollar-per-ounce wine on tap. When a restaurant specializing in wood-fired pizza and indulgent pasta dishes becomes renowned for its signature salad, you know it has to be pretty damn good. A lighter take on the traditionally rich Caesar, the Cavolo Nero features a mix of lacinato kale, zante currants and toasted pine nuts tossed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette dressing and topped with pecorino and parmigiano cheese. The dark green salad is full of nutrient-rich ingredients.

The Octagon Restaurant

6
7529 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2B4

This elegant fine dining restaurant has been serving Thornhill residents for over 40 years. The octagonal-shaped steakhouse features opulent décor throughout — sparkling chandeliers, dark wood furniture, stained glass lanterns — and entertaining chefs prepare and serve Caesar salads (for a minimum of two diners) tableside in oversized wooden bowls. Not just a feast for the eyes, the bountiful mix delivers an expertly-executed mix of dark leafy greens, romaine lettuce, house-made croutons and crunchy bacon bits coated in a delicately smooth dressing.

The Hogtown Vegan

7
1056 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M3

Looking for a gluten-free, vegan alternative to the traditional Caesar salad? Get your greens at this Bloorcourt vegan comfort food joint where the modified (but equally delicious) Caesar option is an ideal indulgence for those with dietary restrictions or allergies. The salad features crisp romaine lettuce, fakin’ bits (you won’t believe its not bacon), almond “parmesan” cheese, optional croutons and a house-made creamy dressing. Add fried “unchicken” strips for an even heartier meat-free meal.

Bannock

8
401 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5H 2Y4

If you’ve worked up an appetite shopping at the Eaton Centre, head on over to this casual spot from Oliver and Bonicini. You’ll find locals and tourists alike noshing on crowd-pleasing Canadian comfort foods like chicken pot pie, mushroom gnocchi, duck poutine pizza in a refined-yet-casual atmosphere. Bannock — the restaurant’s namesake — refers to a traditional flatbread brought to Canada by Scottish explorers, and you’ll find the signature bread in numerous dishes on the menu. The house Caesar features romaine hearts and dinosaur kale tossed with crispy lentils, peas and fried pieces of bannock in lieu of traditional croutons.

Stoney's Bread Company The Queens Way

9
1045 The Queensway, Etobicoke, ON M8Z 1R1

You’ll have to head pretty far west (like, Etobicoke far) to sample the oversized salads at this bistro on the Queensway. The colourful veggie-packed plates are a fresh alternative to some of the not-so-healthy fast food spots in the area. That said, the classic Tuscan Caesar salad here isn’t exactly lacking in calories. The greens are dressed in a roasted smoky garlic emulsion and topped with crispy bacon and shredded cheese. Enjoy the salad plain or upgrade your meal with grilled chicken or shrimp and scallops.

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