The 10 best Toronto comfort food dishes according to NOW readers

From roti and ramen to fried schnitzel and tacos, here are the dishes from Toronto restaurants that don't quite taste the same at home

A few weeks ago, I casually asked on Twitter about specific Toronto comfort food dishes that couldn’t be made at home. (We did the same from NOW’s Instagram account.)

And we got hundreds of enthusiastic, mouth-watering suggestions. This isn’t a definitive list – after all, comfort food means something different to everyone. But these are hot, savoury and often require an expertise it’s not easy to pick up from a YouTube video. 

Dim sum at Pearl

“Have picked up during pandemic but it’s not the same as in-person dining along with my role as key ‘spotter’ for our table. Memories.”

— @mj7757

Tacos and guac from Hot Mess Tex Mex 

“I’ve tried my best to recreate the tacos from Hot Mess Tex Mex (a fave pre- or post-screening at the Royal) at home and I just can’t quite get there.”

— @sovietmovies

“Hot Mess Tex Mex is the best pick-me-up of the pandemic.”

— @FlyingTrilobite

Vegetarian platter at Lalibela

“We’ve tried replicating Ethiopian food – specifically the vegetarian platter – at home but it doesn’t compare to Nazareth (which stopped serving food before the pandemic) or Lalibela.

— @RhondaRiche

Dolsot bibimbap at Ka Chi

“The hot stone bowl aspect makes it somewhat difficult to reproduce at home.”

— @kateatherley

“I used to live in Seoul and loved bibimbap. Such a simple meal on paper but difficult to make if you’re not experienced.”

— @MikeDancy

Wooden platter from Country Style

“We regularly fantasize about being at Country Style on Bloor with their Wooden Platter in front of us. Comfort food at its finest, and largest.”

— @ShakesBASHd

Ramen at Kinton Ramen 

“Chicken ramen with miso stock with fried gyoza and a big mug of Sapporo. It was my favourite thing to order on a bad day.”

— @plzshutupsenpai

Roti (Butter chicken or saag paneer) from Mother India

“Mother India roti, saag paneer in particular. I went through a phase trying to make Indian food myself, and I realized I would never get it right.”

— @gabriellainga

Roti from One Love Vegetarian

“A roti filled with TVP and callaloo, plus some of their legendary corn soup. Make it at home? Can’t be done! My good friend Ikeila Wright makes it with magic.”

— @atelierivaan

Pad Gra Prao from Khao San Road

“I love the spice and flavours. (It’s very spicy.) I probably ordered from there 20 times while I was in Toronto last fall shooting Workin’ Moms.”

— @ryanbelleville

O’Dogs Beef Dip at the Irv

“It’s a very fancy grilled cheese with lashings of roast beef, served with a huge slug of au jus. It is the absolute best comfort food.”

— @catfish8888


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