Game meat sausages
The best place to start exploring game, Wvrst offers many different types of game meat sausages, and the variety and reasonable price allow you to learn about the flavour and texture of each meat. Handmade guinea fowl, elk, venison, rabbit, kangaroo and other saus ages are good on a bun.
$9 each, 609 King West (at Bathurst), 416-703-7775, wvrst.com, @wvrstbeerhall
Pigeon pie (squab)
The resto’s circa 1611 recipe is based on the theory that tourtière was originally made from tourte, aka passenger pigeon. Chef Wayne Morris uses a whole squab (a young pigeon), roasting the breast and serving it atop a bed of roasted parsnips alongside a lard-and-butter-crust pie filled with squab leg meat, duck gizzard, parsnip, carrot, potato, celery and thyme.
$20, 59 Ossington (at Bruce), 647-351-5100, borealiato.com, @borealia_to
Crispy masala quail
Queen and Beaver Public House
Head chef Andrew Berry-Ashpole calls it southern Indian fried chicken. This appetizer is a bone-in confit quail that’s been marinated in cumin and cardamom, then deep-fried in a yogurt, gram flour and masala spice batter. Served with aubergine and okra curry plus coriander, mint and chili chutney, it’s a fun twist on more traditional preparations.
$12, 35 Elm (at Bay), 647-347-2712, queenandbeaverpub.ca, @QueenBeaverPub
Polenta with braised rabbit
The rustic dishes of northern Italy include plenty of game meat, and at Tuscan-themed Tutti Matti, chef/owner Alida Solomon braises rabbit with lemon, carrots, fennel, onion, guanciale, and herbs like rosemary and thyme for a comforting and delicious ragù served atop corn and farro polenta and garnished with Tamworth pig crackling.
$24, 364 Adelaide West (at Charlotte), 416-597-8839, tuttimatti.com, @tutti_matti
The venison steak here may be the most expensive dish we’ve recommended, but it’s definitely worth trying. A variation of it often shows up on Boulud’s prix fixe menu for special occasions. Served with a blueberry aigre-doux, sweet potatoes, black kale and a sauce laced with chocolate, it’s a celebration of Ontario venison in all its glory.
$43, 60 Yorkville (at Bay), 416-963-6000, cafeboulud.com/toronto, @cafebouludto