If you live downtown, venturing north of Bloor might seem as terrifying as Scarborough Town Centre.
After all, you have everything you need contained within a ten-block radius of your condo, right? Well sure, if you’re settling for the convenience factor.
But instead of just one reason to venture north of Bloor, we’ve come up with 19 that are sure to get you out of your comfort zone…
Duff’s Famous Wings
Duff’s has been the star of Leaside since 1998 when it changed the city’s wing game in a major way. Though there’s now a College Street location, it can tend to be rowdier and more pretentious that our ideal wing-eating environment. What makes the wings so famous? Just, try them for yourself.
A far cry from Baskin Robbins, the secret family recipe of Dutch Dreams’ ice cream has been passed down for generations. Thanks to an eclectic assortment of fun, nostalgic décor, a visit to Dutch Dreams is an experience in itself (aka: a kid’s fantasy world)…and guaranteed to score you that “aunt/uncle of the year” award.
Five Doors North
Five Doors North was doing tapas and casual and comfortable Italian food before it was even a thing. The food is always a hit and the relaxed and quirky vibe feels more like Queen West than North Toronto. You can’t miss it – literally – just look for the five bright doors on the storefront.
The best part about Sporting Life is that you can buy some brand new skis, super stylish ski and après ski gear, and an outfit for a holiday gathering all in one place. Plus, they’re known to have some pretty epic sales.
Le Petit Castor
Le Petit Castor (or “LPC”) is a staple for those nights where you want to avoid the downtown crowd, mingle with those your age or older in a smaller space, and get shamelessly wasted thanks to their famous, booze-filled “Pink Panther” cocktails.
Coquine is a reliable French restaurant that never fails to disappoint with its comforting but not-too-rich menu that includes the best French onion soup in the city (that’s a fact). Thursday evenings always mean a gathering in the bar area where the owner is known to do rounds of shots with customers.
Poor Little Rich Girl
If you’re a female with an event to attend, uptown boutique Poor Little Rich Girl is busting at the seams with dresses and event wear for every type of function. This means everything from a glamourous charity event to a night out on the town with the ladies.
St. Louis Bar and Grill
If you’re looking for a new place to catch the game, subway on up to Davisville Station to hit St. Louis Bar and Grill. You can expect a packed house of sports fans of all ages, hot servers, hotter wings, numerous TVs, and a large, recently revamped patio.
Although 889 Yonge Yoga and Wellness Studio opened a second location in The Thompson Hotel, we venture to its flagship location for its vibe and overall experience. The space is gorgeous, the staff is friendly, and it offers bonuses that many other studios lack, like candlelit classes and free use of lockers (and keys).
The Homeway has been a North Toronto brunch staple for decades. If you’re an eggs benny connoisseur, you need to try one of the restaurant’s creative spins, complete with a seriously addictive homemade hollandaise sauce. With 67 years of experience, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to some Sunday morning home cooking.
Sure the Ballroom Bowl is great and all, but if you’re looking for old school, grubby, downhome bowling sans the big production (and accompanying blow to the wallet), then Bathurst Bowlerama is your best bet.
Second Nature Boutique
Thanks to the closet cleans of the fashion-loving North Toronto ladies, Second Nature Boutique is always packed with all kinds of designer resale fashions. To make our lives easier, the store posts their latest products online.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Mount Pleasant Cemetery offers tranquility in the middle of North Toronto. You feel far removed from the noise and bustle of the surrounding streets within the expansive 19km cemetery – whether it means a peaceful stroll or a serious run.
There’s a reason for the perpetual lineup outside of Bayview’s Hollywood Gelato all summer long. As Toronto’s first gelato bar, it offers 22 house-made flavours at reasonable prices and mixing and matching of flavours is highly encouraged.
If you’re looking for reliable, fresher than fresh sushi, hit Edo in the Forest Hill Village. Despite the real estate value of the surrounding area, the prices at Edo remain fair given the quality. As an added perk, you can BYOB if you feel so inclined (and there is an LCBO right next door).
There’s something about the comforting atmosphere at Caffe Doria that will make you want to stay all day. Always a reliable lunch option, Doria serves up some of the city’s most diet-breaking-worthy paninis and pizzas, accompanied by espresso that’s better than the Starbucks’ across the street.
The Bagel House
If you’re looking for some of the city’s most authentic (and addictive) wood-oven Montreal bagels, hit one of The Bagel House’s three uptown locations. What sets these hand-rolled bagels apart from the rest is their sticky-crunchy-sweet exterior thanks to being boiled in honey water and baked in a wood oven fuelled by maple.
It’s casual, healthy, and dishes up some of the best Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare you’ll try in a long time. Everything is made in-house (including the addictive dips), the famous soup is made from scratch, and they offer takeout. Plus, it’s affordable.
It doesn’t get more authentically France in Toronto than at Douce France. The staff is bilingual, the chocolate is sourced straight from a longtime family-owned company in Lyon (making for some famous hot chocolate), the cappuccino is up to par with Parisian standards, and most of the offerings are delivered fresh from France weekly.
Cover image from Five Doors North