Madame Marie’s Guide to the Best Toronto Takeout of 2020
If there’s one thing that 2020 proved, it’s that Toronto has some top-tier culinary teams that know how to produce delectable takeout. From juicy burgers topped in homemade sauce to five-course tasting menus complete with personalized playlists, our city’s restaurants have impressed – and that’s a massive understatement!
I hope you’re hungry, because here’s my guide to the best takeout experiences in 2020 (listed alphabetically).
A tasting menu at Alo is a culinary journey taken to exquisite heights by Chef Patrick Kriss. In true Kriss fashion, it’s just as delicious and detail-oriented as the restaurant version. For $65 per person (with a beverage add-on option) the multi-course tasting menu changes regularly. Past dishes have included ricotta agnolotti, beef bourguignon and dark chocolate crèmeux. Takeout from Alo at Home even includes a curated Spotify playlist that, together with the meal, will add some much-needed levity to social isolation.
162 Cumberland Street
This eminently elegant Yorkville restaurant has takeout tasting menus that will make any Torontonian blush. Chef/owner Patrick Kriss and his detail-oriented team have transformed their scrumptious dine-in offerings into an impressive prêt-à-manger format. The tasting menu culls together Asian-inspired raw dishes and succulent proteins fired on the charcoal grill. Some highlights include Hamachi tartare and beef tenderloin with ramps and oyster mushrooms.
163 Spadina Ave.
If Alo is Canada’s best restaurant, Aloette is Canada’s best casual restaurant. In March 2020, chef/owner of Alo Food Group, Patrick Kriss, launched pickup and delivery options through Ritual, DoorDash and UberEats. When I heard this news, I couldn’t wait to sink ma bouche into the best hamburger in the city and polish off a dreamy chocolate cheesecake smothered in raspberry sauce.
202 Dovercourt Road
Are you looking for a comforting meal that evokes all the nostalgia from Swiss Chalet, but is a thousand per cent better? Bernhardt’s, Toronto’s newest place for rotisserie chicken with all the fixings, is deserving of a spot on your dining list. Owned by Zach Kolomeir of Dreyfus, the daily French-inspired menu features rotisserie birds, locally-sourced vegetables and low intervention wines.
214 Ossington Avenue
If two guys know how to do stellar, soul-satisfying takeout, it’s Myles Harrison and Joachim (Joe) Hayward, the co-owners of Crosley’s. This pop-up was temporarily operating out of Bar Piquette in December while they patiently wait to put the finishing touches on their brick-and-mortar space on Ossington Avenue. From cheesy rarebit to whole turbot with bottarga, everything was lip-smackingly delicious. If this takeout experience was a glimpse of what’s to come when Crosley’s finally opens its doors, Toronto is going to be spoiled rotten.
229 Carlton Street
Dova, a new Sicilian restaurant by chef/co-owner Roberto Marotta and owner Jacqueline Nicosia, has transformed the takeout game. If there’s one place you need to try if you haven’t already, this is it. Anything you order is sure to impress, especially the Italian-imported burrata and Ragu Siciliano.
729 Queen Street East
ēst offers a tiny glimpse into its culinary genius with its takeaway offerings. Chef Sean MacDonald’s passion for soulful, satisfying food translates just as perfectly into takeout format, complete with detailed preparation instructions to make an epic meal chez vous. The rabbit ragout rigatoni, crafted from braised rabbit leg, rabbit sausage, rabbit offal and house cured pancetta, will not disappoint.
Gianna’s Patties and Pies
1554 Queen Street West (back entrance)
Making its home in the former Tennessee Tavern in Parkdale, Gianna’s offers two of the most satisfying comfort foods – craveable burgers and Detroit-style pizza. Try the Old World Pepperoni for starters. It’s made with focaccia-like crust that ferments for a day prior to becoming a pizza. Toppings include a simple tomato sauce, plenty of spicy pepperoni and melty mozzarella that creates its own satisfying crunch after the pie emerges from the oven.
1118 Queen Street East
This contemporary French restaurant has been a destination for lovers of French cuisine since 2016, as evidenced by the drool-worthy weekly menus created by proprietor Darlene Mitchell and her all-female team. The whole menu is available for takeout, including a stellar collection of natural and Old World wines.
642 King Street West
This beloved neo-bistro on King West serves fully prepped and ready-to-eat dinners every Friday and Saturday. For $39 per person you’ll receive a four-course “back to basics” bistro meal featuring some of their French-inspired creations such as French onion soup, roasted chicken with root vegetables and Basque cheesecake.
210 Lakeshore Road East, Oakville
Located in the heart of historic downtown Oakville, Hexagon is a modern French restaurant that was recently named one of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants 2020. Order takeout and sample some of Hexagon’s noteworthy dishes, such as big eye tuna with rhubarb, coconut and lime and succulent aged striploin.
Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine
226 Greenwood Ave.
This Toronto brunch institution is definitely drool-worthy and one of the best things about ordering takeout is that you don’t have to wait in the never-ending line. I highly recommend the Cairo Classic!
59 Cameron St. and 1537 Avenue Rd.
Who doesn’t love a carby, crowd-pleasing ‘za? Thankfully, pizza is still a mainstay in the delivery/pick up world, and Maker does their pies right. Both of their locations are offering curbside pickup and delivery. If you’re looking to switch things up, try the Cool Hand Zucc – an oh-so-satisfying white pizza.
Maple Leaf Tavern
955 Gerrard Street East
At this reincarnated east-end tavern, you’ll find incredibly satisfying comfort food. What goes better with a cocktail than some classy pub fare? Try the creamy Caesar salad, mouthwatering burger and succulent flat iron steak with tarragon butter.
Matty’s Patty’s Burger Club
923A Queen Street West
Located on the perimeter of Trinity Bellwoods, Matty’s Patty’s Burger Club is making a name for itself when it comes to the newest burger trend – smash burgers. These aren’t your ordinary smash burgers, though. They’re stacked double patties complete with a fluffy milk bun, plenty of gooey American cheese, and house-made Matty’s Patty’s sauce.
Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
85 Hanna Avenue, Suite 104
Are you looking for a mid-week breakfast boost – or a pantry refill, for that matter? Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village has you covered. Order their irresistible blueberry pancakes and salmon Veda to get your brunch fix at home.
Pai Northern Thai Kitchen
18 Duncan Street
Pai, one of the city’s finest Thai establishments, is serving their chili-laden food for takeout and delivery. Not only does Chef Nuit Regular prepare a mean Pad Thai and green curry, she also does a standout rendition of khao soi, a noodle soup made with a choice of protein and crispy egg noodles. Pai’s menu also includes a soulful massaman curry that will make you want more.
217 Geary Avenue
There’s only one name you need to remember for authentic Middle Eastern cuisine: Parallel. Owned by two brothers, this spacious café is best known for its vibrant green falafel, ground-on-site sesame butter and homemade halva. At Parallel, the falafel (3 for $6) is some of the best I’ve had in terms of technique and flavour. The blend of coriander, mint, scallion, parsley, and green pepper adds a refreshing twist. And the hummus ($14) is silky and generously topped. Be sure to try the truffle hummus ($18) for a decadent treat.
111 Dupont Street
This Toronto mainstay has been attracting Mexican food lovers since opening in 2011. Thankfully, the O.G. of the Mas Playas restaurant group has been open for takeout and delivery throughout COVID-19. Diners can scarf down chicken tinga tacos, ancho braised beef short rib burritos, and some of the most authentic guacamole in the city. One thing’s for certain: whatever you order will pair nicely with their famous margaritas.
597 College Street
This modern French bistro with outstanding food has tempting takeout offerings that will make you salivate. For $65 per person, “Pompette at Home” is a four-course tasting menu that’s sure to please every palate.
1 Richmond Street West
Carl Heinrich’s downtown farm-to-table restaurant has everything from juicy burgers to flavourful salads and tempting desserts. You won’t be disappointed with anything you order!
196 Robert Street
Beloved Rasa offers many fan favourites for pick-up and delivery, including the Chopped Salad ($15), Rasa Burger and Fries ($19) and the indulgent Sticky Bun ($13). Good news for wine lovers, too – bottles are available for half price with any food order.
Sugo is known for its hearty meatballs, satisfying veal parm sandwiches and simple pastas smothered in their famous sauce. Although Sugo just launched delivery, business is already operating at full speed. Through Uber Eats, you can order rigatoni dusted with Grana Padano ($17), sauce sold by the Mason Jar ($12) and homemade tiramisu ($9) for a sweet ending to your takeout experience.
91 Rylander Boulevard, Suite 6, Scarborough
If you’re craving some soul-satisfying food, Scarborough-based Twist Catering is high on my list. Chef/owner La-toya Fagon, who was a personal chef to some of the Raptors, nails all the flavours in her culinary creations – from simple potato salad to spicy Jamaican snapper escovitch. And, she makes the best jerk chicken in Toronto. Period. You’ll be dreaming about this drum-smoked deliciousness beyond quarantine. Menus are posted to Instagram.
819 Gerrard Street East
This Italian outpost in Leslieville is as charming as its name. With a small (and delicious) seafood and pasta-focused takeout menu, Wynona strikes the perfect balance between approachable and sophisticated. There’s the fresh smoked n’duja bucatini and the ever-popular whole branzino doused in brown butter and capers, but you can’t miss the burrata and smoked capocollo paired with plump figs, ham, honey, almond, and fennel pollen.
Mme. M. xoxo
Hungry for more? Check out my other weekly roundups.
Operations are subject to change during this crisis so please contact each restaurant for the most up-to-date information.