Oh, where to start with this outrageous trio of maple-based porky delights on a stick? All hail brunch and breakfast newcomers to the city, Jam Cafe, who join us from Victoria and bring with them the Three Pigs: a maple-soaked salute to all things Canadian and brekkie-based. Simply take a trio of locally produced Urbani maple breakfast sausages, dunk them liberally in pancake batter then fry ‘em up and serve them with maple butter syrup and fruit. My advice? Plan to do some lying down after this one. Worth it.
Seriously, if you’ve never had any of the pies or tarts at Tartine before, I don’t even know if we can be friends. So buttery! So crumbly! So good! How have you not tried this yet? Their pastry is a thing of wonder and their butter tarts are enough to make a grown woman scoff one in the street and then go back and get another to eat ‘later’. And no, that definitely wasn’t me. Go, buy a couple and enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of Canada Day.
Because of course where else would you have the best Bloody Caesar in town? Score on Davie went global with their can-that-really-be-real Checkmate Caesar which stacked up a roasted chicken, burger, pulled pork sriracha-glazed slider, onion rings, chicken wings, pulled pork mac and cheese hotdog and a brownie onto an unassuming drink.
There’s almost certainly no need to give into full-blown chicken-topped Caesar madness, but I’d definitely recommend a small dose of Caesar-based lunacy—perhaps their ‘Mac and Chesar’ which features crunchy deep-fried pulled pork mac-and-cheese balls? Sit out on the patio, people-watch on Davie and raise a glass to living in a city which celebrates its LGBTQ community every single day of the year.
Could there be anywhere more Canadian than chef Chris Whittaker’s exuberant Timber restaurant? A no-attitude, flannel-and-toque-wearin’ salute to classic Canadian cuisine done absolutely right. The whole menu screams "True North strong and free"—from its bison burgers to its house-made ketchup chips. But for me, it’s all about the sweet things, so order up a portion of their sugar-dusted Timber Bits (yeah, they went there) with a side of chocolate-y house-made nutella and wear your double denim Canadian tuxedo with pride.
All things Quebec at Frenchie's Diner, 2470 Main Street
Let your inner Quebecer run free at Frenchie’s where the smoked meat is imported straight from Montreal and it comes with a side of St. Hubert sauce! Head on up to Main at Broadway and have a complete French-Canadian dining experience complete with sides of poutine and sugar pie dessert. Head back when winter swings around for seasonal specials like tourtière.
I never knew you could get that most Torontonian treat—peameal bacon—right here in VanCity. My first stop whenever I’m in the Six is St. Lawrence Market to gobble up one of their amazing breakfast sandwiches at the Carousel Bakery. Thick-cut with a crisp edge of cornmeal, this is the most bacon-y expression of bacon that there ever was.
Imagine then my euphoria at discovering it on the menu at Cafe Medina. Get its house-cured magnificence when you order Le Sandwich Peameal (which as a Mealshare item means it comes with a hefty portion of all the good feels as when you buy a meal, you also give a meal). Heck, it’s peameal freaking bacon, just order up a bunch and have at it.
Hi, have you been drinking? You have! OK, here’s where you need to go after hours to inhale a giant serving of what I firmly believe to be the city’s finest hangover-banishing poutine. I have nothing but love for La Belle Patate: their cheese curd squeaks, the gravy is judiciously thick and they have an all-you-can-eat deal for $19.50 if you absolutely positively have to go ahead and eat all your feelings away. I love the basic poutine but Montreal mates speak highly of their galvaude with chicken and peas. Either way, there are 26 different kinds to choose from including an ‘all-dressed’ version and a breakfast variety too.
Saskatchewan lentils at Juniper, 185 Keefer Street
Canada is a country that embraces everyone, and there is no dish more inclusive than Juniper’s Saskatchewan black lentil cabbage rolls, which are gluten-free and vegan. Think of those rolling prairies and endless skies when you tuck into this updated pioneer classic, which comes served with wild mushrooms, an onion jus and smoked almonds—after all, did you know that 65 per cent of the world’s lentils are grown in Canada, mostly from Saskatchewan? Well, you do now!
Celebrate July 1st with mouth-watering Canadian classics from these local restaurants
O, Canada, our home and delicious land! Give into celebrating the spirit of our gorgeous country on July 1st by diving face first into a non-stop parade of ultra-Canadian treats. Sure, Canadian cuisine is more sophisticated nowadays than a double-double with a beavertail, and Canada is rightly celebrated as one of the world’s hot spots for cocktails and wineries, but if you can’t indulge with some good old-fashioned Canadian favourites on Canada Day, when can you?
Grab some stretchy pants and a napkin 'cause things are going to get syrup-y...
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning travel writer, guide book author and spirits and cocktail journalist whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, The Globe and Mail and the Difford’s Guide. A cheese fan, hula hooper and all-round word nerd, she writes regularly for BCLiving about food, drink, spas and everything else that makes life worth living.