Being a city of immense diversity, Toronto is swamped with hundreds of restaurants claiming to have authentic food from all over the world. I’m certainly no culinary master, but I love food and have tried a couple of very good (and a few not so good) ethnic restaurants in Toronto. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I truly enjoyed food from cultures all over the globe, despite the slight bout of nerves before each meal. Before I didn’t even know what people ate in many countries, now I love trying new ethnic foods as I’ve fallen in love with many of the things I have tried.
My favourite place is an Ethiopian restaurant called Addis Ababa on Queens Street. Named after the capital of Ethiopia, the restaurant claims to have authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Granted, I’ve never been to Ethiopia, I could have been duped but the food certainly wasn’t western. The food is served on a giant flat platter with no cutlery. You scoop up the different dishes injera (flat, spongy bread). Many dishes are made of lentils, split peas, black beans, spices, and an assortment of meats. If you’re adventurous go for the minced raw beef which is spiced. However, vegetarians do not fear, Addis Ababa caters to all vegetable dishes as well. Another thing I loved about the restaurant was the laid back atmosphere, with dim lighting and a small but cozy space; it’s a wonderful place for a group to gather. Chat amicably over a cup of freshly roasted coffee while spicy aromas of your dinner float in the air.
Not interested in finger food? Let’s head northeast to the former Soviet Union. Despite their political differences of late, they all see to get along at Moldova Restaurant on Dufferin Street. They claim to serve authentic Russian, Moldavian, Romanian and Ukrainian cuisines. At first the menu was intimidating because there were a lot of words in languages I didn’t even recognize but there were thankfully some translations. I was surprised to find out that Russians tend to boast about their healthy food and their soups. I tried Schee soup (spinach, egg and rice) and loved it. The selection was what impressed me the most. The main courses ranged from many different types of chicken to salmon fillets to lamb. The selection of salads also looked promising. I guess I expected it to be a bit livelier but after eating, I was so stuffed, it no longer surprised me that there was no rowdiness.
Now lets dive into the far eat for some Asian Fusion. The Green Basil Grill, also on Queen Street, serves up dishes from Thai, Chinese and other Asian cultures, but you won’t find any gooey sweet and sour meatballs here. Green Basil Grill serves everything from salads to full course meals. I had one of the Thai noodle dishes, which was amazing. I’m sure that dish could turn even the most vehement tofu hater into a lover. I found they used many unique ingredients or mixed things I never imagined together. One thing I thought was interesting was that they served many of the meat dishes with bamboo shoots. I though only pandas ate bamboo; I didn’t try it but my friend love it. Finally, what I really loved about the restaurant was the way the staff catered to the individual customer. The option to tailor your meal was advertised not frowned upon like in so many restaurants. In particular, how spicy you like your food. I can’t handle the heat so I was extremely pleased to be able to order food with out the spice. If you do like it, they’re willing to amp it up for you, along with any other particularities you have about your food.