Travel

3 food halls to visit in Toronto’s Financial District

From champagne bars to zucchini frittatta to pit-smoked brisket, these food halls are revitalizing dining options in the downtown neighbourhood

  • Jun 19, 2019
  • 374 words
  • 2 minutes
A selection of eclairs at Nugateau, one of the many shops in Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's. (Photo: Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's)
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Toronto’s Financial District may have once been the preserve of stockbrokers chomping on overpriced steaks, but the downtown core of bank and business towers has recently become a stomping ground for a more diverse culinary crowd, courtesy of the neighbourhood’s burgeoning food-hall scene. A cousin of the food-truck trend, the halls dish up fast-serve, high-quality food that’s as gastronomically engaging as it is rewarding.

Start with Sud Forno at 132 Yonge St. In its light-filled space, there’s espresso ready at the bar and a crustless quiche of zucchini and pecorino cheese behind glass counters. You can also get take-away quinoa salad or tiny bombolone pastries filled with Nutella or vanilla cream.

The interior of Sd Forno food hall. (Photo: Terroni)
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Freshly baked bread at Sud Forno food hall. (Photo: Terroni)
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A short walk away is the Eaton Centre and Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s, which retains the Italian vibe synonymous with its owners, the venerable upscale grocery chain Pusateri’s. But in addition to Roman-style pizza served a taglio (by the slice), it also offers a grilled-cheese counter, an all-eclair patisserie, a yogurteria and a champagne bar.

A bartender mixes cocktails at Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s Champagne Bar. (Photo: Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s )
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A sampling of some of the eclairs on offer at Nugateau, an all-eclair patisserie at Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's. (Photo: Saks Food Hall by Pusateri's)
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Meanwhile, Assembly Chef’s Hall, at 111 Richmond St., gathers 17 of the city’s best emerging and established chefs. The hard part of each visit is choosing. Will it, for instance, be Elia Herrera’s chicken tinga taco layered with chipotle at Colibrí, Lawrence LaPianta’s brisket at Cherry Street Bar-B-Que or Jackie Lin’s superb seafood at the stand-up sushi bar Tachi? There’s plenty of seating inside, but come summer you won’t want to miss grabbing a spot on either intimate back patio or the more spacious courtyard patio, which comes complete with a converted Airstream trailer as a bar.

The courtyard patio at Assembly Chef's Hall, complete with a converted Airstream trailer as a bar. (Photo: Assembly Chef's Hall)
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A taco from Colibrí at Assembly Chef's Hall. (Photo: Assembly Chef's Hall).
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A plate of sushi from Tachi at Assembly Chef's Hall. (Photo: Assembly Chef's Hall)
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Whatever you decide, exploring the neighbourhood’s food halls will not only keep you fuelled, but will also connect you to the wide-ranging multicultural mix that is Toronto — truly an ideal culinary pairing.

Karan Smith (@karan_smith) is a travel and feature writer whose work has appeared in WestJet Magazine, the Globe and Mail, CAA Magazine and Canadian Geographic. Her last story for Canadian Geographic Travel was about a dog-friendly hotel in Mont-Tremblant, Que. 

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