Winter in Toronto

Toronto, the capital of the province of Ontario, hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in North America. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 9 pm, it is located in the Distillery Historic District, one of my favorite parts in Toronto. The Christmas Market is of course closed on Mondays, but the distillery districts will remain open 7 days a week. A fun tip if you plan on attending the market, it is free during week days and costs 6$ on weekends and you can book your tickets ahead of time here: http://www.torontochristmasmarket.com/tickets.html so you don't have to wait in line to buy your tickets and then to get in the market. The Christmas Market will be open from November 15th to December 23rd. We decided to attend during the first week because we believed there would be less people, but there were already a lot. So, if you do not like big crowds or want to take good pictures we recommend going during weekdays because there was a huge difference between both periods. If it you can only go a couple of hours we would recommend going at night since the lights really make the experience of the market. It is really beautiful.

Now let's talk about the food in the Christmas Market. The market offers a variety of different food and drink options. Here were my top picks and some of the spots I wish we had tried:

  • Wildy Delicious, a cute & permanent shop in the Distillery. A foodie's heaven where they sale food products to create or complete your homemade dishes, as well as food offerings to eat on the spot. During the Christmas market they have a special menu. We shared the fries, mac & cheese & apple cider.
  • Soma Chocolatemaker, the spot for chocolate lovers. Of course it gets really crowded, so if you wish to go to this shop but with less people they have one located at 443 King Street West. They have the best hot chocolate to enjoy during the winter season.
  • Raclette stand. In the market they offer multiple hot food choices but this was our favorite by far. The cheese with the rosemary potatoes were so good. Plus, we added some sausages and it was to die for. A tip to make it even more amazing is to go buy a pretzel and dip it in the raclette cheese.
  • The Waffel Bar & Eva's original chimneys, the top desserts spots great for Instagram shots. Unfortunately, we didn't try either spots since we were so full from the rest of the food.
  • The Pretzel stand. A tradition when it comes to Christmas Markets or just markets in general. Always good and fresh.
  • Fondue station inside the Grey Goose stand. Not the best fondue in the world but probably the coolest concept. Inside a light igloo, there are tables filled with small stoves to reheat your fondus. You have the choice between cheese and chocolate fondu for about 25$. I would say it's not worth the price but you have to go in to see the set up.

As for the rest of our trip, we decided to explore the best foodie spots in Toronto. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency on King Street. Even though it's not the most beautiful hotel in Toronto it is well positioned, about a 5 minute walk to the CN tower. You can reserve here: https://www.hyatt.com/fr-FR/hotel/canada/hyatt-regency-toronto/torrt.

On our foodie trip, we started of with brunch at the famous School Resto, open daily. You can reserve during week days but not on weekend so make sure to go early if you wish to wait a minimum amount of time. They offer multiple brunch choices from sweet to savory options: http://www.schooltoronto.com/menus/. We decided to share the krispy crunchy french toast, the millenial toast & the black & blue flapjacks, the best pancakes of all times.

We then headed to the Christmas market and then headed back to the hotel to relax. For diner, we headed to La Palma, http://lapalma.ca/, an italian tapas restaurant. It is open Monday to Friday from 11:30am to 11pm and Saturday & Sunday from 9am to 11pm. It was incredible, a must stop in Toronto. We shared the ferrarini mortadella, the whipped ricotta crostino, the lamb chops scottadito, the crispy potatoes, the 100 layer lasagna and the sweet potato agnolotti.

100 layer lasagna
Lamb chops and potatoes
Sweet Potato Agnoletti

The next day we headed to the Yorkdale shopping mall, where we enjoyed breakfast in the Restoration Hardware cafe. The most beautiful cafe to ever be seen in a mall.

We then headed in Yorkdale to do a little Christmas shopping and also enjoyed some treats along the way.

  • First we went to Ladurée to enjoy the classic french macaron.
  • We also visited Nadège, a pastry shop located in Yorkdale as well.

We then headed back to the Christmas market to enjoy it once more and then headed one street further to enjoy a pastry at Roselle, a pastry shop open at night time, https://www.roselleto.com/. They are open from 8 to 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and are located 362 King Street East.

For our final days, we enjoyed another brunch at the famous Mildred's Temple Kitchen, where they sell there world famous pancakes since 1989. You can reserve this restaurant only on week days for the B'lunch and diner services. The b'lunch offers multiple brunch choices but not all of them. If you want to enjoy the full brunch you have to go on weekends, arrive at 9 when it opens to limit your wait times.

Now the question I know you are all asking, which were the best pancakes, School or Mildred's? If I am being completely honest, my favorite were the School ones because of there fluffiness. The Mildred's ones were so thick that I felt like they were a little dry. So if you can only go to one go to School.

Finally we enjoyed a final coffee at Fika and a final pastry at Butter Avenue. The two spots that are so cute. Must spots to relax and enjoy a coffee and dessert.

Their festive drink: the cardamom latte.
One of the Christmas pastry: the house Noël for 8,25$. Here is their holiday collection: https://www.butteravenue.com/collections/2018-2019-holiday-exclusive-collection

Happy travels!


Megan Chartrand-Robichaud

January 17, 2020