Chef Thomas Keller once said, “to make people happy, that is what cooking is all about”. The food industry is the glue holding first dates, lunch meetings and friendly reunions together – so, we’ve made it a priority to always welcome the best of the best to the Entertainment District for these occasions. Food culture is a part of our identity; foodies are constantly on the hunt for the next best bite and it can be tough narrowing down a spot to eat or drink from the hundreds of choices within our district. If you find yourself in our area, you’ve hit the jackpot! We’ve got you covered. Let’s begin with a few of our fave spots to make lunch date decisions, spontaneous snacks or foodie conquests a breeze.
SU&BU106 John St.
It’s hard to walk down John St. without salivating a little – especially with SU&BU centered in the middle of all our entertainment madness. This eatery combines the skill of burrito making with the craft of sushi rolling. When the two food concepts fuse together, it results in a unique fusion of flavour profiles for a fun Asian cuisine experience. Inspired by the West Coast, the decision to bring fresh sushi burritos to the Entertainment District was an easy one according to co-owners and cousins, Sam and Sam Serruya. They explained to us that bringing clean eating choices back home was the goal and knew “what better place to do it than Toronto?”
“I think this is the centre of Toronto” – Sam Serruya, SU&BU
While the menu includes classic sushi recipes, it features daring combinations like dragon fruit with ponzu sauce, coconut and tempura bits and even sweet chili salmon nachos – bursting with flavour in every bite. Your taste buds will thank you. At SU&BU, they strive for customers to leave feeling satisfied knowing they’ve made a health-conscious – yet – delicious fast-food choice.
Must try: Coco Loco – combining a mix of coconut, kale and avocado to form a sweet and savoury veggie delight. Available in a burrito or poké bowl with your choice of protein.
Perfect for: A quick lunch break with pals!
Buna’s Kitchen388 Richmond St W.
Buna’s Kitchen is the type of place you’ll want as your best kept secret. However, its wholesome ingredients and inviting atmosphere make it very difficult not to bring everyone and your buna (Romanian for Grandmother) to this joint! The seasonal menu keeps visitors coming back with new daily soup and quiches, fresh salads, locally sourced sandwich combinations and in-house made desserts. Manager Ryan Zoldy tells us about his experience watching the home-cooked-inspired menu change based around healthy food over the last two years, noting the importance of keeping up with food-based needs in an area so densely populated with other food options.
“You can go two steps this way, two steps this way and you’re going to find three different restaurants” – Ryan Zoldy, Buna’s Kitchen
Ryan also mentions the way the district bolsters a sense of community with the help of food, telling us, “there’s always going to be a pub that’s offering you a nice 4-7 [p.m.] happy hour” –who doesn’t love a good happy hour? Speaking highly of other district venues where food and drinks are bringing people together, he explains, “you get to see those familiar faces, but kind of in a more decompressed, chill environment”.
Must try: Beef Brisket Sandwich with the Asparagus Potato Salad and the Maple Butter Tart for dessert (when available).
Perfect for: A hearty meal on a cold day with colleagues – even the ones you don’t like!
General Assembly Pizza31 Adelaide St W.
When in the company of picky eaters, pizza tends to be the universal foolproof option. One of our fave modern hot spots recommended for pizza connoisseurs (and their tag along friends) is General Assembly Pizza – a Toronto pizzeria “trying to make the best tasting pizza [they] can”, as described by owner Ali Khan Lalani. With 12 different pizzas on the menu, combinations range from classic Margherita to Lamb Borghini with house lamb sausage, za’atar and labneh. Its pizzas are fundamentally made for Torontonians and their extensive palates.
“We are a Toronto pizzeria and are not bound by any restrictions” – Ali Khan Lalani
This pizza joint has made itself accessible for all types of occasions whether you’re running in to grab a quick pie, making a meal of it with warm sharing snacks on the table or even if you just want to stop by for a cocktail after work. Definitely keep General Assembly Pizza on your radar!
Must try: Porky Pine – topped with tomato, aged mozzarella, ricotta, double-smoked bacon, jalapeño, onion and pineapple.
Perfect for: A low-key (but impressive) first date!
Mother Tongue348 Adelaide St W.
Recently opened for service in September, Mother Tongue is what we’ve been searching for here in the Entertainment District. It’s an unpretentious spot catering to the district’s mishmash of sports fans, film lovers, foodies and partiers. General Manager Rob Granicolo shares his excitement about setting up shop inside the Templar Hotel, telling us, “I’m very happy with the district” and explains his goal of “executing in a very casual and very approachable and familiar way”.
“We liked how it’s so central, how you’re going to be getting Jays people, you’re going to be getting all sorts of fans from every cultural outlet” – Rob Granicolo, Mother Tongue
Mother Tongue is an impeccable mix of Asian-inspired dishes upstairs and sophisticated cocktails downstairs – paying homage to defunct nightclubs once inhabiting our district’s streets. Cue the “holy, I remember that club”, resulting in Rob often reminding customers, “oh, well, it was a block away”. Some of these throwbacks include Lot 332 (332 Richmond St. W), Whistling Oyster (11 Duncan St.) and good ol’ Joker (318 Richmond St. W). The clubs may not have withstood the test of time – although those hot mess memories will live on forever – but these reminiscent cocktails are well-crafted and timeless.