I moved around a lot when I was kid, but Toronto is now the place where I've lived the longest. It truly feels like home. It is small enough that you get a sense of community and large enough that you still feel like you're in a big city. The food culture and diversity of restaurants makes it extra special – I can always find whatever I want to eat somewhere in the city.
Matty Matheson's Guide to Toronto —
The executive chef, TV personality and Parkdale resident shares his favourite spots in the city.
For a caffeine kick I often go to Sam James Coffee Bar, across from Trinity Bellwoods Park. I usually get a latte with an extra shot – so a four-shot latte in a short cup. I do that, and then I sit and look at people walking through the park and hang out with buddies. They’ve got a good ham and cheese croissant that I sometimes get.
For old-school threads In Vintage We Trust is a really cool vintage store in Parkdale, where I live. Every time I go in there, I get something. They have great hats, vintage sport apparel, band shirts and really good vintage Patagonia, L.L.Bean and Pendleton. I have this amazing L.L.Bean fitted hat by New Era. I picture myself cutting the lawn when I’m 80 years old wearing this hat.
For slurpin’ noodles My favourite noodle spot is King’s Noodle in Chinatown. I always get the same thing: barbecued duck leg wonton noodle soup, cold soy milk and Chinese doughnuts. When I go with multiple people, we order family-style; we’ll get big pieces of crispy or barbecue pork or a whole duck or chicken. But the duck leg wonton noodle soup is epic. It’s one of the best soups in Canada.
For a date night My wife, Trish, and I like Dandylion and Grey Gardens. Jay Carter’s food at Dandylion is beautiful; it’s simple and technically sound. I don’t drink alcohol, so I love going to Dandylion because Jay makes amazing kombucha. And Grey Gardens is great too. The room is small and intimate. The chefs are on display, and the music and service are excellent.
For the art I love to go to the Clint Roenisch Gallery and Cooper Cole Gallery. These two galleries are amazing if you want to see some art and take your kid. They’re both independently owned and operated galleries that shine light on bigger artists and local, smaller artists.
For epic sandwiches If you want an incredible fried chicken sandwich or the best porchetta sandwich ever, go to Porchetta & Co. They now do a Nashville hot chicken sandwich on Wonder Bread that is to die for. You can smash a whole one for lunch or sometimes my wife and I will get one to split as a little fill-me-up. It’s a necessity when you come to the city.
For a family outing We like to go down to Sunnyside on the lakeshore and walk by the water. My son, Mac, loves to run in and out of the waves. Then we’ll make our way up to High Park, which is beautiful. There’s tons of space for Mac to run, so we just kind of chase him around.