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That'll Be a 40 Minute Wait: The Annex

By: Eklectish Toronto

The Toronto food scene is incredibly diverse, and arguably the best in North America. However, it is also susceptible to fads propagated by lazy blogs. This means the biggest compliment you can get from a Torontian is for them to be a repeat customer. We’ll be exploring the city with a rating system that uncovers which restaurants are one-offs and those which should become an institution.

Rating Description
Five Star The speechless lean-back
Four Star We’ll be back
Three Star Good, but unlikely to return
Two Star Something forgettable
One Star “You WON’T believe what Toronto JUST got”
(AKA: beware at all costs)

As this article is being released the province of Ontario is under another lockdown due to the highly transmissible omicron variant of covid. Whether you believe this is an overreaction or long overdue, the sad fact remains that thousands of local restaurants are once again in a precarious situation they thought was surely over mere weeks ago. For this reason, this month’s reviews will focus on our favourite local restaurants that deserve your business.

JJIN Toast

792 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5R 3G1

No website - Menu on UberEats

Rating - ★★★★

JJIN Toast recently opened in the Annex and serves delicious Korean street sandwiches. Despite being located right beside Koreatown, where there is no lack of restaurants serving a wide array of Korean dishes, JJIN Toast is the only one that is completely unique. The menu is simple - three sandwiches (bacon & egg, ham and egg, and crab) and one item called Bokko Toast which no one at Eklectish has tried yet. The options may not elicit excitement purely from these ingredients, but the thing that binds them all together and keeps us coming back for more is the bread. This housemade bread is thick, fluffy and sweet, and makes each sandwich an absolute delight, very filling, and affordable (less than $10). Each weekend we find ourselves thinking about this bread, which inevitably leads us to pick up a huge order of sandwiches for breakfast or lunch. The small location has a few seats but is mostly designed for takeout. The staff is incredibly friendly and energetic, and more people in Toronto should enjoy these unique sandwiches.

Sushi on Bloor

525 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y4

Rating - ★★★★

On a stretch of Bloor with no shortage of sushi spots, the aptly named Sushi on Bloor is the standout. The menu is standard for an a la carte sushi restaurant, but what sets Bloor apart is the size and quality of its food. The nigiri is large with a beautiful slice of fish placed on a bed of rice, while a maki roll is often enough to satisfy a craving. We found ourselves coming here on several Friday nights for the cozy atmosphere, excellent staff, and exceptional meal that automatically starts with a miso soup and green salad. While dining in is not an option for the foreseeable future, the takeout is just as good and something we have also ordered frequently. The go-to is the “dinner for one” - a generous meal consisting of several pieces of nigiri, a maki roll and a variety of tempura. In our high school and undergrad days, our sushi experiences were reserved almost entirely to all you can eat (a fortunate number of us have now been to omakase restaurants and even to Japan), and this had given us the false notion that a la carte sushi would not be able to fill us up. That is not the case at Sushi on Bloor, as the dinner for one is more than enough to leave us satisfied. We’d highly recommend anyone in the area or adjacent areas check out this fantastic spot. And the best part for this time of takeout only - the dinner for one is a clean $20 if you pay in cash.

Country Style Hungarian Restaurant

450 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y5

Rating - ★★★★

Country Style is a true Annex institution that has been operating since the 60s, when the area was home to a sizable Hungarian community. The restaurant and food are incredibly homey, and you feel transported to another time as you enter the establishment. As the name implies, Country Style serves Hungarian specialties, from schnitzel and spatz, to pierogies, cabbage rolls, and goulash. All are fantastic, and the portions are ridiculously generous. We usually go for the Large Platter for 4, which includes two massive schnitzels, sausage, cabbage rolls, dumplings, potatoes and beets. Throughout the numerous times we have dined in at Country Style, we have noticed that the clientele is exclusively made up of older generations. Given the unassuming name, sign, and unfamiliar cuisine, it is not surprising that it has failed to attract a millennial crowd, but this is truly a shame given how incredible the food is. If you’re looking for a large homey meal that will take you back to a less anxious time, Country Style is the spot in the Annex.

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