Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Last summer, I tried just about everything on the menu at Chica’s Chicken, and decided that it was probably the best fried chicken in the city.
It’s still probably the best fried chicken in the city. The Buffalo fried chicken sandwich is a newer addition to the menu, and it was every bit as amazing as I was hoping it would be.
It’s normally served on a brioche bun, but since they were out of those, it came on sliced bread instead. I’m sure it would have been delicious on the bun, but the bread didn’t feel like a detriment. It was an outstanding sandwich.
The fried chicken was as crispy, flavourful, and juicy as ever, and the zingy Buffalo sauce just enhances it. It’s topped with coleslaw and blue cheese sauce, and it’s absolutely perfect. It’s the perfect Buffalo chicken sandwich. I can’t think of a single thing I’d change.
Actually, that’s a lie — it’s only mildly spicy, and I wish it were a little bit hotter. But the sandwich was so thoroughly satisfying that I only barely missed the spice.
Location: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
I almost didn’t order the apple fritter at Dipped Donuts. Sanremo — an amazing Italian bakery in Etobicoke — sells an apple fritter that’s so delicious, getting one anywhere else feels like a waste of time. How can you top it?
Well, I’m not sure if Dipped Donuts quite tops it, but it’s pretty damn close. Their fritter is absolutely amazing.
It’s got the perfect balance of crispy, chewy, and fluffy. It’s sweet but not too sweet, with the rich glaze balancing perfectly with the cinnamony, apple-infused pastry.
It’s easily the best doughnut I’ve had from Dipped Donuts — and everything I’ve had from that particular shop has been extremely delicious. It’s ridiculously good.
Location: 2814 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
Halibut House is a fish and chips chain with over 20 locations around the GTA, though I didn’t even know it existed until very recently.
I don’t think it’s going to blow anyone’s mind, but if you’re looking for a tasty plate of fish and chips, you could do a lot worse.
It’s also a decent deal. You can get a half plate for about eleven bucks, which comes with a piece of halibut (of course), fries, and coleslaw. The fish is on the smaller side, but the pile of fries is generous enough that it’s pretty much guaranteed to fill you up.
The fish itself is a bit overcooked (it was quite dry), but the flavour was nice, and the batter was just right. A lot of places tend to overwhelm the fish with a thick, overly-crunchy coating, but the batter here was nice and crispy while still allowing the fish to be the star of the show.
The fries are the highlight. They’re crispy, creamy, and very tasty. The coleslaw is a bit bland, but it’s fine, and the tartar sauce is creamy and zesty (if a bit overly oniony). It’s a solid plate of fish and chips.
Location: 69 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
Seven Lives serves what is frequently called the best fish taco in the city, which makes deciding what to order there quite easy. It’s the fish taco. It’s gotta be the fish taco.
I’ve actually been wanting to try this place for quite a while, but it’s popular; the place routinely has a line-up going out the door, and it’s a tiny restaurant. If you don’t get a seat on one of the two benches out front, or at the one table inside, you’re out of luck. You’ll just have to eat and walk, which is a bit of a challenge with their generously-stuffed tacos.
It’s worth the wait and the hassle. It is as advertised: it’s clearly one of the best fish tacos in the city, if not the best.
It consists of a very generous piece of fried haddock topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, and a garlicky sauce. Everything works really well together. The fish, in particular, is delicious; it’s super tender and flaky with a very satisfying crispy exterior that never overwhelms the fish itself.
The toppings are great — the cabbage and the pico de gallo add some nice freshness and crunch (not to mention an acidity that helps cut through the fried fish), and the creamy sauce brings a nice garlicky bite.
My only real issue here are the two corn tortillas, which were a bit stale (corn tortillas are one of those things that pretty much have to be consumed within minutes rather than hours of being cooked — they get stale fast). But that’s a minor complaint for an otherwise superlative taco.
Location: 5101 Dixie Road, Mississauga
There’s nothing quite like a veal sandwich. It’s just a whole bunch of fried veal and rich tomato sauce in a hearty bun. It’s probably not something you want to be eating on a regular basis (unless you’re keen on getting a massive heart attack), but every now and then it has to happen. It’s pure, unadulterated comfort food.
My go-to is California Sandwiches, but a location of San Francesco recently opened near me, so I figured I’d give them a shot.
You can choose from all kinds of toppings for an additional fee, but I went with the basic sandwich and ordered it spicy, which meant it came with a generous amount of blazing-hot jalapenos.
The thing that stands out the most about the sandwich is how incredibly tender the veal is; it might just be the most tender veal I’ve ever had in a sandwich like this. Your teeth glide right through it like butter. It’s amazing.
The exterior is moderately crispy, but not quite enough to hold up to the sauce — it sogs up almost instantly. It’s not quite as good as California Sandwiches in that regard.
Speaking of California Sandwiches, I think their sauce is marginally better; the sauce here is quite tasty, but it feels like the flavour could (and should) be amped up by a notch or two.
I think California has the overall superior sandwich, but it’s very, very close.
The sizes are a bit funny. They have two sizes: baby and regular. I ordered the regular, and my dining companion ordered the baby. As it turns out, I (and anyone with a normal-sized appetite) would be perfectly happy with the baby. Regular is enormous. Baby should really be called regular, and regular should be called jumbo.