Mamma Martino’s has been a fixture on The Queensway for over 25 years. Bruno Martino (with the help of his Mamma) opened the doors in 1983, and has been offering authentic Italian dining at affordable prices ever since. To say this place is baby/family friendly is an understatement.
Whether you’re into building your own pizza (dine-in & take-out only; no delivery), enjoying a made-from-scratch pasta dish or scarfing down a monster Italian sandwich, Mamma Martino’s promises that you will not be disappointed… and so does the Toronto Food Blog.
Located along the quieter portion of Queen East between Leslieville & the Beach, Chick-N-Joy is a take-out joint that has been frying chicken since 1977. Not to be confused with the inferior-tasting chain restaurant with a similar name, Chick-N-Joy’s bold claim of “Love at First Bite” is not falsely advertised. Try one of their $6 lunch specials or try and take down their 4-piece Dinner ($8.65) that’s filled to the brim with chook, fresh-cut fries, a side-dish of your choosing and a dinner roll. Somehow I managed to finish it in one sitting.
The portions are huge; the prices are good; the food is tasty. There isn’t really much more that can be (or needs to be) said… other than N-Joy.
Federick Restaurant is renowned for bringing Hakka food to Toronto. Well, Scarborough actually. And with a recent expansion into a new Markham location, these guys are obviously doing something right (their take-out bag suggests they’ve have been doing so for the past 20 years). I am taken here as a Father’s Day gift. My expectations were exceeded on many levels.
We start with the Crab & Corn Soup. They encourage us to get the Medium order for sharing, as you get far more soup for the same price as 2 bowls. Makes sense. We each finished a bowl and took the rest home. Full of sweet corn, a liberal amount of crab and plenty of egg, this mild, slippery soup works nicely with both of the chili-infused condiments on the table (pictured below).
I work with someone who told me to try the Chicken Pakoras; that they are the stuff of legend. I thought she may be a bit biased seeing has her husband works in Federick’s kitchen. I have to tell you that they did not disappoint. In fact, they might single-handedly be the best plate of food we’ve had this year. Chili peppers are incorporated right into the batter, flash-fried to seal in the juices. A+
Ordering a plate of vegetables to go with our fried chicken dish seemed like a good idea. The Broccoli w/ Black Mushroom was pictured on the menu, so we tried it out. The Broccoli was crunchy and the mushrooms were chewy… both topped with a Black Bean/Oyster combo sauce that we dipped the Pakoras in.
Due to my daughter’s nap schedule, we went to Federick in the middle of the afternoon. Even then the place was packed. The restaurant is split in half with a dining room on one side and a take-out window on the other. We can’t wait to go back and try some of the other menu items. The Kan Shue Green Beans and Chili Chicken look especially appetizing.
Federick Restaurant is extremely baby-friendly. They made us feel right at home and made room for a high chair despite there being a bit of a tight squeeze. It’s no wonder this place was full of families. The vegetarian options are also quite extensive. What a great Father’s Day gift.
Mocha Mocha is an extremely popular, family-friendly café in the heart of Greektown. They have been serving up healthy food and healthy portions since 1991. “Owners Marijan and Mercedes Tripkovic have blended their multi-cultural heritage along with their experience in the hospitality industry to create Mocha Mocha.”
Mocha Mocha is where my wife and I would go to eat after our daughter’s Rainbow Songs classes. It’ll forever hold a special place in my heart. It seems I’m not the only one… strollers and mat-leavers abound, in search of a healthy lunch and a place to exchange new-mom stories. There are a half-dozen salads available at any one time, and their house vinaigrette is available pre-packaged to take home. I tend to lean towards their sandwich menu; my current favourites being the Clubhouse (above) or their made-to-order Egg Salad. If I’m really hungry I’ll add the Soup of the Day; however, most items come with a side salad so I’m rarely left wanting more.
Not feeling like a soup, salad or sandwich? Mocha Mocha has a number of hot specials that rotate daily. Some of the menu stalwarts include Chicken Quesadillas (above), Fish Tacos (below) and, perhaps my favourite, East African Chicken Stew (which comes with rice & salad). There are also a number of baked goods & freshly-brewed coffee available if dessert is more your thing.
Many of you reading this have probably eaten here. For those who aren’t yet in the know, you gotta check this place out. Not convinced? I happen to know a couple who travel all the way from Avenue Road and Lawrence once a week to order takeout for dinner. It’s really that good. File this place under the “healthy” section on the Toronto Food Blog. Some might say it’s about time;)
Tucked away at the back of the Gerrard Square lies Tropical Joe’s. These guys are making a name for themselves by serving, perhaps, the best food court fare in the city. I eat here at least every couple of weeks, and each time I do the queue gets a little bit longer. Hopefully after reading this, I’ll be seeing you in line on a regular basis.
Guyanese favourites such as Oxtail, Goat, Curried Beef and Jerk Chicken are served either as a Dinner (small or large w/ Rice & Peas, Curried Potato and Coleslaw) or rolled-up in a Roti (small or large ~ large pictured below). These days, I’m finding that the large is actually too much food for lunch, though I will tend to order a Goat Patty if I opt for the small… and wash everything down with a Ting (as you do).
Tropical Joe’s has been family-owned and-operated for the past twenty years. It wasn’t until Joe’s son Chris took the helm in 2006 that they moved to Gerrard Square. “This place is home to me,” says Chris. “I try to provide home-cooking that can be enjoyed on a daily basis. It’s what I eat everyday, and the same can be said for our most loyal customers.”
A recent menu expansion has provided the regular customer with more options while attracting the local high-school clientele by catering to their tastes. Jerk Chicken Poutine with Oxtail Gravy is a big hit, as are their Jerk Chicken Sandwiches on Coco Bread. “Jerk Chicken is our number-one seller here,” says Chris. Add it to practically anything on the menu, including one of their daily soups. Be sure to ask for their homemade hot sauce. Everything can be spiced-to-taste by request.
We’re all familiar with the old saying, “if you build it, they will come.” Chris has been working hard doing just that: building loyalty through his Guyanese home cooking. Located in the back of a place that, historically speaking, does not have the most foot traffic, slowly but surely Gerrard Square is moving in the right direction. Word’s getting out that it’s worth the trip to Tropical Joe’s. The addition of some new anchor stores can’t hurt either;)
I had “Breakfast at the Wexford” recently, drawn by the claim that they had cracked millions of Eggs over the years and had squeezed even more Oranges. Established in 1958, the Wexford Restaurant is somewhat of an institution in this part of Scarborough. I have them crack 3 more eggs for me to see what all the hype is about.
Is it me or is freshly-squeezed Orange Juice getting harder and harder to find these days? These guys got it by the glass ($3) or by the Litre ($10). Now, Peameal & Eggs is really the high-water mark for me when it comes to gauging a greasy spoon’s breakfast. My order arrives quickly: 3 Eggs perfectly over-easy, 3 slices of toast, 4 pieces of Peameal, a generous portion of Homefries and a side of HP Sauce. The cost: $10.49. Served with a smile, I eat everything in Sandwich format due to the abundance of dry rye toast. I’m even asked if I want my coffee refill in a to-go cup. I would gladly order this again any time.
The Kiriakou brothers are second-generation owners. They happily give me a guided tour of the place, explaining everything from their Dad and the location’s history to the type of bacon they use. We reminisce about potato-peeling techniques and discuss fluctuations in orange pricing. They make me feel right at home… and I’m not the only one (they personally greet each of the regulars as they stream in). Definitely more of a greasy spoon than a trendy brunch spot, I will certainly be back. Next visit, I’m bringing the whole family for “Breakfast at the Wexford.”
There is a lot of great food on St. Clair West. Tita la Guanaca (1028 St Clair Ave W) is no exception. Translated as The Little Salvadorian, this take-away makes great Pupusas. Corn-flour dough is wrapped around Pork, Beans and Cheese and is fried for 5 minutes a side. Hot off the grill, they top it with Vinegary Coleslaw, all for $2.50. Be sure to also ask about their sensational $2.50 Tamales, $1.75 Empanadas and whole roasted Chickens.
Hey, in today’s world of the ten/fifteen-dollar lunch, it’s always good to know a few places that don’t break the bank. I miss living on St. Clair West for a lot of reasons. Proximity to places like this is one of them.