King West Dining: Everything You Already Knew


There’s nothing quite like the restaurant scene on King Street W in Toronto. There’s a number of characteristics that seem to remain constant at all King West restaurants. Very specific, very strong correlations. No matter if you’re elbow deep in sausage at Wrvst or sampling on wine at Cibo, you’re going to see some similarities… Let me take you through your dining experience, but you know all this.

You will have heard about this place from the TasteToronto Instagram picture that your friend tagged you in with that heart eyes emoticon. Love that little guy. I’m not sure if there’s a better advertising outlet available to these boutique restaurants. You will have not made reservations because they don’t take reservations…AKA buy alcohol while you wait for one of the five tables to open up.

You’re almost 90% positive your waiter lives in Ossington. She rocks a messy bun and wears no makeup. He has a sleeve. They don’t have a uniform.

They serve a variety of craft beer and house-made speciality sodas.

The menu is one page. It could be a huge piece of ledger sized paper or a third of an 8 1/2 by 11, but it will be one sided with a new age typeface showcasing the calorie heavy options. All aspects of the menu will be perfect. The standard for new food items and signature items has increased significantly. From mouth watering sides drizzled in maple reductions to some ordinary dish with bacon tossed on top, the standard for good food is getting a little out of hand.

Despite only being one page, it still takes you an hour to decide on what to actually order. Opt for sharing to try more dishes, and for an extra thirty minutes on the treadmill. They buy local and make as many things in house as possible.

There WILL be alternative light fixtures, mismatched seating, and too much reclaimed wood.  The bathrooms are unisex and you’re unsure the sexuality of anyone in the place. The music being played has a heavy bassline and either features an up and coming British songstress or an underground, unsigned rapper.

The meal ends and they can’t don’t split the bill. Sometimes they don’t even take debit. These places I judge. Don’t be that place. This isn’t the South of France and you’re paying in dollars not Euros.  Take fuckin’ debit.

Despite all the similarities, each restaurant seems to boast a different signature dish forcing me to lose hours of sleep dreaming of what each menu item tastes like.

So, who wants to go for dinner?

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