Toronto Weekend Guide
Hi friends, I hope you're not sick of these travel guides yet, because I've got plenty more coming your way, and I don't plan on stopping. Next on deck: Toronto. As a child, I visited Toronto pretty often, but I hadn't been back in the city since I was 10, so it was definitely time to go back. I also needed to visit my elementary school bestie of 21 years, Nat. Yes, 21 years. Insane, right?! I had such a great time spending time with her and Jord, eating such incredible food, and shopping til' I dropped some serious $$$... all thanks to Jord for Kanye-ing my closet and being my personal shopper, for real. Keeping my eyes peeled for your blog, because it's happening! Big thanks to both of you for being my home away from home on the east coast... project "move Linnea to Toronto" isn't dead yet LOL. Here's a guide to everything to see and do in TO (without the touristy fuss):
where to eat
It was my first meal of the trip, and KIIN was a beautifully designed upscale Thai spot - the lighting, atmosphere, food, drinks, staff, brass finishings... loved it all. Our server was incredible, walking us through every part of the menu, and suggesting the absolute best! We started with the 2 sweet/2 savoury dumplings, and they were omggg amazing. I'm drooling just thinking about them. Something about the coconut, palm sugar, garlic, salt combination is absolutely mind-blowing.
For mains, we tried the Soft Shell Crab and the Khao Yum, a mixture of different rices, and a burst of flavours including lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, toasted coconut, pomelo, fried chilli, edible flowers, and tamarind. Every single bite was different. But I found that the best thing about this dinner was sitting with my friends, in complete awe of the food. We all appreciated the flavours so much that it made it the best meal of the trip. I was so incredibly happy in that moment! Couldn't have asked for a better start.
After dinner, I got to soak in the best views of Toronto from the 40th floor of the office building where Suits is filmed... I have no words!
Ok, I just told you how much I love Thai food... and my friends know me really well, so they knew that 2 Thai places would be A-OKAY with me. And boy were they right. Pai was a completely different experience than KIIN. What started as a match made in heaven in Thailand, eventually turned into a love child - an incredible restaurant with authentic Northern Thai flavours called Pai. I'm always told that I need to go to Thailand and just eat all the food (don't worry, I'll do that soon), because when you compare it to here in Canada, there's no comparison. And I completely agree about Vancouver (Thai food here really does suck), but this place. In Toronto. OMG. I was completely blown away. Nat and Jord talked up a big game (and we ordered all the food) but it was so. damn. good. Highly, highly recommend, just make sure you book your reso in advance because they do get really busy.
As the rooftop restaurant of one of Nat's development projects, KOST was high on my list to visit! I mean, I had to see everything she worked so hard on in real life. It's on the very top floor of the Bisha Hotel & Residence, with open walls and a pool with 180 degree views of the CN Tower and the Toronto skyline. I definitely didn't feel like I was in Canada when I was up there.. very beachy, Miami vibes. The decor was right up my alley, but I'm sure I don't need to point that out. Coastal, relaxed, decked out with plants and palm leaves, sprinkled with a little hint of boho = my jam. Their brunch and fresh pressed juice was also noteworthy, as it should be. We later took a visit to the restrooms and checked out a little bit of the hotel, and WOW. If anything inspired me to jump into Interior Design for real, it was being at the Bisha Hotel.
Vegan food... my love! Sometimes, people assume I'm vegan, because I don't eat much meat and very rarely eat dairy, but I'm not. I do, however, make a conscious effort to eat meat-free throughout the week, so if I wanted to go vegan, I think I most definitely could - I just love seafood so much. Anyway... Planta! What a cute, trendy palm-leaf-wallpapered spot! Their iced Cashew Chai Latte was bomb, as were their Truffle Fries, GF Frenchie Pizza (umm... how the heck was that gluten free) and their Kale Caesar with pickled onions. All amazing. We really need more spots like this in Van! Yum yum.
I saw a few snaps of Piano Piano on Instagram, and their menu definitely caught my eye. As the last dinner of my trip, it was a great place to cap off my last night. Decor was pretty cool, and the outside of the restaurant is so unique! Very Tiffany Pratt - I love how she injects herself into all the spaces she touches.
As a decor fanatic, I knew I had to make a stop at Restoration Hardware Yorkdale. We had lunch at their cafe (so freakin' cute), walked around the store, and treated ourselves to my last decadant meal of the trip. I would say you're definitely paying for the atmosphere here, but loved it nonetheless.
cafes and sweet treats
Also designed by Tiffany Pratt, Cafe Cancan is such a cute, instagrammable cafe through and through. The branding is so adorbs, and the coffee and treats were so fresh and delicious. I'd definitely go back again, because I loved the area with all the cute shops - specifically the ones with plants and crystals!
This gluten-free-vegan-nut-free-everything-free bakery is the epitome of a millenial bakery. It's very fancy and frilly, and their treats and drinks (mostly made with hemp milk) are to die. I still have no idea what ingredients they use in anything, but damn. Yes please.
Jacked Up Coffee
We stopped here mostly because we needed a photo taken of us, and if I didn't already have a coffee in my hand, I'd definitely give this cute truck a try. Jord did the honours for us.
Hands down best matcha soft serve I've ever had - super potent flavour and oh so delicious. Now if only they'd hurry up and open their Richmond location! I swear that "coming soon" sign has been up for a year.
where to shop
As one of the stores we don't have in Vancouver, Jord and Nat made sure I stopped at TNT. And good thing we did, because that's where I spent the most. I bought two staple items that I wear all. the. time. We also became triplets after that trip, because we all need CDG high tops, am I right? Obsessed with everything in this store!
Loved this store - great for basics and pieces you'll wear time and time again.
Ok, I know we have Uniqlo here in Vancouver, but for some reason, the Toronto location has so much more selection! The Uniqlo U line is especially my favourite. Thanks again to Jord for picking all the things out for me... I feel like a different person :D
M Brand Shop
If you're looking for any Korean beauty products, this is where you need to go! You'll find pretty much anything you're looking for here, just watch the markup on prices.
Trendy, man-repelling, unique items are my jam, because man repelling is my forté, right? And this is the store for just that! Haha jk, but I've really stopped caring what other people think when it comes to what I wear/my style. If I love it, I wear it. Chunky platforms? Into it. Cat eye shades? All over it. Mom/dad style/retro everything? Yessss. And I'm so so happy that lavender is in and all the Clueless 90's vibes are backkkk.
This cute little Korean store had everything and more! I found such cute items for Mexico, along with a silk dress for an upcoming wedding. Definitely a hidden gem!
Because I was going to Toronto after New York, I didn't bother going to Milk Bar in NY, and just stocked up on the last day in Toronto. Nothing is gluten free, dairy free or remotely healthy, but my fam was very satisfied with the goodies I picked up for them.
And that's a wrap! There were so many other spots I wanted to go while I was there, but obviously we didn't have time for everything. Stay tuned for our day at Her Majesty's Pleasure - another must-go spot in TO. What are your must see spots in the 6ix? Let me know and I'll add them to my next trip out east :)