Any place without quality Caribbean food is truly deprived; luckily, here in Toronto, we’re blessed with cheap and totally delicious dishes, from roti to jerk chicken to Jamaican patties and caramelized plantains. The swirling blend of African, East Indian and Arabic spices and flavours make Caribbean food a must for any Torontonian’s diet. And with the popularity of the Caribana festival, there’s no doubt why Caribbean culture is so beloved here in TO.
Here are 7 of the best Caribbean food joints in Toronto, and why we love them so much:
Simple and unassuming both inside and out, Allwyn’s has, for years, been known as the best Caribbean restaurant by locals in the Parkwoods neighbourhood, and by those who come from all over the city. Their best offering is the jerk chicken sandwich with slaw, served up on a coco bun. The prices are very attractive too.
Quite possibly Toronto’s mecca of roti, Bacchus nails it when it comes to dishing up addictively good Barbadian-Guyanese grub. Their roti is in a completely different league than other roti shops in the city. They’re perched right on Queen Street W in Parkdale.
With Johnny cakes and curry chicken to die for, Simone’s is a Caribbean food staple, located in the Danforth. For the size of portions she serves up, the price amazing. Go for the cod fritters, banana porridge and, of course, the jerk chicken dinner. You’ll probably have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
You normally wouldn’t think of mixing Jamaican and Italian cuisines, but Rasta Pasta does just that, and it’s a beautiful thing. Located in Kensington Market, this place specializes in its Trenchtown goat dish, fried dumplings, jerk chicken and jerk pork, and gnocchi with saltfish and ackee. Compared to some other Caribbean restaurants, Rasta Pasta is on the pricey side, but their $4.99 jerk chicken or pork lunch plate is an amazing deal.
It’s no wonder Yonge Street can support three Ritz locations (plus a fourth opening soon, and a fifth location in Scarborough) – the place is pretty darn awesome. The food is served up cafeteria style. Some call it the best Caribbean restaurant in Toronto. Regardless how you feel, the consensus is that the goat and the jerk chicken are faves, as well as the ackee and saltfish, and roti.
Obviously, jerk chicken doesn’t happen here. But what does happen at this spot near the Annex neighbourhood is superior vegetarian and vegan dishes a la Caribbean and Creole. The wacky green exterior leads to a menu of organic rice and lentils, spicy corn soup, vegetarian roti with squash and the fried plantains.
Flaky, savoury patties are what Georgina Hamilton is known for. She’s the queen of patties, and with her mouth-watering spicy beef patty (or the jerk pork if you prefer), she’s doing just fine accepting only cash in the digital age. If you’re hungrier, go for the roti. Situated near the Junction neighbourhood, she’s a local celeb among Caribbean-loving foodies.