There has been a renaissance when it comes to the humble sandwich. While once relegated to the lunchbox on days when we just couldn't be bothered, now creations are chef inspired towers of culinary perfection. Or at least that's the story behind the takeout at Carver, a cozy spot just perfect for a brag-worthy sandwich made for meat lovers. The star of the show is their slow roasted meats which are loaded with flavor and served on fluffy bread. The porchetta sandwich, chicken sandwich or puttanesca grilled cheese are served with potatoes or kale salad and a drink. Get extra napkins.
If you are ever considering getting a stale sushi platter at the supermarket to tide you over, don't. Just don't. There is Sushi 930 which has fresh sushi to pickup, takeout and shove in your face at your desk (or politely eat with chopsticks, should that be more of your speed). The fish is so fresh and fatty that it doesn't require a gallon of wasabi or soy sauce to mask it. Although there are two tables, it is all about the takeout. Call them with your order or order with a service like UberEats or foodora. Is it wrong to order a party platter without a party?
Flock Rotisserie is miles away from Swiss Chalet, even though the two both claim to have mastered the rotisserie chicken experience. We think you should trust Rotisserie's word, as they specialize in naturally raised chicken without hormones or antibiotics. It is gourmand, without having to ask for special sauce (but no judgment if that is your jam - you are in good company with many Canadians). Even more interestingly, salads are as much the main event as the meat and often don't have any chicken in them, but instead goodies like pickled turnips, dried apricots and goji berries. 14 stools are available for sit-down patrons, who can alternate between licking their fingers and watching the slowly rotating birds, which can be as mesmerizing as watching a roaring fire.
If you are looking for a unique twist on a filling Vietnamese sandwich, you certainly can't go wrong with Banh Mi Boys. Right on Queen and Spadina, the sandwich shop takes the Vietnamese construct and gives it multicultural twists, from Korean to Japanese. People line up out the door in anticipation, serving the grab-and-go style quite nicely. It is a skinny, hip and modern restaurant which serves its sandwiches on retro checkerboard paper. Banh Mi Boys was an overnight sensation for Toronto foodies who had no idea how great five-spice pork belly could taste. Other mouth-watering choices include duck confit or kimchi fries slathered in mayo, kimchi and slow roasted pulled pork.
Fresh restaurant opened its doors in 1999, way before "clean eating" and "vegetarian" were on the lips of every second Torontonian. As the times changed to make healthy choices not about deprivation, Fresh grew along with it, opening four locations around the city. Tables are always packed and there is almost always a wait, but you can call ahead for easy pick-up and or use their online ordering system which will alert you to the specials of the day. If you decide to go vegetarian but not virtuous, their green poutine is a Canadian dream, smothered in their roasted mushroom gravy.
When it comes time to pick up lunch, choices came seem worse for the wear when you are trying to stay in reasonable shape. Should you cross your fingers and hope that the item in front of you will not make you balloon? Going to iQ Food Co with three locations takes the ingredients and puts them in front of you in a bare format. A cardboard takeout box awaits waiting to be decorated with greens or grains with toppings ranging from avocado to sesame seeds to tempeh. You can get your inner chef on without having to wield a knife or wear an apron. There are some pre-made boxes with gluten free or vegan choices, such as the Evolve brown rice bowl made with salmon, edamame, roasted sweet potato, apple, pickled cucumbers and more.
The general mathematical rule is that the more kale a Toronto restaurant has, the more expensive it will be. Healthy doesn't have to break the bank now that Kupfert & Kim have set up shop right in the heart of the financial district. Healthy gluten free and meatless meals offer substantial fuel for long days at the office. A hearty breakfast option is the sweet quinoa with cashew butter, bananas and cinnamon. (Take that, oats!) Lunches come in charming takeout boxes and are filled to the brim with good stuff like brown rice, beans and chia seeds. Expect fresh ingredients that change with the seasons and expect your digestive tract to be very happy indeed.
For those nights when you can't decide if you want Chinese or Mexican (if there are those nights), Chino Locos is a dream come true. Even if you can't decide what you feel like, the word "dream" still applies here. Exceptionally good burritos with unexpected ingredients. We are not talking about mystery meat here, but rather edamame, shitake mushrooms and adobe chicken. The three self-proclaimed "crazy" Chinese chefs are aspiring to bring the newest in burrito flavours, from BBQ rib to Korean beef. If you want to be a purist and go the guacamole route, that is also available. The burritos are so reasonably priced for the amount of mouth gratitude that you will receive, it is a Toronto miracle. It is one of those "shouldn't work, but it does" situations. Just open your mouth and don't question it.
Raw chef Lisa Labute and Catharine Parker were frustrated that "crap food" seemed to be the only choice for takeout and fast food options. When you want a change to come to the world, the best way is to do it yourself. That is exactly what they did, and their Little Portugal takeout spot The Goods is filled with everything that is good for you. Whether delivered or ordered in house, salad bowls are piled high with everything from mung beans to noodled beets, with creamy dressings and healthy fats that will fill you up for hours. Served in a brown takeout box and sealed with a sticker, it almost looks too good to eat. Almost.
When you order a sandwich at Porchetta & Co there is no reason to ask afterwards, "Do I have something on my face?" because the answer is always, "Of course you do!" You won't care. With the house Porchetta sandwich made with truffle sauce, parmesan, mustard and hot sauce you will be in takeout heaven. The Porchetta is treated with more love than most meats are and if you can't get enough of it, consider ordering a whole roast. Other sandwiches include the pastrami banh mi, fried chicken parmesan and Nashville hot chicken. You can order online for delivery or pick-up at both their Dundas Street and King Street locations.