TIFF Week: Great Places To Dine During Festival
You've figured out all of your movie tickets, red carpets, and places to stay if you're not from Toronto. TIFF is all set! But... wait a second... Is it possible that you have forgotten something? We seem to always neglect our food options, because we're not exactly thinking about that until we are hungry. Now you're busy at TIFF and are way hungrier than you'd like to be before your lengthy imitation of a statue in queue. Don't worry. We've got some good options for you, and they're all conveniently around TIFF's whereabouts. As a guy that loves his food, here are some of my favourite hotspots during TIFF to chow down.
Gabby's (309 King St. W., across from the TIFF Bell Lightbox)
You just want some pub goods and a reasonable price when it comes to portion sizes? The Gabby's location at King and John does the trick. It's your average bar and grill, but it's in such a convenient place. Subway and Tim Horton's are both gone, so you may as well find something nearby that's both reasonably quick and hearty. Plus, Gabby's boasts a retro feel. It's as homely as it is easy.
SU&BU (106 John St., behind TIFF Bell Lightbox)
For something a bit zanier. I don't think you can ever go wrong with sushi. This whole sushi burrito craze couldn't have come at a better time, and the location here is just right. My personal favourite is the Poke nachos: a tortilla chip pile drenched in sushi goodness. If you're really wanting to overdo it, there's a Sweet Jesus right there for dessert, too. You'll certainly get your fix.
Yonge Street Warehouse (336 Yonge St., right by Ryerson campus, ; a short walk from Ryerson theatre, if you go through the campus)
If you're into the liveliness of Toronto and its bar scene, Yonge Street Warehouse is a godsend. The food is stupidly cheap: you can have a whole meal plus appetizers for less than ten dollars. Two catches: 1) you can't really customize your meals, and 2) the bar stays afloat through its drinks. You can either grab a well priced, delicious meal, or enjoy this same food on top of your fun night out. With a permanently running video DJ set and great affordability, the Warehouse is just simply amazing. Plus, it’s partially made out of remnants of the Toronto Sunrise Records that once was.
Elephant & Castle (212 King St. W., close to Princess of Wales theatre and Roy Thompson hall)
Who doesn't love Elephant & Castle? It's basically a Toronto staple at this point. The best news is that there's structural depth in this place: a number of rooms you can choose to dine or drink in. You can choose to have a nice sit down meal, or go for the on-the-run option with simple takeaways. When festival walk is open for the first few days of festival, Elephant & Castle is smack bang in the heart of some of the ritziest venues. It's a great checkpoint.
Hendrick's (218 Yonge St., near the Elgin and Winter Garden theatres)
So, you have many fast food options (and the Eaton Centre) if you're going to either of these theatres. For something a little bit different (let's say you're treating this occasion like a special dress-up kind of day), there's always Hendrick's. While pricier, this could be that special dinner date or get-together you're truly looking for, especially if TIFF is your time of year to glam-it-up. Plus, you can't go wrong with some solid steakhouse cuisine.
Kupfert & Kim (140 Spadina Ave., close to Tiff Bell Lightbox; 100 King St. W., close to Roy Thompson Hall)
The bad news is that a lot of strictly vegan restaurants aren't right in the heart of TIFF, though many places offer vegan options. The good news is that Kupfert & Kim has two locations that are reasonably close to TIFF venues. With great customer service, speedy delivery times, and a whole variety of options, these locations may be highly useful if you're stricken by limited choices in other restaurants nearby.
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.