The 10 best pickled foods at Toronto restaurants

The 10 best pickled foods at Toronto restaurants

Pickled things—lovingly brined, jarred and served by the city’s star chefs—are the hottest grandmotherly food since cookies and milk. Here, the best of the puckery pack

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Wild leeks
Jamie Kennedy preserves these pungent alliums (which add a deep flavour to vinaigrette) with a slice of beet for colour. Gilead Bistro, 4 Gilead Pl., 647-288-0680

Quail eggs
Joan Olsen classes up the saloon staple by steeping them in white wine vinegar, bay leaves and allspice. Swirl, 946 ½ Queen St. E., 647-351-5453.

Cherry bomb peppers
Anthony Rose ferments bushels of these little Jewish deli–style fireballs and sends them out whenever he has a hole to fill on a plate. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042.

Honey mushrooms
Pickled with coriander seed and star anise, these are chewy yet slippery, a nice fit with Nick Liu’s rabbit rillettes. Niagara Street Café, 169 Niagara St., 416-703-4222.

English cucumbers
Victor Barry runs diced cukes in a Japanese-style brine through the Cryovac machine. Ten seconds later, they’re ready to add crunch to freshly shucked oysters. Splendido, 88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788.

Inspired by the Irish chippy treat, Kyle Deming pickles kielbasa in a brown sugar brine with fennel seed. They’re smoky, sour and ideal with a pint. The Ceili Cottage, 1301 Queen St. E., 416-406-1301.

Yellow wax beans
Bar master Jen Agg slips these beans (zinged with dill and chilies) into her legendary caesar as sour swizzle sticks. The Hoof Café, 923 Dundas St. W., 416-792-7511.

Mark Cutrara steeps local ’choke hearts in vidal vinegar and tops with lemon olive oil. A nutty garnish for seared pickerel. Cowbell, 1564 Queen St. W., 416-849-1095.

Rob Gentile preserves golden figs in a sugary brine with mustard seeds to extend their fleeting season. Buca, 604 King St. W., 416-865-1600.

For the cherry to top off his roasted-elk entrée, Matty Matheson chose blueberries pickled with coriander seed, caraway and garlic. Parts and Labour, 1566 Queen St. W., 416-588-7750.

(Images: Christopher Stevenson)