The downtown core’s best new takeout

The downtown core’s best new takeout

Remember the days of the languid three-martini lunch? Neither do we. But the midday hunched-over-a-keyboard meal can be a thing of great pleasure now that these chef-run takeout spots are ruling the downtown scene

Porchetta and Co.

545 King St. W., 647-351-8844,

Porchetta & Co.
Porchetta & Co. Porchetta and Co.’s namesake sandwich, with crackling, parmesan, rapini and truffle sauce (top) and the restaurant’s lunch counter (Images: Dave Gillespie)

Nick auf der Mauer’s new King West location means core lunchers can ditch their soggy brown-bag sandwiches for one of his wildly popular porchetta ones. We recommend the fully loaded option topped with parm, grainy mustard, hot sauce and truffle sauce. The fried chicken on a Thuet bun (a Thursday-to-Saturday special at the ­Dundas West flagship) is available every day downtown, as is poutine topped with crackling and gravy goosed with pork drippings. A side of garlicky rapini is as good as greens get.

Flock Rotisserie and Greens

330 Adelaide St. W., 647-483-5625,

Flock Rotisserie and Greens
Flock Rotisserie and Greens Flock’s chicken and salad (top), and the restaurant’s lunch counter (Images: Dave Gillespie)

Harbord Room chef Cory Vitiello doubled down on the healthy bowl craze for his first quick-service restaurant. The menu is brief: perfectly seasoned rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, sides and salads that he tarts up with trendy mix-ins like roasted cauliflower, wheat and goji berries, red quinoa and grated raw coconut. It’s satisfying lunch grub that won’t cause the dreaded afternoon blood-sugar crash.

Pizzeria Libretto

155 University Ave., 416-551-0433; 545 King St. W., 647-352-1200,

Pizzeria Libretto
Pizzeria Libretto Libretto’s lunch combo (top). (Images: Dave Gillespie)

Order takeout from Libretto’s University or King Street location for a piping-hot, wood-fired Neapolitan pie at your desk. The lunch prix fixe includes a salad (caprese or arugula), one of Rocco Agostino’s perfectly charred pizzas (margherita or marinara) and a wee dessert (the crisp biscotti are a more prudent choice than the gelato, unless you’re an eat-dessert-first kinda person). Available Monday to Friday until 5 p.m.


15 Elm St., 416-662-3546, @TLPSandwich

TLP TLP’s steak sandwich (top left), and lunch counter. (Images: Dave Gillespie)

Barberian’s steak house was ahead of the trend when they opened their minimalist neighbouring lunch counter two summers ago in a former wine and meat-aging cellar (TLP stands for Three Little Pigs). There’s no porterhouse to go, but there is a steak sandwich topped with sautéed mushrooms, cubano peppers and caramelized onions, and doused with garlic ­butter. We recommend their wedge fries on the side for a cubicle-friendly version of steak frites.

Little Fin

4 Temperance St., 647-348-7000,

Little Fin
Little Fin Little Fin’s lobster roll (top), and the restaurant’s lunch counter. (Images: Dave Gillespie)

This bright takeout spot hawks expertly prepped seafood dishes just like its fancy big brothers next door, the Chase and the Chase Fish and Oyster. The tangy seaweed salad is a nice side for calamari po’ boys, buttery lobster rolls, haddock and chips, and shrimp mac and cheese.


101 Peter St., 647-748-1924, @CarverSlow

Carver Carver’s porchetta with a loaded baked potato and zucchini salad. (Image: Dave Gillespie)

Marben’s former executive chef Rob Bragagnolo just opened a new quick-service spot that turns every weekday lunch into a Sunday roast celebration. Herb-rubbed and slow-cooked meats (a rotating selection of beef short rib, chicken and porchetta) can be stuffed into a sandwich or, better yet, sliced thick and served with a baked potato. The sleek, high-ceilinged room, with its polished concrete floor and pine countertops, is open seven days a week.

Don’t want to wait in line?

Ritual ( and Grabb ( are apps designed for time-crunched overachievers who squeeze lunch in between “synergistic” meetings. Order and pay at the office, and a live-update notification pings the progress of the order. Pickup happens at a designated spot, like a lunch HOV lane, by the restaurant’s till.

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