Toronto’s Best New Takeout

Our guide to the most deliriously delicious dishes now available for pickup and delivery

The first month of the pandemic felt like someone had pressed a cosmic pause button, and restaurants (most of the good ones, at least) were forced to close or pivot. Switching to 100 per cent takeout was a no-brainer for casual spots. But fine-dining kitchens had to get creative—elevating orders with fancy packaging, wine pairings, gourmet grocery add-ons and even handwritten notes from the chef—to make their moveable feasts as exceptional as the plated dishes they once served in their establishments. One spot on this list even created a playlist (music spliced with a recording of a busy before-times night) that’s meant to transport you away from the current existential crisis, if only long enough for a five-course meal. Whether you want some comforting fried chicken or fancy-pants sushi, there’s something to satisfy every craving on this list.

Edulis

After a corona-induced break, Edulis is back. When husband-and-wife team Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth launched their five-course, heat-at-home concept, they sold out within 12 hours. With a staff of two, they’re offering just 190 dinners a week, Friday through Sunday. A plate of prune-and-olive-studded chicken marbella (last popular in 1987) is a sweet and tangy delight, as is a side of poached asparagus blessed by green goddess dressing. A lot of it is retro food made modern, and it’s excellent—even after a spin in the microwave. Pickup only. 169 Niagara St. 416-703-4222, edulisrestaurant.com


Sugo

This red-sauce joint is co-owned by Conor Joerin, who has made it his mission to boost front-line-worker morale by delivering Italian
comfort food to the overworked staff at SickKids and St. Joseph’s Hospital. His honest-to-goodness spaghetti comes in a rich pork-and-veal ragu, topped with a liberal dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It tastes like a hug from nonna, and it’s exactly what we need right now. $15. Pickup only. 1281 Bloor St. W., 416-535-1717, sugotoronto.com


Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

Donna’s

This twee Wallace-Emerson joint is now slinging baked goods, salads and a short lineup of perfect sandwiches to go. Donna’s beloved ham platter has been retooled for takeout as a simple stack of just four things—ham, pickled shallots, Colman’s mustard and some greens ($13)—and their signature roast beef sandwich piles paper-thin meat marinated in beef fat and honey onto a crusty Portuguese bun with parsnip, watercress and a house horseradish sauce ($15). Pair any of them with a jalapeno-jolted pea salad and the daily freshly squeezed juice or a bottle of Portuguese wine. Pickup only. 827 Lansdowne Ave., 416-536-1414, donnas.ca


Buca

Buca is known for arcane pasta dishes that some Italians can’t even name, but its new takeout menu is a short list of simple, comforting plates: hearty bowls of amatriciana, bolognese and cacio e pepe, and crispy Roman-style pizzas (use scissors to cut them for an authentic Buca experience at home). Diners can also add the restaurant’s pasta sauces, fresh pastas and oven-ready lasagnas to their order. Available for pickup and delivery. 2 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-840-9822, buca.ca


Harry’s Charbroiled

Not long after closing his popular Parkdale diner, owner Grant van Gameren resurrected it as a pop-up inside Bar Raval. It’s on delivery apps for now, but a food truck is in the works. The menu is limited to four burger options, all served on Martin’s potato rolls: beef, vegan, green chorizo and, our favourite, kicky red chorizo topped with a fat slice of pineapple ($9.99). And don’t forget to order some double-cooked fries, which manage to stay crispy en route ($4.25). Available for pickup and delivery. 505 College St., harrys.customer.chat


Wynona

Chef Jeff Bovis isn’t offering any of his usual seasonally driven plates. Instead, he’s selling DIY meal kits: marinated chickens, fresh pastas and sauces, dips, house-stuffed sausages and loaves of their olive-oil-slathered focaccia. Also available are some high-quality deli goodies like applewood-smoked capocollo and heritage eggs. Available for pickup, and for delivery on orders of $100 or more. 819 Gerrard St. E., 416-778-5171, wynonatoronto.com


Le Phénix

Two months after Chantecler caught fire, its temporary sister spot Le Phénix rose from its ashes to serve familiar Franco fare. The half-duck ($30) is still the standout. The kitchen breaks down whole Stouffville-sourced pekin ducks. The legs are cured in citrus zest, thyme and salt, then poached in duck fat. The breasts, meanwhile, are cold-smoked over applewood and finished on the stove, medium-rare. A duck demi-glace, compressed apples and a smattering of hazelnuts bring it all together. Available for pickup and delivery. 1263 Queen St. W., 416-342-1587, lephenixto.com


Favorites Thai BBQ

Sour, funky and spicy best describes the flavour-packed Thai bites coming out of the Ossington kitchen that ranked No. 1 on our latest list of best new restaurants. Although a bottle of Singha is perfect for washing down tangy papaya salad dressed in unfiltered fish sauce and birdseye chilis ($18), don’t overlook the excellent wine list, which is packed with crushable, offbeat bottles from small biodynamic producers. A tart-yet-juicy pet nat rosé from Germany’s Pfalz region pairs perfectly with a bowl of duck egg and dried shrimp–strewn pad Thai ($22). Available for pickup and delivery. 141 Ossington Ave., 437-916-9069, myfavethai.com


Skippa

The fancy lunch boxes coming out of this Harbord Village sushi spot marry Canadian produce with luxe Japanese proteins such as Wagyu beef and cherry blossom trout (a fish known for its tender pink flesh). One weekend, the always-changing vegetarian Yasai Box comes stuffed to bursting with a forager’s delight of fiddle heads, ramp kimchi, charcoal-grilled Ontario asparagus and clay pot–cooked rice studded with morels. The Sakana Box is a gorgeous arrangement of maki and sashimi that comes with specific instructions detailing which bites gets dunked in the house-made shoyu. $50 and up. Pickup only. 379 Harbord St., 416-535-8181, skippa.ca


Labora

Although all of Labora’s paellas are decadent, it’s the seafood one ($35) that has us salivating. Smoked paprika–seasoned bomba rice comes topped with grilled octopus, red Argentinian prawns, calamari, artichokes, capers, baby peas and dollops of saffron-lemon aïoli. To preserve the socarrat—that crunchy base—chef Rob Bragagnolo is baking these bad boys in their delivery trays. Available for pickup and delivery. 433 King St. W., 416-260-9993, labora.to


416 Snack Bar

This Queen West watering hole, known for their bar snacks, has blown up their typically tiny dishes. The eggplant parm doubledown—once a three-bite sandwich of tomato, mozzarella di bufala and basil cradled between two quinoa-breaded eggplant rounds—has been super-sized. Slices of pressed-and-salted eggplant are seared, layered with provolone and lemony ricotta and Grana Padano, then roasted. It’s all topped with San Marzano sauce and six eggplant chips ($18). Available for pickup and delivery. 181 Bathurst St., 416-364-9320, 416snackbar.com


Beach Hill Smokehouse

Pitmaster Darien List abides by the Central Texan BBQ Bible: no sticky sauces, just simple rubs and long cook times over crackling logs of red oak. Beef never hits the flames here. It’s indirect heat that makes the 12-hour-smoked brisket juicy beyond compare. Sides are generous, but the kitchen doesn’t lavish attention on them—these meatheads are focused on churning out perfect pink-ringed pork ribs instead. The best deal is the Jurassic Park Cookout, which comes with enough meat to feed a family of six…or four really ambitious carnivores. $125. Available for pickup and delivery. 172 Main St., 416-792-8275, beachhillsmokehouse.com


Pizzeria Du

This plant-based pizza parlour—the offshoot of vegan tasting-menu restaurant Avelo—is particularly secretive about the blend of flours they use to make their dough. Cooked for three minutes at 750°F, their crust has both a springy, pillowy texture and a satisfying crispness. We can’t decide between their most textbook creation—the margherita ($14)—and their least Italian one: a vegan take on a Hawaiian topped with San Marzano–cut barbecue sauce and jackfruit ($15). The cumin-spiced fruit makes for an excellent pulled-pork dupe on this cheerful, pro-pineapple pie. Available for pickup and delivery. 536 Queen St. W., 647-655-7451, pizzeriadu.ca


Sushi Masaki Saito

Two Michelin star–decorated chef Masaki Saito’s edomae-style sushi is meant to be eaten the moment chef passes you a morsel. But even though Saito isn’t present to hand-feed you, he manages to deliver an exquisite experience, courtesy of Furoshiki-wrapped packages brought to your door. Saito’s Selection ($228) is a cedar box chock full of Japanese-caught delights: sweet-yet-smoky firefly squid, velvety three-day-cooked monkfish liver lobes, and baby shrimp that taste like the Pacific. The chirashi option, meanwhile, looks like a Klimt painting, complete with edible gold ($128). Consider changing out of your sweats for this. Available for delivery. 88 Avenue Rd., 416-924-0888, masakisaito.ca


Patois

During the pandemic, chef Craig Wong isn’t offering his Jamaican-Chinese soul food à la carte. Instead, he’s serving up ready-to-heat care packages. The Full Pack ($149) comes with 10 different dishes, including Jamaican curry black tiger shrimp, a jerk-seasoned rotisserie-roasted chicken, stewed oxtail, beef patties, kimchi Brussels sprouts with Asian pear, fry bread, rice and peas, plantain chips and—because that’s not enough—a rum cake tiramisu. For the full Patois experience, consider treating yourself to a DIY rum punch kit ($45). Available for pickup and delivery. 794 Dundas St. W., 647-350-8999, patoistoronto.com


Brando’s Fried Chicken

Before Brandon Olsen opened his French bistro, La Banane, he was winning over fans with his ultra-juicy, crispy-crunchy-craggy fried chicken. Start small with a sandwich on a squishy Martin’s potato roll ($12) or go big with a 15-piece bucket of bird and three sides—creamy coleslaw, macaroni salad and confit-roasted taters—for $65. No matter which way you go, it’s deep-fried deliciousness. Available for pickup or delivery. 227 Ossington Ave., 416-551-6263, labanane.ca/brandos


Maha’s Egyptian Brunch

Pre-pandemic, this east-end brunch spot had a perpetual lineup. These days, getting your mitts on their Egyptian dishes has never been easier. The curtailed takeout menu focuses on things that travel well, like the Taameia Pita ($12), a fluffy pocket stuffed with vibrant-green, fava bean–based falafel seasoned with dill, coriander and cumin, and rolled in sesame seeds before taking a dunk in the fryer. Pickup only. 226 Greenwood Ave., 416-462-2703, mahasbrunch.com


Little Sister

As one of the founding restaurants of Feed the Frontlines, this Dutch-Indonesian kitchen has been busy slinging plates of spice-forward fried rice, satays and croquettes for hungry health care workers. Chef-owner Michael van den Winkel says they’re making more food than ever, sending up to 500 meals a week to the city’s hospitals. Every dish is a hit—even simple grilled mustard greens are bursting with flavour from sambal oelek and ketjap manis. The semur java is unforgettable: tender pieces of braised clove-and-cumin-spiked short rib swimming in dark soy sauce ($28). available for pickup and delivery. 2031 Yonge St., 416-488-2031, littlesisterto.com


Arthur’s

This midtown grill house specializes in American classics: veal chops, crab cakes, pasta. Beyond the menu’s glitzy items, like filet mignon, are Jewish deli staples, including matzo ball soup, pastrami on rye and bagels with all the cured-fish fixings. A lox spread ($27) comes with New York–style bagels, schmear and a hefty portion of New Zealand salmon that’s been brined for seven to 10 days and finished in the cold smoker. Available for pickup and delivery. 12 St. Clair Ave. E., 647-348-7000, arthursrestaurant.ca


Aloette

Alo’s slightly casual sister restaurant, known for its Asian-flavoured French plates, had to pare down its takeout offerings to dishes that could withstand a drive. Although sea urchin didn’t quite make the cut, the much-Instagrammed lemon meringue pie is on offer alongside yuzu honey–lashed fried chicken and their signature burger. It’s a comforting stack: a flat-top-cooked chuck-and-brisket patty blanketed in Beaufort cheese and tucked into a cloud-light potato bun ($20). Available for pickup and delivery. 163 Spadina Ave., 416-260-3444, aloetterestaurant.com


Union

For the last 11 years, this Ossington stalwart has stayed fresh by offering an ever-changing menu of seasonally driven bistro plates. Union’s new takeout options stick to the restaurant’s greatest hits, including what may be Toronto’s most perfect meat-and-potatoey salad: butter lettuce tossed in Niagara pinot noir vinaigrette, accompanied by two thick-cut slices of double-smoked Hoffman’s bacon, a big dollop of goat cheese and a rosti that’s fried to golden, crispy perfection. Available for pickup and delivery. 72 Ossington Ave., 416-850-0093, union72.ca


Brothers

“If we were going to do takeout, it had to be more than just food in containers,” says co-owner Chris White, who has programmed a full multi-course evening that opens with bites and bubbles (one week it was venison charcuterie, olives and crémant) and concludes with toothsome treats like a custard pine nut tart. Light, flavour-packed courses—lake fish is a focus—are meant to be savoured. To add to the illusion of dining out, White has even put together a downloadable playlist punctuated with a recording of a busy summer night at Brothers. Between Chet Baker’s trumpet trills, you can hear the subway rumble past and servers taking orders. Ah, the good ol’ days. $65 per person. Pickup only. 1240 Bay St., 416-804-6066, brotherstoronto.ca


Oddseoul

Since 2012, Leeto Han’s Ossington snack bar has been churning out Korean-American comfort food that doesn’t shy away from cheese, mayo or the deep fryer. Our favourites are the Loosey ($9)—a kimchi hollandaise–baptised Big Mac—and the kitchen’s take on poutine ($10), which drowns hunks of squash in curried gravy, more kimchi, Kewpie mayo and cheese curds. Available for pickup and delivery. 90 Ossington Ave., @to_oddseoul


Pearl Harbourfront

Pearl’s dim sum isn’t quite the same without the view of Lake Ontario and the trundle of dumpling-laden carts passing by, but there’s something indulgent about enjoying it whenever you damn well please. Their shumai ($9) are bursting with pork and topped with impressively sized shrimp, and their har gow ($10), enveloped in silk-thin rice wrappers, are packed with plump prawns. Available for pickup and delivery. 207 Queen Quay W. (upstairs), 416-203-1233, pearlharbourfront.ca


Tinuno

This pint-sized restaurant has only ever served one thing: kamayan, a hands-on Filipino feast that feeds up to three people. The cutlery-free spread layers rice on top of banana leaves, which is then piled high with pork skewers, pork belly, mussels, shrimp, grilled tilapia, milkfish and squid. The roughage is scarce—there are a few spears of okra and a bit of eggplant—but one meal without veggies won’t cause scurvy ($36). Available for pickup and delivery. 31 Howard St., 647-343-9294, tinunothirtyone.com


Gus Taqueria

Last year, La Chilaca—a taco stand operating out of a cramped Kensington Market food court—opened up an unfussy sister restaurant just down the street. The options (barbacoa, pastor, carnitas) are by-the-book taqueria, but the quality is above par: handmade tortillas that sop up juices while maintaining their integrity, and perfectly spiced salsa that range from mild to tongue-searing. Get some to go (and pack a cerveza or two) for a park picnic. $4.50-$5.50. Available for pickup and delivery. 225 Augusta Ave. and 616 Gladstone Ave., 416-977-8226, tacosgus.ca


Alo

Toronto’s fanciest restaurant—which is equally lauded for Patrick Kriss’s fastidious French plates as it is for its service—is now offering takeout: five-course prix-fixe meals that have included dishes like braised veal shank, Italian burrata with an asparagus salad, and saffron risotto. And, as in the before times, it’s nearly impossible to snag a rezzie. Every Thursday at noon, Alo releases the following week’s slots (they plan for 575 orders, spacing them out so that pickup is physically distanced). Within 36 hours, every last meal has been snagged. $65 per person. Pickup only. 163 Spadina Ave., 416-260-2222, alorestaurant.com


Jacobs and Co.

To replicate a night at Jacobs and Co., start by asking Siri to play some Oscar Peterson (it’s not quite the restaurant’s piano bar, but it’ll do). Next—even though it comes without the tableside show—make sure to order the caesar salad for two ($26). Then tell chef Danny McCallum how you like your steak, and throw in some shrimp cocktail, just because ($24). Jacob’s is also selling their premium proteins raw (including a $188 A5 Black Tajima striploin from Japan) so you can grill them yourself. Out of charcoal? They’ll sell you that, too. Available for pickup and delivery. 12 Brant St., 416-366-0200, jacobssteakhouse.com


Dandylion

It took a global pandemic to get this social media–shy Queen West restaurant on Instagram. Each week, chef-owner Jason Carter posts a new multi-course menu. All orders come with sourdough and house-made fromage blanc, but the main courses range wildly. One week, it’s roast cod with red pepper, rapini and green olives; the next, it’s barbecue brisket with coleslaw, a Thai shrimp salad, or a gorgeously fat-marbled hunk of seared pork shoulder topped with blackened poblano peppers. $30-$40. Pickup only. 1198 Queen St. W., 647-464-9100, @dandylionrestaurant


Kang Bang Furaidochikin

Chefs Jeff Kang (Canis, Après Wine Bar) and Edward Bang (Omai) have teamed up for this pop-up. The menu is simple: fried chicken, kimchi and pickles. The plump morsels of chicken are brined in buttermilk then dredged in a cornstarch-tapioca–rice flour blend before they hit the fryer. Order up to 10 pieces ($35), along with sides like smashed wasabi cucumbers, dill-seasoned creamy coleslaw, fries and gravy. Heat seekers can get their bird slathered in a gochujang-habanero sauce. Available for pickup and delivery. Note: Kang Bang will only be open until the end of June. 1166 Queen St. W., @kb_furaidochikin