A Drunk Man’s Guide to Eating in Downtown Toronto
Here’s a question: is there anything better than good food when you’re drunk? The answer is yes – good sex… Duh. BUT, when going to town on someone else is not in the cards, going to town on a greasy mess of food is a close second. I’ve lived in Toronto for the last few years and, while I’ve not exactly had the coital success of Orlando Bloom, I have been fortunate enough to find some great spots at which to gorge myself in the late hours of the night.
You haven’t lived until you’ve shut down Croc Rock and then stumbled a few doors down to join the line up out the door at Burrito Boyz’ Adelaide location. Not only do you have the same eclectic collection of people that makes people-watching at Croc Rock so entertaining, you now have the best burrito in the city, too. Nobody does it better than these guys. Fight me if you disagree. Especially if chipotle comes out of your mouth.
Gary’s Pick: Steak & Shrimp Combo
Fran’s is a Toronto staple that offers a killer breakfast 24 hours a day, so you don’t feel like you’re actually missing out on the most important meal of the day when you go home after eating it at 2am and end up sleeping until 2pm. This diner-style establishment has many locations throughout the city, the staff always knows what to expect when the clock works through the early morning hours, and is in on the fun as long as you’re not being a belligerent dickhead.
Gary’s Pick: Montreal corned beef hash, sautéed onions, two eggs, homefries, and toast
New Ho King
This late night go-to is right in the heart of Chinatown and around the corner from some amazing bars in Kensington market. Open ’til 4am, you can stumble in and point at the pictures on the menu if you’re too drunk to read or form proper sentences, and then indulge in Chinese food that has the perfect amount of substance and salt to fulfill your drunken desires.
Gary’s Pick: Beef Congee and Chicken with Vegetable Chow Mein
When the bars close at 2am, the party don’t stop at Sneak’s, as this Tex-Mex, graffiti-addled oasis keeps the kitchen open ’til 4am. Let me put it to you this way: the portion sizes are huge, and the cheese/meat/beans combos on virtually all of the dishes will definitely satisfy your hunger, and then some. Crank down a couple waters while you feast on a plate of nachos and you will feel right as rain in the morning… even if that morning doesn’t come until next week.
Gary’s Pick: Huevos Rancheros
If you’re out in King West and feel like being a little more classy, Thompson Diner offers one of the best late night menus around, and all-day breakfast. While not exactly an economically feasible option – especially if you’ve just made it rain for four hours at the bar – this is the place where you offer to take the girl you met at the bar before, hopefully, sealing the deal. This hotspot will, at the very least, make you feel like a functioning member of society while still lit up like a 4th of July sky.
Gary’s Pick: Double Mac & Cheese with truffle oil
Toronto’s first poutine-exclusive restaurant boasts some of the most loyal customers going on this list. Smoke’s menu has more options to add to the Canadian classic than you have in your closet to wear on a Saturday night. Your head will be left spinning, not only from the large quantity of alcohol coursing through your veins, but also from the explosive flavour of rainbow poutine.
Gary’s Pick: Traditional poutine
The ultimate Toronto drunk food. These carts are set up all over the city, and I wonder if they ever do close down. It may not be the best tasting option out there, but when you’re wasted it is the perfect storm of hot, cheap, and mobile. Shout-out to my boy on the corner of St. George and Bloor for having the best German sausage I’ve ever had (I’m talking about the food, jackass), and for not getting rattled when I forgot to pay and then returned the next night and acted like I’d never been there before.
Gary’s Pick: German sausage with everything but ketchup
These franchises may be unoriginal, and decidedly unfashionable for the chic city streets of Toronto, but they are a reliable source of cheap food and you are almost guaranteed to find one that is open on your walk home. Pizza Pizza will sell you a literal shoe box full of fries (which friends have dubbed a shooey… think gooey) and the world’s best creamy garlic dipping sauce for some loose change and pocket lint (which happens to be exactly what you’re left with after the bar). How do you top that? Well, you could go to the world-famous Golden Arches and get a late night McGangBang for three dollars and change. For those of you who aren’t in the know, this is the procedure of placing an entire Junior Chicken in between the patties of a McDouble, thereby creating a Frankensandwich that is sure to have the people at McDonalds looking at you in intrigued horror. It’s that bad. Other lesser known but equally brilliant drunken creations are: the McBarnyard (Jr. Chicken between a Bacon McDouble); the Land-Sea-Air (McDouble with a Filet o’ Fish patty and Jr. Chicken patty sandwiched between); and the newest monster to be rendered by the Gods with the genesis of the all-day breakfast, the Mother Clucker (Jr. Chicken with the fried egg from an egg McMuffin).
Gary’s Pick: Shooey of fries with garlic dipping sauce OR McGangbang