Let's face it, we're not going to the Deep South any time soon, but that doesn't mean we need to keep our distance from all the delicious Southern comforts on this side of the border.
You don't need a plane ticket to find good Cajun and Creole cuisine and soul food that's, well, good for the soul – we've got a list of the best Southern food restaurants in Toronto that will keep you warm long after summer ends. From Louisiana-style gumbo to hearty collard greens to scrumptious buttermilk biscuits, we've got all the fixings for your next Southern-inspired meal from the Toronto restaurants doing it right.
If you're in the mood for more smoked meat, we've got the best BBQ restaurants in Toronto that will satisfy all your Southern food cravings. Don't forget to save some room for a sweet treat like a peach cobbler or gooey pecan pie with our list of the best places to get pie in Toronto. And when cornbread isn't enough, check out our list of Toronto's best bakeries for the love of carbs. Ya'll enjoy now!
8 of the best places to enjoy Southern-style cooking
905 King St. W.
King Rustic is equal parts laid-back-homey and let’s-get-loose-on-the-house-infused-cinnamon-apple-bourbon. With from-scratch dishes passed down for generations, this King Street spot feels like you’re at a friend’s place for a meal. The sweet potato waffles’n’fried chicken is a sure-fire winner, while the lasagna is the La-Z-Boy recliner of comfort food. Tuck into beef and pork sausage ragu layered between sheets of pasta and a three-cheese creamy béchamel centre and never leave.
2790 Dundas St. W.
Named after the mixture of cooked fat and flour, this Junction joint is the ideal marriage of lively and relaxing. Chef Derrick Markland incorporates his own twists on food rooted in contemporary Creole cuisine. The Roux burger is available for brunch or dinner, so no judgement if you go twice in one day and get it both times. Sides range from hearty collard greens to cornbread and buttermilk biscuits. For the best picnic ever, order the ‘smoke it all box’ to go.
The Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder
699 St Clair Ave. W.
This St. Clair West smokehouse has been greasing up fingers and winning the hearts of fried chicken lovers since 2009. Don’t miss the Yardie fried chicken sandwich with scotch bonnet watermelon sauce.
Beach Hill Smokehouse
172 Main St.
Specializing in authentic Central Texas BBQ, this Danforth joint is a smoked meat lover's dream. Meat in this style is rubbed with spices and cooked over indirect heat with pecan or oak wood resulting in the juiciest beef brisket and pork ribs. There's cookout platters for the whole team, or you can order 'the Big D' sandwich stacked with three types of meat all for yourself... You know what we'd do. And we'd save room for the Southern peach cobbler, too.
Upper Beaches Bourbon House
3655 St. Clair. Ave. E.
The plates come out fast at this Cajun-Creole-style spot in Scarborough, but the utmost care goes into each item, from jambalaya to baked cheese grits. You’ll also find Canadian takes on Cajun-style bites like the Cajun Bayou Poutine.
The Dirty Bird Chicken + Waffles
We’re in a serious relationship with the Dirty Bird’s gluten-free fried chicken served on crispy-yet-fluffy waffle pillows. The Big Dirty squeezes a quarter leg of chicken with hothouse tomatoes and aioli between two Belgian waffles – who needs bread?
Greenwood Smokehouse BBQ
673 Danforth Ave.
At this rustic east end spot, ingredients are locally sourced, meat is raised sustainably and the bourbon is strong. After getting seasoned in a signature blend of spices and rubs, the beef, pork and chicken are slow-smoked over a white oak log fire for that authentic Southern smokehouse taste. Vegetarians are invited to the party too with dishes like their famous vegan firecracker po' boy sandwich and the Greenwood poutine with vegetarian gravy.
The Hogtown Vegan
382 College St.
Plot twist, we know. But Southern food isn't just buttery cornbread and melty mac n' cheese, it's also healthy vegetables like collard greens and dairy-free dishes. This College St. spot still serves all the same Southern-style comforts, just without involving any animals. And we don't think you'll miss it once you tuck into their Mac 'n Cheez which is baked and topped with herbed breadcrumbs or their unChicken + Waffles with with whipped cinnamon "butter" and spicy syrup.