The top 10 secret menu items in Toronto
Secret menus (or, better, "secret" menus) might not have originated in Toronto, but we have a long history of keeping things on the DL, ahem... "cold tea" anyone? U.S burger chain In-Out-Burger might get credit for popularizing the scheme, but there are plenty of local establishments that keep good stuff off the menu to reward regulars, un-clutter an overwhelming selection, or really... just to get a little freaky in the kitchen.
Here are the top 10 secret menu items (we know of) in Toronto.
Asada Mexican Grill (809 St. Clair Avenue West)
Situated on St. Clair, the family friendly eatery offers hidden menu items like the veggie baja tacos ($8.95/3) topped with deep-fried baja coated avocado, and customizable flautas ($8.95/3) and tostadas ($8.95/3). Also not on the menu: breakfast burritos ($8.95) are available all day.
The Burger's Priest (1636 Queen Street East)
Toronto's own local chain of cult burger joints posts only the simple and straightforward essentials in stores. The secret menu outlines over a dozen fancy, over-the-top options that can be order by ominous sounding names like the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."
Enzo Pizza Bar (646 Queen Street West)
The Americano, a.k.a "Big Mac pizza" is hardly a secret any more, but the hush-hush menu also includes the lesser known, "Buongiorno" a pie covered with fior di latte, fresh bacon and fresh farm eggs. Solo-sized pizzas sell for $14, a large goes for $25.
The Happy Hooker (887 Dundas Street West)
It's available by request anytime, but the Cod Father goes unmentioned on the menu at this licensed seafood snack bar on Dundas West. The $7 sandwich stacks fried cod slathered with tartare sauce onto a toasty buttered bun then loads it up with jalapenos, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Hot Beans (160 Baldwin Street, Unit #1)
This vegan take-out spot in Kensington Market lets Instagram followers in on its secret menu that currently bills 8 different taco and burritos specials like pizza tacos ($9.75) and the Mac Truck burrito ($8.75) that comes stuffed with fried potatoes, mac 'n' cheese, shaved seitan, beans, tofu sour cream and chili aioli.
Banh Mi Boys (392 Queen Street West)
Unadvertised but available at both locations, order a Club Bao ($6) and discover the double pleasure of this secret steamed bun loaded with fried chicken AND a slab of pork belly.
Salad King (340 Yonge Street)
Longtime patrons can still get Thai Islamic Noodles at this Yonge Street curry house. The unlisted dish improves upon a standard pad thai with a dollop of coconut milk curry generously ladled over top.
The County General (936 Queen Street)
Off-menu items from this Queen West restaurant include the oversized Big Boi Mac ($16) and the option to transform the normally sharable serving of KFC (that's Korean fried chicken) into a sandwich ($15) on request. Both orders include sides.
Lisa Marie (638 Queen West)
The menu at this cicchetti bar features an always-changing array of snacks and nibbles, but if you're looking something more substantial, ask for the off-menu steak ($36) or a hearty order of sugo ($28), an Italian meat sauce pasta.
The Steady (1051 Bloor West)
Ask about the cornbreadict ($14) at brunch or order anything on the menu "like it was cool in 2012" and it will come with bacon... even the vegan selections.
Spill the beans on your favourite "secret" menu specials in the comments section.