The top 10 food events in Toronto for summer 2014
The top food events in Toronto this summer will take advantage of the warmer months by packing in as much al fresco dining as possible. Things are just heating up with night markets, festivals and food truck rallys all on the horizon. And this is in addition to the numerous street festivals coming to a neighbourhood near you in the coming months.
Here are my picks for the top food events and festivals taking place this summer in Toronto.
Market 707's Flavours of the City
This recurring series will liven up the work week on the third Thursday of every summer month. The next instalment takes place June 19 and will be a fish-themed night where you can catch your own dinner in the swimming pool-turned-fresh water fish pond and then have it cooked up at one of the cargo container food stalls. It's the urban alternative to going to the Niagara River without the time commitment or possibility of spotting beavers.
Central Regional Barista Competition
Taking place June 19 to 22 at the brand new Propeller Roastery near Bloor and Lansdowne, this competitive demonstration will show off the espresso-making excellence of Toronto's best baristas as well as those from around the province. Here's a look back at the 2011 edition to get a sense of what to expect. The winner will move on to the national finals in September at the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show (also in Toronto).
From the team behind Toronto's first ever dim sum festival comes this celebration of Barcelona-style tapas at an outdoor venue on King West. Details are sparse at the time of this writing but if you're a fan of Bar Isabel, Patria and Toronto's other top Spanish spots be sure to mark Sunday July 6th down in your calendars. Expect details, location and ticket sales to be announced via Twitter soon.
Taste of Toronto
After taking London, Milan and Moscow by storm, this global food event makes its first appearance in Toronto at Fort York on July 24th to 27th. The highly anticipated festival will bring together 20 big-name restaurants for lunch and dinner sessions featuring special menus and starter sized tasting plates. General admission is $30 for the culinary showcase promising demos, an interactive tasting room and an artisan marketplace.
One of many regional BBQ cook offs happening throughout the summer, the most popular edition takes place at Centennial Park over the Canada Day long weekend from June 27th to July 1st. Along with an endless supply of smoke-infused, sauce-slathered meats, expect the festival to feature live entertainment, a midway and even a World Cup-watching area. If you miss this one, you can also catch Ribfests in Markham (July 4th to 6th), Scarborough (August 2nd to 5th) and a Beaches edition (June 13th to 15th).
Night it Up
Don't worry if you weren't lucky enough to snag a ticket to The Stop's sold-out event this spring, there are more night markets to come. Night it Up is the big one. Crowds are insane and line-ups can be excruciating but where else are you going to get street food in Toronto that looks like this? Like past years, Night It Up goes down over three nights at the Markham Civic Centre (101 Town Centre Boulevard) from July 11th to 13th. For downtown dwellers who don't want to head north, be sure to check out the smaller (but getting bigger and better every year) T&T Night Market on July 25th to 27th in the Port Lands.
Now in its 13th year, this well seasoned (sorry) event will get you jumping at Centennial Park in Etobicoke on August 9th and 10th. Indulge in a Hot & Spicy Jerk Chicken Eating Competition or the So You Think You Can Jerk Competition, plus workshops, demos and opportunities to sample everything from jerk chicken and pork to alligator and frogs legs.
The Toronto Underground Market
In case you missed the one earlier this month, TUM is set to return to 99 Sudbury for monthly installments featuring an always exciting and evolving list of local food and drink vendors. This is ground zero for local chefs to try out and refine new recipes and concoctions before they go big time. In September, the food fest celebrates its 3-year anniversary but if you only go to one TUM all summer make it the August 10 edition as it's being hailed as the first ever Sunday brunch-themed TUM set to go down between 11am and 4pm.
TO Food Fest
This feeding frenzy featuring top culinary talents and emerging new food vendors will return for its third year on Sunday, August 10th. For those not attending TUM that day (or who want to double up on their Sunday food fest fun), be sure to take a big appetite to the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto (5183 Sheppard Avenue East) between 1pm and 6pm. From camel burgers to awesome Indonesian street food, feast your eyes on this round-up of what went down at the 2013 edition.
Even though the rain made last year's annual food truck extravaganza a bit of a bust, I couldn't resist including at least one food truck event on this year's summer round-up. Coming in at the tail end of the summer, the food truck rally has moved west from Fort York to new digs just outside the city at Celebration Square in Mississauga (yes, I know that's not technically in Toronto). Admission is free and the award ceremony will be held on Saturday, September 6th. Expect many tacos and other gourmet food truck fare to be consumed although a full list of the 40 or so trucks participating is yet to be announced. For more food truck events, keep an eye on torontofoodtrucks.ca.
What did I miss? Plug your favourite summer food events in the comments below.
Thanks to Pure Leaf for sponsoring our summer adventures. For more things to do this summer, check out our Best of Summer page.