The Best Caesar Salad in Toronto
The best Caesar salad in Toronto makes me wonder if it's possible to classify greens as comfort food. While there's something to be said for the refined take on this classic that you'll find at upscale restaurants, my favourites are the less fussy versions that somehow transform a bunch of romaine lettuce into something as satisfying as a grilled cheese sandwich. And, is there anything better than the tableside preparation that you get to enjoy at some of the city's better steakhouses? There's a certain spectacle to it all that's both nostalgic and entertaining.
Everyone has their own preferences, of course — be it for extra garlic or the absence of anchovies (which aren't actually a traditional ingredient depending on who you talk to). With tableside preparations, you typically get a say in how your dressing is prepared, but even in the absence of this option, given the sheer variety of interpretations of the dish found across Toronto, there's sure to be one to please all manner of tastes.
Here are the best Caesar salads in Toronto.
Lead photo by RenÃ©e S. Suen
Jacobs & Co. does a particularly orchestrated tableside preparation of their Caesar, complete with a running narrative of the process. Far from annoying, you'll want to take notes, as this is one of those salads that's both light and filling, creamy but not soggy and basically just pitch perfect. If you're worried about the raw egg yolk, they'll do it with avocado instead (and the difference is negligible).
Another tableside offering, Barberian's Caesar is about as classic as it gets. The plating isn't fussy and there's no extras like bacon, but the croutons are a garlic and butter lover's dream. Some might prefer a bit more lemony tang from the dressing, but it's an old style steakhouse - so it's not really supposed to be light and refreshing.
I don't often think of salad as junk food, but I'll make an exception here. Caplansky's Caesar salad is a creamy mess of calories, and that's a very good thing. Served virtually ice cold, it's best to eat it fast so that the lettuce retains its crunch as there's more dressing on there than you'd ever do at home. The crumbled bits of "beef bacon" are unique and delicious.
While the dressing is on the light side, this Caesar salad gets its richness (and considerable flavour) via the addition of a soft boiled egg with a runny yoke and and two strips of hyper-crispy bacon. The presentation is lovely, but I recommend getting in there and crumbling the bacon so that you can enjoy the its salt and smoke with every bite.
This ain't your grandmother's Caesar salad - hell, it's not even really a salad at all. The Farmhouse Tavern does this classic as a soup, with a comforting and garlicky broth and just a few romaine hearts to tie the dish back to its origins. In place of bacon, you get pig ears. It's a bit of culinary cleverness, but also very good.
Although the Caesar salad at Canoe tends to get most of the attention as far as Oliver and Bonacini-owned restaurants go, the version on offer at Luma is "secretly" better. Truer to classic ingredients and yet completely upscale and refined, everything about this salad is just right, from the double smoked bacon, to the soft-boiled quail's egg to the buttery crisp croutons.
You have two options for a "Caesar salad" at Aunties & Uncles - the Hearts of Romaine or the version with chicken. The dressing is the same (at least to my taste buds), and that's the key here. The garlic-kick will make you a shitty person to make out with later that day, but it tastes fantastic. Oh, and there's bacon. And that just makes everything better.
Bust out the ramekins, this is going to be an elaborate production. Prepared tableside, the Octagon's Caesar involves a delicate balance of classic ingredients like raw egg, anchovies, garlic, parmesan, red wine vinegar, lemons, croutons, etc. You'll get hungry as you watch your server making it beside you, but the pay off is well worth the wait.
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