The Best Caesars in Toronto
The best Caesars in Toronto come in an astounding variety of styles. What, after all, really makes a Caesar great? Legend has it that this Canadian classic originated in 1969 at Marco's Italian restaurant at the Calgary Inn. Inspired by the dish Spaghetti Vongole (spaghetti with clams), the first drink consisted of tomato and clam juice, Worcestershire sauce, vodka and Tabasco. But over and above these basics, it seems that the sky's the limit.
Compared to its American cousin, the Bloody Mary, the Caesar is generally lighter and easier-drinking, thanks to the addition of clam broth to the tomato juice. Before the past couple of years, however, virtually every iteration had to be made with either Mott's Clamato cocktail, or some similar derivative. As such, what constituted the best had more to do with lavish garnishes and rimmers than much else. But with Toronto's bartenders taking more risks with additions and infusions (can you say bacon?), the times are changing, albeit slowly.
Here are the best Caesars in Toronto.
The Bungalow Island Caesar at this Liberty Village mainstay will run you $9.95. Containing vodka, Clamato juice and fresh horseradish, what sets it apart is a rim composed of dehydrated tomatoes, shallots and nori. It's served with shaved celery in the form of a slaw atop the drink, and you'll be given a pair of chopsticks to help you dig in. More »
The Junction Triangle has enjoyed something of a restaurant renaissance over the last few years, and many regard Farmhouse Tavern as the top dining destination in the neighbourhood. Their Smoked Caesar ($10) is topped with a smoked oyster, sliced cucumber, caper berry, and freshly grated horseradish. It's rimmed with celery salt and served in a handsome glass mug. More »
Tucked away between Fort York and Spadina, Hunter's Landing has opted to incorporate a complete meal into their 'Absolut Cure'. At a hefty $16, they ensure you get value for money by stuffing the top with an entire East Coast lobster tail, a brisket slider, strips of smoked bacon, a wedge of house smoked mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and a variety of house pickles. Who needs brunch on a plate, when it can all be balanced on the top of a glass? More »
This new east side spot trashes up its offering, aptly named The Sleazer. $14.50 buys you two ounces of vodka with Clamato, a rimmer made from Cool Ranch Doritos and celery salt, and garnishes which include a pickle, two olives, a green bean, two pickled onions, a pepperette, and finally a jalapeno. Phew. More »
At the corner of Queen and Bay, O&B's Bannock offers one of the more reasonable Caesars on the list. For only $9 you can enjoy a variation using Canadian imperial sherry mixed with the vodka and Clamato, which is garnished with maple bacon (that's been topped with a dollop of salsa) and rimmed with steak spice. The menu also leaves the encouraging option of ordering it with gin (otherwise known as a Red Snapper). More »
$12 at this Dupont diner buys the 'Extra Vaganza' Caesar, topped with sour pickle and kabanosy sausage, and rimmed with sea salt. The house-made bloody mix is a bit of a secret, but I can tell you that it's very tasty indeed. More »
Dundas and Gladstone is where you'll find the only bar on this list to opt for Walter's Caesar Mix, with a choice of Bombay Sapphire gin, Iceberg vodka, or El Jimador tequila for $9. The rimmer is made from crushed Cool Ranch Doritos, and is garnished with gherkins, a lime wedge, and a whole Dorito wrapped around the straw. More »