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Best of Toronto

The Best Caesars in Toronto

Posted by Jen Hunter / July 2, 2014

best caesars torontoThe 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.

See also:

The best cocktails in Toronto
The best brunch in Toronto

Rock Lobster

Rock Lobster

The Caesars vary between the locations, but the Rock Lobster on Ossington is still the one to beat. $12 gets you a drink with Ketel One vodka, steak spice rimmer, Clamato, tabasco and worcestershire sauces, and is garnished with a Nova Scotia lobster tail, celery, a lime and lemon. More »

Mildred's Temple Kitchen

Mildred's Temple Kitchen

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 »

Farmhouse Tavern

Farmhouse Tavern

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 »

Hunter's Landing

Hunter's Landing

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 »

Dundas and Carlaw

Dundas and Carlaw

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 »

Bannock

Bannock

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 »

Czehoski

Czehoski

Czehoski's Caesar has been a staple on its menu since opening. While many will balk at the $13 price tag, you're guaranteed two ounces of Absolut Elyx vodka, horseradish, tabasco, and Clamato topped with cabernet sauvignon, garnished with two olives, a gherkin, and a slice of lime. The addition of wine might sound relatively novel in the Caesar world, but it's been a trick of Bloody Mary devotees to thin the texture of their tomato juice for quite some time. More »

Rose and Sons

Rose and Sons

$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 »

The Federal

The Federal

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 »

Discussion

26 Comments

rob / July 2, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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No mention of Temple Bar on King W?
Best Caesar simply because of the rimmer!
McKenna replying to a comment from rob / July 2, 2014 at 02:54 pm
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Agreed - B e s t Caesars there.
M replying to a comment from rob / July 2, 2014 at 03:27 pm
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its the second one
M replying to a comment from rob / July 2, 2014 at 03:28 pm
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oops my bad.

You are right. The ones at Fynn's are incredible
Simon / July 2, 2014 at 03:44 pm
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I thought the Rock Lobster caesar was great until I tried the mammoth caesar at Hunters Landing. There's no way you can compare the two.
Best Caesar / July 2, 2014 at 03:57 pm
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HAIR OF THE DOG!
Kapgun / July 2, 2014 at 05:12 pm
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You forgot Barque!!!
Chris / July 2, 2014 at 05:27 pm
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Skin + Bones in Leslieville has a great one!
Micheee / July 2, 2014 at 06:56 pm
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Hideout on Queen W, must be made by Phil. Mind blown on a sunday morning!
uh... / July 2, 2014 at 07:32 pm
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Tequila & cilantro or gin & cucumber options at The Drake are amazing and you get to have it with their chicken & waffles which is one of the best meals in town.
JS / July 2, 2014 at 08:37 pm
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Prohabition on Queen East & whoever has been making the caesars at the Firk on John St for the last 5-6 years.
KH / July 2, 2014 at 08:57 pm
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The Good Fork in Bloor West Village has a great caesar. Made with their own bacon infused vodka and topped with enough garnish that it could be considered an appetizer.
pipers pub / July 2, 2014 at 08:58 pm
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Our bacon caesar has been featured by smirnoff.
..it does have following
Alice / July 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm
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HAIR OF THE DOG - seconded
Cleopatra / July 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm
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The Ceaser, like most "uniquely Canadian" foods and drinks is little more than a slight variation of the American cocktail Bloody Mary. Butter tarts are a variation of similar ones in England, and poutine is just french fries and gravy (eaten elsewhere for hundreds of years), with rubbery cheese bits thrown in.
But how proud we are of our very own "Canadian" dishes.
aDawg replying to a comment from Cleopatra / July 3, 2014 at 06:24 am
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Ana miš faahim, Cleopatra. I would think that you, of all people, would know how to spell Caesar. Also, more butter tarts and poutine for the rest of us. Huzzah!
Goatdiesel / July 3, 2014 at 08:43 am
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Gusto 101!
Classic / July 3, 2014 at 09:07 am
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Is it possible to get a simple classic Caeser, without pickles, hot rods, and all the other shit in it?
Igor replying to a comment from Classic / July 3, 2014 at 10:18 am
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I'll give you a pickle & a hot rod!
Goatdiesel replying to a comment from Classic / July 3, 2014 at 01:39 pm
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Exactly why I said Gusto. They make a great Caesar without relying on gimmicky garnishes and rimmer.
SteveD replying to a comment from Classic / July 3, 2014 at 04:47 pm
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Yep. Allen's on the Danforth. Best in the city.
Learn how to order a drink / July 4, 2014 at 11:40 am
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People, learn how to order a drink the way you want to instead of slavishly seeking out a bar which can read your mind. If you don't want garnish on your glass, open your mouth and say so. I can't stand people who quietly order a drink then whine and complain that it is not exactly the same way they have had it before. Speak up before the booze gets poured.
sw / July 9, 2014 at 10:34 am
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What, no mention of Motts canned caesars? This list is bogus.
Max / July 9, 2014 at 03:24 pm
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Decent list but some outlandish omissions:

1. County General
2. Crooked Star
3. Hair of the Dog
4. Fynn's Of Temple Bar
5. Lil Baci
Max replying to a comment from Max / July 10, 2014 at 07:11 am
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Reasons:

1. County General- Dill Infused Clamato is out of this world. Unbelievable flavour combo with some secret spices.

2. Crooked Star- about 5 varieties: Original, Tandoori, Wasabi, Dijon Capers, and Jerk flavoured. Al are amazing and legitimately taste the way they sound. Best variety.

3. Hair of the Dog- size, spice, pickle garnish and overall flavour is consistently awesome.

4. Fynn's of Temple- massive variety (like mentioned with crooked star) all coming up amazing. The London Calling and Breakfast caesar top the charts with cucumber infused gin in the london calling and delicious bacon infused vodka in the breakfast. THese guys work harder at the Caesar than anyone and they're a great sizse.

5. Lil Baci- meaty garnish and spicy flavour surprised me in its amazing flavour
Vanessa / July 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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THE best: Ganzi Osteria, on Jarvis.

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