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Best of Toronto

The Best Onion Rings in Toronto

Posted by Bryce Daigle / March 16, 2010

Onion Rings TorontoThe best onion rings in Toronto prove that the formerly fast food staple can be refined into something more than just an occasional stand-in for French fries. Broadly speaking, the key parameters for an onion ring are the cut, the coating, and the seasoning. Some people prefer the relative crispiness of a thin-cut ring versus the meatier thick cut. On the topic of coatings, the big choice is between a doughy batter or panko breaded rings.

Finally, some restaurants choose to season their batter/breading, and others prefer to let the onions speak for themselves. Regardless of one's preferences, there's probably a spot on our list frying up your ideal onion ring as we speak.

Here are the 13 best onion rings in Toronto.

Apache Burgers

Apache Burgers

This long-standing Etobicoke institution perfectly embodies the 50’s diner ethos, and has found a way to work some of that spirit into their onion rings. They’re thin cut and battered, with a nice balance of chewiness and crispiness. No fancy tricks here, just straight up onion rings done right. More »

Craft Burger

Craft Burger

Though mainly renowned for their beef, Craft Burger’s onion rings stand up as a worthy side dish. Heavily breaded, thick cut and fried to order, these are not rings to be trifled with. More »

Gourmet Burger Company

Gourmet Burger Company

The thick cut, battered rings served at GBC have a salty seasoning kick that gives them an addictiveness best fought off with root beer. Take-out bags are thoughtfully perforated by staff to prevent the steam from getting the coating all soggy. More »

Nota Bene

Nota Bene

Not a name generally found on fast-food lists, culinary hot spot Nota Bene nonetheless crafts some wicked awesome onion rings. Chef David Lee serves the impossibly thin, well seasoned rings in a mound so huge it’s best tackled as a team effort. More »

Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder

Stockyards Smokehouse and Larder

Given the obvious attention lavished on their barbeque, it’s no surprise that the onion rings at Stockyards are also top notch. With a medium thick cut, spicy batter, and careful frying to ensure optimum crispiness, these are rings that are indisputably worth a little bit of artery clogging. More »

The Lakeview

The Lakeview

This diner at Dundas and Ossington serves big fat onion rings with a lightly seasoned batter and a good, crisp consistency. Also, they’re open 24 hours a day, making this one of the few places in town where you can get a high-quality grease fix at 4 in the morning. More »

The Burger Shack

The Burger Shack

Yet another long-time greasy spoon fixture on the city’s fast food scene, The Burger Shack’s onion rings are battered, thin cut and nicely fried – not too crunchy, not too soggy. More »

Fresh

Fresh

Vegetarian cooking tends to get stigmatized as healthy and boring, but Fresh proves it can be every bit as unhealthy and delicious as non-vegetarian cuisine. Their huge onion rings are breaded with quinoa, which adds some visual and textural interest. More »

BQM Diner

BQM Diner

BQM’s onion rings are cut nice and thick, with a liberal coating of breading that gives these rings some above-average crunch. Don’t worry though, all that panko crispiness is balanced by the mildly sweet, fresh onions inside. More »

Universal Grill

Universal Grill

Universal’s big, crispy rings are as tasty and satisfying as anything, but it’s the addition of fresh herbs that brings some class and finesse to the otherwise humble side dish. Bonus - some of the friendliest service in the city. Double bonus - awesome hot sauce for dipping. More »

W Burger Bar

W Burger Bar

Manager Frank Weshler claims it took two months of development to find the right formula for their onion rings, and I believe it. The panko breading is subtly seasoned and lightly crispy, the onions are flavourful, and the portions are huge. More »

Discussion

43 Comments

DS / March 16, 2010 at 10:40 am
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Typo: It's Nota Bene.
Penny / March 16, 2010 at 10:52 am
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You should also add the Yellow Griffin on Bloor for their "CN Tower of Onion Rings". http://www.yellowgriffinpub.com/
Eve / March 16, 2010 at 11:08 am
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I had the onion rings at Fresh for the first time yesterday and they are amazing!
t-cow / March 16, 2010 at 11:15 am
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errr craft burger serves frozen onion rings... how they even made the list is beyond me.
Steve / March 16, 2010 at 11:26 am
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Yeah - the Yellow Griffin for sure!

BWV gets dissed again!

Remember the Huevoes Rancheros debaucle? (leaving out Dr. G's)
MrPotato / March 16, 2010 at 11:35 am
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BlogTO finally got one thing right...Apache rules! If you want a similar ring but a little more greasy check out Diary Freeze on St.Clair.
MrsPotato / March 16, 2010 at 11:40 am
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walk into dairy freeze you'll come out with a greasy feeling all over.
it's naaaasty. and not in a good way.
josh / March 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm
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craft burger doesnt even make their own onion rings!!!!! they buy them. and you never get enough!!!
amanda / March 16, 2010 at 01:44 pm
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mm i love the onion rings at fresh. You know, lately at the griffin I haven't really been impressed by their onion rings at all, so I dont know if it was a mistake..
bittles / March 16, 2010 at 01:57 pm
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and blogto goofs it yet again. no utopia anywhere on this list? they have been pumping out solid solid onion rings for 15 years.
Apache Burgerslove / March 16, 2010 at 02:16 pm
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finally some Apache Burgers love on this site.
freddie / March 16, 2010 at 02:17 pm
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I know it sounds crazy, but A&W rings are quite delicious. I used to work there in highschool and we used to make them from scratch. I'm not sure if they still do it though. The only thing that ruins them is that spice that they put on them.
Zac / March 16, 2010 at 02:17 pm
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How did the Lakeview get on the list??

The food and service there are god-awful.

Have our culinary standards sunk that low??




davak / March 16, 2010 at 02:46 pm
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Apache is good, and I've been going there since I was a little kid (25 now.) I love the place, but I gotta say, they aren't as good as they used to be back in the day. In my opinion, Burger Shack is much better and actually reminds me of how Apache used to be when I was younger and it was more delicious (especially the rings.)
Frank replying to a comment from amanda / March 16, 2010 at 03:46 pm
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Well, the burger(s) IS the reason to hit the Griffin afterall.
But wha? - it's not on blog's burger list? hmmm...
amanda replying to a comment from Frank / March 16, 2010 at 04:50 pm
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You know, I always want to love their burgers, but in the end they're just okay. I actually had a long talk over some beers not long ago about this--we all had to sadly admit that the service is generally pretty poor, the wait is always long (they even state it on their menu--but you do have to wonder why it takes 20 minutes to cook a burger..), and the burgers themselves are only great on the off chance. This isn't to say I'm a burger expert and know where to go to get a good fix--its just, at least between my friends we've stopped going. (I went to Humberside, so this was an unofficial high school reunion of sorts) But this is obviously in the wrong thread now, so I'll stop. Heh.
Michael Bennett / March 16, 2010 at 05:39 pm
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at least two of these restaurants serve factory made onion rings... meaning other restaurants in all probability have the SAME onion rings. If you fellows at blogto want to keep writing these lists you need to do some stages, or hang around restaurants when they get their deliveries...
Adam / March 16, 2010 at 06:22 pm
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dundas and runnymeade

Adam Sobolak / March 16, 2010 at 07:34 pm
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Is that last comment re Jumbo Burger?

Agreed about A&W, at least from what I remember from the 70s (when they were momentarily near-extinct in Toronto, but still going in the West); and actually, the paprika-or-whatever spice was what "made" their rings. But they *may* have changed the formula over the years; and besides, prices rose, portions shrunk, and I don't bother with fast food anymore...
jb replying to a comment from t-cow / March 16, 2010 at 08:47 pm
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Have to agree. Craft's onion rings, like the rest of their food, is tasteless.
shar / March 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm
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After reading this blog post I decided to make a quick pitstop at Apache Burgers on my way from Toronto to Milton. When I got there, I mentioned that their restaurant had been chosen as 1 of the best places in the city for onion rings on blogTO (they said they'd check the post tonight). I walked out with a burger and the rings. The burger tastes more "homemade" than any fast food burger out there, like a backyard bbq burger, although a little thin on the patti. The rings were good - classic rings that you'd expect from any indie diner, but boy were they greasy, which goes with being classic. But even after brushing and gargling, I can still feel the greasy coating in my mouth. Par for the course for a good ring I guess. I wouldn't make any special detours again, but if in the area, I would choose Apache over any of the "too many" fast food joints close by.

Other "non-foodie" reviews at http://girlswholikefood.blogspot.com/
Jay replying to a comment from freddie / March 17, 2010 at 12:09 am
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Have to agree with your opinion of the A&W onion rings. Though I think the spice they put on them is what makes them so good.

Best fast food onion ring by far.
Rebecca / March 17, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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Yes, Jumbo Burger at Runnymede and Dundas are THE best in the classic battered greasy rings. Dairy Freeze at Caledonia and St. Clair are a close second.
Sherry Rutherford / March 18, 2010 at 06:47 am
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You haven't tasted onion rings until you go to C & W,s On theDundas between 427 and Dixie. They have been around I believe since 1964. I have tried alot of places that serve onion rings and I always come back to C & W's. They are #1 in my books. Sherry R.
MrPotato / March 18, 2010 at 08:42 am
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Ok so we all agree...just drive down Dundas and pick up rings at all the old school burger places you see. You really cant go wrong at any of em. If you feel sick after all that grease you can stop by Magoo's on the way back and pick up a healthy chicken magoo.
p / March 18, 2010 at 10:43 am
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Not claiming they're the best in the city, but I got some rings fresh out of the fryer at Licks the other night, and man were they good. The batter was crisp and tasty and the onions were soft and sweet (almost caramalized in their own steam!), and they were hot all the way through. Onion rings are possibly the best food ever.
Stephen / March 19, 2010 at 05:35 pm
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Thank god @stockyards was top 5. Those rings are unreal. Surprised that they weren't higher up.

I do have to say that Craft Burger, although their burgers are great, their onion rings are the least impressive thing on the menu. They are frozen. There's no love.
Tester / March 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm
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Test comment.
marts / March 22, 2010 at 01:45 pm
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Burger Bar in Kensington has awesome rings - thick crunchy batter. Huge serving too.
Michelle / March 23, 2010 at 12:59 am
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Lakeview's onion rings are disgusting. Cold and floppy. Also overpriced like everything on their menu.
Prague Deli's rings should have 10000% been on this list
Bryce Daigle replying to a comment from Michelle / March 23, 2010 at 09:13 am
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Sadly, Prague no longer serves onion rings.
jack / March 26, 2010 at 07:43 pm
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How did the places like craft that sell frozen rings got on this list - blogto you need to come to speed on things place like craft and hero are crappy fast food joints pretending to be more...
SM replying to a comment from Jay / March 31, 2010 at 12:55 pm
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Agree with Freddie and Jay re: A&W. By far the best fast food rings, and they are still made fresh everyday!
vanessa / April 10, 2010 at 12:52 am
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i love lakeview onion rings! they always come crispy and hot. you get a lot for $4 too, enough to fill you up.
Simon / April 10, 2010 at 11:32 am
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Oh Boy Burger Market has amazing onion rings!! I love hitting that place up after a night out.
Laura / May 23, 2010 at 03:51 am
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Good choice on apache as number 1. As a westender and a fan of that tiny diner, I have to say, I've never ever had another onion ring like the Apache onion ring.
victoria / July 11, 2011 at 10:13 am
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paupers has pretty good onion rings, but the selling point is that they come with chipotle mayo dip..
Corey / March 16, 2012 at 01:49 pm
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goldenstar in thornhill
indi / June 26, 2012 at 06:27 pm
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you gotta try the onion rings at jumbo burger at runnymede and dundas
Superdave / September 25, 2012 at 01:39 pm
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Apache Burgers rings are definitely the best I have had in Toronto. Although it looks like there are 12 more places for me to try
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm
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Burger Bar in Kensington has awesome rings - thick crunchy batter. Huge serving too.
david / October 10, 2012 at 02:34 pm
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rodneys rings are off the charts good...
greg / October 14, 2012 at 03:20 pm
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Burger Stomper gourmet burger bar on danforth has the best Onion rings in the city. period! i have tried almost all. Individually hand dipped in their special batter preppared daily. soo crispy and fluffy. Add the homemade chipotle mayo and there is nothong better. Should be top on this list

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