How to spend a day in South Etobicoke
South Etobicoke is composed of three neighbourhoods - Mimico, New Toronto, Long Branch - that are related by their proximity to Lake Ontario but still boast distinct identities. If you don't get to this part of Toronto often, it's possible to explore the area in a full day if you're willing to do a lot of walking/riding and eating.
Here's how to spend a day in South Etobicoke.
BREAKFAST AND COFFEE
My favourite thing to do in morning around South Etobicoke is to explore the waterfront (more on that later), so I usually grab a coffee near Marie Curtis Park at Fair Grounds Organic Cafe & Roastery to start the day. If I'm riding along Lake Shore Blvd. from the east on a Saturday, I'll sometimes stop at Black Goat Coffee near the Humber campus to get caffeinated.
After developing an appetite by the water, I'll hit up New Toronto's Goodlake for breakfast. It's not a huge menu but I could live off their standard Brekkie ($10) or the Club Sandwich ($13). It's not the only option, though. For Mexican brunch, hit up Huevos Gourmet and for a healthy first meal Thrive Organic Kitchen is the spot.
For me, the allure of South Etobicoke is the waterfront. It's not one long beach or promenade, so it's worthwhile to explore the whole stretch from Humber Bay Shores all the way to Long Branch. Along the way, you'll find some beautiful waterfront paths beside the harbour in Mimico, lovely little lakefront parkettes in New Toronto, and the city's most underrated beach at Marie Curits.
A good bet is to explore by bike, starting in the east and heading west. That way you end at the beach and can camp out for an hour. Remember to pack a bathing suit, as the swimming here is excellent.
Once lunchtime rolls around, there are a ton of options to choose from based on your location and mood. For a dose of nostalgia, there's Woody's Burgers in Long Branch and New Toronto Fish & Chips just to the east. For something less common in Toronto, the Cuban sandwiches at Havana Style never disappoint.
If pizza is called for, FBI makes one of my favourite pies in the city. For roti, you could do a lot worse than Maurya East Indian Cuisine. I'd also be remiss not to mention Nimman Thai, which makes a mean khao soi.
SHOPPING AND CULTURE
South Etobicoke isn't a shopping mecca, but there are some gems here that should be on any list of a day's activities. Village Vinyl is a refreshing diversion from overpriced downtown record shops with a friendly vibe and some actual deals to snag. More than a few people would list Pendragon Comics as the best old school shop in the city.
You won't be able to take anything home, but I always make a point of checking out the window display portfolio at the Humber Fashion Institute. In fact, you could skip shopping altogether and spend an hour or two checking out the remarkable architecture at Humber's Lakeshore campus, which used to be a sprawling Psychiatric Hospital.
If you've got a bike, head a little north to SanRemo Bakery for an afternoon indulgence. There's a ton of pastries and doughnuts to choose from here, but if it's warm outside, you'll want to try to the donut panini ($3.99), which comes stuffed with a scoop of gelato and topped with Nutella.
Those exploring on foot can stick to Lake Shore and hit up Sweet Olenka's in New Toronto for gourmet ice cream bars ($3.50) or a whole lineup of other sweat treats.
Most of the places on my lunch list are solid dinner spots as well, but for a more wine and booze-friendly dining experience, Cellar Door is one of my go-to spots. Robert Rubino's modern take on Italian staples is always on point and the dining room is comfortably chic. For Neapolitan cuisine, Pizzeria Oro di Napoli is a great bet. Tich Indian is a must for something a bit spicier.
DRINKS AND ENTERTAINMENT
You won't find a huge party scene in South Etobicoke, but Placebo Space is one of the most interesting bars and art spaces in Toronto. There's a regular rotation of live music, comedy and art shows that go down here, all of which are greeted by an engaged and vibrant crowd.
LATE NIGHT EATS
You'll have to make the tiny hike up to the Queensway, but South Etobicoke has one of my favourite late night dining spots in the city. The Grille serves up your typical comfort food favourites at 4 a.m. but the hidden gem on the menu is the corned beef sandwich. It can be a heaping mess if you don't eat it carefully, but it's heavenly for deli lovers.
What did I miss? Add your suggestions for how to spend a day in South Etobicoke to the comments.
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