The stretch of Bloor between Christie and Bathurst is home to the karaoke bars and restaurants of Koreatown. But the neighbourhood also has plenty to eat beyond bulgogi and bibimpab.
1. Rakia Bar’s cévapi
At the Serbian spot’s second Toronto outpost, this platter—a deconstructed version of the restaurant’s Frisbee-sized Balkan burger—comes on a tray laden with cévapi (sausages made of veal, lamb, and mutton), fries, bread, and various dips. Dunk the sausages in tangy ajvar (red pepper and eggplant spread) and creamy kaymak (mayo-ish clotted cream), or assemble a sandwich using the pita-like lepinja. Be sure to chase your meal with a pint of Central European suds or the restaurant’s namesake fruit brandy.
$13. 690 Euclid Ave., 647-350-4227.
2. Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu’s kimchi soon tofu
The appeal of this belly-warming stew means the tables at Buk Chang are never empty and the windows are always steamy. A clay pot filled with lava-like kimchi soup, soft tofu, pork, beef, and veggies is served alongside a stone bowl of purple sticky rice. Heat-seekers can sweat it out by making their dish “extra” spicy, while the less adventurous might want to stick with the tame “white” variation. Christen the meal with a single raw egg: Crack it on the side of the pot and add it to the roiling mess, where it will cook in seconds.
$7.53. 691 Bloor St. W., 416-537-0972.
3. Hodo Kwaja’s brown-sugar pancake
Since 1992, the Lee family has run the only bakery in the city that produces hottoek, or Korean flapjacks. Yeast-and-corn-flour pockets are filled with brown sugar, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon before being cooked on a flattop. Heat from the grill renders the interior syrupy, turning this traditional street snack (which is cooked three times a day) into an inside-out pancake. While the store makes the hottoek year-round, the piping-hot desserts are best enjoyed during the winter months, when they make great hand-warmers.
$1.50. 656 Bloor St. W., 416-538-1208.
4. The White Brick Kitchen’s Scotch-ish eggs
A sausage-free version of this classic egg dish is served during the diner’s brunch service. Two perfectly soft-boiled and panko-crusted fried eggs, topped with hollandaise and green onions, perch on a toasted slice of buttery baguette next to salad and home fries. Release the yolky deluge, then add a crunchy tater or some garlicky greens to each bite. Get there early, because if anything sells out on a Sunday, it’s this dish. Also, be sure to order the warm, flaky biscuit ($5), which comes with a mini Mason jar filled with sweetly tart lemon curd. Layer it on thick.
$10. 641 Bloor St. W., 647-347-9188.
5. Bite & Sip’s pretzel bites
The pretzels at this hidden gem housed in Honest Ed’s come in two varieties: elephantine twists and tiny morsels. The bites are made to order by owner Milka Cobanov in her window-side workspace, where the dough is rolled, cut, given a dip in saltwater, and put in the oven. Minutes later, the golden-brown pretzels are liberally brushed with butter and studded with salt (or coated in cinnamon and sugar). The dough is soft, dense, and chewy, making for a dangerously addictive snack.
$2.99 for a box of 14. 571 Bloor St. W., 416-536-0458.