(Updated October 2018)
As the host of an AirBNB condo in the King West district of Toronto, I often get asked about recommendations for places to visit nearby. Having lived in the King West area for the last few years, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my favourite spots (and photos) of the area.
My favourite restaurants
Recently relocated to 11 Charlotte St from its previous location on Adelaide St., Khao San Road is an excellent place for Thai food in the area. Sister restaurant to the also nearby Nana (and previously Pai), all of the restaurants serve up delicious Thai street-style dishes, such as Khao soi, and Pad gra prao.
Seven Lives tacos y mariscos (69 Kensington Ave)
I am somewhat ashamed to say that I first visited this place only earlier this year (usually discouraged by the crowds). However, their tacos are really special. I highly recommend the Gobernador (pictured below, on the right), but the blacked mahi (on the left) is also worth trying. For most days, two tacos here will be filling enough.
Technically not in the King West district, it is still within walking distance for those who are looking for high quality tacos.
Brick oven, VPN certified Neapolitan style pizza with wonderfully chewy and at the same time crispy crust. The most popular choices are the marinara and margherita pizzas, but I also really enjoy their meat-based options, in particular the Nduja and Diavola.
Great place for sausages and beer. The Elk, Rabbit and Oktoberfest sausages are some of the popular choices. I suggest trying their duck fat fries as well.
With a few locations in the downtown core, this is my favourite place for Italian food in Toronto. Unfortunately I do not have better photos of the wonderful dishes that they offer (I guess it means I have to go back again soon). My favourite dishes are their home-made sausage based pastas, which include the Pappardelle alla Iosa (pictured) and Tonarelli alla Norcina.
A steak wrap and curried apricot soup combo at Ravi's Soups.
Places to Visit
No trip to Toronto is complete without visiting, or at least getting a photo of this iconic landmark. For those interested in visiting the top of the tower, admission is complimentary with the purchase of a prix fixe meal at their 360 Restaurant.
To be completely honest, my expectations were not high when Ripley's announced this addition to the downtown core a few years ago. However, despite its relatively modest size, the aquarium makes great use of the space and has a very modern feel with a diverse range of fish. The Dangerous Lagoon is one of the more exciting shark tanks I've been to.
The admission is a bit expensive relative to some of the other attractions in Toronto, but they offer discounts if you visit after 7pm.
Only minutes from King West, Chinatown is a fun place for exploring, shopping and dining. Growing Chinese communities in the north end of the GTA has introduced alternatives for authentic Chinese food, but this part of the city still provides great options for good value Chinese food and groceries. There are also a number of souvenir shops in the area that are slightly less expensive than the stores in other shopping areas.
... And only minutes away from Chinatown, Kensington Market is another neighbourhood worth exploring. A popular spot for tourists and locals alike, the Market has a variety of restaurants (including the above-mentioned Seven Lives), grocers, and boutique shops. It is also the home to several "secret streets" of Toronto. From the top level of the publicly accessible Green P Parking lot on St. Andrew street, there is a great view of the Toronto skyline:
Despite being a bit farther away from King West, but I would still recommend the Distillery District to those visiting Toronto. While it is most famous for its Christmas market, the Distillery District is a fun place to visit year-round with its Victorian style architecture and a variety of shops, galleries, studios, restaurants, cafes, and theatres. It even has a sake (Japanese rice wine) brewery.
Along Yonge Street near Dundas Square and the Eaton Centre lies a good mixture of fashion boutiques and mainstream stores. If you are looking for shopping mall staples such as H&M, Gap, Uniqlo and Banana Republic, you will find them in the Eaton Centre. There is also a Best Buy near Dundas and Bay.
(photo by @ehliyoo)
Located right by the corner of King and Spadina, MEC is a popular sporting good store with excellent service. Their house brand clothing and backpacks can be seen around the city. This may be a good place to pick up some souvenirs for active friends and family.
These are only some of the locations that come to mind. I hope to keep updating this post with more options so check back for updates!