The best upscale lowbrow dining in Toronto // Judge Foodie

Chicken skins
Part fancy. Part trashy. The high-low mix is just right

By Kirsten Thompson

On Thursday March 12th, 2015


You’re a lawyer. So I don’t have to tell you that balancing work and life is more about blending the two in a way that works. Work is life; life is work. Which means you’d better like what you do because you are what you do. It’s all very meta.

Restaurants today are embracing a similar philosophy. When it comes to Toronto dining, It’s not about haute cuisine versus street meat, but haute street meat. And damn, is it good. Here, a full meal’s worth of upscale lowbrow dishes that are worth a try.

Crisp chicken skin ($8) The Carbon Bar | 99 Queen St. E.
The Carbon Bar crafts these paper-thin translucent wonders from less-thandesirable chicken parts with zero nutritional value, deep frying them for good measure. Yes, these babies will obliterate your calorie count. But they are totally worth it.

Fondue ($40–45 for a group) Cheesewerks | 56 Bathurst St.
Ah, fondue. Who can forget the searing pain of molten Velveeta cheese dripping onto the back of your hand from somebody’s hunk of Wonder Bread? Banish those memories. Cheesewerks does fondue like nobody else. You have a choice of Canadian cheese with local ingredients (I’m a fan of the Picton: aged cheddar, green apple, wine-infused onions and a touch of maple syrup) and each order comes with roasted potatoes, seasonal vegetables, grilled sausages and artisan bread.

Nutella banana split crepe ($6–8) Millie Creperie | 161 Baldwin St.
The first North Americanized crepes were made in shopping mall food courts, right in front of you (part of the allure) and had the texture of a bicycle tire patch. Undaunted, you layered on strawberries and Cool Whip and congratulated yourself on your Parisian sophistication. Millie offers the much cooler Japanese variety — thin and crisp and rolled up into jumbo handheld cones. But they keep it down-home with unexpected ingredients like Nutella and cornflakes. Ooh la la. 

Kirsten ThompsonKirsten Thompson is counsel at McCarthy Tétrault LLP and
Precedent’s restaurant columnist. Read more of her reviews
on Toronto dining. 



This story is from our Spring 2015 issue.