Skewers at Chat Bar.
Where to find Afghan kebabs, Hong Kong-style French toast, shiitake udon carbonara, and Sri Lankan mutton poutine in Ontario’s dining powerhouse
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Skewers at Chat Bar.
| Chat Bar
According to the most recent data, nearly 78 percent of Markham’s residents consider themselves visible minorities. And while most of the Toronto suburb’s population falls into the broader categories of Chinese, Indian, and Central Asian, that belies the regional variations that give the area, and its restaurant scene, incredible vitality. The area’s dazzling variety of dining options convinced famed restaurateur David Chang that the bustling little city of 353,000 produces the best food in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). From dim sum and soup dumplings to chapli kebabs and hakka noodles, Markham’s food scene offers an embarrassment of riches.
Many of the neighborhood’s best meals can be found in malls, including Pacific Mall — reportedly the largest Asian shopping mall in the Western world — where a walk around the food court will blast your senses with its sights and smells.
You’d be hard-pressed to find another food city as dynamic or varied in all of North America. The sheer number and concentration of restaurants in Markham’s 82 square miles is astounding, so we’ve whittled this list down to make it easy for you (yes, 38 is the abridged version). Here are Markham’s essential restaurants.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.
Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than $25 CAD (less than $20 USD)
$$ = $25 to $49 CAD ($20 to $38 USD)
$$$ = $50 to $100 CAD ($39 to $78 USD)
$$$$ = More than $100 CAD ($78 USD and up)
Faiyaz Kara spent his formative years in Toronto and Markham, Ontario. He has served as Orlando Weekly’s restaurant critic since June 2006 and is a regular contributor to Eater Miami. He is also the author of Gourmet Breakfasts for the Genius.
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
7713 Yonge St, Thornhill
ON L3T 2C4, Canada
Frilu sits on the western boundary of Markham in the community of Thornhill. The tasting menu concept by executive chef/owner John-Vincent Troiano and wife Sandra has become one of the more remarkable dining experiences in the GTA in the past three years. With Troiano’s culinary creds (stages at Noma in Copenhagen and Benu in San Francisco; apprenticing under chef Masaki Hashimoto, the don of Japanese cooking in Toronto), it’s no surprise his seasonal tasting menu fuses Scandi sensibilities with Japanese flavors and distinctly Canadian ingredients.