Late-Night Bites in Toronto

Meals eaten after midnight tend to be categorized as “drunk food,” but it’s not just the terminally inebriated who are hungry after-hours in Toronto. If you’re a night owl prone to any-hour snack attacks, we’ve got a meal that might fit your mood.

Post-Clubbing Grease:
Burrito Boyz and Smoke’s Poutinerie
The Entertainment District may be dying, but this double-decker drunk-food dynamo is still going strong. Like so many other post-club pursuits, burritos and poutine seem like great ideas at the time, but you’ll likely regret it the next day. Still, for beer-goggle decisions, you can do worse. 218 Adelaide St. West, 647-439-4065 and 416-599-2873.

Sneaky Dee’s
Though they’re required by law to stop serving beer after 2 a.m., the lively-yet-shadowy atmosphere stretches well into the night at this iconic Tex Mex dive as drinkers finish their pitchers. The top off? The delicious but regrettable King’s Crown Nachos, a heaping pile of chips, beans, sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole and meat. Best shared with a willing group, because finishing it is a challenge. 431 College Street, 416-603-3090.

The Other Side of Chinatown:
New Ho King
There are a handful of restaurants in Chinatown that live and die by the night crowd. The typical hangout for the after-bar crowd looking to get some MSG in their stomachs before bed or to stretch out their night with some refreshing “cold tea,” these Spadina haunts liven up after last call. It seems almost unnecessary to recommend just one, considering diners don’t know quite where they are when they’re eating, but we’ll give the nod to an old open-til-5 a.m. standby, New Ho King. 416 Spadina Avenue, 416-595-1881.

Something Sweet:
7 West
Bridging Yorkville and the Village, this 24-hour café attracts a wide variety of characters, not all of them unsavoury (an understandable rarity in the late-night eats genre). Likewise, savoury isn’t your best menu option. Instead, opt for one of their famous cakes, like the chocolate banana concoction or their much-in-demand dulche de leche cheesecake. 7 Charles Street West, 416-928-9041.

Vesta Lunch
There’s something about the dark of night that seems to unhinge the limits of time and space. That’s the ideal moment for a visit to Vesta Lunch, an old-school, all-night greasy spoon lunch counter at Dupont and Bathurst, “reputable since 1955” (per the sign), but likely around for a whole lot longer. The servers are surly, the food is greasy, you have to share bar seating with some tough-looking characters, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. At least after 3 a.m., that is. 474 Dupont Street, 416-537-4318.

The Counter
Though it’s a 24-hour diner that serves burgers and fries, this ain’t the Vesta Lunch. A “modern interpretation” of the classic lunch counter, The Counter aims for the same “young urban professional” market of its trendy Thompson Hotel environs. Not that we’re judging. If you want to drop $14 on truffle oil-laced mac n’ cheese in the middle of the night, more power to you. 550 Wellington Street West, 416-640-7778.

Image courtesy of go ask alice….

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