If you frequently dine out, you may have noticed that there are a number of items that everyone does a version of. You know what I’m talking about. It’s starts out innocently enough – ooh, pulled pork sounds good - and then everyone (including mainstream places like Burger King) is doing it.
It’s a novelty when a handful of restaurants take on a trend, but when it seems like everyone is doing a kale Caesar salad, crispy pig/chicken ski,n and cheesecake in a jar, you know it’s time to move onto something new.
Here are five suggestions of dishes and cuisines if you’re craving something different and exciting:
1. Tired of Mexican? Try Brazilian or Argentinean!
If fresh, bold flavours are what you’re in the mood for, but you just can’t have another taco, I recommend switching it up to Brazilian or Argentinean. New restaurant Mata Petisco Bar offers up Brazilian fare that will liven up your palate, and Branca’s authentic Argentinean wood-fired food with vibrant condiments and comforting sides will satisfy your craving.
2. Sick of Country Fried Chicken? First, how is that even possible? And second, go Asian!
A ton of restaurants are now serving buttermilk fried chicken alongside their menu of veal chops and sea bass. If you tire of the classic Southern style with cornflake/cornmeal/flour breading (really?), here are two recommendations that might bring you around:
Karaage – This Japanese fried chicken is coated (usually in wheat or potato starch) and fried, marinated with garlic, ginger and soy sauce, so while the result is close to the southern version, it’s zestier.
Korean fried chicken - The thin, crisp skin is ideal for those who don’t like the thick wall of batter that usually comes with the KFC-style birds.
3. Are you experiencing Pizza fatigue? Get a Calzone or Stromboli!
You simply can’t eat pizza every day. And let’s face it, you can only get so inventive with the toppings. But if you’re in the mood for something similar, calzones are like a pizza slice that’s been folded over and then either baked or deep-fried. And stromboli is like a rolled up slice, often with sandwich-type fillings such as Italian deli meats (bresaola, capicola, various salamis, etc.) and cheeses.
Pizza Friday just got a whole lote more interesting.
4. Had enough Thai or Indian Curry? Go Japanese!
Are you in a curry rut? For those who look to a Thai red curry for comfort or the warm spices of an Indian dish, but have exhausted their palates on the same ol’, same ol’, try Japanese curry.
There’s a silkiness to it that’s perfect in this cooler weather. Whether you choose a dark or yellow curry, over noodles or rice, you’ll want to try the classic Katsu-karÄ“ - the crunch of the deep-fried, breaded pork cutlet juxtaposed with the velvety sauce is sublime.
There’s a whole restaurant dedicated to these curries – Gyugyuya – so go ahead and try a bunch.
5. Done with burgers? Tuck into some Bolognese!
Burger places open up as often as new coffee houses, so tiring of this trend doesn’t take long. However, if you’re still craving a hearty beef dish, there’s nothing like a great Bolognese, which if made correctly, should be full of meat and scant liquid.
Mr. Ciao on Gerrard in Chinatown East has one of the city’s best (pictured above). It’s satisfying without being heavy. Toni Bulloni in Yorkville has one too.