Hey! I guess you probably have already moved here by now, but Queen Street West was the “hip” area around 10 years ago or more, when rent was cheap and attracted local designers and such. Now the insane cost of real estate in the downtown core has driven everywhere out west! If you want to visit the “new” Queen West, then College/Ossington down to Queen/Ossington, and then walk west on Queen. This neighbourhood has plenty of good eats and nice vibe on weekends. Be prepared to wait 30 mins+ for Bang bang’s ice cream sandwiches are prime hour.
I’m not sure what “LA FTC” means but here are a few recs. I have not been myself, but Byblos has been praised as a “trendy” take on Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine - friend had a good meal there.
I’m not sure what is considered high end tbh, but I’ve recently been to Edulis (can’t remember if i had the 5 or 7 course) which was a fantastic meal. Everything was so delicate and full of flavour. I may have eaten two servings of their uncultured butter…the plates were mainly seafood with one lamb dish. The only “miss” was the rum baba although maybe that was my fault because i let them drown it in rum as recommended by the server. Hard to get a reservation here on short notice, so book ahead! They have truffles and caviar depending on the season.
Also went to Grey Gardens for a friend’s birthday (opened by Jen agg, famous toronto chef). The party’s opinion was that they liked the Japanese-inspired seaweed-spaghetti dish and most of the seafood but the addition of duck interrupted the flow/lightness of the meal. The vibe is very relaxed though, we spent 4 hours there and never felt rushed.
In terms of local/mom and pop places…
Don’t know if it’s as crazy now, but Maha’s has been consistently packed for brunch since it opened. I could never get a table there. It’s a family enterprise (mom is the chef, son is the barista, daughter is the server) that focuses on “egyptian brunch”. Lineups beginning at 8am!
Maker’s Pizza is good, especially the “Frank’s Best” which has a honey-soaked sesame crust La Cubana in Roncy(or along Ossington) is also good, very comforting cuban plates and sandwiches with retro diner feel.
If you’re into Japanese desserts, dundas/bay has become a bit of a “little japan” in the downtown core. Tsujiri opened its first north american branch, go there for high quality matcha desserts, Pablo’s for cheesetarts and uncle tetsu for fluffy japanese cheesecake. Kekou is also another decent ice cream spot for asian inspired flavours. The jasmine soft serve is my personal favourite but it’s a rotating menu.
You can get decent korean at bloor/christie area but for the best korean, you’ll have to go to Yonge/Finch (subway reaches there). The same is for Chinese, you can get very high quality chinese food comparable to Hong Kong but you’ll have to venture to Markham which requires a car. Chinatown quality is very subpar…
For pastries and desserts… Nadege (macarons, and any French dessert you can think of), Bonjour brioche (best croissants in the city), Forno cultura (awesome italian pastries), Mon k (a japanese-french bakery that’s out in the east end, but my friend swears that they most resemble the quality she had in France growing up), and Chabichou (favourite hangout of french expats, get the creme brulee!).
Kensington also has a few decent spots, known as the hipster neighbourhood.