Those of you who know me are aware that I am TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) bound this week! Although the film screenings start today, I’ve been in festival mode since last August.
My love for films started at an early age. My mother took me a few times to double matinees on Sundays. I was in heaven! My darling brother not so much, he will always felt sleep at the second one.
Needless to say when I moved to Toronto and found out about TIFF, I felt in heaven again and one more reason to fall in love with Toronto.
I started attending TIFF in 1992 as a part timer, just evenings and weekends, and since 1999 as a full timer taking the whole week off to see an average of 30 films. You might think that is a lot of films but I have hardcore friends that see 50 or more…
This year I am volunteering so I doubt that I see as many films as I am used to. I hope to meet some of the makers and shakers of the films I love so much and to give back to an organization that serves so well for so long.
Through my years of filmfesting I have come to understand that you need to eat well to keep up with your schedule. Standing up and running around from venue to venue takes energy. Also, watching heart-wrenching dramas 3 or 4 times a day for 10 days takes its toll on the emotional side. To be completely honest, it is a lot easier to stay cool when you have a full belly. So good nourishment is essential!
I compiled a list of my go-to spots for quick bites or for a seated meal break. I created this list in google maps and works best in your phone app. Trust me, you need these places if you are going to do the 10 days! The map also has all the venues for the public and industry including TIFF Box Office.
This is my favorite venue for TIFF. If you choose a film screening at the SB1 or SB2, you are bound to get it. I love their huge screens.
My other favorite venue. I am also running into celebrities when I attend screenings here. Once, I even sat down in a row behind Mathew Goode… The main reason I am not listing the TIFF restaurants is because people know them. They are a good option depending on your budget. I do love their Roiboss tea.
FRESH on SPADINA
True to their name, everything is fresh here… They do have some pre-packaged items for lunch on weekdays that you can grab and go. You can order take out or seat for a little break. The have a small patio out front
They are great for a quick bite. Great soups and wraps with lots of veggies. Great vegetarian options as well. You can also seat at their beautiful wood table or outside in the back patio for a nice break.
QUEEN MOTHER CAFÉ
This place is awesome for a seat down meal. They have a beautiful patio outback and variety of dishes to please all palates. They serve desserts from Dufflets…
AROMA FINE INDIAN CUISINE
They serve a hot buffet with plenty of variety at lunch and the price is right… You can have a quick seat down meal right across from the TIFF bell lightbox. What I like about them is that they continue to serve freshly made dishes through out the lunch even until closing time for the buffet.
This pub surprises with great food beside the great selection of beers. I love their vegetarian dishes. Although the service is quick, it does get packed in there and then the wait is a bit longer. So definitely need at least an hour to eat here. Perfect for the end of your TIFF day.
This is my favorite chocolatemaker in Toronto. The quality of their chocolate is amazing. I am a little bias to the fact they have products made with Venezuelan cacao. Best in the world! They serve my kind of hot chocolate thick and dark. To top it, they have awesome gelato… I know, right?
LE SÉLECT BISTRO
My favorite french bistro in Toronto. It is a big place with patio out front and the back. Love their fix prix menu and their chocolate mousse. Are you getting the vibe that I addicted to chocolate? no way… This place is perfect for a good seat down meal away from the buzz of the festival but close enough that you can walk there in 10m.
CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL
Great fresh food really fast. They do stick to their motto food with integrity. They are always willing to accommodate you best they can in true Mexican style. Love the option to have a burrito bowl instead of wheat tortilla as always trying as much as possible to eat less gluten… If I have to line up at Ryerson, I always pick my black bean burrito to seat while I wait. You can seat down as well and maybe order a Margarita… I personally prefer a lemonade.
If you are on the venues close to Yonge St. This restaurant is a fabulous choice for a seat down meal. Salads are fresh and luscious. Pizzas are one of the best in town. Love their tableau of cheeses, a great companion to a glass of wine.
This place is a bit out of the way, just 5m by street car or uber. If you are a vegan, you must come for a meal here. I find even non-vegan like their food. I love their lentil and sweet potato stew with quinoa so heart warming. The desserts are decadent, my number one weakness is the chocolate cake!
This is a verb we used when I first started attending TIFF. I still use it to answer what I am doing this week. Why I like it so much? To me this is a special time of the year to celebrate films, their makers and shakers. I not only enjoy watching them but learn a lot. I feel films make a difference in the world and promote change… Join me! Let’s celebrate.
Hope everyone has a great festival this year!