Photo via Olympic.ca.
We’re nearly one full week into 2016’s Summer Olympics in Rio and the medal picture is already becoming very clear, with usual suspects from across the globe finding a frequent home up on the podium. So, in being one of the most multicultural cities in the world, we figured we’d put together a little guidebook to help you locate the most fitting spots in Toronto to commemorate your chosen country’s big victories—be it by raising a glass or, more delectably, a knife and fork. Some of these places will be broadcasting the games for your viewing pleasure up until the very end, but even if they aren’t, the good (and authentic) times will carry on even after the games are over.
It’s been a g’day mate (sorry, we couldn’t resist) for the Aussies at the Olympics this year, with a total of 9 medals so far. To that effect, your first and last stop in taking in the Olympics Aussie-style should no doubt be at Hemingway’s. The Yorkville bar may be Kiwi at heart with its adventurous New Zealand soul, but love thy neighbour as they say, because this is as close to, “Down Under” in Toronto as you’re going to get.
Hemingway’s in Yorkville. Photo via BlogTO.
Okay, these Olympics so far haven’t been our best showing, but hey, we’re a winter country anyway, right? And since this is our guide and we’re proudly Canadian, we are putting ourselves front and centre here. Fittingly, we nominate Cactus Club Cafe as our choice games-viewing hot spot, the Vancouver-based chain that opened in Toronto at the end of last year to a huge response. The seasonal menu and lively atmosphere (read: rooftop patio) are distinctly Canadian, and with over 15,000 square feet over three levels, hell, it’s practically large enough to be an Olympic venue itself!
The Cactus Club Toronto Rooftop Patio. Photo via Toronto Life.
While still far behind the Americans in terms of a medal sweep, China is leading the pack as runner-up. Not entirely unexpected when you have a country training over 400,000 elite athletes with golden Olympic dreams since childhood. But we digress! Toronto isn’t exactly known for rowdy Chinese sports bars—we’re struggling to think of one, feel free to help us out—but as far as spirited dining goes, you can toast the PRC’s winning efforts at either Luckee (a Susur Lee effort, no less), Peoples Eatery, or DaiLo, which all serve modern takes on classic Chinese fare.
DaiLo Restaurant. Photo via Mauricio J Calero.
If you’re looking to enjoy the flavour of a big Italian win—and they have a top ten medal haul this year, so it’s likely—well, there’s no real question that you need to make your way to any of Little Italy’s countless number of sports bars, from the big (Monarch Tavern) to the cozy (Opera Bob’s Public House). Or if, on the other hand, you’d rather savour one, then obvious choices Buca and Cibo Wine Bar (both with outposts in King West and Yorkville) are a must for some of the most authentic Italian cuisines and lively atmospheres in town.
Buca Yorkville. Photo via Canada’s Best 100.
With 10 gold medals at last count, 8 silver, and 9 bronze, it would appear America is doing what they do best at the Summer Olympics: dominating. So there’s probably no better place to celebrate Team USA than King West’s Home of the Brave, an unapologetically Americana-themed open kitchen that doles out unpretentious U.S. of A. classics like fried chicken, Philly cheese steak, tater tots, beef burgers, and funnel cake. After all, just because you root on the Adonis-like athletes of the States doesn’t mean you have to maintain the same diet as them!
Home of the Brave on King West. Photo via BlogTO.