Cooking for a large crew can be daunting, but for Erin Smith that’s just any other day that ends in the letter “y.” The mother-of-three is currently on maternity leave, so she figured what better time to step up in the culinary world and show what she’s got than now, on Top Chef Canada.

Related: Read Erin Smith’s full bio here.

The Toronto chef is no stranger to her city’s food scene, having landed a gig at Mark McEwan’s Bymark restaurant straight out of culinary school at George Brown College. So she’s certainly aware of all the great options when it comes to dining out.

“Toronto has always had such a vibrant culinary scene,” she says. “I truly love that Toronto has something to offer to everyone. It really is a melting pot of cultural and culinary diversity.”

So where does Erin like to eat out when she gets a rare night on the town? Here she breaks down her Top 5 spots.

Edulis

It’s all about the tasting menus at this dining experience, which features either a five- or seven-course seating. All of the dishes are inspired by seasonal ingredients with a strong focus on seafood, vegetables, and wild mushrooms, and come truffle season there are special menus to match. The place is also known for its robust cheese menu, which features a curated selection of Canadian and European offerings.

As for Erin? She vouches for “the entire tasting menu.”

 

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4th Course – Wild Nunavut Arctic Char with Baby Leeks and Wild Grape Sauce Vierge.

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See more: Top Chef Canada Restaurant Guide

416 Snack Bar

This utensils-free eatery features an ever-changing menu from former Top Chef Canada All-Stars contestant Dustin Gallagher, and since its opening in 2011 has become known for its reasonably priced but tasty snacks. Erin is hard pressed to pick just one of the “great late-night bites” available, but with offerings like Korean Fried Chicken, Fully Loaded Dips in Chips and Morels on Toast with Cognac Cream, we’d have a hard time picking one menu item to single out too.

 

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morels on toast, cognac cream

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Bymark

Erin may be a little biased in selecting her former stomping grounds as one of her favourite restos, but let’s be honest—who in Toronto hasn’t heard of McEwan’s famous truffled Bymark Burger, which she names as her must-have menu item whenever she stops by. At this point, just the thought of that original craft burger with its meat patty and various adornments is enough to make us salivate.

Maha’s Egyptian Brunch

Toronto has no shortage of brunch places, but for something truly unique and delicious Erin names this Egyptian eatery as her favourite. The no-reservation establishment closes its kitchen down by 4:30 p.m. on weekends so that it can focus solely on the brunch crowd, feeding them everything from Eggs and Foole and Date Grilled Cheese, to the vegan Betengan (a roasted eggplant dish).

Dandylion

Erin names “everything” when it comes to the short and sweet menu featured at Chef Jay Carter’s critically acclaimed Queen West restaurant, and we can’t say we blame her. Simple but bold flavours are the key to the resto’s ongoing success. Here, guests enjoy top nosh and a quaint dining room complete with an exposed brick wall, which has inadvertently become an Instagram backdrop lately. Even the bread, which is made from a starter the chef got going years ago, is worth raving about.

 

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I finally crossed Dandylion off my list of restaurants to try ! The restaurant is currently no.12 on @canadasbest100 restaurant list for 2018 and the menu is small with 9 dishes in total when I went in Aug. What’s on the menu is basically what you will see on the plate lol. The overall meal was really good, albeit the prices . The price for the appetizers were roughly the same as the mains (approx. $24-$30), though portions were pretty much the same . Also, I have heard of mixed reviews regarding the service here so take that into consideration when you go. The service for me that night wasn’t the best but not the worst either lol . Amberjack, Cauliflower, Shrimp Sauce ($30) – I usually have amberjack raw in sushi form so this was my first time seeing it on the menu as a cooked item . The preparation is similar to tuna and I actually prefer to have it this way, rather than the regular sushi/sashimi style lol Preserved Berry Tart, Pastry Cream ($13) – so so good — . . . . . . #HangryFoodies #torontolife #blogto #curiocitytoronto #dishedto #to_finest #tastetoronto #dailyfoodfeed #goodeats #hypefeast #bestfoodworld #buzzfeedfood #torontofood #tofoodies #starvingfoodseeker #fbcigers #lovetoronto #FeastON #culturetripfood #torontoblogger #toptorontorestaurants #topfoodnews #queenstreetwest #Canada100sBest #theartofplating #gastroart #myfujifilm

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Watch Top Chef Canada Mondays at 10 PM E/P on Food Network Canada.