Check out these hot spots for the hearty, hot stuff in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary
Warming comfort foods are all we want to eat this time of year and what’s more comforting than a big bowl of chili? This hearty and spicy stew is a staple in the colder months, and for good reason. Originating in Texas, chili was traditionally made with roasted chili peppers, braised beef and spices, but now you can find dozens of riffs on chili across the globe. Whether you’re a Texas-style purest or a bean-and-veg lover, these restaurants in our NEXT Three Cities are here to make your winter days a little warmer.
913 QUEEN ST. E.
This gas station turned general store is serving up some of the best chili in Toronto’s east end. Leslieville Pumps is known for its famed barbeque, but one of the hidden gems on its menu is the Pump’s Signature Brisket Chili. Passed down through generations, this chili is built on a base of aromatic tomatoes, beans, chilis and granddad’s secret ingredient: a cold cup of coffee. Then , the 16-hour smoked brisket is added to give this chili its true Southwestern feel.
4 Crescent Rd.
This famed Rosedale sandwich shop has more than pulled pork and brisket on its menu. Black Camel’s chili could be one of the more underrated items on its menu, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a must-order. Rich and meaty, Black Camel makes its chili with burnt ends and shavings from a 13-hour roasted brisket. Add tomatoes, corn, red and black beans, chipotle peppers and Black Camel’s secret blend of spices, and you’ve got one comforting bowl of chili.
The Harbord House
124 Harbord St.
This long-standing restaurant on Harbord Street is a staple in the neighbourhood for comforting Canadian pub grub. The Harbord House makes a vegetarian version of this classic dish that’s as hearty as any meaty meal. This chili is smoky and full of vibrant spices. Served with cheddar cheese, sour cream and jalapeno cornbread, this is one of the best vegetarian chilis in the city.
1136 Kensington Rd.
Located in the heart of Kensington, this smokehouse and whiskey emporium is serving up some undeniably delicious chili. With hunks of smoked brisket in every bite, this is next-level comfort food.
Big T’s BBQ & Smokehouse
2138 Crowchild Trail NW
After being featured on Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, you know this local spot is serving up some top-notch barbecue. Loaded with its famous brisket, Big T’s award-winning chili is a perfect representation of traditional Texas chili. Spicy, hearty and sprinkled with cheddar cheese, Big T’s makes a no-frills bowl of meaty goodness.
Blue Star Diner
809 – 1 Ave. NE
The Alberta Bison Chili from Blue Star Diner is a standout dish. First off, not too often do we see this Southwestern classic made with bison and still remain true to the Texan traditions. As classic as it gets, with no beans or added veg to cover it up, this gamey, spicy and rich chili is a must-order at Blue Star. Topped with sour cream, spring onion, cherry tomato, crispy tortillas and aged cheddar, this chili gets a blue ribbon from us.
1087 Granville St.
The Templeton’s Big Bowl O’ Vegan Chili is a staple of the ’50s-inspired diner. This old-fashioned spot is bringing modern, plant-based cooking to time-old favourites. Made with a variety of different beans and plant-based ground, this 100% vegan chili hits the spot while still being sustainable. Try it with a slice of Templeton’s sliced crusty sourdough for the perfect bite.
3189 W. Broadway
Hit up Deacon’s Corner at either location for some good, old-fashioned comfort food. Since 2009, this Vancouver spot has been cooking up fried chicken, burgers and some of the best chili on the west coast. Its Texas Hearty Beef Chili is a classic. Savoury and nourishing, this big bowl or cup of chili is the perfect antidote on a cold winter day.
Tartine Bread and Pies
770 Beach Ave.
This neighbourhood bakery is known for its savoury pastries, but if you get in with the regulars, they’ll let you in on some of Tartine’s hidden gems. One of the standouts is the beef chili. With the perfect amount of spice, Tartine’s beef chili is packed to the brim with rich kidney beans and sweet tomatoes. Try the small size in house or take a large container home with you for optimal chili consumption.