From farm-to-table cuisine to vegan dishes that are guaranteed to please even meat-eaters, here are eight delicious reasons to dine on Main Street today
It may be better known nowadays as the gateway to ‘Yeast Van’ with its epic craft beer scene, but Main Street has always been home to some excellent budget eats and unsung heroes of the city’s culinary scene. From some of the best Vietnamese and Malaysian piled-high plates to delicate vegan fare and exceptional farm-to-table, if you’ve not been up Main for a while, here are eight solid reasons to go visit now...
1. Hawkers Delight, 4127 Main Street
dennisthefoodie.comGet a taste of spicy Singaporean/Malaysian food done right at the super-popular Hawkers Delight, which serves up authentic budget-friendly curries, like piping hot bowls of laksa and all kinds of noodle-y treats. The space is a little small and basic but who cares when you can get a taste of street food that will whisk you right back to an Asian market for under a tenner?
2. The Acorn, 3995 Main Street
The AcornYou’ll discover that rare beast—vegetarian and vegan food capable of satisfying even the most meat-obsessed carnivore—on offer at this multiple award-winning bijou spot that pulls in everyone from celebs to hipsters. The menu changes according to the seasons, but you’ll always find the terrific faux fish ‘n’ chips (aka their crisp beer-battered halloumi with smashed peas and a zucchini and potato pancake). All this plus thoughtful cocktail creations using house-made tinctures and infusions with plenty of local spirits.
3. Au Petit Cafe, 4851 Main Street
Alpaca LunchGet back to basics with the always-on-point banh mi sandwiches at this tiny local spot which very often has queues outside, and rightly so. The French baguette is always crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The sub is packed with a satisfying wedge of bright herbs and crunchy veggies, and the house-made pâté and meat balls are terrific. It’s no frills as eff, and cash-only, but it’s always superb.
4. The Shameful Tiki Room, 4362 Main Street
The Shameful Tiki No trip to Main Street is complete without stopping by this heavenly escape from the real world into mondo tiki where the drinks are strong, the music is kinda Hawaiian and the lights are low. If you’ve never been, I’m not going to spoil the surprise of what awaits behind the nondescript door. Just take my advice: order a Mystery Bowl and give into the hula...
5. The Fish Counter, 3825 Main Street
The Fish Counter I’ve loved this spot since it opened its doors a few years back, so all hail co-founders of Ocean Wise, chef Rob Clark and Mike McDermid, and their exemplary 100-per-cent-seasonal-and-sustainable fish store. Sure, pop by and pick up some zingingly fresh fish to take home and cook (the guys are always happy to offer advice and recipes), but if you’re looking for a quick and delicious snack eaten on the spot, there is nowhere better to go for crisp perfect fish and chips, the best Baja-style fish tacos in town, and awesome chowders and po’ boys.
6. El Camino's, 3250 Main Street
El CaminoOne of the best places for happy hour on Main, there’s nothing I don’t love about El Camino’s, especially the $6 paloma cocktail deal paired with Tuesday’s mega-bargain $6 tacos all night long. Cheap, cheerful and rowdy in all the right ways, El Camino’s is put together with love using sustainable seafood, organic, local and ethically sourced meats and they also have a Mealshare program running too. In short: good guys. Go see ‘em.
7. Burdock & Co., 2702 Main Street
Burdock & co.Consistently knocking it out of the park when it comes to seasonal farm-to-table cuisine, chef Andrea Carlson has quietly got on with creating one of the most under-the-radar excellent spots for dinner and brunch in the city. The menu changes frequently and the family-style omakase at $56 is a terrific deal (I’d get a side of the superb fried chicken too, but hey, I’m greedy). Right now they have an all rosé-and-orange wine list for their spring menu so you can sample some great biodynamic and organic wines too.
8. Dock Lunch, 152 East 11th Avenue
Dock LunchNot strictly on Main Street, but as it’s just half a block away, I figure it counts. Also, why wouldn’t I want to shine some love on this awesome little spot serving up brunch, lunch and dinner? Check out their Facebook page to see what comforting soul food will be served on the rotating daily menu of finger-licking marvels from around the world, such as bacon and asparagus spätzle or wild shrimp étouffé—all with a side of truly hospitable service.