Where Mira Mira chef Amira Becarevic gets to-go butter tarts, octopus karaage, Egyptian falafel and Korean fried chicken

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Where Mira Mira chef Amira Becarevic gets to-go butter tarts, octopus karaage, Egyptian falafel and Korean fried chicken

We’re asking Toronto chefs and restaurateurs which takeout dishes have been getting them through the pandemic

It’s been a year of change for Amira Becarevic: having just closed the original Mira Mira in the Assembly Chef’s Hall, she now operates Mira Mira Sandwich and Ice Cream Bar in Leslieville with her husband and team. Come spring, she’ll add Mira Mira Diner, which Becarevic says will serve classic comfort food with a twist. Besides being a block away from Kew Beach and Kew Gardens, the space will also have a patio—perfect for when we can dine outdoors again.

In between managing her businesses, she and her husband have continued their weekly tradition of ordering takeout from local restaurants in the east end, where they have lived for over a decade. “Even though money is tight these days, we have seen such tremendous support from our fellow small business friends,” says Becarevic. “It has created a positive, reciprocating momentum—and everyone deserves a treat here and there.” Here, four of Becarevic’s favourite east-end spots to grab meals to go, and what she gets at each one.

Hikari Sushi Bar

873 Pape Ave., 416-461-7777, hikarisushi.ca

“The owners, Erika and Chris, are the loveliest people and we have known them for many years. They opened Hikari while Erika was expecting their first child—and during a pandemic—which is so admirable”

Go-to item 1: Sakura roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, sesame seeds, tobiko, salmon, eel sauce)
Tasting notes: “Their rice is spectacular. It’s super flavourful, light and perfectly cooked. Even though there are many ingredients in this roll, there is a high-level of professional restraint in not overdoing any specific ingredient over the next. It is balanced perfectly.”

Go-to item 2: Octopus karaage
Tasting notes: “Each piece of tender baby octopus is both crunchy and has the right amount of chew. It’s served with a delicious spicy mayo. It’s so addictive!”

Go-to item 3: Shrimp tempura
Tasting notes: “These hold up surprisingly well! When you think takeout shrimp tempura, you worry they will get soggy, but these do not disappoint. The shrimp comes with an elegant tempura sauce.”

 

Gerrard Street Bakery

635 Gerrard St. E., 416-465-4567, gerrardstreetbakery.com

“My husband and I are huge fans of this bakery, and admittedly eat their sweets too often. Owner Paul and his team have been very supportive of our sandwich shop. They’re so friendly and passionate about their desserts—they put a lot of love into everything they make.”

Go-to item 1: Butter tarts
Tasting notes: “There is a reason why they were voted the best butter tart in Toronto. They are perfect.”

Go-to item 2: Sticky toffee pudding
Tasting notes: “A nice, classic and decadent treat. We got turned on to the extra sauce, which is a game changer.”

Go-to item 3: Blood orange cremeux
Tasting notes: “We drove right over after we saw it on Instagram and managed to snag the last one before they sold out. It was well worth it. It’s not too sweet, has a generous amount of zest, is the perfect texture and is very well balanced.”

Maha’s Egyptian

226 Greenwood Ave., 416-462-2703, mahasbrunch.com

“This is a small family business run by two generations of hard-working and lovely individuals. There are no shortcuts when it comes to their food, as everything is made from scratch and prepared lovingly.”

Go-to item 1: Egyptian falafel
Tasting notes: “These are a favourite of ours. Nice herbaceous falafel are wrapped around perfect soft-boiled eggs that are still gooey when you cut into them.”

Go-to item 2: Pharaoh’s Po Boy
Tasting notes: “There’s something about their mayo and those crispy battered shrimp in a soft pita that’s heavenly. It’s definitely filling but somehow still light.”

Go-to item 3: Honey-cardamom latte
Tasting notes: “If you haven’t had it, just try it. It’s a must.”

 

Core Korean Kitchen

896 Queen St. E., 416-519-8101, corerestaurant.com

“Chef Hyun is a classically trained chef who pivoted his fine-dining restaurant into his native Korean cuisine with a more casual format and, in my opinion, knocked it out of the park. The portions are great and the flavours are bold and fresh. He brought a much needed missing ingredient to Leslieville with this revamp.”

Go-to dish 1: Tteokbokki
Tasting notes: “These house-made fish cakes and silky rice cakes are spicy, saucy and full of depth.”

Go-to dish 2: Core fried chicken
Tasting notes: “It’s a nice twist on Korean fried chicken that is tossed in rosé sauce, melted mozzarella, and, I think, a drizzle of honey that puts it over the top.”

Go-to dish 3: Vegetable japchae
Tasting notes: “This is the perfect traditional japchae.”