At GTAWestLiving.com I like to do things a bit differently. On most sites you’ll find your typical Top 5 lists and, let’s be honest, that writer has definitely not eaten at all of those places. They’ve probably tried a couple of them and then gathered a consensus from a bunch of different review sites and put their list together. After you’ve perused their list you probably hit a few more sites to make sure. Hey, maybe that’s how you ended up here.
What I’m going to do today is give you MY best restaurants in Mississauga. This list isn’t exhaustive because it’s just not possible for one person to eat at every restaurant (if they don’t want to go broke at least).
I’m sure I’ve missed PLENTY of places, but these are ones I’ve personally eaten at. If I’m missing something please comment and let me know because I’m always on the lookout for more great spots.
But, before I get into it I want to get one thing off my chest since this is a lifestyle blog and my aim is to tell you what it’s really like to live and dine in this city.
No, It’s Not Toronto
Let’s get that out of the way.
Let’s not pretend that Mississauga has the variety and quality that you will find in Toronto because no matter what it’s not possible to replicate the organic neighbourhood development (and along with that the cuisine of those neighbourhoods) of a major city.
It’s also not possible to replicate the originality and risk-taking that you see many chefs and restaurant owners take in a bigger city. Of course there are exceptions and there are many, many great restaurants in Mississauga but it’ll never be on the foodie level of its bigger brother.
And that’s okay. Honestly. We don’t have to pretend that Mississauga is perfect. It has its warts. But, I think what you’ll find once you live here is the longer you’re here the less you’ll have that “ugh, we have to go to Toronto to eat” feeling.
That’s definitely how I felt.
My first year in Mississauga I rarely ate here outside of chain restaurants. I just thought there was nothing to eat and anything good that I looked up seemed to be in Toronto. Often I’d hit those places and realize “man, those reviews were really way off” or “that didn’t live up to expectations”. As you would have guess, listening to anonymous, self-proclaimed food “experts” isn’t always a recipe for success.
Once I decided to leave the reviews behind I found that my dining experiences were a lot better and the quality of food in Mississauga was actually pretty good. And the honest truth is that it’s getting better and better every year.
More chefs are coming here, more people are taking chances, and the average Mississaugan’s palate is getting more adventurous. We still have some work to do, but it’s starting to get there. Mississauga is finally starting to act like the 6th largest city in Canada.
The Best Restaurants in Mississauga?
This is not an extensive list. These are all places I’ve eaten at before. Some I discovered on my own and others I tried after asking for recommendations from my Mississauga friends and clients. Some are better than others. All I would recommend to try for yourself.
Japanese – Hinote Sushi in East Credit and Sushi Tei in Erindale (good sashimi). I always find it tough to get good sushi, but these are pretty solid. For the ramen lovers, this is honestly really tough as there isn’t the best selection of ramen in Mississauga, but the best would have to be Kenzo Ramen near Square One.
Mexican (Tex-Mex) – Fat Bastard and Burrito Boyz are the two major chains and are honestly still really good value. I love me a good shrimp burrito from Burrito Boyz. For something a bit different check out Chorizo Fresh Mex in Clarkson. Really, really fantastic burritos!
Steakhouse – I haven’t tried as many as I’d like but I can throw out a recommendation for Cagney’s in Streetsville. I know chains can sometimes be sacrilegious but you can still get a pretty damn good steak at Chop, Canyon Creek and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. For those who prefer an old-fashioned steakhouse with a snooty, old man in a tuxedo you’ll want to hit up La Castile on the very outer edges of Applewood.
Korean – I love, love, love Korean food and after having lived in Korea and now married into a Korean family I have become a self-aware snob of all food Korean. I fully admit it. But, Mississauga does have choices and one of my favourite things to do is get Korean bar food. They have the best fried chicken (outside of the south) and my favourite place to hit up is K-Pocha out in Cooksville. Bukchang Dong Soon is my lunch spot that serves up great tofu stews and if you’re looking for traditional Korean BBQ the most authentic spot I’ve found so far (and by authentic I mean you get a real grill built into the table with its own exhaust fan!) is Seoul House behind Sussex Centre in Square one. I’m fully aware their might be better places to go but I haven’t been there and personally don’t eat BBQ anymore when there’s so much better Korean food to try!
Portuguese – The easiest and best group potluck choice for me is Portuguese chicken (with rice, potatoes and fish). It’s always delicious and the price to value ratio is off the charts. For me the best lunch spot is definitely Farol out in Applewood. It’s like $7 for a half chicken with two sides – can’t be beat. Mario’s was a favourite of mine but that shut down and I’m not sure if they opened back up somewhere else. I’m still on the lookout for that. You can try Bairrada right next to Cooksville GO Station as another solid option.
More Than Chains, Trust Me
Before I wrote this blog I reached out to a few friends to get their takes on Mississauga food. And they all pretty much said the same thing – it’s hard to figure out what to eat in Mississauga…it seems like it’s all chains.
That’s the reaction of most people living in suburbs. And despite there being nearly 750,000 people in Mississauga it’s always going to feel like a suburb compared to Toronto. But, trust me, if you put yourself out there and try some independent places you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of restaurants in Mississauga. I can honestly say there is WAY more variety and quality than any other suburb in the GTA.
Mississauga has remained incredibly multicultural and you can find any kind of restaurant in the city now. Like I said, this list isn’t even exhaustive. I didn’t even get to mention Pho 99, my favourite Vietnamese lunch spot or Owl of Minerva for fast food Korean. Willy’s Jerk at Hurontario & Dundas is a solid lunch spot for jerk chicken. And there are probably way more places that I’m forgetting.
The Next Great Restaurant Spot
Port Credit is blowing UP. The restaurant scene there is hot right now and there are a ton of new, great places to try. I personally have at least 3-4 places on my list. It’s great to see so many new chefs coming out to Mississauga and realizing the potential that’s here.
Now, it’s up to Mississaugans to realize they have great food right on their doorstep and they don’t have to go to Toronto to satisfy their palate.