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5 tips on choosing the best Toronto Food Tour!

If you’re like us, food is one of the first things you think of when planning a trip.  No matter where you come from, humans around the globe are united by one thing: we like to eat!  Though you can follow a Michelin Guidebook, it won’t likely let you experience the real culinary essence of a city. Beyond the touristy eats, it’s through a circuit of tiny local eateries and hidden alleys that you can unveil the best a city has to offer. Food tours – assuming they are well-organized and executed with passion, using credible local experts – are a great way to explore a city’s culture and provide attendees with a unique view of a neighbourhood. But with so many tours to pick from, how can you find the best one? Here are some expert tips to help you select the perfect Toronto food tour.

Select your neighbourhood

Most tours are on foot in order to enable participants to truly get the pulse of a specific neighbourhood. Venture outside city-centres! You can visit the ‘obvious’ tourist spots on your own! In Toronto, the CN Tower, the hockey all of fame and St. Lawrence market are easy to find and explore without much-needed guidance. A food tour should give you new insights into a city and offer you a glimpse of where the locals go to enjoy their lives.

Make sure they are run by locals

With the increased popularity of food tours, many large marketing companies are now hosting food tours in major cities from coast to coast (and around the world). You want to make sure your guide is a local, someone ‘in-the-know’ about local activities and not-so-known cultural gems; someone who will bring you to family-owned restaurants and shops, but also takes you to locations you wouldn’t have ventured into on your own! Locals know best not only where to go, but what to eat at a specific restaurant. The best tours and tour guides are those hosted by legitimate foodies, those with a passion for food and the credentials to match. Check the company’s website for full names and highlights of resumes.

It’s all about the food

Beyond trustworthy information is the food itself. A good tour description should give you an idea of what kind of food you will be tasting, how many spots will be featured on your tour so that in the end it matches your expectations. A tour with five to six stops should be sufficient to give you an overview of a neighbourhood or a city.  Ultimately, it should be enough food to replace a meal.

Size matters

Groups of up to 12 people are ideal when trying to squeeze into small restaurants or gathering around a plate, waiting for your next bite. Beyond 12 guests, the tour can feel crowded, impersonal, making it awkward to ask questions. Stay clear of free or very low priced tours (compared to other tours offered in a city) – the old adage “you often get what you pay for”.  Cheaper tours will have a tendency to have larger groups which could take away from the overall experience.

Reviews, reviews, reviews

Aside from being knowledgeable, experience and the tour’s batting average is everything. The best way to know what to expect from a food tour is reading what others are saying about it. Check popular review sites (such as TripAdvisor) to see the comments of past guests. It’s even better when a tour has lots of reviews, as you’ll be seeing the average rating for all of them combined. It will ensure that the company you’re choosing is solid and the tour guides know their stuff.