We all have them: favorite meals that turn our tables – and our shirts – into dining disaster zones. Yet it’s their sloppiness that makes them irresistible, tangible evidence that we couldn’t let table manners, or even silverware, get in the way of the amazing food. Toronto is fortunate to have several great spots that will leave your fingers sticky and mouth smothered in everything from juicy meats to squishy sweets. The next time you’re heading out to dinner with friends, roll up your sleeves and drop by one of these three popular restaurants where you’re guaranteed an experience that’s both messy and delicious.
A classic barbecue meal is justifiably the king of messy foods, and this backyard joint delivers exactly that. Inspired by log cabins, canoes, and campfires, Big Crow brings the spirit of Algonquin Provincial Park into the city with an outdoor patio. Seat yourself at one of the communal picnic benches as you inhale the smoky scent of the wood-burning grill. It’s just to prepare you for the main event: a meat-fest of fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs or Miami ribs. Or maybe you prefer the thick, saucy cuts of BBQ Crow bacon. Then for the finale: marshmallow s’mores, the ultimate ooey-gooey dessert.
Sink your teeth into a cheeseburger here and you’ll quickly learn why Torontonians often refer to this small, mostly take-out joint as the Holy Grail of burgers. Luckily, when the craving hits, you and your friends have four locations across the city to choose from. Pro tip: visit the Burger’s Priest website to access their secret menu. Here, you’ll love the soft buns as much as the house-ground beef patties and, for an extra messy affair, double up with a second patty. Then scoop up the toppings as they slide out, and shovel them in your mouth. Go ahead, everybody’s doing it.
If you’re not afraid of the dark, then you’re in for a unique, culinary adventure at O.Noir, Toronto’s only blackout restaurant. Once your meal is served to you in a pitch-dark dining room by the blind and visually-impaired staff, find out if the taste of arugula salad or filet mignon is indeed heightened during the temporary absence of sight. For extra fun, challenge your pals: whose meals will end up more in their mouths than on their laps?
At these wonderfully messy restaurants, you’re promised a night of adventurous eating with your closest friends – but without the conventional dining etiquette. Sometimes, those are the meals you’ll remember most.