As Canada’s busiest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport has ramped up its efforts to create more modern terminals with greater amenities like restaurants, bars, shops, and even a nail bar. OTG Management installed 2,500 iPads throughout the airport, allowing passengers to order food delivery at their gates. Travelers experiencing an extended layover have plenty of delicious options, particularly in Terminal D, which offers connecting service to Canadian destinations.
Breakfast: It’s not surprising to find fast-food outlet Tim Hortons in the airport, but there’s a reason Canadians and others rave about the coffee and donuts. The chain is named for its founder, hockey star Tim Horton (the first Tim Hortons opened in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964), and a stop here for their signature Arabica coffee (brewed fresh every 20 minutes) and donuts like Canadian maple and old-fashioned glazed is a quick and inexpensive option for breakfast on the go.
Lunch: At first glance, Canadian chain Thai Express looks like any non-descript fast-food Asian noodle chain, but it serves surprisingly authentic and inexpensive Thai stir-fry dishes like pad thai and fried rice. Diners can choose from tofu, chicken, beef, shrimp, and vegetable noodle dishes or customize their own. The noodles are served in a Chinese takeout box, and a hefty portion will only set you back a few dollars.
Snack: The giant pastry case displays at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory of gargantuan and over-the-top candy apples are too tempting to walk past without stopping to admire the whimsical sweets that require a knife, fork, and several friends to devour. Though the sweet shop was founded in southwestern Colorado, it deserves a mention for its fantastic flavors with sizes and names that are a mouthful, including Peanut Chocolate Caramel Apple, Peanut Almond Joy Chocolate Caramel Apple, Famous Snowball Chocolate Caramel Apple, Famous English Toffee Chocolate Caramel Apple, and Famous Toffee Cheesecake Chocolate Caramel Apple. The shop also sells ice cream, bon bons, peanut brittle, popcorn, and chocolate bars.
Dinner: Food Network’s Massimo Capra has opened Boccone Trattoria Veloce, an Italian trattoria in Terminal D. The menu includes antipasti, salads, panini, pasta, and pizza. While the usual Italian fare like fried calamari and margherita pizza are on the menu, standouts include antipasti like carciofini alla Romana (fried artichoke hearts with seasoned tomato salsa), arancini di riso (mini rice croquettes filled with cheese and mushrooms and served with marinara and aioli dipping sauces), and polpette di carne (Baccone veal and pork meatballs braised in tomato sauce). The pizza is a must-try, particularly the Val D’aosta (fonduta, black truffle cream, mushrooms, Parmesan, and arugula) and the Moderna (sun-dried tomato purée, eggplant, black olives, oregano, salted ricotta, and arugula).
Drink: While most airports have a bar, Mill St., a Canadian brewpub with one gastro pub in Toronto and another in Ottawa, actually has its ice-cold kegs of beer on display at its entrance. While the food is typical pub grub (Angus burgers, fish and chips, and poutine) that are nearly all infused with one of the 10 craft beers brewed by Mill Street, it’s the handcrafted lagers, pale ales, stouts, and pilsners on offer that make this worth a pit stop before takeoff.
Lauren Mack is the Special Projects Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.