Toppa Top 10: The Best Caribbean Eats in Toronto

June 28, 2015

Cuisine: Trinidad & Tobago

(900 Rathburn Rd W #1, Mississauga, L5C 4L3; 905.232.9070)

The menu at Leela’s is extensive, and adaptive to the multifaceted palates of its Mississauga neighborhood. At lunchtime, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Jamaican, Chinese and guitarists from the nearby Long & McQuade store line up for “Hungry Wednesdays.” It’s an event for customers, as mini parathas are stuffed with chicken, goat, shrimp or potatoes and channa for a mere $3.29. Add a doubles or sahiena – slight with homemade tamarind chutney – a bottle of Apple J, and lunch is superb.

If you’re craving traditional “Trini Sunday brunch” food, opt for the chicken pelau. This take on fried rice is abundant with tender pieces of bone-in stew chicken, shredded peppers and mandolin-thin carrots. It’s best served with a side of Leela’s macaroni pie or callaloo, a top favorite amongst patrons.

For a real taste of Trini nostalgia, spend time with Leela Mahese for Sunday brunch. Tomatoes and saltfish, bhagi (spinach), amazing pumpkin, starchy and sweet eddoes choka (eddoes and potatoes), baigan choka (roasted eggplant) and fried bodi beans are always “hot and spicy,” like the sign says. Consume the platter with whole-wheat sada roti a la minute, and it feels like you’re at grandma’s house in Tacarigua. Mahase regards this meal as “sentimental” and “home bound” from her Sunday morning customers. As one customer testimonial reads, “When you’re running a business that’s home bound, it’s love. Leela and her family are truly blessed and grateful to be able to share their love for good food with their customers and the city.”