Afrim Pristine is a Canadian cheese expert and the world's youngest "Maître Fromager"—or cheese master.
His passion for one of the word's most beloved foods comes from his father and their family business of 50 years, the famed Cheese Boutique in Toronto, which he now owns.
Recently, Pristine embarked on a journey to meet with farmers, cheesemakers, shop owners, affineurs, and chefs in some iconic cheese locations around the globe as the host of the new Food Network Canada docu-series Cheese: A Love Story. On this week's episode airing Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Pristine will be back at home in Toronto exploring the world of cheese in his own backyard.
We recently got the chance to chat with him and find out about his top picks for places to eat in a city filled with diverse and culturally-inspired cuisine.
I can count on two hands how many times I have breakfast a year. Ha, ha. True story! However, when I do, I like to go all out and head to Mark McEwan’s ONE restaurant.
I love it there. It's a big menu, and for a luxurious, hearty breakfast it's an awesome spot. The patio is lovely too if you go in the summer.
Cactus Club Cafe, Sherway Gardens location, is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me or even an addiction if you will.
The Tuna Stack and Chicken Lettuce Wraps are my ultimate fave dishes there. If these two dishes were to be my last meal, I would be a pretty happy guy. I crave the food there and I love the international variety of dishes and ingredients.
Bar Vendetta is an awesome pasta joint on Dundas. I love their patio. The meatballs with garlic bread and pepper ragu rigatoni are my favorite dishes.
I actually always have a hard time ordering when I go. The entire menu is so appetizing and the service is super casual, yet extremely professional.
Some of the best value in Toronto in my opinion. Love that place.
Salt Wine Bar on Ossington. I've sat at the bar there numerous times and just let the awesome manager, Phil, pour me whatever he thinks is great.
Whether it's an amazing, rare glass of Portuguese white wine, or a cocktail I've never had before, they never disappoint. They also happen to have a wicked cheese board and what I feel is the city's best fried chicken.