Parkdale on a hot summer night is an exceedingly fun place to be. If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat at Grand Electric, the boisterous Queen Street taqueria, you’ll have one of the city’s best fish tacos, in a room with the energy of a university house party. Nearby, there’s the sushi bar Kanji, with 14 types of sake. A few blocks west is Keriwa, the epicentre of the nouveau Canadian cuisine movement. A night out on the western fringe of Queen is a guaranteed good time, full of culinary adventure and people-watching.
Since 2008, more than 30 new restaurants have opened on Queen between Dufferin and Roncesvalles. Rents are low, and the spaces are small—ideal conditions for young entrepreneurial chefs to experiment. And diners can’t get enough, lining up for hours on the sidewalk for tables. Some come from outside the area; others live nearby—they’re the photographers, TV writers, designers and ad agency people who have been scooping up Parkdale’s attractive old houses for a decade or so. The area is creative class central, and real estate prices are rising accordingly; in 2002, the average Parkdale house cost $330,677. In 2012, it was $592,596.
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