Toronto's Best Hot Dog

Deli king Zane Caplansky bites into the city’s top hot dogs


It’s time to (literally) raise the roof at the Rogers Centre this month, and celebrate the Blue Jays’ home opener; in honour of this occasion, we called upon deli king Zane Caplansky to help us find the GTA’s best ballpark-worthy hot dogs


Winner: A little steamie

THE LITTLE DOG, 367 Manning Street

“Now here’s a great, classic hot dog,” says Caplansky, after trying Little Dog’s steamed Lester’s hot dog. “These steamies have a great beefy flavour and perfect texture. Sometimes great things really do come in small packages.”
Price: $2.10


Perfect score

CENTRE STREET DELI, 1136 Centre Street

“Grilling really brings out caramelization,” explains Caplansky, after trying Centre Street’s classic offering — made with a locally sourced Big Franks wiener. “I like the scoring on the top,” our chef continues, “and the bun is excellent.”
Price: $3.95


Southern comfort


“They’ve top slit their bun!” proclaims Caplansky. “This is very tasty,” he says of Real Sports’ South Western BBQ Dog, topped with pulled pork. “The bun is maybe a little too doughy, but I like the meat. The condiments do it a disservice.”
Price: $12.99 (combo)


Hot diggity

MOE PANCER’S DELI, 3856 Bathurst Street

“I like that this one doesn’t have that heavy salt kick,” says Caplansky, trying a Nathan’s hot dog (in a poppy seed bun) from Moe Pancer’s Deli. “Yeah, this hot dog definitely has a higher fat content than some of the others.”
Price: $3.95


Holy aïoli

UNCLE BETTY’S DINER,  2590 Yonge Street

“That’s a very good hot dog,” says Caplansky, trying Uncle Betty’s aioli- and mushroom- topped hot dog. “I like that it’s not overly salty, and it has this nice, mild flavour. And the toppings really don’t add that much to it. Still, a good dog, though.” 
Price: $10.00 (combo)


Foot-long & fancy-free

THOMPSON DINER,  550 Wellington Street

“Wow, this bun is way too much! It’s physically overshadowing the hot dog,” says Caplansky of the Thompson Diner’s New Yorker hot dog. “It’s only grilled on the one side. If you cut it and grill on both sides, it receives the condiment better.”
Price: $9.25 (combo)


Culture clash

FUSIA DOG, 65 Duncan Street

“Hmm. This looks almost like a japati on the outside,” says Caplansky, inspecting Fusia Dog’s aptly named Fusia Dog. “It’s not a bad dog at all — nice texture but a little on the salty side. I think I’d have put it in naan bread ... less greasy that way.”
Price: $$6.95


Missing link

WVRST,  609 King Street West

Taking a bite of Wvrst’s Bratwvrst sausage (not a hot dog per se, we know), Caplansky praises the meat but asks, “Why the burnt bun?” As for the condiments? “The fried onions and sweet peppers work really well.”
Price: $6.00


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