Fresh off the Plate: Beating the winter blues with Jamaican flavours

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WATCH: Fresh off the Plate host Liem Vu travels to Toronto's Greektown on Danforth Avenue to get a taste of Jamaican cuisine at Simone's Caribbean Restaurant – Feb 11, 2020

Growing up in Scarborough, I was blessed with an abundance of diverse food. But oddly enough, my only experience with Jamaican food was the classic patty in my school cafeteria.

Well, I just got schooled at Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant in this week’s Fresh off the Plate, a four-part series dedicated to the restaurants that work tirelessly to bring the flavours of the past into the present and future.

At the corner of Danforth and Pape avenues, Simone Lawrence is dishing out more than just the Jamaican patties I grew up with. She’s sharing her childhood with patrons by serving complex Caribbean curries and fluffy, kettle-fried cornmeal dumplings called johnny cakes.

Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant. Liem Vu / Global News

“I did the restaurant initially just because I wanted a reflection of myself. It’s all about my ideals, my nostalgia, my childhood,” says Lawrence, owner of the restaurant.

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“We love things so, so much. It tastes good or it’s not, and if it’s trash, no one wants to hear from you,” Lawrence says with a chuckle. “It’s serious business.”

READ MORE: Fresh off the Plate — Bringing Vietnamese coffee culture to Canada

Lawrence has an art background, and it’s reflected in her restaurant. From the ocean-like blue hues of the ceiling to the sandy walls, no detail is overlooked.

“We care about the food; we love what we do. It’s no fuss, and we want you to linger over your meal,” says Lawrence. “We take time to prepare it, we want you to take time to enjoy it.”

So even though the Canadian winter might get you down, a quick trip to Jamaica is just around the corner at Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant.

Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant. Liem Vu / Global News

Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant

596 Danforth Ave.

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Toronto, Ont.

Read the rest of the Fresh off the Plate series here.

Do you have any food memories and photos? Please send to

Liem Vu is a co-host and weather anchor on ‘Global News Morning’ in Toronto.

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