Toronto is a city of many cultures and you can technically eat in a different country every night if you wanted.
Kensington Market is veritable melting pot of cuisine and definitely somewhere to visit if you’re a foodie. It’s absolutely full of delicious dishes!Kensington Market is one of the city’s most famous areas and it’s certainly one of the most eclectic. It’s not actually a market in the usual sense of the word, as all of the vendors sell from separate buildings, but it’s more like a neighbourhood filled with vendors. It used to be a poor area full of immigrants, and even though the area has definitely increased in terms of house prices and land value, it has always been home to people from all over the world selling their various products, produce, cuisine and wares. You won’t only just find food and drink here, as there are many other stores selling vintage and second-hand clothing, army surplus, and accessories, plus tattoo parlours, barbershops and hair salons.
It’s definitely an interesting area to look at, with street art on almost every corner and wall, but it’s also packed with some great foodie hotspots. Some are filled with familiar foods, like pies and popcorn, and others with some a little less familiar. You can find stores filled with organic groceries, local meat, fruit and veg, chocolate and even cheese. Or, you can pop into restaurants or up to windows serving up Latin American, Jamaican, Thai, Hungarian, North American, Italian and German food, amongst so many others. There are also bakeries, bars and brewpubs on offer. There is just so much to try here!!
So to narrow your options down a little and give you a jumping off point, I’m going to share some of the delicious food that I tried while I was here. But, you should definitely explore out from there. There were so many other places I would love to have visited!
BLACKBIRD BAKING CO.
These guys have the flakiest of Danish pastries. I was lucky enough to pick up the rhubarb-pistachio filled one (which I think is still on the menu), which thrilled me, as I have a slight obsession with rhubarb. Even more so, as it’s something I can’t get in Peru! The pastries here are golden and crisp, but you will find crumbs in places you never knew they’d go! This is a must stop for breakfast. Plus, they sell fresh bread baked in house (I had a taster and would definitely recommend) if you want something to take home with you. I wish I could have tried croissants, more bread and their own granola, but there’s only so much you can eat in one trip!
172 Baldwin St, Toronto
Jamaican patties are pastries traditionally filled with beef and spices, that look a little like a flat, yellow pasty. You can find beef patties all over the city, but I had heard that these were pretty special. I’d never tried a patty before, so I have absolutely nothing to compare them to, but they were definitely delicious and ridiculously affordable. Flaky on the outside and flavourful on the inside, with a bit of a kick too! You could also have them served inside a roll too, which I think I’d definitely like to try next time. Whenever there’s an extra carb on offer, I’m there!
187 Baldwin St, Toronto
Empanadas are a big deal in Peru and I can’t get enough of them, they’re one of my favourite snacks, but there are all kinds of of empanadas of various styles all over South America. The ones from Jumbo Empanadas are from Chile and they’re massive! Much more like the size of a Cornish pasty than a little Peruvian one. Mine was the beef filled one and it was unbelievably juicy – I mean ‘dripping down my chin’ juicy. While the filling is somewhat similar to the ones I’ve had many a time in Peru, the pastry is very different. Oven baked, very savoury and slightly chewy, more on the side of a pizza dough (but not exactly the same) than a shortcrust or flaky pastry. It was super delicious but a little pricey (at CAD$5.50) for what I would normally pay for an empanada or a pasty.
245 Augusta Ave, Toronto
TORONTO POPCORN COMPANY
If you love popcorn, and all the crazy flavours, then you have to visit this little store on the edge of Kensington Market. They have a huge range of popcorn for you to try, from regular caramel coated all the way up to green apple or pina colada. I have to highly recommend the honey-mustard. It’s one of my favourite flavours of crisps, salt dressing and dip for my chips, and on popcorn it’s no less wonderful! Pop in, grab a little pot, try the flavours on display and then buy a bag of your favourite!
147 Baldwin St, Toronto
WANDA’S PIE IN THE SKY
I love pie and this place is like a heaven for pie lovers. So many options to choose between and believe me when I say I stood there for at least 10 minutes trying to decide which slice to buy. Whatever one you end up choosing, you will not be disappointed. The fruit filling was literally bursting out of the pastry case and jam-packed full of flavour, but if fruit pies are not your thing then they do nutty and chocolatey ones too. I wanted at least a slice of each! The location is bright, colourful and bohemian, which reminded me a lot of somewhere you might find in Barranco in Lima or maybe Camden or Shoreditch in London. This should be on the top of your list of places to eat here!
287 Augusta Ave, Toronto
4 LIFE NATURAL FOODS
Places that allow you to buy dried goods by weight and not packed in plastic is somewhere I can get behind! But that’s not all this store sells. Piles of fruit and veg are on offer alongside a cheese counter, in-house baked bread, healthy foods and other specialist groceries and household products. I enjoyed exploring this store and all it had to offer and I recommend you take a wander around here too in case anything catches your eye!
210 Augusta Ave, Toronto
So there you have it! I wish I’d been able to eat more, but with all the food I had on my list that was dotted throughout the city I couldn’t possibly!