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South Etobicoke Report (Long)

  • m

I had the pleasure of living in south Etobicoke (Lakeshore&Royal York area) for several months while attending Humber. Here is what I found.

General Impressions: This part of Etobicoke is very working class with a strong Polish and more recent Caribbean ethnic make-up. Haute Cuisine is not really an option here, and the most highly regarded restaurant in Etobicoke (Sushi Kaji) I could not visit due to feduciary considerations. That being said, for a student on a budget, this area provided lots of tasty finds at a very reasonable cost.

10. Polish Village (2976 Lake Shore Boulevard West)

Standard Polish fare at very reasonable prices. Only dined there once with girlfriend and had 2 bowls of borscht, 6 latkes, 2 cabbage rolls, 2 schnitzels, perogies and 2 Zywieck beer for under 20 dollars!!!! Was so confused at low price that I started thinking that Polish Village might in fact be some kind of Baltic Mafia front. (Just kidding...kind of).

9. Lucky Dice Restaurant (2868 Lake Shore Boulevard West)

One of many "Dining Lounges" that can be found in the area. I would like to know the history of the name "Dining Lounge", a throwback term that inspires visions of Robert Goulet types crooning over your salisbury steak. That would be awesome, but besides video poker, a jukebox and the candid chat of the regulars, I couldn't find anything remotely entertaining about lucky dice. Good homemade burgers, but there are a billion places like this.

8. Falafel Royal (2836 Lake Shore Boulevard West)

Take advantage of daily rotating specials to score 1.99 plump falafels sandwiches with all the standard accoutrements.

7. Yalla Cafe (3106 Lake Shore Boulevard West)

Authentic Lebanese gems are hidden amongst standard falafel and shawarma type plates. Had a spicy sausage pita wrap that was quite similar to Balkan Chevaps there.

6. Thai Spring Roll (2888 Lake Shore BLVD West)

Easily the most pleasant and least hole-in-the- wallish restaurant in the general vicinity. Uninspired thai menu is priced a little too high, but great maylasian dishes and some awesome red curry lamb.

5. Rocket Fuel (2925 Lake Shore Boulevard West)

This little gem offers an amazing brunch. Tall and delicious egg-bread monte cristos sided with a fruit salad that GASP! doesn't have any melons. Rich eggs pacific with smoked salmon and capers on a hollandaise sauce. Can't miss homemade jams like strawberry grand marnier. Loses out on atmosphere a bit, if you want to eat in it's in a cavernous dungeon of a dining room. Not fun for a cheery, sunny Sunday brunch.

4.Golden Cook (2955 Lake Shore Boulevard West, besides Caribbean Queen Roti, which is quite scary looking, so I've never gone in)

Take-out Caribbean fare that offers oxtail that rivals Albert's at a cheaper price. Goat Curry, Fish and a variety of other authentic Caribbean stables can be had here. I just always go for the oxtail.

3. Zakopane Deli (3061 Lake Shore Boulevard West)

Polish deli with two little tables by the window to eat their nourishing and tasty polish fare. I have had swordfish, roast pork sandwiches, giant chicken legs with mushroom sauce on top, meat crepes, cabbage rolls, schnitzel etc. A plate of schnitzel, salad, mashed potatoes, crepe and mushroom sauce will probably run you less than 6 dollars. BONUS: best ponchks around for 70 cents. DOUBLE BONUS: Cans of Red Bull (the real stuff) for 1.99!!! Truly a chowhound's dream.

2. Creme de la Creme (2991 Bloor Street West)

A famous breakfast place up on Bloor and Royal York. Great omelletes, peameal bacon that looks more like thick pork steaks, swiss rosti style hash browns, waffles with amazing homemade yoghurt on top. Plus you don't feel like you're in Mullholland Drive when you're eating your breakfast (refer back to Rocket Fuel). Can get busy on weekends.

1. Bom Apetite Churrasqueira (1176 The Queensway)

Ok, here's the deal. I am a born in the Azores Portuguese guy who is a self proclaimed churrasco expert. Bom Apetite is about as good as it gets in Toronto. It would be a tie between them and Costa Verde near St. Clair. The chicken at Bom Apetite is juicier, but Costa Verde has better potatoes and hot sauce IMO. But if you live anywhere near this area and have the lunacy to order Swiss Chalet again, I urge you to try this place out. Swiss Chalet will always be there for you later.

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  1. Great report from the real world. Chowhound Toronto needs more of this.
    When you're next on St. Clair, try Tipico Familiar at 952 (the corner of Oakwood) for burritos, guacamole etc. Cheap, cheerful and could always use another discerning diner.

    1. Miguel. This is a wonderful peice of research. Thanks.

      1. Great report, Miguel. I'll definitely be trying out a couple of these places - starting with Polish Village and Zapokane. But I have to ask - what are ponchks?

        4 Replies
        1. re: idnas

          It is a fairly good report but it's from almost 4 years ago. Spring Roll's mediocrity is not news and I've never heard of the "famous" Creme de la Creme" and I used to live in that area. Anyone else know if it's good (famous?)?
          Also, I know this is being nit-picky, but "fiduciary" has nothing to do with being able to afford Sushi Kaji.

          1. re: pescatarian

            Good eye, pescatarian. I hadn't noticed the date on the OP, just the recent comments. I hope the polish places are still good. Have you been to either of them?

          2. re: idnas

            Paczki are polish donuts, usually jam filled. They are awesome.

            I was on the Queensway this weekend for breakfast. Sizzling Jaks was pretty good if you are in the neighbourhood looking for a quick breakfast.

            1. re: idnas

              I tried Zapokane. I loved the lemon sweet custard cheese crepes. They are $1.50 and a lovely treat. The pork meatballs where also pretty good. I found the perogies (apologies for the poor spelling) to be meh and bland with no cheese in the potato cheese ones. I also must mention that all the hot table food is nuked in the microwave. This ruined it for me in a way but perhaps others won't mind. It definately is ridiculously cheap though. I wouldn't go back though.

            2. Thanks for the report, I was planning to head out there this week and am glad to have a choice of dining destinations.

              1. Thanks for the report.
                I agree with you about Bom Apetite Churrasqueira (1176 Queensway), funny, I didn't realize the place was called "Bom Apetite" .. I've been going there for years.

                Still have to check out Creme de la Creme.

                6 Replies
                1. re: 5andman

                  Excellent report! We're always on the lookout for new places to try in Etobicoke! Thanks for your suggestions!

                  1. re: LovesToEat

                    Thanks, Miguel, very nice report. Creme de la Creme is staffed by Poles, I believe, consistent with the neighbourhood as you suggested. Like Yellow Cup Cafe, this gives the place a great European flavour, like the cafe at Dimpflemeyer on Saturday mornings. CC is packed on weekend mornings, and offers a tremendous Eggs Bennie and delicious coffee, highly recommended.

                    Will also try Bom Appetite. Thanks again. Not to hijack your thread, but do you know if Didier has left La Petite France?

                    1. re: dooGle

                      The thread is over 3 years old so you may not get a response from Miguel. Perhaps some of the info is no longer valid....

                      1. re: deelicious

                        Thanks, deelicious, I understand.

                        But about Didier...?

                        1. re: dooGle

                          Are you referring to Didier Leroy of Didier restaurant and catering? There's no info on chefdb.com about the chef at La Petite France, 3317 Bloor West.

                          My 2 cents on S. Etobicoke:
                          The Village Butcher is under new ownership and carries high-quality organic meats. My Christmas turkey dinner was amazing due in great part to the delicious meat they sold me. They also carry gourmet food and drinks (including fresh juice from Chasers), and Dufflet desserts.

                          Sweet Olenka's is still churning out excellent, creamy ice cream and is getting creative with chocolates & truffles.

                          Birds 'n' Beans is the best coffee shop in the whole area and has a new back room to allow more people to linger.

                          Chasers is still doing well ($4 for a medium size freshly squeezed/blended juice) and is now stocking Atelier Thuet items and Chilean jarred fruit.

                          1. re: Food Tourist

                            Didier sold Le Petit France over a year ago. I'm not sure what he's doing now.

                2. As of 5/24/08, Polish Village is closed down/boarded up -- Sadly, I was looking forward to trying it, but too late. ;-(

                  1. This past Saturday my wife and I went to Rocket Fuel to try the brunch. It was about 12:30-1:00 pm when we walk into the place. We where greeted by the owner I assume, who told us that the kitchen was closed. She quite quickly told us that we could get breakfast across the street. So we left and decided to try The Kebob house which is on the next block west of Rocket Fuel.
                    Well to our surprise the Kebob House was quite good. I had the Chicken Shawarma plate, which was very nice. The chicken, which I find is always overcooked whenever I order Shawarma, was plentiful and well seasoned, the rice which came with the dish was not over done and was well seasoned with cinnamon, which is uncommon for me, generally the rice I have with Shawarma is never this spicy. The salad was very bright, very little oil in the dressing if any, and there was some pickled cabbage, pita, and hummus. I asked for some hot sauce thinking that it would not be all that hot. But indeed it was almost hot, hot enough to justify its name, hot sauce. All in all I enjoyed the plate. My wife had chicken Shawarma wrap, which had your usually ingredients. My wife enjoyed her Shawarma. With two drinks our bill was around $15.00.
                    When we where walking in a group of 4 guys where leaving and two of them said to the cook that their lunch was good and that they would return. My wife and I agree, we too shall return.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Pastryrocks

                      European Meats has a hot counter now for burgers and sandwiches.

                      When I get down that way I love Royal Meats.

                      There was someone else saying that TO's best ribs are at Brickyard BBQ. I'll have to try that.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        May I ask what you love about Royal Meats?
                        I was only there once a few weeks after they open and was not impressed. I did like the ideal of walking in and showing all the primal cuts of meats, was I in a butcher shop or a restaurant?
                        I ordered the pork shish kebobs and a garden salad, I forget the price. Since the grill is near the counter you can see what is happening, and to my horror the woman on the grill began to hit the kebobs repeatedly with her spatula. Now this is not the first restaurant to attack meat on the grill, I’ve seen this happen in a few places. I tried in vain to stop the attack, but short of calling the police, the woman was bent on taking out her frustrations on my poor defensive kebobs. Why cooks/grillardin feel that beating the moisture out of meat will cook the meat faster and better than leaving the moisture in the meat to help conduct the heat faster is something I will never understand.
                        Now my well cooked and bruised kebobs are now ready for the bun. The bun was not your usual Wonder bread hotdog bun, it was rather nice. But what was offered as condiments was rather lacking. I was looking for something more, considering the grandiose looking cuts of meat when you walk in, I though I was in for more than bottled condiments from Kraft.
                        The salad was your normal green salad, I don’t remember what the garden salad consist of, but what I do remember is I had five or six choices of Kraft dressing. Why is it so hard to mix up a few vinaigrettes, heck one could use part olive oil and part veggie oil?
                        Maybe I’m being to harsh, but the building looks rather nice, the interior is also nice, does not look like your normal fast food joint, like something special is to be found. And when you walk in and see all the cuts of meat, what I hear is that they are all about the meat. My kebobs where dry, with a choice of ketchup, mustard, relish, Kraft dressings etc… for condiments, well I saw nothing Royal about the place. In fact the only positive thing for me was the bun at Royal Meats.
                        The Shawarma I had at the Kebob House on Lakeshore was overcooked for my taste, but at least they had a sauce that did not list water as one of the top 5 ingredients as so much of the stuff you get from Kraft.

                        1. re: Pastryrocks

                          I've had the grilled pork, burger and chevaps. All tasted good to me.

                          So I guess what I liked about it was it tasted good. What else can I say??

                          I don't get the squishing of burgers and other meat assaults either.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            I thought I’d give Royal Meats a second chance, and to my surprise it was much better than the first time. I told the cashier that I was back to give the place a second chance. He said Ok, and did not ask why I was giving the place a second chance.

                            Since I can’t eat beef, I tried the chicken sandwich. The order taker placed my chicken breast on the grill without any seasoning; S&P is helpful when cooking. I waited for the grill person to start attacking my chicken breast. I guess he does yoga because he did not once attack my chicken, heck he didn’t even raise his voice at my chicken breast. I had a nice concoction of feta cheese, peppers, and a few other things, I could not hear what all was in this condiment, placed on the bun along with lettuce, and sliced onions. I was given my sandwich and was asked if they could bring my fries to the table in a minute or two, to which I said no problem. I was about a quarter done my sandwich when the fries arrived at my table.

                            The chicken sandwich was not overdone like most chicken sandwiches I’ve had at a fast food type of place, it was still moist. The special concoction was nice, though a little bit more would have been better. I’ve have to say that the chicken sandwich was half decent, and it was filling. Imho to make this sandwich better would be to offer other condiments.

                            It was a good thing that the sandwich was filling, because my fries arrive cold. I found this odd because since they where not ready when my sandwich was ready, how could they come to the table cold? I did not complain about the cold fires. However, the cashier walked by my table and could see that I was not eating my fries, in fact I dumped my fries on the dish to add salt on (again no seasoning, the best time to add salt to fries is just out of the fat!), and since I did not eat them, I place my used napkin atop the fires. He did not ask why I did not eat my fries.

                            It appears that Kraft is the leader of condiments still, though it was very nice to see that Feta condiment was added.

                            The chicken sandwich was good for this type of a place. I think I’ll wait a little bit and see if Royal Meats can improve some more. Until then Acme Burger does a better chicken sandwich imho.

                          2. re: Pastryrocks

                            I'm with you

                            As soon as you walk into Royal Meats you can tell exactly why your burger costs $10..

                            It's not because of the size or quality of the burger -- but because they obviously spent so much money on the eye candy of the store itself

                            I've been terribly underwhelmed by it on all 3 occasions; I bit into a bunch of veins in my grilled chicken sandwich, the burger contains no beef at all, and the pork shish-kebab sandwich was impossibly tiny.

                            You'd be right in saying the bun is the best thing they've got going for them

                            1. re: duckdown

                              Basically across from the Sam's Club on Queen or North Queen. Whatever that street is called. The one on the north side of SC.


                              I've never been there been there so don't hold me to it. I'm merely passing along someone else's assertion.


                              1. re: duckdown

                                Don't waste your time DD.

                                We went to Brickyard on Saturday and I was very excited to try the ribs. Much to my dismay there not nearly as good as people have posted.
                                There wasn't much smoke flavour nor smoke ring to them. The sauce was fantastic but under the sauce was the same old baby back rib taste that everyone gets. So basically, they're the same ribs as Baton Rouge but with a much better sauce.
                                Didn't like the choice of sides to go with it. Fries (fine), mashed (okay), sauted veggies (huh), basmati rice (plain. As in nothing but rice cooked in water). IMHO if you're trying to promote yourself as a rib place (the phone number ends RIBS) you should offer things like cornbread and beans at least. You got your choice of two sides. I took fries, hold the second side.
                                I won't be back.


                          3. A little know place for lunch/takeout and not really a restaurant but excellent place for beef borsch soup ( really good ) and schitzels is Brandts meat 427/Dundas. Its really a German supermarket.

                            On the meat theme, Black Angus at Islington/Bloor is also very good for steaks...although the decor is very dated. The meat always impresses because they grill to perfection over coal grill.