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St. Lawrence Market

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What is the best way to spend a day shopping and eating at the St. Lawrence Market? In other words, if I were to go there, which venues/shops/stalls should I go to, and what's the best time to go on a weekend?

I've been wanting to go for a long time now but I never have the time to make the trek down there.

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  1. Personally, if you can hack it, I find the best time to go is early in the morning (7:00 or so). It is really good people watching at that time of day. Actually I just got back from being there.

    There are a ton of great places to go but some of my favourites are:

    Caviar Direct - Smoked Salmon
    Carousel - Peameal Sandwiches and bread
    Musatchio's - Veal and Eggplant sandwiches
    Alex Farms - Cheese

    Also all of the North market for fresh veggies.

    Enjoy & have fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: otonabee

      I second the Mustachio's suggestion for Italian sandwiches. Are they open that early though?

      I have heard that there are good peameal sandwiches to be had at the market, but I've not tried them.

      I actually prefer doing my shopping in Kensington market (vegetables, cheese, meat, etc.), and my eating in St. Lawrence.

    2. And sausages at El Gaucho in the North Market

      1. The market isn't so big it will fill up a day, so you can actually visit everyone in half a day easily and, if your appetite is big enough, have breakfast, a coffee break, and lunch.

        Saturday is the most "markety" day, with the north building open for the farmers' market, but the crowds can be a nuisance if you're into some serious shopping. In which case go on a weekday and try to avoid the lunchtime local office-worker crowds.

        There are some great cheese and cured-meat stores on the upper level, and some interesting Eastern European deli and meat stores in the basement. Also in the basement, far southeast corner, is an Italian store, rather jumbled but full of stuff you don't always find elsewhere. The bakeries are disappointing.

        1. If you must go on Saturday, go early, before 9 am.

          Here are my favorites:
          Smoked Duck at Whitehouse
          Candied Salmon from Caviar Direct
          Sesame Bagels from St. Urbain Bagel
          San Francisco Sourdough and Pretzels from Stonemill Bakehouse
          Light Rye from Future Bakery
          Truffle Cheese at Scheffler's Delicatessen
          Fresh Mozzerella, Fiore de Latte, at Alex Farm
          Dig through all the bulk and imported goods at Domino's Foods - there's a half hour done
          Salmon Gravalax from Seafront
          Whole Cumbrae Chicken from Diliso's
          Fresh Pizza Dough at St. Lawrence Ice Cream & Pizza

          Peameal Bacon Sandwich with honey mustard - Carousel
          Chicken Sandwich - Churrasco
          Cheese Crepe - Crepe It Up
          Chicken & Eggplant Sandwiches - Mustacio's

          South Market
          Spicy Chorizo and Andouille Sausages from El Gaucho Chorizos
          Any meat but especially the bacon from Rowe Farms
          Fresh eggs from Clarks

          And if you go slightly shopping crazy, like I usually do, there is a great service just outside the middle west doors of the south market.
          Just drop off your bags as you shop and then you can pull your car around and pick them up.

          1. Thanks for all your great suggestions so far, guys. I'm planning to go sometime in May since I'm really busy all this April. Thanks again!

            1. Is there a place in St. Lawrence Market that has a good selection of quality spices, salts, etc...? I've kept an eye open but didn't really see a vendor dedicated to that type of thing.

              4 Replies
              1. re: jamesm

                Domino's is okay for spices, but House of Spice (?) in Kensington is so much better. Scheffler's Delicatessen has a great selection of salts, oils, vinegars and other fun stuff.

                1. re: Mila

                  There isn't really a great and/or dedicated spice vendor. You can try The Lively Life on the lower level of the south market.

                  Across the aisle from there is Everyday Gourmet. They may appear to be coffee & tea only, but also carry a variety of spices.

                  The Italian place no one can seem to name (Pasta Mia) has reasonably priced, decent quality olive oils & sauces.

                  Olympic Food has an okay selection of salts.

                2. re: jamesm

                  what spices / salts are you looking for?

                  The place at the very back in the basement of the south side now carries most of the salts sold by saltworks.

                  The folks in the spice / condiment store just behind the rice/bean vendor have a lot too. I was pleasantly surprised at how much their spice range has increased since the fall. Everything I used to have to go to Kensington for, is now there.

                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    The store behind Rube's Rice is The Lively Life. Some things have gotten better there. Some have gotten worse.

                    What is this place at the very back? Do you mean Domino's?

                3. That was the impression I got from browsing around. Thanks for the replies.

                  1. I'll have to check that spot out. I'm not really looking for anything specifically. I'm trying to make visiting the market for shopping a once a week thing and building a pantry. I'm embarassed to say that I have lived in Toronto for 15 years and only recently visited St. Lawrence Market for the first time. I've only been into cooking for a year or so, but still. That place is amazing.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jamesm

                      well, if you want to start building up your supply of chili powders, or get all the fixin's for thai food (the thai chili paste they sell in the white lidded tubs is excellent, much better than the canned versions), all the indian food spices needed or most of the unique ingredients for southern cooking . . . that place'll sort you out. I have a soft spot for that store because they sell Marmite in extra large jars.

                      For chinese specialities, you're probably better off in chinatown.

                    2. You *must* see Boris and his family at European Deli, downstairs behind the juice place. Great, old-fashioned European home cooking - I highly recommend the chicken fingers (make sure you get the eggplant dip to go with it), chicken schnitzel (SO good!), perogies...the list goes on!

                      1. And dont forget their home made cabbage rolls..Oh my goodness they are so good. Tour boi

                        1. I love the arugula in the lower level at one of the produce places. At first I was a little weary because it is sold in a plastic zip lock bag, but it is the best!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SallyCinnamon

                            I have also bought the baby arugula or Rocket in the zip lock bag, but at the upstairs produce market on the east side. Saturdays if I end up getting out of bed late and on to the market. They are all gone. Serves me right. But when I do get my hands on a bag of it. I go home put some lemon juice and olive oil on it with some Reggiano cheese..and oh la la, thats a nice salad. Tour boi

                          2. I don't think I could survive cooking without the Market. It's is so amazing! It's not quite as good as Vancouver but we can't all go home. It has made living in Toronto a little easier.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: foodcruise

                              not as good as Vancouver...but for Toronto, its amazing.