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Jul 18, 2006 03:06 PM


Everytime I come back from NYC I post this, having got my twice-a-year-fill of soul food.

I'm looking for soul food in Toronto. I don't even care anymore if it's good soul food. Pedestrian, uninspired soul food would do it for me right now. Fried chicken, grits, fried catfish, collared greens -- you know what I mean.

And don't mention Southern Accent or Tasty's -- I know they're close, but they still lean more towards "cajun."

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  1. There is one place in the city that fits your bill I think. I found it by accident. If you google "Soul Food + Toronto" I think you'll find it.
    And I'm not talking about the restaurant "Soul Food" on Lansdowne.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Davwud

      soul food on lansdowne is a carribean restaurant, not american style soul- food. you won't find grits or collared greens there, although you will get good fried chicken with some rice and peas, amongst other things.

    2. does anyone know when that place Soul Food on Lansdowne is going to open again? Its been under "Renovations" for ages it seems...

      2 Replies
      1. re: mgs

        Hi my family went to Soul Food about a month ago and it was great as usual. Really tasty food, friendly owners, reasonable prices, and a great place to take kids. The owner's son, about 7 years old, plopped a box of his toys on our table (unasked) so we could entertain our 1 year old while waiting for our dinner. We'll go back again. They owner said the reason they were closed so long is that he does his own renovations...I guess it took some time.

        1. re: celestica

          Soul Food had amazing food!!! We eat there every few weeks, it's like having a home cooked meal. Great family restaurant.....but only open thurs-sun 5-9. This is a MUST try for those of you who haven't tryed it!!!!!

      2. There really isn't any sould food places in all. I think part of the reason is that soul food is very much traditional southern african american food - something Canadians simply don't have a connection with. For the most part, the majority of african canadians are of west indian descent...a culinary palette thats very different than "soul food".

        1. try harlem. check their menu. you may find it to be what you're looking for.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bashigyal

            Harlem's like caribbean/soul fusion. It doesn't fulfill my cravings for soul food when I'm in Toronto.

            1. re: GoodGravy

              you're right on that, but, as far as i know, this may be as close as it gets in toronto. i would have to agree with goodcookiedrift's thoughts as well. but maybe, while in toronto, you'd want to get a taste of our cultural foods.

          2. Maybe Shanghai Cowgirl for chicken fried steak & fried chicken?


            Shanghai Cowgirl
            538 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: ekim256

              Go to Gigi's in Buffalo, it's not local, but not as far as NYC :)

              My personal fave is Hattie's in Saratoga Springs NY, they won the throwdown against Bobby Flay for fried chicken, and is my all time fave... crispy, lightly seasoned, nevery greasy, and always delicious.

              Haven't found anything close in Toronto - sorry. I just don't think there is the demand to keep such a place busy.

              1. re: LovelyAsia

                This is an older post but, I'm telling you now there is nothing that is real soul food anywhere in Ontario unless you want to come over to my house and let me cook you up some collard greens, corn bread, chicken fried steak or catfish. The problem is this food is a regional, traditional type of food that has come from many years of combining various flavors from around the world. If you do not grow up cooking it by instinct and learn it from a "master" then no restaurant you open here will be authentic or work really. This food seems simple but, it's not. It's very intuitive and everywhere I've ever tried was started up by someone who thought they could just adapt the food over to work here. It doesn't work like that and a healthy respect of these recipes is needed before even beginning a restaurant or starting to sell these items. For instance, it's very difficult to get a real country ham here. So how are you going to do green beans or collards without it? I've often thought of starting up a true soul food restaurant here as I grew up cooking this food and learned from many older masters at it. There are various genres of this food as well. Most people in the south stick to one genre or the other and perfect that and sell only that type of "soul food" For instance those who do smoked bar b que items ONLY do those items. Those who do fried chicken and simple sides will stick to that. There's a reason for that. This food is actually rather hard to do if you want it done right. The soul food you will get in Harlem is not the same all the time as what you will get in Alabama and Alabama is not the same as Texas either. It's a complex style of cooking. I take it you are looking for the Harlem style since you have mentioned NYC. I love that style as well but, it's not my specialty really as I do not do waffles with my fried chicken as most in the deep south do not. I have seen some really bad attempts at this food in Toronto. Restaurants with hush puppies as hard as hockey pucks! Just awful so no wonder people here think they don't have a taste for real soul food. There's never been any here. I bet you anything those that love the food of the West Indies and Africa would love most all real soul food. I have been thinking of opening a true soul food restaurant for ages but, would want to be able to source the real deal as far as ingredients go. That's hard here. Okra is not plentiful for instance and it's expensive here. The same with some types of greens. One would need their own garden for some of these items. And btw, there's a restaurant in Syracuse that doesn't do a too bad fried green tomato but, they insist on loading the top with Italian spices. It's good but, not authentic when you want a soul food type FGT.

                Every single person from Toronto that I've taken with me on a real cooks tour of soul food in regional areas of the south are still raving about it. So, yes I think it would go over indeed but, it has to be done right. So far, I've never seen anyone do it.

                1. re: RAFree

                  If someone ever tried to open one they'd probably try to do an upscale version. Use fillet for the chicken fried steak. Put fois gras in the beans. Stuff like that.

                  There's a place we've been to in Huntsville, Al. called G's Country Kitchen. It is spectacular. Every employee is from the same family. Grandma still gets into the kitchen once and a while and does some cooking. Some of the best food I've ever had.