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anyone know of any good delis in the downtown core

Love Corned beef, does anyone know of a good deli in the downtown core of toronto.

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  1. There's the Corned Beef House on Adelaide (between John and Peter). I've never been, but I've always been curious. It just looks so absurd (in a quirky, good way) in the middle of clubland. But it's been around for a long time. I would be curious to hear a review.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rabbit

      I personally have never eaten there, but I used to work down the road (right beside where Avalon used to be) and the guys in the building were regulars at Corned Beef House. They loved it. Now, I never asked them details, but they seemed to enjoy it well enough.

    2. Whatever you do, don't go to Shopsy's at Yonge & Front. I used to work in that building (and across the street), and every so often someone would want to meet there. I still have nightmares ...


      1. The Corned Beef House sells Lesters smoked meat (same as Centre St), but they don't hand cut the meat and don't have Centre Street's other (often very good) cooking. In short, they make an edible (but not special) deli sandwich and don't offer anything else in particular.

        You might enjoy it enough if you happen to be in the vicinity and don't have high expectations. It isn't worth a special trip from anywhere.

        I'm a deli fanatic and perhaps my expectations exceed those of many other Hounds, but I don't think any downtown deli is especially good.

        1. Is their any Toronto deli carrying the 'Quebec Smoked Meat' brand smoked meat? That's probably the best commercial brand of Montreal smoked meat available.

          7 Replies
              1. re: deelicious

                I heard that there's a Calgary deli using the Quebec Smoked Meat product. So I assume if a Toronto establishment want it, they can obtain it.

                1. re: BLM

                  I know they make Smoked Meat Hot Dogs and I have tried them. Hot dog casing stuffed with smoked meat. You dont want to know....

                  1. re: deelicious

                    Quebec Smoked Meat has a location at 1889 Centre Street in Montreal, where they sell & make all their smoked meat & all their other products(including their smoked meat hot dogs). I don't think they still do, but they use to supply the smoked meat for Smoked Meat Pete(one of the best smoked meat delis in Montreal).

              2. re: BLM

                I can't say if they do anymore....but the Loblaws at Laird and Moore (Leaside area just south of Eglinton) used to in their deli as customers asked for it. But, I haven't been there in 6 years so I have no idea if they do anymore. You could call them and ask.

                1. re: Fetter

                  There are two Loblaws in the area and you are confusing them. Both used to have some unusual characteristics but, for the most part, they aren't special anymore.

                  A former manager at the small 50+ year old Loblaws at Bayview & Moore used to go out of his way to make his customers happy and would special order stuff all the time, but this guy (Vas Christof) died years ago. (I remember Dave Nichol shopping at this store in the early eighties.)

                  The big newer Loblaws at Laird and Redway (just south of the CPR tracks) has a takeout section that used to be operated by Movenpick and had different food from the Loblaws store itself. They still make real rotisserie chickens at this store, but it is otherwise unremarkable.

                  Loblaws seldom allows its stores to order things not on their regular inventory list. The standard issue corned beef, smoked meat, pastrami, and other deli products available at these stores are highly processed, chemically cured, and made from unusual cuts of meat (i.e., Montreal smoked meat from round). Don't bother.

              3. I don't think there are any good delis in downtown TO. If you find one, let us know.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Dusty73

                  Honestly...I don't know where itis, or if it still IS...but Wolfie's or Wolfy's was AMAZING. I always went there whenever I frequented Toronto. Let me know if anyone else has heard of it!

                  1. re: FOTOgrlNic

                    Wolfie's is in a strip plaza on Sheppard west of Bathurst. Standard issue Lester's and nothing special. It's OK if you are passing by, but not worth a special trip.

                2. Checked out The Corned Beef House today and had the Reuben, by far the best Reuben sandwich i have ever had. Not sure why this place got some bad reviews. It is smack dab in the middle of clubland, but there lunches are packed with corporate clientle.

                  i enjoyed it.

                  1. Corned Beef House not bad Great Bread nice and Fresh. If you have the appetite and can get out to Mississauga you have to try Peters on Eglington, MASSIVE sandwihes order the Reuben. But remember bring your appetite with you

                    1. IN a pinch you could try The Montreal Deli on Bloor Street, near the Bloor Cinema BUT for a really EXCELLENT corned beef sandwich you must go NORTH!! One of the two best deli's in TO...Pancer's on Bathurst north of the 401 or The Centre Street Deli on Centre Street west of Bathurst.....pearlD

                      1. Please avoid the Montreal Deli (Mel's) on Bloor St. The stuff they serve may have started out as meat, but what reaches your table is, I think, some type of plastic. Whatever it is, it is no longer real meat and is not fit for eating.

                        1. there's also a dunn's famous montreal deli, 284A king st w, a few blocks w of university, that's worth a try.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: Nemesis

                            Wow, did a Dunn's Famous just opened in Toronto? This is the Dunn's that's connected with the Dunn's in Montreal, as opposed to several Dunn's delis that have opened throughout Canada(I think there's ones in Ottawa, Calgary & maybe Edmonton), that's unofficially unconnected with Dunn's in Montreal(officially known as Dunn's Famous).

                            1. re: BLM

                              No, it's been there for many years. Haven't been there in awhile, but I don't recall it being anything special.

                              1. re: pescatarian

                                Would you know for sure it's called Dunn's Famous as opposed to just Dunn's? Dunn's Famous in Montreal claims to make their own smoked meat(although I suspect it's made by commercial supplier according to their specs). The regular Dunn's deli across Canada(offshoot of the original Dunn's Famous, that was originally opened in Ottawa by a family member) uses a commercial smoked meat product.

                                1. re: BLM

                                  No, I'm not sure. I'll check next time I'm walking by. But the listing that Nemesis provided lists it as a Dunn's Famous.

                                  1. re: pescatarian

                                    I'm thinking it's an error in the listing. Dunn's Famous smoked meat are available in Price Cosco locations across Canada. Dunn's Famous deli in Montreal only reopened about 6 years ago.

                                    1. re: BLM

                                      here's a picture of the storefront from the net: http://toronto.ibegin.com/restaurants...

                                      Scroll down to the bottom. Says, "Dunn's Famous" on the sign.

                                      1. re: pescatarian

                                        I ask Dunn's Famous in Montreal what's going on later this afternoon(as far as this Dunn's Toronto location).

                              2. re: BLM

                                They have been around for many years now. There was one in Empress Walk on North Yonge (now defunct) and there's one on King near the theatres (which used to be a Shopsy's franchise).

                                There is nothing special about this Dunn's which sells the chemically cured industrial smoked meat. I don't think it is connected with the Montreal place.

                                As to Dunn's in Montreal, the famous place on Ste Catharine sold terrible food for years before closing down. As with their main competitor, the defunct Ben's, the "original" Dunn's was more about the characters that hung out in the 24 hour deli than about the food.

                                A member of the family that owned the original Dunn's opened a new place in Montreal some time ago. They are franchising also, but claim to be making traditional smoked meat. I haven't tasted it, so can't comment, but I believe this is the Dunn's product being sold at Costco. (Any deli mavens out there who can advise if this is good enough to justify joining Costco?)

                                1. re: embee

                                  Aren't the chain Dunn's affiliated with the Dunn's in Ottawa?

                                    1. re: Herb

                                      The ones outside Quebec, yes(affiliated with the Dunn's in Ottawa).

                                    2. re: embee

                                      For most part, all of this you tell me I already know(already posted most of the information), the one confusion is why the Dunn's in Toronto is called Dunn's Famous.

                                      Were both of the Dunn's location in Toronto known as Dunn's Famous(or just one location)? That's the confusion. I know they're not affiliated with Dunn's Famous in Montreal. Why are they named Dunn's Famous in Toronto? Until a couple of days ago, I was under impression they were simply known as Dunn's(as opposed to Dunn's Famous), as with other Dunn's across Canada(outside Quebec) were affiliated with Dunn's Ottawa. As I mentioned in a posting previously, the Dunn's outside Quebec all serve a commercial smoked meat product.

                                      Yes, the member of the family is Elliot Kligman. At this time, they're only franchising in Quebec. Yes, Elliot claims to be making their own smoked meat(he had previously told me that the Dunn's in Ste-Catherine before they closed in 1988 were using a commercial smoked meat product). Yes Dunn's Famous in Montreal is selling Dunn's product at Costco's across Canada(however it's Dunn's smoked meat pouches, I just found out yesterday).

                                      I couldn't reach Elliot yesterday. Otherwise, the people at Dunn's Famous flagship Montreal location(including the Dunn's manager), were equally perplexed as me, as to why there's a Dunn's Famous in Toronto(since it's not connected with Dunn's in Montreal).

                                      1. re: BLM

                                        I finally did my checking on my own, as Elliot is hard to reach at Dunn's. It turns out all the Dunn's delis outside of Quebec, are also known as Dunn's Famous. What happen was even before the Dunn's Famous deli on St-Catherine closed down in 1998, they were two Dunn's Famous companies(with slightly different full names). After Dunn's Famous in Montreal closed in 1998, the eldest daughter of Myer Dunn opened Dunn's Famous in Ottawa(had 2 Ottawa locations) & started franchising across Canada. Meanwhile Elliot Kligman re-opened Dunn's Famous in Montreal in late-1999 & other things, separate from Dunn's Famous in Ottawa.

                                2. The New Yorker Deli on Bay Street! My girlfriend owns it. The corned beef or pastrami is delicious. It's on the West side of Bay st just south of Bloor across from the Manulife Center.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MadisonAdam

                                    I wish I could agree with your comment. I tried the New Yorker for the first time last fall and the pastrami didn't impress. If memory serves, it tasted more like an industrial smoked meat than an artisinal pastrami. Machine sliced, needle marks, weak flavour, little spice, etc. Certainly not a bad sandwich, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get one.

                                    I did like the latkes and chopped liver, though.

                                  2. I had a smoked meat sandwich at Zoulpy's on King east today. I hadn't been there in a very long time. It's more a Greek diner than a deli and it got good reviews in some other threads. The sandwich, on fresh Silverstein's rye, was enormous - more than three inches thick. Here are my two conflicting reviews:

                                    (1) To me this sandwich was a bust. Both smoked meat and pastrami were on the menu. I ordered the smoked meat. I'll probably go back again to try the other. Curiosity reigns. I'd call this meat pastrami, and certainly not first rate. There was no characteristic smoked meat flavour, either traditional or industrial in style. The meat was machine sliced paper thin and had the needle marks proclaiming an industrial cure, but there was no chemical taste. There was no fat, a flaw, but the sandwich wasn't dry. The spicing was pleasant but extremely wimpy, with both meat and spice overshadowed by the mustard, and even by the bread. I had asked for hot mustard, and it wasn't, but hot mustard probably would probably have annihilated all of the taste. There was a good pickle slice and a cup of boring coleslaw alongside. In short, damned by faint praise.

                                    (2) Your taste in this grub may be less finicky than mine. By some standards, this could be called the best deli sandwich in downtown Toronto.