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looking for the BEST.....

  • m

challah bread

dim sum

Indian Curries

farmers market

micro brewed beer

high quality small batch ice cream

retail source for smoked fish

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  1. Tall order, MarkG...

    I can't speak to the challah, the micro-brewed beer or smoked fish, but for the other items on your list:

    Dim Sum - I love the huge and bustling Bright Pearl Seafood Restaurant at Spadina and Dundas St. W. (www.brightpearlseafood.com). They serve dim sum all day but, obviously, for the experience go during the day on weekends. Unbelievable choices and great service. Don't be afraid to ask the servers for items off of the dim sum menu if you don't see them come around on the carts - they're happy to oblige.

    If you want a quieter, less intimidating experience (and a patio in the summer!!), there's a small place on Baldwin St., on the South side, just before McCaul St. It's about two or three store fronts in (I can't remember the name, unfortunately). They have great food and you just tick the items off yourself on the dim sum menu, so you don't have to figure out what everything is as it rolls past you on carts. It's great for beginner Dim Sum eaters and the food is delicious. While you're on Baldwin, check out the Vietnamese bakery across the street and a little further West. It's been open forever and they have the best beef buns in the city. My favourite are the curry beef variety - unbelievable.

    Indian - I'm of Indian descent so I feel confident telling you that in Toronto (i.e. not Missisauga/Malton etc.), the best place to go for Indian food, bar-none, is Lahore Tikka House at 1365 Gerrard East, at Highfield (the Indian area runs on Gerrard from Coxwell to Greenwood). There is absolutely nowhere better for authentic meat dishes and naan in and around the city. If you're looking for curries specifically and you're not picky about decor (neither of these places is particularly swanky, mind you), then go to Chandni Chowk at 1430 Gerrard St. E. It's ghetto but the Chicken Tikka Masala is to die for.

    Any of the restaurants on this strip are worth checking out. There's so much diversity in Indian cuisine that I can't go into any more detail here.

    Farmer's Market - Dufferin Grove Park has a farmer's market every Thursday from 3pm to 7pm, all year round. http://dufferinpark.ca/home/wiki/wiki...

    Ice cream – I love Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe at 712 College St. It's a Toronto stalwart and has unbelievable quality and selection.

    Good luck and let us know if you decide to visit any of the suggested places.


    2 Replies
    1. re: usra

      The dim sum place you are referring to on Bladwin is called Kowloon at 5 Bladwin Street 416 977 3773 and is good for cheap, quick and tasty dim sum.

      1. re: Romana

        Have to say that Kowloon serves substandard dim sum. There is good reason why the place is never busy during what should be peak dim sum hours on the weekend.

    2. Best Challah Bread -- St Urbain Raisin Challah

      2 Replies
      1. re: jeff75

        I need a good source of smoked fish too. The guys in the North Market haven't been there in a few months (I think they went out of business). Their smoked trout was amazing, and the other ones I tried don't stack up. Any suggestions for smoked fish from small producers?

        1. re: acd123

          Hi acd123,
          Back on another thread about Torito you asked me about the smoked fish there. Just to let you know I'm still trying to track it down. My friend has since changed restaurants jobs and I haven't got a reply from Gallery Grill. Will let you know when I find it.


      2. Challah bread-Harbord Bakery hands down, sorry but nothing else in this city makes the grade.

        As far as Dim Sum, I love City Inn, but many others on this board talk up Lai Wah Heen, but since I haven't tried, I can't recommend.

        Indian-also heard good things about Lahore (again never tried), but I've always loved Dhaba on King. Although I have to admit I haven't been recently (over 6 months), so if anyone has anything to report, please do...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          I second Harbord for Challah. Health Bread/Open Window #2 (cheaper and tons of convenient locations.
          Lahore...Bleh for curry. Yes for super spicy Kabab.

        2. For Challa I love the Epi one. Really very tasty. The texture is excellent.

          For Smoked Fish I would have to go with Caviar Direct downstairs in the St Lawrence Market. I find that their fish is consistently excellent. Try the Indian Candy (smoked Maple Salmon) you won't be disappointed.

          Ice Cream - there have been many discussions on this one but I still have to go with Ed's on Queen Street in the Beach. Some of the best ice cream I have ever had.

          1. For high quality ice cream, I love Gelato Fresco. It may not be small batch, but it's great. In particular, the 0BF (0 butterfat) chocolate, the chocolate raspberry, and the creme caramel.

            For challah, Harbord is #1, with St-Urbain and What-A-Bagel (regular sesame or raisin) tied for second.

            The absolute best challah is the "extra-special" challah available every Friday at Kosher Quality Bakery in Montreal (Victoria Ave., south of Van Horne). Hot from the oven, with a crisp crust and perfect interior, it's the ultimate challah. I would always buy two, because it was impossible to not dig into the paper bag on the drive home.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FlavoursGal

              You can actually buy Kosher Quality Bakery Montreal Challah at the Superstore at Dufferin and Steeles. It's sold frozen so you have to defrost, raise and bake it but it is definitely worth it - unbelievable! They have different kinds too - regular, raisin, whole wheat....yummy!

            2. There's Ted the Fisherman, organically-grown fish: arctic charr and rainbow trout. 705-424-4465 at the farmer's market at the Waldorf School in Thornhill, just south of 16th/Carrville, on Saturdays. I'm pretty sure he sells smoked fish, but you can call and check.
              I usually make my challah, so I can't comment on where to buy the best, sorry.
              I've had great curry at the Indian Kitchen and Cuisine of India. I'm sure there's others, but I haven't been to a lot of Indian restaurants in the city. I also try to make it or eat it from my Indian friends who make great curry :)

              1. For Indian, I absolutely love the Udupi Palace on Gerrard. The chana batura (sp?) is phenomenal, I could only order that and be perfectly content.

                1. Another vote for Harbord challah. I've tried most of the uptown kosher bakeries, and they don't compare. Although maybe Harbord is sneaking some butter in. . .

                  I also second the Dufferin Grove farmers' market.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: oralfixation

                    That's funny. I use butter in my challah. None of my family is particularly religious, so they wouldn't care. They don't seem to argue when I put milk chocolate in one of them either.

                  2. The best dim sum ain't in Chinatown anymore (Has been for at least 10 years)...the real deal is found north in Scarborough (i.e Ruby's), Mrakham - Ding Tai Fung (Hwy. 7 and Woodbine)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Finnegan

                      Agree that best dim sum is not in Chinatown. Ruby's is super for cheap and fresh dim sum (after 1:30) and Grand Chinese Cuisine in the Doubletree near the airport and Lai Wah Heen at Dundas and Elizabeth are both great for 'haute' versions of this kind of food.

                      1. re: Yum2MyTum

                        For Dim Sum, I prefer Casa Imperial.

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          I must respectfully disagree. I went with my family here maybe 1.5 years back with high hopes, given the elegant setting. We were extremely disappointed, and felt that food was oversalted, and overpriced. The menu-designer seemed to think that by adding conpoy to _everything_, he/she would be justified in increasing the prices way past what is being charged at comparable restaurants.

                          Given our miserable experience, we did not return - who knows, maybe it has improved.

                    2. My favourite smoked salmon:

                      Kristapsons Inc
                      Address : 1095 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON M4M 1K7
                      Telephone : 416-466-5152

                      It is also available at:

                      <A HREF="http://www.allthebestfinefoods.com/&q...>

                        1. re: redearth

                          Re Kristapson's
                          Yes, the smoked salmon is excellent. The whitefish and trout are also very good, but only available on odd days. There is another location on Yonge north of Lawrence on the west side. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you buy there stuff elsewhere (ie All the Best or Pusateri's) as the markups are huge.

                          Best farmers market within reasonable distance is Brickworks. Cookstown, Forbes and a native band from Wiarton that smoke fish all have stalls there.

                          1. re: Finnegan

                            Thanks, Finnegan - do I need to use html tags, or not?

                          2. For smoked fish, try North Fish(corner of Shawbridge+Six Point, east of Kipling) and Mike's Fish off N. Queen in Etobicoke.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Kagemusha

                              Recently purchased some stuff at Mike's, and was quite disappointed.... the scallops were definitely not the freshest, and at $25, I was not too happy with my purchase.

                              The cured & smoked fish are good, though. I think the gravlax is superior to the smoked fish, but both of them pale in comparison to Kristapson's.

                            2. Just tried the smoked salmon in Viking Smokehouse and Bakery on Laird. It was excellent!!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ctl98

                                I agree, Viking is pretty good. They seem to keep odd hours though.
                                Best challah - Grodzinski's on Bathurst.

                                1. re: millygirl

                                  Best Challah.....ISAAC'S on Bathurst north of Lawrence and particularly the 'sweet crown' challah's made for the Holidays (Rosh Hashana).
                                  I am addicted to two ice creams and neither one is from a particularly small manufacturer...in my opinion...STRAWBERRY HagenDaz & ALFONSO MANGO from Gelato Fresca are the best in the city by a country mile.......

                                  1. re: pearlD

                                    It Looks like everything is covered excep the beer. Try Old Credit Brewery, over 100 years old. Great Pilisner, and Amber Lager.

                                    Lakeshore and Mississauga Rd.

                              2. Milford Bay smoked trout is a real treat! Made up near Gravenhurst (at Milford Bay) but available at Bruno's and other Toronto outlets--haven't tracked any of the others down yet..

                                1. Don't think it's been mentioned yet but I think T&T Supermarket has some of the best challah in the city - easily. I mean, sadly better than many Jewish bakeries. Suprising? You bet. But IMO, true.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: magic

                                    I like the assorted fresh breads from T&T too. I didn't go to many Jewish bakeries, so I can't compare.

                                    1. re: chutchut

                                      Real smoked salmon competition for Kristapson's. Christoph Stadtlander is doing organic BC salmon in a cold smoke that killed the competition in a blind taste test. It actually wasn't close. He, like his famous chef Dad is really picky about quality control so there isn't much product out there. Summerhill Market and a few selected venues. If you see some, grab it!!

                                      1. re: eatingzen

                                        Stadtlander's salmon seems to be readily available at Cumbrae's on Bayview.

                                        1. re: eatingzen

                                          Chistoph S is a Smoked Salmon master.

                                        2. re: chutchut

                                          I'll second that, re T&T. Did you ever try their cream puff pastries? Yummy+++

                                        3. re: magic

                                          Magic, I will try anything you say. I don't doubt that T&T has a lovely egg bread!

                                        4. all the best fine foods carries Christoph now

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: cocaineface

                                            For a great selection of Smoked Fish try Daiter's on Bathurst St.(S. of Wilson) or Sunrise Foods on Sheppard by Bathurst.

                                            I agree that the Montreal Kosher bake-off Challah is amazing.