Best TO walking and eating neighbourhoods?
We're moving to Toronto from Montreal in January and we are really bummed because we live in a great foodie neighbourhood and we can walk to great diners, bistros and 5 star restos in 10 minutes or less. Oh, and we are within walking distance of Jean-Talon market. Sigh.
My spouse and I love good food (both to cook and eat) and we want to live somewhere where we can get good nosh (good quality ingredients and good restaurant fare) quickly and easily. We are planning a house-hunting trip in a few weeks and we are going to look in Little Italy, Trinity-Bellwoods, Riverdale and Roncesvalles. Can fellows chowhounds point us to some good places to eat and shop in these neighbourhoods, and maybe give us some ideas about which is the best eating neighbourhood?
An added note: We are not the kind of people who would dine out at Susur once a week (do these people exist?) A great neighbourhood for us would contain one or all of the following:
a nice neighbourhood Italian place w/ a decent red sauce, pizzas etc
a Portuguese chicken joint
a good seasonal farmers market
a cheese shop wherein one can buy a raw milk cheese or two
a good bakery (Toronto has some of the worst bread I have tasted - does anyone in the city use a natural yeast starter? Everything I have eaten breadwise seems to use commercial yeast)
We need help - we are really upset to be leaving Montreal...
I recently moved to Riverdale and am really enjoying the area in terms of the food culture. A few restaurants that come to mind are Citizen, Batifole, Pop bistro, Fare bistro, Tomi Kro, etc. If you do a search of riverdale and/or leslieville on this board you will find the various restaruants and people's reviews. The area offers most of what you are looking for. No portguguese chicken joint but there is a jerk chicken place, there are a couple of farmers markets within walking distance depending on where you are, there is a cheese shop called leslieville cheese shop (http://leslievillecheese.com/), there is also St. Johns Bakery (http://www.stjohnsbakery.com) and a number of great coffee shops. I wish I could tell you more or give a review of the specific places but I am just starting to get a feel for the neighbourhood myself.
Except for the seasonal farmer's market, it sounds like my midtown neighbourhood from Davisville to Eglington S/N and from Yonge St. to Mt. Pleasant W/E.
Italian-Camerini on Mt. Pleasant S of Eglington for family resto, Zucca on Yonge S of Eglington for modern.
Portuguese Chicken-Churrascuria at Eglington/Mt. Pleasant
Cheese Shop-Cheese Boutique at Mt. Pleasant/Eglington
Bakery-Jules Patisserie and Celestin, both on Mt. Pleasant between Davisville and Eglinton
BTW even though there is no Farmer's Market, there are 3 good and different produce purveyors on Yonge from Davisville to Eglington.
There is also:
Fresh Pasta-Pasta Pantry
Upscale Indian-Jaipur Grille
Grano-Casual Italian including pizza
Elizabeth's-Cheap Eastern European lunch place
Pub Grub-Bow & Arrow
LCBO store with good Vintages section
The above are all on Yonge from Davisville to Eglington.
We also just got an AMAZING gelato place on Mt. Pleasant, ask anybody here!
There are lots of great little shops in this 'hood to poke around in, plus you have easy access to more at Yonge/Eglington and you are a quick walk and subway ride to downtown or anywhere else in the city.
Added bonus: It's a clean, safe neighborhood that has a yuppie veneer but is actually quite diverse.
However the entry price for housing here can be steep, $599,000 is about as cheap as it gets...
oh chemfemme I feel for you! I'm a Montrealer who lived there from '95-'00.
I lived in the Roncesvalles/Queen W area and loved it- it's quite diverse, safe, and inexpensive. However, the neighborhoods are just not the same there in terms of diversity- Polish is Polish, Italian Italian, etc. You'll trek all over the city to satisfy the meals on your list.
I'd also check out the St. Clair West area, from Dufferin west it's a predominently Italian 'hood, but with some variety. The area around College St. east of Dufferin is a decent food mecca as well, but I do hear it's gone somewhat downhill, and is probably quite expensive in terms of housing now.
Most of all, I wish you luck. You'll be back. ;)
Hi chemfemme, welcome to TO. It's not all that bad, trust me. Could be worse, you could be forced to move to Brampton or Pickering :) Seriously consider Riverdale area. We live here and love it. My husband hails from Montreal also. We have some really good restos and pretty close to the St. Lawrence Market which would probably meet all of your needs. We still could use a good neighbourhood joint. we have many but they are not exactly places that I would visit regularly - I'm mean something like Brunoise - wish we had that here!! Def. check out Bonjour Brioche. We do have many wonderful spots but they are scattered around so need to drive or take transit. Let us know where you settle and you'll get tons of recommendations for that particular area.
I've lived in Toronto for the past quarter century. Spent the first half of that time in Corso Italia (St Clair west of Dufferin) - solid Italian restos and food stores, much more of a Latino presence now. The second half of my sojourn has been spent west of Bathurst between Bloor and College - much more diversity: Koreatown to the northeast, Little Italy/Portugal to the south/southwest, the old Chinatown and dilapidated but useful Kensington Market to the east. There is good food to be had. People are generally nice, even among the mad, dispossessed, hipper-than-thou and the money-bags. It's not dull, that's for sure.