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Where to buy the best steak?

  • s

I'm planning on grilling steaks this weekend and wanted to know what grocery store/butcher has the best. Also, which cut should I be getting? I heard Cumbrae is good, but is it really expensive?

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  1. Cumbraes is top notch, I also like White House in SLM..my new favorite cut is a top sirloin steakI did a 2.3 pounder for 4 people a few weeks ago, was great and cheap too, under 30$ at White House, flank is another cheap option...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Recyclor

      Cumbrae's really is top notch. We purchased two 2" T-bones this weekend for the grill -- I wanted something bone-in. The 2 steaks were about $60. They were huge, though. Too huge so we shared one. And we will have the other tonight.

      It was the most delicious steak I have ever had in my life and, for a splurge, totally worth it.

    2. Rib steak at`Dominion on sale for $4.99 lb is often very good, but you have to be picky.

      12 Replies
      1. re: ssainani

        I live near Cumbrae's and Whitehouse meats on Bayview and shop at both once/twice a month. Taking into consideration the selection/quality/service/price equation I prefer Cumbrae's over Whitehouse. Having said that my wife bought some beautiful tenderloin steaks that I grilled on the weekend, about 1.5 inches thick and I was blown away when I found out she bought them at Costco(?!?!).

        1. re: andyman

          Costco is pretty good! I went to a bbq last week, and they had bought rib eye grilling steaks (i think) at costco, and they were delicious! My favourite butcher though is Eddystone Meats. Their meats are tender, flavourful, and I think that their prices are very reasonable.

          1. re: icey

            Where is Eddystone Meats located?

            1. re: andyman

              Near jane and finch; South of finch, off of jane. Eddystone Ave, I believe.

              1. re: Fat Swine

                it is far from dodgy and no one is getting shot on Eddystone. Great cheese, olives and amazing turkey sausages - really juicy!

          2. re: andyman

            Costco rib steaks always get my vote for quality and price.

            1. re: andyman

              Costco's meat is pretty high quality and butchered in-house and they move so much nothing sits around for very long in the coolers. I've never had a bad steak from there, you just have to buy in fairly large quantity.

              1. re: Boodah

                The beef trays are all labelled Canada "AAA", generally a step up from the supermarkets, and nicely trimmed or tied.
                But the work is done by meat cutters, not butchers.

                1. re: jayt90

                  True enough, great for "bulk" purchases but clearly not the go-to place for something custom.

                  1. re: Boodah

                    Costco butcher will CUT you any steak you want if it's not on the counter, but I think every kind, shape and size is out there for you to buy,. You want it thicker, they'll cut it for you if they have it.

            2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

              Re Dominion, I would say : beware of the 'special' glass case next to the meat section. There Rib Steak is on special but it looks so pale you wonder if the cow had been suffering from anemia for months. The meat has to be red and look fresh and shiny.

              1. re: cocolou

                The meat counter in a Dominion nearby always has good red beef, sometimes nicely marbled, and some of it even shows the origin (Peace River valley.) But that won't go for $5/lb.
                I have found that many good cuts are discounted on the last day of sale, and they can be attractive buys.

            3. We had a "steak off" last summer - we picked up rib steaks (with the bone) from Cumbrae, The Butcher (I think that's what it's called - organic butcher at Yonge and Eglinton?) and Loblaws. The Cumbrae steak won by an overwhelming majority and the (well marbled) bone-in rib steak was a great cut.

              6 Replies
              1. re: peppermint pate

                Cumbrae's, Summerhill Market, Royal Beef in that order. I've heard a few people say Costco is very good, but IMO they don't come anywhere close to Cumbrae or Summerhill. You get what you pay for.

                1. re: peppermint pate

                  A steak off...what a great idea. Now my Labour Day weekend will have purpose and meaning!

                  1. re: andyman

                    It was very fun - highly recommended. Everybody brought a couple of steaks - the same cut, thickness and seasoning (Montreal steak spice and garlic with a few dabs of butter). All were cooked medium rare and then cut up on to plates for the blind tasting. If you do end up doing one, let us know how it goes.

                    1. re: andyman

                      I usually purchase my beef at Cumbrae, but in a pinch, or for a crowd, I buy the black Angus from Longos, and let them sit in the fridge for a couple of days (or longer) after seasoning.
                      Also let them get to room temp. before grilling.
                      I am not a Whitehouse fan, and have had good and bad.
                      Before the original owner died, I purchased my beef from them.
                      Tried the angus from Lowlaws, and it was tough, .. far too fresh.
                      I agree that nothing grills as well as a rib, but hubbie prefers strip.

                      1. re: erly

                        You season it and then let it set for a couple of days? Sounds like theres so many problems with this.. First and foremost though, aren't you worried about the seasonining drawing excess moisture out of the steak? For the same reason you salt your steak only directly before its about to go onto the grill

                        1. re: duckdown

                          no salt, you are correct.
                          Salt should be last minute.
                          Just lots of garlic and peppercorns, and a drop of oive olive oil
                          You need to know your fridge temp.
                          I am fortunate to have a couple of drawer refrigerators, so it is easy to check,.
                          Don't cover the steak.

                  2. Cumbrae's is without a doubt the best in the city. They are very expensive, but the level of quality is worth it. I would question the price anywhere else. I have shopped at Whitehouse, Oliffe, and Pusateri's. I haven't been to the Healthy Butcher yet.

                    I wouldn't shop at Cumbrae's for myself personally. I go there when I have guests over from out of town. There are other good places to go. I'd be happy to list any that may be convenient to you if you could tell us what neighbourhood you'd like to shop in.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Googs

                      Been to all of the above (except Oliffe) and purchased two 2" ribeyes from each; did a similar "taste off". Cumbrae's beat all - Whitehouse, Pusateri's, Healthy Butch, The Butcher, Royal Beef and Nortown.

                      1. re: Googs

                        Googs, you are a good person.
                        I do the Longos thing.. half the price, and very tasty, for guests, unless they are very special.
                        Why I prefer Cumbrae, to the other exceptional butchers mentioned, is that they are consistent.. have tried all above, except Royal Beef.
                        Liked Oliffe, almost much as Cumbrae,but not their location.
                        Tried Nunzio twice, and the beef, organic or not was tough..
                        Not as good as longos.

                      2. The Healthy Butcher is my vote... all the butchers mentioned are good, but for the same price or less than some of the most expensive places, you get Certified Organic, dry aged, heritage breed beef... I also like the fact that they don't deal with "boxed meat" like pretty much everywhere else, they deal only with whole animals from local farms and can butcher any cut you want. If you have a group of people, try a Vacio cut which is fantastic and half the price of a NY or Rib steak.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: peterpiper

                          There is much to like - even admire - about the Healthy Butcher. But the lack of significant marbling in their products has been a real turnoff for me.

                          1. re: embee

                            That's what we found. We have done these taste tests more than once because we think anyone could have a bad piece, but C's is very consistent and more often than not, it is worth the money.

                            We had a sausage taste off and are planning another one for the fall.

                        2. I second Royal Beef at Danforth and Woodbine. Good steaks but we also really enjoy the tri tips. Gord the butcher there is very helpful. Have fond memories of Paul who, with good-humoured patience, introduced me to the world of beef. RIP.

                          I also like Cumbrae's occasionally but Royal Beef is my default.


                          Royal Beef
                          1968 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C, CA

                          1. You can't go wrong with Cumbrae's. I've purchased probably 100 steaks (from beef, to venison, to bison, to any other cut/animal you can think of) from them, and never had anything less than stellar.

                            Though the single best steak I've had purchased from a meat counter came from Atelier Thuet just recently. Their 60-day dry-aged Alberta AAA ribeye is something otherwordly.

                            I also use Oliffe. I will not buy beef from Pusateri's. The price to quality ratio is NOT anywhere close to where it should be.

                            1. For a cheap steak fix, the best I've had was a 2" boneless shoulder steak from Cumbrae's. It came to $10 and was more than enough for two. The counter help (at Church St.) was no help, but a butcher came out and was more than willing to cut it for me. He said it came from the area beside the rib end. It was well marbled, tender, lots of flavour, but had a few more division points than a rib eye. I'm going back for more...

                              1. I bought grass-fed organic steak from Fresh from the Farm, the Mennonite shop near Donlands. Fabulous cut of meat. I don't know if it's the same as the ones being sold elsewhere under a different brand.

                                1. My vote goes to Ribeyes from Costco. But surprised no one has mentioned Brunos which always has excellent quality meat.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: mexivilla

                                    For big parties, I always forego the expensive places and get ribeyes from Costco too; AAABeef. Pretty doggone good, always a crowd favourite and reasonable. I have also bought the whole tenderloing there for fall/winter large dinner parties and have not been disappointed either.

                                    1. re: itryalot

                                      I haven't been impressed by the whole strip loin, or whole rib-eye from Costco.They are wet aged, wrapped in Cryovac, and run from $70 to $120 according to season. They are not as well marbled as the Costco steaks in a tray, in fact, they are poorly marbled, and you buy a fair amount of extraneous gristle and outer fat.Their whole tenderloins, ($45 to $60) are good, and a great value.

                                      1. re: jayt90

                                        Thanks; I have never bought whole strip loins or whole rib eyes, only tenderloins, but now you have convinced me. Temderloins- whole, Ribeyes -steaks.

                                    2. re: mexivilla

                                      I agree. You get more bang for your buck at Costco. But for quality meats i always go to Bruno's since it's in my area.

                                    3. The strip steaks from costco have excellent flavour, are well priced and should be shared by two as they are huge.

                                      1. Vince Gasparro's on Bloor/Shaw has excellent new yorks - angus beef, aged, amazing prices - 10ish bucks each roughly... i can't say enough about these guys, they're a must try if you're looking for an excellent butcher.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dannyboy

                                          used to love Whitehouse. started going to Gasparro's and can't beat the value. high quality steaks (i'm a bone-in ribsteak fan). got to know the sons and they set me up with a few nice dry-aged cuts.

                                        2. Best steak I've had was from Cumbrae's. But it was their wagyu tenderloin, which we did tataki style.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: carnivore1964

                                            If you want a different twist on steak, go to St. Lawrence Market, and look for the meat vender with the black and white sign (Whitehouse meats i think). Anyways, grab the ribeye "badass" steak, it is already sitting in a marinade....yeah i know, i too would not usually sauce a good steak, but omg these are amazing...Throw on the bbq until medium rare, and the result is fatty charred bbq/smokey beef flavoured goodness....Well worth the price....

                                            1. re: pancake

                                              Actually I think this is Wiiteveen, which always seems to have more prepared products than any other buthcer there. I've tried some of thier marinades and concur they amazing.

                                          2. Does anybody know of any good butchers in the Mississauga or Brampton area? I would like to buy one of these $30 steaks but do not feel like driving all the way to downtown Toronto for one


                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: duckdown

                                              Is Oakville too far for you? There is a Whole Foods in Oakville, and they have some excellent meats, including steak.

                                              1. re: obstructionist

                                                Definitely much closer than Toronto... Do they sell specialty steaks like dry-aged or USDA Prime? I'd like to know what I've been missing out on :)

                                                Thanks again

                                              2. re: duckdown

                                                There's a Bruno's Fine Foods in Mississauga. I've only been to the Yonge St location, but never had a problem finding reasonable quality there.


                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                    I live in Richmond Hill, and always get meat from Bruno's if it's a special occasion. It's more expensive than Costco, or any of the other chains, but it's well-aged, the steaks are cut thick (I hate those 1/2" steaks they sell at grocery stores), and there is a wide selection of beautiful pork, lamb, and poultry. They also provide many of these in a variety of marinades. I especially enjoy their butterflied lamb, which is marinated, and cooks up very nicely on the grill.I'm sure you can get all of these at the Mississauga location.

                                                  2. re: duckdown

                                                    This one is in Etobicoke . Try The Steak Master, ask for US Choice or Prime Rib or Striploin steaks, and have them cut to your thickness.

                                                    3882 Bloor Street west. 1 Block West of Kipling.

                                                    1. re: 2bbq

                                                      I disagree with the assertion that anything designated as USDA Choice beef could be seriously considered as the city's BEST steak. Sure, it may taste fine, but the grading system for USDA beef does not put "Choice" designated meat in the same league as anything AAA, Prime, Wagyu, Kobe, or various naturally-raised options in Canada. USDA and Canada Prime, Canadian Angus AAA, Wagyu, Kobe, etc.. designated beef will all produce a better piece of meat than any USDA Choice steak. Choice simply won't have met the grading standards of any of the above. It's comparable to Canada AA beef.

                                                      It's like saying "Joes fish offers the best scallops in the city: a frozen pack of 16" when Mike's Fish next door is selling fresh, live, diver-scallops next door. The frozen may be fine, but with what's on offer next door considered, would be impossible to be considered as the "best" in the city.

                                                      1. re: Bueno

                                                        My understanding USDA Choice is comparable to Canada AAA beef? And that Canada Prime has slightly less marbling than USDA Prime.

                                                    2. re: duckdown

                                                      Can any one recommend some really good butchers/shops to buy t-bones and porterhouse steaks in the Richmond Hill, Markham or Newmarket (Aurora) areas? I live Near Newmarket but drive down to Richmond Hill/Markham a lot. Thanks

                                                      1. re: BDD888

                                                        Probably should've started a new thread instead of reviving an out of date one.

                                                        Go to Bruno's, there is one in Richmond Hill. Or if you want you can try The Butchers by Promenade.

                                                        1. re: BDD888

                                                          Try Brunos on Bayview & Weldrick.. Great Fillet etc!

                                                          1. re: designergirl

                                                            Will definitely try Bruno's. As I said I used to live just behind their plaza. Frequented that plaza so much but rarely shopped at Bruno's. Mainly because their items are overpriced. But if I can get really good Porterhouse or T-bone...

                                                      2. "Best" is ~totally~ subjective, especially when you get into the grass-fed vs. grain-fed territory. I like my steaks seared in a cast iron pan, with nothing but lots of salt and pepper; I like to be able to taste the meat, not all the flavours over the meat. I find grass-fed beef is not as marbled, and has a chewier texture and meatier flavour -- I prefer grass-fed myself, however, my honey prefers the richer, mellow flavour and softer texture of grain-fed. It really is a personal thing.

                                                        The best steaks I've ever had were bison ribeyes from Stoney Kepple farms, purchased at the Riverdale Farmers Market. Sadly, the Stoney Kepple people haven't been there this year.
                                                        The second best steak I've ever had was a hanger steak from Beretta (sp?) that I got from the Duffrin Grove Farmers Market. Excellent, excellent big beefy flavour.
                                                        I've had the famed Costco steaks and they really are quite good for supermarket steaks, but they still taste like supermarket steaks -- no edge, no particularly beefy flavour.
                                                        You can't go wrong with a steak from Cumbrae or the Healthy Butcher, and Royal Beef is also excellent. Get the purplest looking thing you can see, and it'll be great.
                                                        ...I'm planning on going to Duffrin grove tomorrow to get me some hanger steak. If they are all sold out 'cause y'all are talking about them so much, I'm gonna be miffed...

                                                        1. Pusateri's recently started to import true Kobe beef from Japan, and I couldn't resist comparing it to Cumbrae's privately raised Wagyu. To be honest, I found them on par with each other, with the Wagyu being far cheaper. Both, though, would be top contenders for the best steak I've had in Toronto. Just a notch below, however, would be Cumbrae's naturally aged rib-eyes. Speak to the owner about getting something aged around 45 days, and he'll hook you up with one of the best omnivorous experiences you'll find. Mmm. Pusateri's offers wet-packed USDA prime strip steaks, but don't be fooled. They come nowhere near living up to their hefty price tag, and no where near giving a true indication of how could a dry-aged USDA prime piece of beef CAN be. Pusateri's uses big names and high prices to draw attention, but never seems to deliver on quality.

                                                          Moral: buy from Cumbrae's. Second choice: Oliffe.

                                                          1. Costco gets my vote.....never disappointed.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: vaiguy777

                                                              Ditto. Just had one last night. Delish!

                                                            2. Black Angus Fine Meats and Game near Lakeshore/Cawthra. They carry a huge selection of game meats (even stuff like alligator and kangaroo), wild boar bacon and sausage, lots of 45- and 60-day dry-aged beef and they'll custom cut whatever you want thickness-wise. Great, knowledgable staff, too.


                                                              Black Angus
                                                              740 Lakeshore Rd E, Mississauga, ON L5E, CA

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Boodah

                                                                Oooooh! I really must check this place out. Looks super interesting.

                                                              2. Cumbrae hands down -- amazing meat.

                                                                1636 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                                1. There's got to good butchers in York region too. As much as I love good quality meat I doubt I'll be driving downtown (or towards) to pick it up very often. I live in Markham. Should be a few in the area. Offering nice aged Porterhouse & T-bone with a high grade of marblization.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: BDD888

                                                                    I have had good luck ordering "The Perfect Steak" online.
                                                                    This "AAA" package works out to $20/lb with delivery, aged 30+ days, and is delivered in 2 days in dry ice.

                                                                    1. re: jayt90

                                                                      I know of them. Had them bookmarked yet never ordered from them. The did carry T-bones at one time. No Porterhouse.

                                                                    2. re: BDD888

                                                                      Famu in J-Town seems to offer a lot, I don't know about porterhouse, but they will cut to order.

                                                                      1. re: BDD888

                                                                        York Region: Richmond Hill: BRUNO's is my favourite steak . Their fillet Mignon- what can I say but MMMMMMM!

                                                                      2. Check out Kosta's at Birchmount & Ellesmere. They rule !!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: skinnychick

                                                                          I'll keep them in mind Skinnychick. Eat more!! :)

                                                                          1. re: BDD888

                                                                            I'm with skinnychick. If you don't want to go all the way downtown, definitely check out Kostas Meat Market. This store is straight out of the 60's when neighbourhood butcher/provisioners were the norm rather than the chain grocer or boutique butcher choice we have now.

                                                                        2. I went to Starsky on Dundas St east of Dixie Rd today for the first time and bought some very good looking shortribs for $4.50 lb, Can't wait to try them. The steaks looked very good and well trimmed and the price was reasonable, just a bit more than regular meat at a supermarket. The meat is from a place called Paradise and AAA.

                                                                          2040 Dundas St E, Mississauga, ON L4X, CA

                                                                          1. Cumbrae's is Lovely! Bruno's has divine fillet & tuna steaks to die for!
                                                                            It depends what kind of steak you want...BBQing- Costco has great t bones! Never under estimate Costco meat- and chicken...and salmon.

                                                                            Marinate A flank steak and BBQ it- like restaurants- price does not always mean better flavour!
                                                                            Sounds good! What time is dinner? :)

                                                                            481 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA