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Back from Trinidad... craving doubles

Hi folks,

I'm just back from a business trip to Trinidad, and am craving doubles something fierce. Where can you go in Toronto for really good doubles? As a reference point to anyone familiar with Port of Spain, I keep dreaming about the doubles sold by the guy at the side of the road across from Long Circular Mall. Those were definitely my favorite.

I've had the doubles at The Jerk Spot on Queen -- before my trip -- and really liked those. Now my eyes have been opened and I realize that those are to *real* doubles, as canned no-name black olives (like you get on crappy cheap pizza) are to genuine Kalamatas. That is, I love the real deal enough that I could still eat the fake ones... but there is really no comparison.

Any recommendations for really good doubles? Maybe even with pepper and mango?

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  1. I had the best I've tried in TO at Ali's in Parkdale, get the tamarind sauce on it...yumm!

    2 Replies
      1. re: mariecollins

        OK, we hit up Ali's this morning and I am very happy! The barra was not quite as tender as the doubles we had in Trinidad but no complaints at all. The tamarind sauce was really awesome and the pepper sauce has a nice lingering burn to it.

        Going to try Caribbean Roti Palace too and will report back. Thanks for all the tips!

    1. Caribbean Roti Palace - a Trini spot - on the west side of Bathurst, just south of Bloor.

      1 Reply
      1. re: thought_for_food

        I couldn't remember the name of that one, it is good for roti too...I didn'y know about sweet sauce additions to doubles when I was there, I bet they have good stuff...

      2. The doubles I got from Roti Lady in parkdale were really, really good. You could tell the barra (bread) was freshly fried as it was slightly crisp on the exterior and soft and chewy inside. I seem to remember the outside better than the filling, but I think the chickpeas were good, too!

        13 Replies
        1. re: Delish

          when i talked to her, she said that she brought them in from somewhere else... i found them ok but not really all that great.

          the ones from caribbean queen are interesting and very fruity in flavour although doesnt contain fruit if my memory serves me right.

          loved d&d... too bad they're shut down, will be doing a search sometime soon.

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            yeah, d&d was great. I also like the doubles from Island Foods--I'm only familiar with the location at Don Mills and York Mills.

            1. re: Yongeman

              I like the Island Foods doubles too, though I go to the one at King & Dufferin. Great chickpea filling, but sorry - no mango. Only problem is that I understand they make them ahead of time, so they're not as fluffy as fresh, and when they're gone, that's it for the day.

              1. re: urbnmns

                yeah i went yesterday to Island foods for doubles around 7 pm and they were already out of doubles....

                1. re: warlock

                  I find they can be out as early as post lunch-rush!

                  1. re: urbnmns

                    Anyways the Ramadan period is over,so I guess its back to BAU (Business as usual)....

                2. re: urbnmns

                  I can assure you that when Trini's are in Parkdale, they prefer Ali's to Island Foods.

              2. re: pinstripeprincess

                Interesting that you say she brings them in from somewhere... Honestly - my double was so hot (not in a microwaved kinda way - there's no way the outside would have been so lightly crisp) and fresh that I can't see how it would be possible. Maybe she's started making her own? Or maybe she buys ready made dough? I dunno - I've eaten many a double and this one was one of hte better ones I've had.

                Though I will say the best I've ever had in the GTA are from a place near Markham and Sheppard called "Roti and Pulau Shop" .

                1. re: Delish

                  Real doubles and roti can be found at ACR Hot Roti's and Doubles at 2680 Lawrence Ave (just east of Midland in Scarborough)...beware the hot sauce!

                  1. re: Finnegan

                    Oh yeah--Drupati's Doubles and Roti on Albion Rd. near Islington (I think). Excellent and Spicy!

                  2. re: Delish

                    sorry i got mixed up with caribbean queen.. which doesn't even do doubles!

                    anyhow, roti lady's pattis are brought in but she does her own doubles in a guyanese style. i find them fruity and sweet and the dough a bit too dense and chewy for my liking. i much prefer a fluffier doubles.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      Guyanese style, eh? That explains why the barra was thicker than what I normally get. Come to think of it, mine was pretty fluffy! in fact, I'd say it was fluffier than others I've had. I don't think I ate what you described. Maybe you got a bad one...

                      I liked Roti Lady for it's differences, and was a great change of pace, though when I crave doubles I crave the ones from Roti and Pulau shop which I mentioned above.

                      Their barra is much flatter and slightly chewier, but still soft and tender. They also make the best chickpea curry. And their hot sauce is great. And so is their roti. Can't go wrong with chicken or goat. Love it.

                      I know what you mean about fruity fillings. That's how I find the ones at Roti Palace...

                    2. re: Delish

                      En route to the zoo yesterday we decided to pop in to Roti and Pulau shop for a sack of doubles. Sad to say they we disappointing and not what we remembered them to be. The bara was too chewy, perhaps overworked, and is now a far too vibrantly yellow. We think ownership may have changed. The goat roti, however, was still delicious, but less juicy than we remember.

                2. A C R Hot Roti and Doubles 2680 Lawrence Ave. East. These guys make really good doubles and theres always a lineup, Sign inside says he's "The original doubles man" from some place in Trinidad. Doubles are only $1.00 and man are they good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: squingy

                    Got that right...sounds like most Chowhounders never make it farther niotth than Blloor Street and no farther east that Church St....make the trek to Scarborough for some of the best cheap eats in Toronto, like Shahi Karahi...authentic tandoor ovens, great nan, etc. (Markham and Lawrence Area)

                  2. If you're in Hamilton, go to King St. E. and Connaught and try the Roti Hut. She makes amazing Roti, Doubles and Phulorie...complete with pepper for sure...

                    If you show up on Tuesdays she often has duck roti....

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mike from Hamilton

                      Roti Hut in Hamilton, the roti is so good, it melts in your mouth. Too bad the place is now closed.

                    2. After checking all the recommendations ,Had the doubles today from ACR Hot Roti's and Doubles....man are they good.....made fresh,long lineup though....got the craving again...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: warlock

                        what time did you go? tried to drop in at 8pm on friday night but nada, closed for ramadan is what the sign said. so i wasnt' sure if they just had shortened hours.... on a mad hunt for doubles so i didn't take the time to try to read the hand written sign.

                        reyannas - in the same nabe as acr, icks
                        island foods - ran out at like 4pm that day, but i don't usually like theirs anyway... the barra is ok but the channa mix is just too saucy and mushy with fruity leanings
                        ali's - closest i've gotten in great fluffy barra compared to d&d's but the filling was just a bit hard and undercooked. no great flavour development
                        roti palace - the guyanese lady said they were trini but the thin and dense barra screamed otherwise.... it was insanely sweet and fruity although the texture was perfect. i asked for spicy but no spice was to be found... hopefully with spice this will be closer to the great channa i loved.

                        have got to try acr... but otherwise drupati's is the place.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          I went at 12:30 pm.....there was sign inside that said they would close early during the Ramadan period till around Oct 15th (if i am not mistaken)...the breaking fast time is around 7:00 pm....They are closed on Labour day.....

                          I did pass by Reyannas and it was empty (thats not a good sign).....havent tried Drupatis,but going by consensus,its ACR and Drupati's that comes out tops in the Doubles shootout.....

                          Would love to try the Duck dinner from ACR,anybody had it yet????

                      2. Just curious, since today I saw an NYTimes article about Trinidad's food, and then found a delectable detailed report here in Chowhound from a few years ago but listed prices, which were typically Caribbean-high. How much on average were you paying for food there? (I realize you were on business so you might have been splurging).

                        1. I'm surprised no one mentioned Roti Hut, south of McCowan/Sheppard in Scarborough. Best doubles i've had better than ACR, the bread is so fluffy.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Little T

                            Had the Roti Hut doubles today....definitely less oily baras than the ACR ones,but fried a bit too much for my liking....nice spick and span decor though.......my vote still stays with ACR

                          2. Quick but silly question maybe.....Can I request them to give me the bread and chickpeas seperately?.....

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: warlock

                              I'm with Little T. and surprised that Finnegan did not mention?? The Roti Hut. just north of milner on a little side street to the west off McCowan. This place is the real deal amazing doubles and great roti right off the 401

                              1. re: Connoisseur

                                So based on some postings I was very excited to try ACR. What a disappointment!! IMHO these doubles should not even be discussed on this thread or in the same category as The Roti Hut.

                                The filling was thin and without flavour. The bread was soggy from the wet filling and very mushy. If you want to LOVE the doubles experience with the desire to repeat and share with friends go to Roti Hut (Pittfeild and McCowan) trust me if it’s a little further, it’s worth it. The bread is fluffy and crisp and the filling is thick and full of flavour. These are arguably the BEST Doubles in the GTA. The Roti Hut serves up quality Roti too.

                                The Roti at ACR was ok??? I had boneless chicken without pepper. It was large on quantity although a little low on quality. I found the Roti bland for my taste. I don’t like too much spice but I do want flavour and IMO this Roti was not one of the best I have ever tried. Now that I think of it the shell may have been different too?? Not completely sure but I don’t think it was the traditional Roti shell however I will never know for sure because I wouldn’t go back again for this sub-standard fare.

                                Who knows maybe they had an off day, I have found that most Trini/West Indi food is hit and miss depending on the cook. The dishes appear to be made with more love and feel, rather than by the book ingredients and measurements?? I guess this is typically true of most great food, However I have found the Roti Hut to be reliable day after day.

                                BTW. My partner does not generally enjoy Trini/west indi food however I have to buy extra Roti Hut doubles to keep her happy

                                This then wraps up my most honest and elaborate post ever… I am left with two conclusions. Is this post a slam against ACR or am I really that passionate about the Roti Hut????

                                You decide

                                1. re: Connoisseur

                                  As the originator of this thread, i think there is only one logical answer to your question, Connoisseur. I'll have to get out to ACR and Roti Hut myself and deliver the verdict! :D

                                  I just came back from *another* Caribbean business trip -- this time to Barbados, where there was a doubles stand right across the street from my hotel. Not nearly as good as in Trinidad, not quite as good as Ali's even to be honest but there's just something about doubles and coffee and a cool Caribbean sea breeze in the morning.

                                  1. re: vivsuen

                                    My friend introduced me to doubles. I get my doubles from Carribean Island in Village by the Grange. But they are only opened Monday - Fridays. I like there rotis too!!!

                                  2. re: Connoisseur

                                    I have to second you on the Roti Hut. THE very best doubles I've had, anywhere in the city, great Roti, and now that they've renovated, it's actually a nice little spot to eat-in, too!
                                    Cheers,
                                    .James.

                                    1. re: TorontoTips

                                      When did they renovate? I've always known it as eat-in.

                                      1. re: Little T

                                        Fairly recently. They always had tables, but it's now a more inviting spot to linger, rather than feeling like a take-out joint with tables.

                                        By the way, yes, Roti Hut DOES have fantastic doubles. I have yet to find better doubles or roti anywhere, although there are still places on my list to try.

                                      2. re: TorontoTips

                                        Went there this weekend, it looks great, apparently the reno was 2mos ago. Food a little disappointing though, goat and chicken roti meat a little tough, doubles chewy not fresh. I hope it was just a bad day and quality didn't diminish.

                                2. I am of Trinidadian decent & go back home for Carnival every year so I've had my share of doubles...good & bad. I must say the closest doubles to Trinidad that I've had in T.O are from Drupatee's (Albion & Islington) and Roti & Pelau Shop (Markham & Sheppard)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Yummy Mummy

                                    Finally someone else mentions Roti & Pelau Shop! My absolute favourite! But now that my husband works downtown rather than Scarbarough, we don't get them too often any more. Whenever we are remotely nearby we'll pick up a sack. They have great roti, too. From the skin to the following - all perfect!

                                    1. re: Yummy Mummy

                                      Does Roti & Pelau shop have tables, or is it take-out only?

                                      1. re: Yummy Mummy

                                        Also shall i assume the southwest corner in the plaza?

                                      2. Drupatis are the only good ones I have found in this city (albion/islington)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: gastrojunkie

                                          Drupatis is the best for roti and their doubles are heaven!!! Try them you won't be disappointed but be prepared to line up for them!!