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Nov 23, 2007 02:04 PM

Best Doughnuts in Toronto

Hi chowhounders, Can you please tell me where the best donuts in Toronto are. Im sick of driving to krispy kreme in mississauga. And please don't say coffee time or Tim Hortons, YUCK. What is up with the junk some places in town sell??? Does nobody give a lick about quality. It's the exact same thing with pizza here. Sorry for complaining. I'm hurtin for some greasy donuts and some greasy pizza. Thanks People.

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    1. Bavarian Baker, does Cafe Bavaria make krapfen or berliners? Or just Canadian style donuts?

      1. re: phoenikia

        I realize this is a very old question, but since someone has recently updated this thread, I thought I should point out that Cafe Bavaria closed down last year.

    2. I'm going to revive this thread as I'm having a serious doughnut craving.

      Are there any places in the GTA that still do doughnuts well?

      Growing up all the grocery stores used to carry them. The best being Zehr's.

      Unfortunately I think too many people have come to accept outsourced donuts from Timmy's as adequate enough for their donut cravings.

      Any ideas?

      26 Replies
      1. re: pakmode

        In case there are people who don't know, Tim Horton's freezes all its "bakery" products and ships them to the stores. What a very dry, floury taste.

        1. re: abscissa

          As does almost every other 'mass market' baker - including Ace Bakery etc.
          New developments in 'flash-freezing' mean that we can now get imported baguettes from France and all the Moisson bread products from Montreal too.

          1. re: estufarian

            Yes, but it's one thing to freeze an unbaked loaf of bread which is then fresh baked before you purchase it and another to freeze an already deep-fried and glazed doughnut.

            I like the doughnuts at Piegus and at Milbree Viking Smokehouse.

            1. re: Full tummy

              Don't they only freeze the dough and then glaze it after heating it up again? Logically, wouldn't all the glaze just melt off in the oven/warming device? It wouldn't be a thick hard glaze llike it is now.

              1. re: pinkprimp

                Do you think they bake the frozen doughnuts at the Tim Hortons' locations? I've never seen or smelled anything remotely like baking at any Tim Hortons... The closest to cooking I've seen there is the use of a toaster and microwave. Perhaps you know otherwise...

                1. re: Full tummy

                  I know they bake the muffins at Tims.

                    1. re: cakesncookies

                      I know the muffins are not mixed from scratch at Tims, but they are baked from a raw dough, on-site, are they not?

                      1. re: cakesncookies

                        The donuts are par-baked at the factory (or at least they were when I worked there). After finishing the baking, they're dipped into the glaze - glaze is also made off-site and comes in giant plastic buckets.

                2. re: Full tummy

                  I was going up toward Petsmart today - remembered your comment re Milbree. Went in and grabbed some of the plain sugar donuts, cheese pastries and cinnamon twists (as well as smoked eel). The donuts and pastries are excellent - prepared this morning. You have to take a real bite of the donut - like an old-fashioned donut - not a rip or tear like the Timmy's donuts. I was very happy with this discovery. Thank you for mentioning it.

            2. re: pakmode

              I know what you mean, I'm still looking for a sugar donut today that rivals one from my childhood. It came from a local grocery store (can't remember the name of it now) somewhere in Toledo Ohio (of all places!) but it made such a lasting impression.

              Riviera Bakery on College used to make really good donuts, we would order five dozen or so for work gatherings so they were made fresh for us and boy, were they yummy. Now I'm partial to the sugar donuts from Nova Era (Oakwood & Rogers location) and in a pinch, I'll settle for the sugar twists from the Bathurst subway station bakery (west side one in the station) but only if they're fresh.

              1. re: fickle

                Bakery Nakumura in Jtown has the best Boston Cream donut I have ever had, and it's cream puffs are really good as well. Their savoury items are also awesome. I haven't tried any of the other donuts, and they sell out of the boston cream's by around 12-1 but man are they good. Only donut I have ever had that was better were from a hutterite bakery out west in Waterton lakes national park, they would dip (read, completely encase) them in milk chocolate and were to die for.

                1. re: fickle

                  Riviera Bakery on College makes the best American style chocolate dip I've had. It's worth the trip going early to get them when they are super fresh. I went to school in the area and would get them at around 8:30AM on the days they make them (mondays and Thursdays). They are hot and topped with rich oozing chocolate. They are very light chewy and fluffy.

                  1. re: fickle

                    The lady at Riviera Bakery on College was quite unpleasant. She was not very welcoming and glowered for our entire pastry was not fresh at all. Maybe I went on an off day, but her glare and frown are enough to stop me from going back any time soon..

                    1. re: ekim256

                      Yeah, their staff is not super warm.

                      1. re: ekim256

                        I feel you. I know the Bakery ladies can be pretty grumpy. Many others share the same sentiment. I would be too serving for the amount of $ they get paid. Too bad though. I'm not sure what you had? A Doughnut? The doughnuts really must be purchased immediately after being baked. I have found most of their goods reasonably to super fresh.

                      2. re: fickle

                        Nova Era also has locations at College & Shaw (near Ossington), Dundas west of Ossington, ans St. Clair & Landsdowne. Can't speak to the quality of the donuts, but I'm a glutton for natas (custard tarts), so I've found them all.

                        1. re: fickle

                          Epi Bread on Bayview makes the best sugar donut I've ever had.

                        2. re: pakmode

                          I second Zehr's! Zehr's still does their own donuts and they are much fresher than the supposed donut shops.

                            1. re: mainja

                              Zehr's in Toronto is the Loblaws chain. Just like in Hamilton instead of Zehr's or Loblaws we have Fortinos

                              1. re: smr714

                                Gotcha. I knew Zehr's were Lablaws (I'm from Guelph), but I was confused, I thought you meant there were Zehr's in Toronto.

                              2. re: mainja

                                Closest Zehr's are in Barrie, Bolton, Orangeville, Guelph, St Catherines...etc...basically Ontario - SW of the GTA.

                            2. re: pakmode


                              It pains me to say this. But I found ONE Tim Hortons that actually makes their own doughnuts and has pleasantly-tasting, freshly made, different varieties.
                              I don't know why or how - but they're actually good.

                              It's located in Cambridge just off the 401, if you take the Hespeler Rd exit and turn right and right it's located on 150 Holiday Inn Drive.

                              I've been there twice, and both times they had some creative doughnuts that I've never seen anywhere else.
                              Banana Split - A boston cream like doughnut, with rainbow sprinkles on top of the chocolate icing and a banana custard filling.
                              Coconut Cream - Coconut flakes on top of vanilla icing with a coconut cream filling.
                              Peanut Crunch - A generously coated old fashioned dip absolutely smothered and covered with chopped peanuts.

                              You will see some other doughnut varieties here that Tims trialed the past few years as well...

                              Worth a stop if you're driving by and need a fix.

                              1. re: pakmode

                                Did you ask if they're actually making the donuts there? I was an assistant mgr at Tim Hortons when they switched from fried in-house donuts to par-baked donuts from a factory. I was told by TDL managers that the franchisees had no choice and HAD to get rid of their bakery equipment and switch to frozen. My franchisee was not happy at all.

                                Sounds more like the shop is just being creative with the donut filling/topping combos.

                            3. I was surprised how good my Top Pot apple fritter from the Starbucks on College near Beverly was. A little pricey at $1.95, but the best donut I've eaten at a chain coffee shop. Didn't try the Top Pot chocolate glazed or old-fashioned ($1.75), but they looked like they would be tasty. Are there any other sources for Top Pot doughnuts besides Starbucks?

                              For independent doughnuts, I liked the paczkis that Leslie Deli used to sell. Guess I'll have to get myself to Roncesvalles to do a paczki taste test one of these days.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: phoenikia

                                Starbucks is the only retailer in Ontario that has Top Pot donuts, according to my barista friend. They have many, many more flavours in the Top Pot stores in the US, with flavours like Pink Feather Boa! (Vera Wang's favourite, apparently)

                                1. re: phoenikia

                                  I tried the apple fritter with my coffee this morning. Great doughnut. It was nice and crunchy on the outside and really soft and moist on the inside. Hefty and with loads of glaze, which I liked. A huge calorie bomb, but Starbucks did a pretty good job with sourcing doughnuts from these people. I wonder if there's a retail Top Pot outlet coming to Toronto soon?

                                  1. re: phoenikia

                                    Just wanted to follow- up. I tried the Top Pot chocolate old-fashioned at Starbucks today. It was pretty ordinary. Maybe a little better than Tim's, but not as good as the Top Pot apple fritter.

                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                      If it's paczkis you crave, Granowska's on Roncesvalles is excellent. They pack a real wallop too- half of one is too much for me.

                                      1. re: sunshine89

                                        I have to second/third Granowska's on Roncesvalles. They have delicious doughnuts (paczkis?). I was there on Sunday and bought 3 doughnuts, rosehip, plum and custard. Custard wasn't traditional French custard, it was a bit more whip creamy.

                                        Everything was delicious, and all the other things in the case looked fantastic.

                                        175 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2L3, CA

                                        1. re: missnomer

                                          can you describe them in more detail? the last time i was there on a weekend they seemed rather stale.... i've pretty much written them off because my prior experience was only so so. they weren't chewy, they weren't yeasty, they were just dry and meh.

                                          for something in a similar vein, i highly suggest portuguese doughnuts. they don't have that same yeasty flavour but they're nice and chewy and delicious. my favourite one is from a place called courdense near dovercourt/bloor that has an egg yolk filling similar to the chinese egg yolk filled white dough steamed sweet buns that can be had at dim sum. the lack of sweetness in the filling is made up by the sugar the doughnut is covered in!

                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            oh yeah? did you accidentally get a day old? usually day-olds are in a tray above the case.

                                            they're nice and yeasty and airy, with glaze on the outside. glaze is nice and sugary, and doughy part is airy and light. jam is all right. i've never had one that was dry.

                                            1. re: missnomer

                                              not day olds, straight from the glass case. 3 flavours all stale.

                                          2. re: missnomer

                                            Sorry everyone. RIP Granowska's. They have closed permanently as of April 2012. Inferior paczkis are available down the block at Victoria Bakery and Benna's.

                                          3. re: sunshine89

                                            I get their paczkis too, but they are abit different from Berliners or Pfannkuchens. I found that paczkis are too dense and they are a bit chewier than Pfannkuchen. However. Granowska's paczkis always seems not very fresh. Maybe I just don't know when they make new batches. If you happen to go to Germany, Back-Werk is cheap, always fresh and they are everywhere, not just Pfannkuchens but all their other stuff are amazing!

                                            175 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2L3, CA

                                        2. There used to be this little kosher bakery at the corner of Bathurst and Caribou (just south of Lawrence) that made THE most amazing homemade doughnuts with crunchy stuff on top. Honestly I've not tasted anything like it since...

                                          I know this doesn't answer your question but your post made me think of this amazing little find...

                                          1. I'm looking for an awesome cake donut, you know the dense ones??? love those.