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Feb 29, 2008 01:25 PM

Your Favourite European Style, Small Grocers?

The pleasures of grocery shopping are highly enhanced if one can find a local small market with well displayed ,colourful produce,unusual selection and an exciting environment of sounds, sights and smells. One of my favoutites is "Meat in The Beach" on Queen St. east just west of Woodbine Ave. (Not actually in the Beach)
This is not my local grocer as I reside in North York, but I do work close by and often head on over for some fresh salad ingredients and such that I can prepare in our staff kitchen. It's always a pleasure to be there among the other shoppers. Love the exposed brick walls to boot.
Where are some of your favourite little, local haunts?.

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  1. Are there no other offerings to this inquiry??

    I was in 'STARSKY'S* Finest European Foods (Polish Grocery)
    today (Saturday) and promptly moved it onto my favourites list. Everything seemed to be on sale there including bell pepers, red, yellow, orange etc. only .99cents per lb. Originally I went there for there huge selection of high quality pure cocoa chocolate but left with 4 bags full of sale items. Raw,wild flower honey with clover $5.99 per liter, Provitus brand sliwki (marinated plums),Riga brand Gold sprats in oil .99 cents per can 160g, Polish Kolbassa sausage $2.99 lb, roasted pork ham $3.59 lb,dodosz (chocolate double cake) $6.99, a container of Bigos (sauerkraut stew )
    Although I'm in North York and it's in Mississauga (an additional $2.75 bus ticket), I'll definitely be back.

    7 Replies
    1. re: fruglescot

      Scotty, since you liked Starsky, I'll suggest a couple of others in the same area, another Polish (with Mennonite products also) and one German (great place to also grab a schnitzel on a bun for lunch)

      Eddies, just down Dundas a couple more blocks on the north side

      Brandt, a couple of blocks south of Eddies. Pricier, different products, excellent quality, custom cutting happily.

      Oh, one more of interest, South African in Oakville (almost Burlington)-Florence Meats, unlike any other grocer in the GTA.

      OK, not European, but worth the trip ( you must have a buddy with a car)

      1. re: Scary Bill

        Sounds like a real adventure ,Scary Bill, if the recommendations are anything like Starskys* I'll be renting a vehicle one weekend when the weather breaks and head down that way. Brandt Meats was recently brought to my attention recently but the South African place sounds appealing. Maybe we can share a sandwich there sometime. Thanks

        1. re: Scary Bill

          Baxter's Fine Foods at 798 Sheppard East also carries South African products.

          1. re: phoenikia

            Baxters closed down about 2 months ago

            1. re: Bones 10

              Oh, that's too bad. Haven't been on that stretch of Sheppard lately. Thanks for posting & keeping Chowhound up to date;)

              1. re: phoenikia

                Aaaagggghhh! No! It was my go-to place for South African stuff! That is so sad. Please, anyone... where can I get my All Gold products, biltong, etc.?

                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                  Florence Meats in Oakville will make you forget Baxters. You'll be able to brush up on your Africaans too.

      2. I like my local grocer, Maselli's on the Danforth (west of Donlands). The patriarch makes his own WONDERFUL prosciutto, as well as a few varieties of fresh sausage. Good meat counter and deli. They have an interesting selection of jarred pestos, etc, from Italy, that I haven't really delved into yet. Wide variety of Pannetone at Christmas. Produce isn't necessarily their strong suit, but they generally have what I need and are good about stocking local stuff in the summer/fall. For those who haven't been in a few years, they have renovated and the deli and meat selection is greatly improved over what it was.

        3 Replies
        1. re: julesrules

          Oh, thanks for reminding me about this place. I got a wonderful hunk of parm. Reggiano there a while back and promptly forgot about them. The renovations make it even more appealing for me to drop by and check them out again.

          1. re: julesrules

            I'll second Masellis.

            If you ask at the deli counter, they often have fresh buffalo mozarella and the ricotta from the deli counter is really good too.

            1. re: gogol

              Also great selection of dried pasta. Every shape and size you can imagine.

          2. Tuske, the last surviving Hungarian deli on the Bloor/Bathurst strip. It's just west of Bathurst on the north side, 586 Bloor W. Whenever I'm in the neighbourhood, I pick up some csabai, usually leaving with some other treats, as well. Excellent stuff. Meats, pastries, packaged goods, and prepared food (small seating area at the back), but no fruit and veg. Worth investigating.

            1. Dimpflmeier Bakery on Advance just east of Kipling--factory-fresh ryes and other breads at discount prices(killer pretzels, too). Just up the street is Boncheff's(on Olivewood): part greenhouse+Pusateri-ish specialty foods for much less $. Worth a look is North Fish: great salted and smoked fish. Lots of discount butchers/packers in the zone east of Kipling, south of the Dundas overpass. Brandt is peerless for wurst--not bad for lunch, either! Not a Starsky fan: surly customers+staff, cheap but iffy quality goods, bumper car parking etiquette--gimme Brandt any day!

              6 Replies
              1. re: Kagemusha

                Boncheff. Don't tell too many people eh!

                Miniature vegetables, incroyable selection of French olive oils, lots of products not seen elsewhere.

                Again, don't tell anyone.

                1. re: Kagemusha

                  Your experience does not reflect mine in any possible way. I have to conclude that you were having a bad day.

                  1. re: fruglescot

                    The incivility quotient was too high for what was on offer at Starsky--all too reminisent of the gestalt at the old Knob Hill Farms stores. Staff and clientele weren't enjoying the Starsky experience--what a zoo!

                    1. re: Kagemusha

                      I've been to Starsky about a dozen times, and staff have always been pleasant, orderly, and gracious, even though it is always extremely busy at the counters.

                      The place is clean, well organised, with sku's you would have trouble finding elsewhere, especially at the price.

                      To compare the *gestalt* at Starsky with the rudeness, filth, putrid aromas and mayhem at Knob Hill is plainly, and simply, wrong. There are reasons why Knob Hill is no longer in business, just as there are reasons why Starsky is so busy.

                      1. re: Scary Bill

                        I've been there four times and never found any rudeness on the part of the staff, or any sawdust or aromas that reminded me of Knob Hill. Or any disgruntled customers who were annoyed at being there.

                        1. re: Scary Bill

                          With so many other shopping options open in this great area, I'll happily pass on Starsky, Bill. Maybe it's just the east of the Elbe vibe. Too much body-checking, manic grabbing and demo-derby for a parking space. Glad you like it--I don't.

                  2. Highland Farms has a small (IGA size) store in east Scarborough.
                    The owners are from the east side of Italy, and have good imports from the Mediterranean and the Balkans. Romanian feta in the can; Sicilian sardines with fennel; wild Greek origano to get me through the winter; very fresh produce; mortadella always seems to be on sale; Italian garden seeds, buckets of cherries or bushels of tomatoes (in season), and a meat counter.
                    I make a weekly trek there, don't always buy much, but I'm a regular, and they appreciate that.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jayt90

                      THROUGH THE GRAPE-VINE
                      Is that the Highland Farms at Ellesmere and Kennedy,jayt90 ? If so I've heard others mentioning this grocer as well.

                      1. re: fruglescot

                        No, this one is further east (I'm in Pickering, near the Scarboro town line.)
                        The Ellesmere location is busier, with lots of traffic to contend with.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          Uh Huh!
                          I'll have to check it out the next time I go for the doughnuts on Port Huron Road

                          1. re: fruglescot

                            Let me know! I'm at home with a broken ankle for 6 weeks, but I may be able to drive.