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Your Favourite European Style, Small Grocers?

fruglescot Feb 29, 2008 01:25 PM

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. fruglescot RE: fruglescot Mar 1, 2008 10:21 PM

    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
      Scary Bill RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 05:40 AM

      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
        fruglescot RE: Scary Bill Mar 2, 2008 07:22 AM

        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
          phoenikia RE: Scary Bill Mar 2, 2008 04:41 PM

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

          1. re: phoenikia
            Bones 10 RE: phoenikia Mar 3, 2008 09:50 AM

            Baxters closed down about 2 months ago

            1. re: Bones 10
              phoenikia RE: Bones 10 Mar 3, 2008 09:57 AM

              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
                hungry_pangolin RE: phoenikia Mar 3, 2008 02:10 PM

                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
                  Scary Bill RE: hungry_pangolin Mar 4, 2008 06:26 AM

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

      2. j
        julesrules RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 07:29 AM

        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
          Pincus RE: julesrules Mar 3, 2008 08:37 AM

          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
            gogol RE: julesrules Mar 5, 2008 07:46 AM

            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
              millygirl RE: gogol Mar 5, 2008 08:15 AM

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

          2. h
            hungry_pangolin RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 07:52 AM

            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. Kagemusha RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 08:10 AM

              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
                Scary Bill RE: Kagemusha Mar 2, 2008 08:38 AM

                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
                  fruglescot RE: Kagemusha Mar 2, 2008 10:12 AM

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

                  1. re: fruglescot
                    Kagemusha RE: fruglescot Mar 3, 2008 09:29 AM

                    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
                      Scary Bill RE: Kagemusha Mar 3, 2008 10:27 AM

                      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
                        Pincus RE: Scary Bill Mar 3, 2008 11:26 AM

                        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
                          Kagemusha RE: Scary Bill Mar 3, 2008 12:49 PM

                          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. jayt90 RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 10:23 AM

                    Highland Farms has a small (IGA size) store in east Scarborough. http://www.highlandfarms.ca/locations...
                    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
                      fruglescot RE: jayt90 Mar 2, 2008 10:35 AM

                      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
                        jayt90 RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 10:40 AM

                        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
                          fruglescot RE: jayt90 Mar 2, 2008 01:04 PM

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

                          1. re: fruglescot
                            jayt90 RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 01:49 PM

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

                    2. p
                      phoenikia RE: fruglescot Mar 2, 2008 04:35 PM

                      It's tiny, but I love Honey Bear Deli on Sheppard, btwn Bayview and Yonge. They sell mostly Hungarian items, but also some German & Austrian imports. Best jarred rotegruetze in TO. Friendly people.

                      Prague Deli on Queen West has a small selection of Czech and other Mitteleuropean groceries- usually pick up a few items when I'm in the neighbourhood. They sell a Paska (Easter) bread available in a few weeks that was tasty.

                      La Salumeria on Yonge north of Davisville for Italian products- esp. salami, prosciutto and cheese.

                      Centro Formaggio on St. Clair West and Lady York on Dufferin for Italian products. Lady York has a pretty large produce department.

                      Serano (attached to the Serano Bakery) on Pape or Greek House Food Market on Danforth for my favourite Greek products.

                      Ararat on Avenue Road between Lawrence and Wilson- some of the products are European, and some are more Armenian/middle Eastern, but I've included them because I still think of them as European style small grocer. Great Mediterranean items- dips, olives, pastries.

                      I really miss Leslie Deli ( the former Kellen's) that was on Leslie- I'm so sad to see the location on Leslie wasn't more successful.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: phoenikia
                        fruglescot RE: phoenikia Mar 2, 2008 09:22 PM

                        Thanks for your long detailed list,phoenikia some of them are even up here in my part of the city.

                        1. re: phoenikia
                          TorontoJo RE: phoenikia Mar 3, 2008 05:45 AM

                          And I love Honey Bear for their schnitzel sandwiches! The bun is lame, but all in all, it's a tasty, cheap lunch.

                          1. re: phoenikia
                            littlegreenpea RE: phoenikia Mar 4, 2008 07:03 AM

                            Second Prague Deli on Queen West. I think it's now called "The Prague", or something like that. They also have wonderful prepared foods to go, especially on weekends. At their old location, I often picked up delicious roast pork and roast duck, with dumplings and sauerkraut at an extraordinarily good price. Not sure what the prices are like in their new location now.

                            1. re: phoenikia
                              Snarf RE: phoenikia Mar 5, 2008 10:02 AM

                              Salumeria is fantastic. Apart from meats and cheeses, is also great for oils, vinegars, and other European condiments.

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