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Suggestions in Roncesvalles?

  • i

I'm staying in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood for the month and was looking for suggestions for any secret neighbourhood spots to eat. Nothing in particular in mind, just looking for good food. No restrictions.

thanks in advance.

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  1. this is my gf's neighbourhood, so I've been to a few of these.

    dizzy's gastropub -I was surprised a the quality of the food here. They do an excellent burger that is a beef/bison mixture. They also have special food nights from prime rib to fish & chips, etc. I can't recall the schedule for the life of me but call and they'll tell you.

    Brad's takeout & eatery got some good recs on here, I've been once and found it to be serviceable.

    Skip freshwood grill, trust me on this.

    JJ's Sushi, pass on this too. Dime a dozen generic Toronto sushi.

    Cafe Polonez, old school Polish, they serve a tripe soup. That's a thumbs up from me.

    Boho was decent, however I understand they've now closed for renovations. They're planning on reopening as a gastropub.

    Silver Spoon is similar to what boho was formerly, a neighbourhood bistro.

    Cowbell on the outskirts of Roncesvalles has been getting a lot of hate on this board due to high pricing and small portions. Go and judge for yourself.

    Abstract Tree I haven't been, I've been told a lot of their ingredients are canned rather than fresh. There have been some recommendations for them on here though.

    Tinto Cafe - decent coffee, nice place to hang oot.

    Bravo Gelato - a bit too sweet for my liking.

    If you're willing to travel a little bit east on Dundas & College, there are a few noteworth Viet spots w/i a 15 min walk. Such as Pho Nho (I love saying the name a la Nate Dogg), Pho Phuong and Pho Linh.

    4 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Yay! My neighborhood!

      I'd add B for excellent brunch, Loon's for a good beer and patio (not so much food), and Butler's Pantry. Try the Bastille Pie...

      1. re: Jax

        I just moved to the bottom end of Ronces.
        Cherry Bomb is an awesome coffee shop, and Vincent Sushi a couple doors down does a a pretty good job.
        There is an excellent Montreal-style bagel place just opposite the Goodwill.
        Mitzi's Sister on Queen for that special pancake they do.

        1. re: aser

          Bravo Gelato is now closed and the lease signs are on the window...

        2. Welcome!

          Mitzi's! On Sorauren, at the corner of Pearson. *Awesome* brunch food all week long.

          Cherry Bomb for coffee and scones. Tinto for wraps (some breakfast-y, with eggs, and some lunch-y, with grilled veggies) and free wireless. The Local for a casual drink. The Sorauren farmers' market (Monday afternoons, in the park at Sorauren, just south of Dundas) for groceries and people-watching.

          Skip: Freshwood Grill, Buddha Dog

          Had dinner at Brad's last night. Decent, but not essential.

          1. Chopin for Polish cuisine. Great if you love dill because it's on everything.

            1. I would definitely second (or third?) Mitzi's - awesome brunch! (I've not been for any other meal, so can't comment on the rest of the menu)

              I would also recommend Cafe Taste - though I know it is not technically in Roncesvalles; more in Parkdale. Casual wine/cheese bar, great little appetizer plates, good atmosphere. It's on Queen just west of Dufferin and east of Cowan

              1. Ari's Place (at Roncesvalles & High Park) is a great greasy spoon. You can't beat them for a classic diner-style breakfast (bacon & eggs, steak & eggs, pancakes, etc). I also have dinner there every so often, and the food is really good. They have a filet of sole entree for $10 with mashed potatoes and salad that is pretty tasty.

                I also second Tinto, Cherry Bomb, Cafe Polonez and Chopin. I had dinner at the Silver Spoon for a special occasion earlier this year and it was superb. It's expensive (~$200 for two with dessert and wine), but the service, food and overall experience were delightful.

                2 Replies
                1. re: craisin

                  Silver Spoon is the finer dining option that I would second. The Fat Cat Wine Bar has a cool patio, asomewhat limited menu because of the cooking set up but decent night out. Cherry Bomb rules! And the Buddha Dog, well, nice guys but...

                  1. re: Westwardho

                    Second the Fat Cat Wine Bar. Lovely patio.

                2. - The Local is a great pub with live music, micro brews and good burgers.
                  - Brad's serves excellent brunch.
                  - Mitzi's is good but can be overcrowded.
                  - Dizzy's makes great wings, but you have to put up with drunkards and soccer yobs.
                  - Cherry bomb has good coffee, but IMHO Alternative Grounds' is much better. (And sorry, but too many hipsters at Cherry Bomb.)
                  -If you want truly AMAZING coffee (much better than both above) go to Balluchon on Sorauren. They also have great French take out.
                  -Tinto is great for salads and hanging out with a laptop.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: grilledcheese

                    Never heard of Balluchon (I've been to Mitzi's) ... can you give us a review?

                    1. re: 5andman

                      Balluchon is at 221 Sorauren. French-style takeout (pret a manger) in partnership with Gamelle resto on College St. Custom roasts coffee in micro batches. Does cold takeout--salads, pate, cheeses, desserts (great brownies). Really amazing coffees made by Ray the house java guru. Super friendly & chillaxed.

                  2. I used to live in the area and I miss it every day. Although I am not that far away, I still have to drive.

                    Anyway, my question is, why all the Freshwood hatin? I haven't been in about 6 months or so, but I always thought that it wasn't a bad little spot. Has something happened that I don't know about?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Lazar

                      I don't know what's going on at the management end, but yes, there's been a very noticeable drop in quality over the last year or so. I used to hang out on their patio quite a bit, but honestly, for the last few months I haven't even been able to get fries that were cooked all the way through.

                    2. I love Mitzi's on Queen, BUT (and there will be a LOT of dissention with my opinion here), I absolutely hated Mitzi's Sister on Sorauren when I went for brunch there this past spring. Honestly, it was one of those WTF? moments with the food, and I can say with full sincerity and objectivity it was the WORST food experience I've had in Toronto. The bacon on my plate was cold (to the point where the fat had solidified). One of my companions' omelette was just gross in flavour (I can't quite remember the combo but it had raspberries and something else that was an extreme mis-match of flavour) and the third dining companion's eggs were doused with cumin to the point of being inedible. We all picked at our plates but left about 2/3 of the food and left hungry. Awful.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        'Splendid Wine Snob' - If Mitsi's Sister is the worst food experience you've had in in Toronto, then congratulations on your awesome run of luck!

                        I used to live about 2 minutes away from Mitzi's and enjoyed many a fine brunch there. I especially love the oatmeal pancake made with steel cut oats. That said, I think the original owner chef isn't there anymore? The potatoes just aren't the saucey, maggi laden joy they once were.

                        I second many of the recs here -

                        Cafe Polonez - best in winter and try the hunters stew
                        Vincent Sushi - not quite Sushi Marche but best in area
                        Thin Blue Line - great cheese shop in ridiculously small space
                        Cafe Taste - as noted it's in the heart of Parkdale (about 15 minutes from Roncey) but it's a nice stroll if you wander over by the side streets and cross Lansdowne at Seaforth. Quietly building a reputation for a smart Canadian heavy wine list and awesome selection of cheese at good prices. Lately they are serving some respectable barbeque (pulled pork) and a great featured sausage.

                        And surprised no one mentioned the dependable Easy, down at the edge of the world, where Queen, King and Roncey meet.

                        1. re: Pantz


                          I tend to be careful when choosing to go out to eat-I "scope" out places for a while-reading this board, and talking to fellow foodie friends prior to forking out my hard earned dollars for a meal. So yes, I have been lucky. And contrary to my namesake, I'm really not all that hard to please. I've had some bad meals in TO, and lots of mediocre ones, but as I mentioned above, this brunch was really quite awful. Would you really want to be served cold, solidified bacon? It was actually bordering on insulting to say the least.

                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                            Mitzi's is actually the one on Sorauren, Mitzi's Sister is the one on Queen. Could you clarify which was the positive experience, and which the negative? (Was it Mitzi's that you love, or "the one on Queen"?)

                            I ask because I've also had a great split in experiences, with only great food at Mitzi's (the one on Sorauren), which I go to almost weekly, and a WTF brunch at Mitzi's Sister (on Queen), to which I've never been back.

                            Pantz - omg! Was it Maggi? I always wondered what form of crack was in the homefries.

                            1. re: chloe103


                              I may be confusing the names here. The bad experience was the resto on Sorauren. I've had solid meals at the Mitzi's on Queen-they had an AWESOME lamb poutine this past winter.

                              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                That's so funny - I've had mediocre food at the one on Queen, and consistently excellent food at the one on Sorauren. If you've only been to the latter once, I'd be inclined to put it down to a random and unfortunate fluke, and encourage you try again. I've been there several dozen times over a couple of years, and aside from maybe one or two slightly off days (nothing on the order you describe - just homefries that weren't as crispy as I would like, or similarly minor crimes), I've always left feeling very happy.

                                1. re: chloe103

                                  Actually, I'm going to have to to disagree with you, and agree with everyone else. I've had great food at Mitzis Sister (the bar, on Queen) and mediocre food at Mitzi's (the cafe on Sorauren). Although I would complain that the bar is quite loud at night.

                          2. thanks for all the suggestions. i happen to be living right next door to Easy, so that might have to be my first brunch stop. sounds like there are lots of options.

                            for now, i'm absolutely enjoying the proximity to the beach and High park since i love running and cycling.

                            any suggestions on the many deli's/shops for produce to cook at home? i'm not that familiar with polish delis, but some of the shops look tasty!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: igk

                              B has been closed for a while. Try Mitzi's at Sorauren and Pearson for breakfast. It's the very best in the area. Splendid Wine Snob's experience has got to be a blip! I go all the time and the worst thing that's ever happened is toast that was slightly crunchy as opposed to the usual perfection. Brad's does a good brunch, too. I second the Cherry Bomb rec — got coffee and a delicious almond croissant there this morning! Alternative Grounds is okay. I found a hair in my cookie, once, which was revolting. And the coffee isn't quite strong enough for me.

                              The ice cream at the Film Buff is probably the best ice cream I've ever had. Atomic Chocolate is sooo good. My favourite is Bullwinkle, but they rarely have it for some reason.

                              Pub-wise, I like the Local as well. I've been meaning to try Dizzy's, Boho, Silver Spoon.

                              1. Fat Cat. The cheese plate and wine list are good, but the marinated goat's cheese tasted like it was out of a plastic container from Loblaws, and the baguette tasted like it was fresh out of No Frills. Gross.
                              2. Abstract Tree. It was one of my most unpleasant dining experiences. Ever. Picture boiled frozen calamari on a white plate, with nary a garnish, lemon nor sauce to be found. Ew.
                              3. Freshwood Grill. Extremely boring.

                              There's a fantastic little fruit stand further south on Roncy, but I have no idea what it's called. They have heirloom tomatoes and everything! So sad that I can't recall its name. I also like the produce at Victoria's on Bloor just west of Dundas West. I second the Thin Blu Line rec. That place is fantastic. I feel so spoiled having a spot like that nearby. Bloor West Village, nearby, has a good little collection of food shops. At Bloor and Durie, there's a fish shop, a butcher, a gourmet food shop/deli (Max's), Fresh and Wild which has produce and other grocery-type things.

                              If you want a special meal, head to Ossington and Dundas/Queen. Check out Foxley's. Pizza Libretto and Delux are also supposed to be wonderful. I love the Communist's Daughter, a little tiny artsy watering hole on Dundas just west of Ossington. I know this is a little out of the way.

                              Have fun! There are lots of wonderful spots in this area!

                              1. re: Sarah Cat

                                Is the fruit and vegetable market you're referring to KOS? I think it might be. Great fresh produce much of it organic and seasonal offerings. You can even find things like purple and yellow carrots, jerusalem artichokes, fresh chanterelle mushrooms, romanesco cauliflower, etc...

                                1. re: jamesm

                                  I think that's it! Wonderful spot. What intersection is it near?

                                  1. re: Sarah Cat

                                    It's on the East side near Roncesvalles and Garden, just a block or so past Film Buff. Can't wait to see what they get in there once Spring comes.

                                    1. re: jamesm

                                      Here's a link for KO's. Not actually sure if they are using the name as posted in Toronto Life. I never actually bothered to notice the name of the place before. It just used to be part of that clump of utility fruit & veg stores by Garden. Then one day, it magically turned into a great produce store. It's not just that they source a great variety of items, but they are ALWAYS fresh. Plus, they stock Pinehedge Farms Yogurst. I've accumulated a mini army of jars to take back for deposit...


                                      1. re: Pantz

                                        I can't say enough good things about them. Besides the produce the service is great. I forgot my wallet one day, no problem. They just tacked up the receipt and told me to come back in the future and settle up. Once in awhile they'll throw in a free yogourt or cheese or something extra. The lady who works cash on the weekend always asks what I'm making and shared her Korean beef recipe with me. So lucky to have it in the neighbourhood,