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I'm having a hard time finding good fresh catered knishes in Toronto. I've been to some Bagel bakeries and either they were out of knishes or they didn't sell them at all. I view this as a MAJOR problem. I'm looking for standard "6-packs" of POTATO knishes.

They had none at Bagel Brothers on Bathurst and Steeles, Bagel House on Avenue had only stale pizza knishes left, No Frills on Wilson/Bathurst had none, Dominion at Bathurst/Sheppard had none, Loblaws on Bayview/Sheppard had none.

The only supermarket that had knishes was Sobey's on Clarke. They were a 6-pack for $4.59 and they were fresh and delicious. Although I enjoyed them, I'm sure I could find better.

The type that I'm looking for: Standard size (3 inch Domes or 2.5 inch X 3.5 inch Rectangular), not too much dough-to-potato ratio (in other words, I don't want to eat a doughball that has a hint of potato flavour), nicely pureed potato/fried onion in the middle. And of course: greasy.

To put it simply: If anyone out there was to have special guests over for a traditional Jewish feast i.e.) Rosh Hashanah dinner, and you wanted to bring home a dozen fresh POTATO knishes to impress your guests, where would you buy them?

There must be a few bakeries in the city that stock up on dozens of 6-packs of knishes daily - for some reason, these places are hiding from me.

Thanks a lot.

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  1. Hang in there M70. They are coming.

    1. OKay, I've only had 'em once, so I dont know whether they're good or not. But at least they're there and you can check 'em out, right? And, it's in Mississauga though, so this might not be your best bet.......................

      Highland Farms in Mississauga, on Hurontario and Matheson bakes 'em fresh every day. I've had it once, and I found 'em interesting ('coz it was my first time, you see). There's also a spinach one. I actually had them fresh as they took it out onto the bakery shelves, so they were extra warm and nice and cozy... :-) I mean, I'm sure if you ask 'em when they come out, they'll tell you a usual time or something... Pricewise, I forget, sowwy. :P

      1. Try Regina's Catering & Fine Foods, 844 Sheppard Avenue West. I haven't had them from there but everything is so fresh I'm sure they must have them and they'd be good.

        1. I also recommend calling Regina's. I've only had their beef knish (2 versions, one baked, one fried) but I'm sure they can supply the potato ones. (416) 636-1044
          They're at the north west corner of Sheppard West and Wilmington/Faywood.

          1. Honestly, potato knishes aren't easy to find in Toronto. They were NEVER easy to find here. There used to be a place called Montreal Bagel (I think that was its name....it's tough to recall, its name was so generic) that is no longer around that used to make the best knishes I've had that weren't my grandmother's. Exactly what you are looking for. Lightly greasy, buttery, nicely seasoned and light (not dense!) potato filling, beautifully fried onions. The works. I could eat 20 easy in one sitting. Sadly this place closed down years ago. Gotta be 8 years now, if not more. Too bad. I can't recall how good their bagels were, but they did them fresh in a brick oven with the long wood paddles, avec honey etc etc. Montreal styles. Just can't recall if they were good. I'm guessing they were.

            ANYWAYS, this place was on Bathurst, just south of Wilson. But again, it's no longer there. My mom used to get dozens and dozens catered. Damn they were good.

            In my worthless opinion, you gotta do knishes yourself. Or even better, they have to come from your grandmother, or mom. Nothing tastes better than homemade. I know it's a cliche to say this but with potato knishes, that has absolutely been my experience. All other ones I've bought from stores, delis, etc. have paled in comparison to my grandmother’s. Nor do they hold a candle to my own. The problem is you better have at least a day to make them. Man are they ever a lot of work, quite labour intensive. But great fun. And sooooo worth the effort.

            If anyone finds a great store-bought knish (not a good one -- a great one) I'd be very interested as well. Most of the ones I've had, even from good delis, grocers, caterers, are awful garbage that I usually spit out.

            I must say, I sure wouldn't mind sampling embee's!

            8 Replies
            1. re: magic

              Magic, let's find some together. I know I won't find ones like my grandmother used to make, however, I have had amazing store-bought batches in Montreal.

              Man, I can't believe that place closed. I know what you mean about eating a dozen in a sitting, I just can't stop eating them when they are in the fridge. I'm sure there must be somewhere in this humongous city where we could find replacements.

              I'm going to keep looking. I'll post what I find.

              1. re: montrealer70

                Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch...they really are coming :-)

                  1. re: montrealer70

                    i have faith. i might not know what's traditional but i know what i like and i think you will like it too ;)

                  2. re: embee

                    Hey embee, the knishes being described can't be found in Toronto. I love them and always have to either bring them back from Montreal myself or have a friend do it for me. If you know of a proper source coming to T.O., dish lady dish!!!

                  3. re: montrealer70

                    If you find a great storebought one please let us know! I've never gone hunting for any. Just sampled as I came across them over the years. If you hunt and gather something good, yeah, report back! As I know it, Toronto’s knish scene needs some work:)

                    Honestly, if I were to have a last meal, potato knishes would be a frontrunner for the starch component of my meal. A real old school knish. Oh sweet baby.

                    embee, supply us with knished fuel somewhere, and we'll all put our brains together and see what can be done about this knish situation.

                    1. re: magic

                      Imagine two Caplansky's sandwiches with choice of mustard, half a dozen piping hot knishes and two Cott's Black Cherries. Now that's a last meal !!

                      1. re: montrealer70

                        I was at the Caplansky's 'grand opening' and loved the open faced sandwiches. Not as smokey as I was led to believe but quality and taste far beyond the industrial Lester stuff. But now you have me drooling for the sandwich plus knishes! Tomorrow I'm going to see if Regina has a potato knish worth considering. I'll let you know.

                1. I'm a fan of the lead weight potato knish, with qualifications. I'm partial to the cupcake size beauties sold at Delly Boys in Montreal. A healthy ball of nicely seasoned riced potato (onion, black pepper, maybe even some schmaltz) encased in a dough wrapper as leathery as the guy behind the counter. Pass the sour cream.

                  The cigar shaped variety with the fluffy filling can be OK, but ... where can I find the first kind in Toronto? Indeed can I? I'm on the lookout.

                  1. I have a Regina's potato knish in front of me right now. Reheated slowly in a 350F oven. It's rectangular and about 3" x 4" x i" in size. The outside shell appears to be baked rather than fried. It doesn't have the chewyness and flavour that frying creates. The inside has the consistency of a slightly dry cheesecake, not fluffy, not greasy. The spices are mild and savory but I can't identify anything individual. It's not terrible, but I don't think it's product we're looking for. I think they'd be great made bite size and served hot as part of a catered platter.
                    I've been told about a place opposite the Baycrest Centre on Bathurst that sells potato knishes, so I'll go have a look tomorrow (before sundown) and see who they are and what they're up to.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: torontovore

                      T-vore: I found two kosher bakeries on the internet today that sell knishes - they're both almost across the street from Baycrest. They are "Toronto Kosher" and "Perls". Both of their websites say they have amazing knishes. Toronto Kosher seems to be more gourmet catered food and Perls looks more like a take-out counter. I'm going to try both of them by this weekend. If you try them tomorrow, let us know your opinions. (They close at 3 and 4 respectively on Fridays).

                      1. re: montrealer70

                        Perls has great food...on the expensive side for sure. Always high quality and mostly tasty prepared foods. Haven't been for a long time.

                        1. re: montrealer70

                          Forget Perl's. Their entire facility was burned out almost two years ago and is nowhere close to reopening. They have a couple of temporary stores, but these appear to sell only fresh meats. I recall their knishes as being pretty dull. Perl's did actually sell good kosher meats and some quite good prepared foods, but their deli items were pretty crummy.

                          Toronto Kosher is fairly similar to Perl's in concept and is in no way a gourmet caterer. I am not familiar with the quality of their in-store items. Their deli products (Shefa, Uncle Ken's, Delancey) are horrible.

                          There is another store opposite Baycrest called Ely's. I recall their food as being of higher quality (as of four years ago). I think they sell "Jewish" food only erev Shabbos and mainly Chinese and Israeli the rest of the week. I've never had a knish from there.

                          I'm not certain if Daiter's sells knishes, but their blintzes taste homemade and are excellent.

                          1. re: embee

                            The Toronto Kosher website menu looks very appetizing embee. Either way, knish-hounders must try them out. We must find knishes in Toronto. I'm going to do the entire Bathurst strip South of the 401. I did the strip North of the 401, there's not a knish in sight. (16 bagel places and 7 deli's mind you, but no knishes). Very odd indeed.

                            1. re: montrealer70

                              Yep, the Toronto Kosher menu looks good.
                              They describe the potato knish as "Famous strolli style potato knish".
                              Only strolli from a google search is a Swiss Kids Stroller, so I have no idea what they mean.
                              Guess a visit is in order. Feedback tomorrow.
                              Also embee is right, Perl's has had no prepared foods since the fire. I dropped in a couple of months ago and the situation hasn't changed.

                              1. re: torontovore

                                Stroli was the previous occupant of the store that is now Toronto Kosher. You didn't miss anything. They had delicious cooked chickens. Their other food was pretty bad. As to the store in those days, the less said the better. Better you didn't look too hard when you were buying something. Toronto Kosher has definitely fixed the place up.

                          2. re: montrealer70

                            I've always loved Toronto Kosher's knishes, though more so when it was Stroli's.

                            Torontovore - it's not a type of knish. The shop used to be called Stroli's because it was owned by Rabbi Stroli. As Embee points out, it was never a fancy joint (though I have fond childhood memories of their kosher TV dinners...)

                            [a little googling and I found this mention of him...


                            I live north now but whenenver I'm in the area I load up. Stroli used to always toss a
                            couple of freebies in the bag but I don't think they do that in more.

                            As I'm typing this right now I'm contemplating when I can get there next for the liver knishes....

                            I'm thinking/hoping that's what you're looking for.

                        2. Ok, I made a knish run today. It turned out to be a "Jewish Fare" Run - I'll explain as I go along.

                          Ely's (Bathurst S. of 401): This place is a "lunch counter". It resembles a counter that would be in a hospital or a busy office building for hungry people "on the go". I bought two knishes. The knishes look like "darkened Hostess Twinkies". Right off the bat I was sceptical. The outside is a leathery "meal" coating. The inside is Extremely Heavy potato filling that to me tasted more like a thick latke than a knish. For me, I'm looking for a more pureed inside rather than a thick paste. The outer coating was foreign to me so it wasn't up my alley, and the inside was quite tasty actually (for a latke). These knishes taste like the exact ones that Mr. Bozo described. So Mr. Bozo, now you know where to get your type of knish. I had to keep looking.

                          Toronto Kosher (same plaza): This place is a mini-supermarket. Once again, embee was spot-on. They market themselves as a caterer on the internet, however, it's a Jewish market with almost everything Jewish that I could think of in the store. They have prepared foods, jarred goods, fresh delicasies and I noticed beautiful rib steaks with surprisingly reasonable prices.

                          I bought two knishes, a latke, kasha with bowties and Uncle Delaney's Kosher Franks (I missed your warning on that one embee). The knishes were made fresh and are small balls the size of traditional meatballs. The outside is gummy meal that resembles the "twinkie" coating on Ely's knishes. The inside is pureed potato. They tasted "ok" once I got past the chewing gum on the outside. I definitely had to continue my search for knishes. I did try the kasha with bowties, it was outstanding!!! The same dish that I used to eat as a kid - my thumbs up on it. The cabbage rolls and weiners in blankets looked appetizing, but they were out of my price range.

                          Their latke is a standard "heavy hockey puck latke". The other type being the "flat, light hash-brown type" (I like both types). If you like the heavy hockey puck type, these are delicious. Not too much "dough-meal" in the batter, very greasy and nice onion flavouring - a definite thumbs-up.

                          What-A-Bagel (same plaza): Traditional bagel bakery. They bake fresh Toronto bagels and have some baked goods, but no knishes. I tried a latke. It's the "flat hash brown" type. Forget about it. Unbelievable!!! The greasiest latke I ever had, strong fresh onion taste and most bites were crispy. One of the best latke's I ever had in my life. p.s., if you don't like greasy food, this one is not for you.

                          Happy Bagel Bakery (Bathurst N of Sheppard): This is more of a bagel and pastry shop. They sell other things, and they never heard of a knish. The fresh pastries looked outrageous so I bought a cheese danish. To die for. The fresh pastry-cheese filling and flaky outside were nothing short of perfect. This place could close down every pastry shop within a 5 mile range if people knew about it. Fresh baked danish, cinnamon buns, blintzes, chocolate croissants (plus minis of most pastries).

                          St. Urbain Bagel (Bathurst N of Steeles): They had Ten 6-packs of knishes on the counter next to the cash waiting for me to load into my car. They looked exactly like the ones I'm looking for (3.5 - inch "domes", home-made, with traditional pastry-dough on the outside). I asked one of the bakers where they were from. She barked back "Montreal". OK, that explains why they had the look that I was looking for. I bought 2 six-packs and got the hell out of there. I sampled one of them. Really close, but one key element missing: Not enough onion taste in the recipe. The ratio of dough to potato is perfect, the weight is nice, the potato is pureed, but the filling is in need of more fried onions, salt and pepper. Very close, and a good knish, but not perfect.

                          So far, the best tasting ones I've had were the Clarke St. Sobey's (made by "Montreal Kosher"). After today's run, I'm not sure that they could be beat.

                          I called the Montreal Kosher Bakery in Montreal and spoke with the owner. I told him about our knish woes in Toronto. He was surprised because he supplies many supermarkets here with goods (Sobey's on Clarke, Super-Loblaws on Dufferin, No-Frills on Bathurst/Wilson etc...) . He looked up some upcoming orders and noticed that many supermarkets don't have knishes on their order forms. I told him we're dying here without his knishes. He told me he's going to work it out for us and stock up the shelves. We'll see what happens.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: montrealer70

                            I heated up the Ely and T.K. knishes in the oven, to a piping hot degree. Ely's Twinkie Knish was much better scalding hot. Definitely good tasting and huge (should be at $2.50 each). While heating in the oven, the potato softened up on the inside and it has nice flavour as well.

                            The Toronto Kosher "Meatball Knish" was a little better scalding hot, but it's hard to get over the chewy outside. (Still edible). I still prefer the Montreal Kosher Knish at Sobey's on Clarke, but if you're near Bathurst/401, I recommend Ely's Twinkie Knishes, and it must be heated in the micro or oven to fully enjoy its worth.

                            1. re: montrealer70

                              "Ely's (Bathurst S. of 401): This place is a "lunch counter". It resembles a counter that would be in a hospital or a busy office building for hungry people "on the go". I bought two knishes. The knishes look like "darkened Hostess Twinkies". Right off the bat I was sceptical. The outside is a leathery "meal" coating. The inside is Extremely Heavy potato filling that to me tasted more like a thick latke than a knish. For me, I'm looking for a more pureed inside rather than a thick paste. The outer coating was foreign to me so it wasn't up my alley, and the inside was quite tasty actually (for a latke). These knishes taste like the exact ones that Mr. Bozo described. So Mr. Bozo, now you know where to get your type of knish. I had to keep looking." ...

                              ... "I heated up the Ely and T.K. knishes in the oven, to a piping hot degree. Ely's Twinkie Knish was much better scalding hot. Definitely good tasting and huge (should be at $2.50 each). While heating in the oven, the potato softened up on the inside and it has nice flavour as well."


                              Ah, music to my ears. Thanks much for the field test Mtl70. However, Ely's is quite a schlepp for me since I'm down around Dufferin/St Clair and am, as I believe the proper way of putting it these days goes, vehicularly challenged. If this variety of knish is known to be more readily accessible to me, a location would be good to know. BTW, the knish did indeed conform in every aspect to my description of my favourite variation, except that it sounds overcooked: the pastry should be golden (a quibble, given the revelation).

                              1. re: mrbozo

                                MrBozo, just to prevent confusion, the twinkie knish isn't a pastry shell. It's more like a "tough corn-meal balloon" that surrounds the delicious thick potato filling. It tastes similar to "baked potato skin". To better understand, Torontovore posted a picture of the Toronto Kosher knish in his post below which has a similar casing. Both knishes tasted pretty good, however, because there is no greasy pastry on the outside, it's not my type of knish.

                                  1. re: mrbozo

                                    That's it !! I took pics of some Montreal Knishes that I had delivered but it will take me a few weeks to figure out how the heck to load them up. They look similar to the pic you put on.

                            2. re: montrealer70

                              I know you're interested in potato knishes, but let me recommend the "corned beef" knishes from Toronto Kosher. I prefer the coating to be crunchy on the outside with the softness of the dough on the immediate interior. You will ultimately get to the pureed corned beef in the middle. Sometimes they are more spicy than others - I guess it depends how many ends of meat are available before the mincing process. Fri. morning is probably the best time to purchase them fresh. I heat them in a conventional oven - not in a micro in order to maintain their crispiness. It's worth a try. Esthermalka

                              1. re: Doctormhl1

                                Doc, I was waiting for you to weigh in on this post. You're our kosher expert. One day, I'll try the corned beef knish - I've never had one before and it sounds awesome.

                            3. I got a little behind in my knish testing. I dropped into Toronto Kosher mid-Friday afternoon and enjoyed my visit. Parking was a challenge but the turnover of cars was fairly rapid. I asked for a potato knish, a liver knish, and a beef knish. You have to kind of jump into the line-up/crowd at the hot table, but all the staff were friendly and helpful. The liver and beef were .99 and the potato was 50 cents. So very reasonable.

                              The beef and liver were about 3 times the size of the potato knish. Photos of the whole treats can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deafdj/2...

                              I reheated them in a 275F oven and drained any rendered oil. Photos of the cut open knishes can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deafdj/2...

                              Then the taste test. Overall I enjoyed the plain potato the best. The filling actually resembled potato, unlike the Regina 'cheesecake' style. Small, tasty and almost fluffy little bundles, but not much beyond potato flavour - no onion and no spicing that I could detect.

                              I really do like liver, but the liver knish tasted sort of musty to me. I forgot to ask who donated the liver, so I'm not sure of the source. I'd only try these again on a recommendation I trusted.

                              The beef surprised me. Now that I've read more posts on this thread, they were probably the corned beef variety. In my ignorance I just asked for beef. My first reaction was, hey this isn't ground beef. I couldn't quite identify the flavour, but it smelled like hot dogs.Initially I thought maybe they were ground up kosher beef hot-dogs, but it probably was corned beef. Sometimes when you have the wrong expectation the taste experience gets skewed. I will have to try again.

                              I left Ely's for another day. I did look around What-A-Bagel and was going to try one the latkes but a customer in front of me bought their entire supply. Lots of fascinating foods to try from the stores in this area. I'll be back.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: torontovore

                                The european deli, located on the lower level at the st, lawrence market sells them.

                                1. re: torontovore

                                  T-Vore: I'm 99% sure that's minced corned beef in the knish. It looks fantastic.

                                  1. re: tbonetak

                                    Serendipity, or this man really has his finger on the pulse. I don't want him to overstretch the boundaries or offer a huge menu, but it seems like he's actually listening to the kinds of things his customers/community want, which is wonderful.

                                    1. re: tjr

                                      Wow !! I'll be there this week some time. I hope he has knishes left.

                                  2. I have been advised that St. Urbain has the closest to Montreal knishes (Cantor's Bakery style). Hermes Bakery apparently has knishes with a similar dough, much more potato filling (slightly oniony, slightly chunky/not totally pureed), and topped with sesame seeds (unlike a "real" Montreal knish). No personal experience to back this up, since I last had a Cantor's knish in about 1969.

                                    I was also advised that Centre Street's knishes are quite close in appearance and, probably, texture, to what mrbozo is looking for. However, neither my correspondent nor I much like Centre Street's potato knishes. She likes their kasha; I like their beef (though, as noted, it's more a croquette than a knish).

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: embee

                                      If you haven't had St. Urbain knishes, let me tell you... They're leaden lumps of flavourless matter. Not at all like a proper Montreal knish. How these guys got their rep I'll never know. I temporarily lived on St Urbain some years ago. I hate that they manage to sully that memory.

                                      1. re: Googs

                                        I just tasted a dozen St. Urbain knishes. They look the part and the pastry is perfect. It's the style that we're looking for however, the potato filling is bland.

                                        I toasted their sesame bagel a couple days ago thinking it would be closer to a Montreal bagel than eating it fresh. The bagel had almost no taste. I won't be getting bagels or knishes there again. They make good home-made cream cheese and that's about it.

                                        1. re: montrealer70

                                          Ah yes, the filling. I can stand the pastry being leathery and not flaky as long as the filling is up to, uh, speck. High density, heavyweight contender knishes is what I like: the potato can be entirely pureed or slightly chunky, but it must have the obvious flavours of onion, black pepper and schmaltz.

                                          A few of these beauties (preferably piping hot), served with fried onions on top, a side bowl of good thick sour cream, and a ruler length piece of karnatzel are just what my dietician needs to hear about me chowing down.

                                          1. re: mrbozo

                                            Forget about ruler-length karnatzel - how about a link that wraps over your shoulders like a towel? That's another food that I could eat in unlimited quantity.

                                            If Caplansky had home-made onion-potato knishes and karnatzel, I would move to little Italy.

                                    2. How far is TO from NY? Maybe you could find a place in Buffalo that sells them. I only wish I could find anything that closely resembles a knish near London, I'd be happy.

                                      Btw, does anyone in TO sell NY style bagels? I grew up in S. FL( parents are transplanted NYer's) and I am running out of my stash of bagels I brought back the last time I was in town.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Calipoutine

                                        Harbord bakery did sell credible bagels at one time. I have no idea whether they have them today. (You could once get them at the long defunct Bathurst & Eglinton Bagel King and a long defunct US franchise at Yonge & St Clair.)

                                        Buffalo is not a good place for Jewish food. The best selection of things across the board is probably at the Sheridan Drive Wegman's in Williamsville.

                                        1. re: embee

                                          Harbord makes tasty large size "twisters", generously coated with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. To my taste the sesame variety seems to be made with challah dough. Delicious in their own right, but nothing a Montrealer would recognize as a bagel.

                                          1. re: mrbozo

                                            Harbord once made a credible New York bagel. I don't know whether they still do, but it certainly wouldn't be made with challah dough. They never had a Montreal style bagel.

                                      2. First time posting on this site, hope this goes in the right place!! Want amazing knishes?? Check out www.reginasfinefoods.com Amazing "grandma home made" jewish foods! They will do special orders for you also. If you want more onions in your knishes or something like that call in the mornings and speak to the owner, she will do whatever she can to help you! They bake their potato knishes because now everyone wants things baked, but she will make you fried ones if you ask her to. Their round fried beef knishes are to die for. Everything is cooked in small batches right on the premises so everything is fresh. They are open 7 days a week until 7pm at night so they are easy to go to. They also sell their stuff through Goodfields Meats at Bathurst and Steeles. They also are best known for their cheese blintzes and gefilte fish...yummmmm

                                        1. Caplansky's has knishes for sampling this week. I've no idea whether they will end up on the menu.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. Still looking for a good potato knish!!! Anyone?? Anyone??

                                            The best I’ve had (and really the only one worth eating) is from Montreal Kosher, available in some grocery stores.

                                            But nothing else?? Anyone?

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: magic

                                              Pancers on Bathurst, Center Street Deli or Caplansky's will all make you proud!

                                            2. Yitz's makes a hell of a corned beef knish. It's labelled as a beef knish, but it's made from their corned beef.

                                              Often I'll have it with some salad or soup for dinner. Warms up beautifully in the toaster oven.

                                              So good!