What's "Not To Miss" at St. Lawrence Market (and nearby)
- Steve Green Sep 5, 2008 03:52 PM
I'll be in Toronto in a couple of weeks for a conference, staying at the Intercontinental Centre. I have most of a Saturday free (except between about 10 AM and 1 PM), and am planning to go over to the St. Lawrence Market. Any particular favorite things to get there? Maybe something unique to the area?
I'm considering heading over there early in the morning, and picking up some delectables for my clients, whom I will see mid-day. Then, once done with the "work" part of the day at 2, I might just go back over there. This assumes there's enough there for another visit, considering that the early morning visit will be rushed.
I will be tied down at the conference for most of the other days, but will probably get to slip out for an occasional lunch or dinner. Any nearby suggestions? Or should that be another thread?
Perhaps after 1pm, you could try the italian sandwiches at Mustachio's (lower level). Some would say they're not the greatest, and I agree, but when I'm in the area, I have a chicken parmigian with eggplant, peppers, onions. The bakery that is on the lower level is just ok, imo. Depending on your tastes and how picky you are, you'll find a lot of good treats to pick up. It's a good thing you won't be there after 10/10:30, some things sell out fast.
If it's mid-day treats you're looking for, then try the bakery either lower level or Future Bakery, upper level.
Since you are there on a Saturday, you may want to head over to the North Market - it offers something a bit different than the usual market during the rest of the week. It's a farmer's market, so it's fun to take a look at. It's directly north of the St Lawrence Market across the street. You'll see street vendors in front. Do this first thing in the morning because stuff moves fast here. It will be almost empty by noon.
I always grab a peameal bacon on a bun when I'm at the market - Breakfast Special. 2 slices of heavenly peameal bacon + fried egg + cheese. A heart-attack on a bun. Awesome. Not a fan of Mustachio's either - but they have long queues, so someone's gotta like it! Check out the produce of Shleffer's - they have some olives and other treats on display from the Mediterranean. Great cured meats (Serrano ham, Prosciutto Parma) - you can get some snacks there for your trek back to the office. There are several threads on the market elsewhere on CH - so just search around. They'll have many more suggestions and viewpoints. I honestly think you can get through the market in a few hours, even if you take time to look at all the goodies as it is quite a small market. But that could just be because I'm a local and have been going here constantly for over 15 years. As a tourist, I spent almost 2 full days in the Mercatto in Barcelona...
Nearby - Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. You can look up some reviews. Great food. Avoid Spring Rolls like the plague - it's just next door. The LCBO (liquor - not sure if you're from Ontario or not) is also next door so you can get some provisions while you are there. Bier Market is on The Esplanade nearby - you can search for that on CH as well. You're near the financial district, so it's almost devoid of good culinary finds. I find it very depressing when I head to work each day. I find solace at the SLM. It's the only way I survive in the Financial Core. It's a little slice of food heaven - a Utopia if you will.
Enjoy your visit. Cheers and Happy Eating!
Your best best is to wake up early and spend the morning hours there. The north market (across the street from the building that houses the SLM) runs every saturday from 5am until 1ish, and at the end hours, most of the good stuff is gone. In the north market you will find local vendors selling fresh fruits, veggies, lots of baked goods, meats, eggs, flowers, etc. Stuff here goes fast. I personally love going early to watch all the other dedicated customers. There is a nice hustle and bustle, without it being super-crowded.
Across the street in the SLM building is where they sell the infamous pemeal, as well as great cheese, meat and fish. There are non-food vendors outdoors and scattered around, they usually set-up shop alittle later in the morning, so it depends what kind of experience you are looking for.
Personally I could spend hours there. I absolutely love SLM!
It should be noted that many of the "farmers" market vendors at SLM's north market are not selling local produce. Unless its origin is marked local, it's likely just shipped from the U.S. I realized this when I started asking the produce vendors where their fruits, veg and herbs were from. It's disappointing and I don't go to this market for anything but cheese and sausages now.
Another vote for get there early on Saturday.
I'd go to Carouselle bakery on the main floor of the south market first and get a sandwich. I prefer the peameal on a kaiser instead of the breakfast on a bun. Both are quality sandwiches though. You can't go wrong. It's unique to the area and is bandied about on other threads as being the quintessential Toronto food item.
Head on over to the north market. Take a spin through there as mentioned above.
Back to the south market. Sheflers will provide a great variety of "Delectables" and is one of my favourite shops there.
There are a few vendors who have pepperettes and csabi. They're great muchie items while you stroll through there.