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Best Borscht in TO?

p
phoenikia Oct 26, 2008 11:37 AM

Where do you find your favourite Borscht (beet, cabbage, white, green, etc) in TO? Interested in any recs, either take-out or dine-in from a restaurant, or refrigerated/bottled/canned/tetrapak versions from delis around town.

I've tried the beet borscht at Chopin which was thinner than I'd like, although the flavour was quite good. I realize it's also offered at Staropolska and Cafe Polonez, which I haven't tried yet.

I've also read about the cabbage borscht at Caplansky's which I haven't had a chance to try.

I'm interested in hearing about any other versions at other Central/Eastern European restaurants/delis around town.

Thanks for any suggestions;)

  1. t
    Tatai Oct 26, 2008 12:50 PM

    The absolute best cabbage borscht with meat comes from Regina's, a prepared foods/catering shop located at 844 Sheppard West, between Wilson Heights and Bathurst. It's got the perfect balance of sweet and sour flavours, and it's full of big chunks of flanken (short ribs). There is also a meat-free version, though I doubt it's vegetarian.

    What-A-Bagel on Spadina in Forest Hill Village carries Regina's line of soups.

    1. e
      embee Oct 26, 2008 01:16 PM

      Caplansky's cabbage borscht is amazing. There's a great flavour balance punctuated by bits of his smoked meat. Unlike most others, it is not sweet.

      United Baker's once had very good cold beet borscht. Note, though, that I haven't had this in many years.

      1. marbiegreen Oct 26, 2008 05:48 PM

        I totally agree with tatai!! Regina's has the best cabbage borscht and beet borscht. All their soups are vegetarian except the cabbage with meat and the chicken soups, so the cabbage with no meat is vegetarian. I love the big chunks of meat in the borscht though!! All of their soups are really good, no preservatives and thick with product.

        1. p
          phoenikia Oct 27, 2008 06:10 AM

          Thanks for all the suggestions- will stop by Caplansky's (and maybe United Baker's if I'm in the area) when I get a chance, and stock up on some Regina's soups for the fridge next time I see them in a What A Bagel;) I noticed the other day that the What A Bagel at Leslie and York Mills also carries Regina's soups (or at least the chicken ones).

          1. prima Oct 25, 2011 08:19 PM

            Frank is currently offering a vegetarian beet borscht as part of its thematic prix fixe (somewhere around $50-$55 for 3 courses) designed to compliment the Chagall exhibition. Also available a la carte for $9 a bowl. Generous portion (over a 1.5 cups, maybe more) , with lots of vegetable chunks and fresh dill in a beet broth, topped with a dollop of sour cream. Not as sweet or sour as my home-made version, but pretty good for a restaurant version, taking into consideration that Frank is not an Eastern European restaurant. Might be a little underseasoned for those who grew up with borscht.

            -----
            FRANK @ The Art Gallery of Ontario
            317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5T I4G, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: prima
              v
              Vinnie Vidimangi Oct 25, 2011 08:35 PM

              Try the frozen soup at Yummy Market. About $3.00 a liter.

              Its been a while. My body rebelled against all the salt. Also the the kitchen staff changed and the soups that I would get weren't as good. But the borscht still should be good.

              Its an easy soup to make. Try it.

              Frank, $9 a bowl? Nick and Leslie (Hungarian Goulash Party Tavern) would come straight back from their graves for this kind of money for borscht.

              Speaking of Hungarian, try Europe or Paprika on Bathurst St. Should be good.

              If Caplansky's borscht is good it means that they learned to make something. However there is the consistency problem. Everything had been bad, including the borscht that I had a while ago, but in all different ways.

              While you are Yummy Market, get some Maslanka. Buttermilk yoghurt essentially. Much better for what passes nowadays for sour cream and only 3 or 3.2% depending on whether it is MC or Western Dairy. About $2.79 aliter at Yummy, more in supermarkets.

              Trust me. I'm Polish.

              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi
                prima Oct 25, 2011 08:38 PM

                Thanks for your recs, Vinnie ;-) I trust you when it comes to borscht. I don't think you'd find the Frank version sweet or sour enough.

                I haven't tried any frozen soups from Yummy. I will give their version a try, and pick up some Maslanka.

                I like the Sunflower Kitchen Vegetarian borscht, around $7 a litre at Whole Foods, sometimes cheaper at the Bathurst & Wilson No Frills in the past. Low in sodium, and includes beans (which aren't included in the variations I grew up with) but quite tasty.

                I still haven't gotten around to trying Paprika. I like the wooden platter, the goulash, and palascinta at Europe, but haven't tried much else. Need to return soon.

                Here is my old thread on borscht, from the Home Cooking board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/733190 . I actually do make it fairly often, but I like try it whenever I see it on a menu.

              2. re: prima
                a
                arugula Jan 14, 2012 06:30 PM

                I've lived in Russia and central Europe, visited the Ukraine and Romania, and have lots of Jewish friends. There are dozens of types of borscht, and I like most of them.

                I had the Russian meal at Frank tonight. It wasn't terribly authentic, but it was terribly delicious down to the carrots and butter. Fantastic sturgeon (rare, even in Russia), and a great Russian apple cake.

                I want to evangelize. I had a terrible attitude going into the place (restaurant at an Art Museum generally=s trouble), but the food was excellent and the service was nice. Oh, yeah. And it was quiet.

              3. justsayn Jan 14, 2012 09:28 PM

                Prague Fine Foods? Love their soups and think they have borscht?

                1 Reply
                1. re: justsayn
                  jlunar Jan 17, 2012 01:18 PM

                  They do have borscht! Never had it though.

                2. f
                  fryerlover Jan 15, 2012 07:20 AM

                  My favourite borscht is at Albatros Pub in South Etobicoke on Lakeshore. It's a Polish borscht. Broth with a some beet slivers and that is it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fryerlover
                    j
                    juno Jan 17, 2012 06:56 AM

                    I'm partial to the beet borscht at Best Grill, a Russian/Israeli/Middle East spot on Steeles Ave. west of Dufferin. A flavourful and substantial portion, attractively served, at $4 a bowl, making it exceedingly good value. Served with a side of warm pita. Could make a light lunch, or as a starter at dinner time, when Best Grill isn't as frantic. The kitchen seems to have a deft hand at soups - there are always four or five on offer, all of them tasty.

                  2. e
                    eatravel Jan 17, 2012 01:07 PM

                    The New Yorker deli on Bay makes a mean cabbage borscht - generous chunks of beef, cabbage in a slightly tomatoey broth. Delicious!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: eatravel
                      h
                      Herne Jan 19, 2012 09:02 AM

                      Is there a deli/supermarket that sells borscht with meat in a bottle?

                      Best borscht I ever had was at the Bagel on College near Spadina now sadly out of business..

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