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Jan 19, 2009 06:54 AM

Best Gourmet Food Shops IN ONE AREA in Toronto?

This post comes out of a frustrating weekend where hubby and I were frantically driving around the city scratching off items on our 'gourmet food list' for a small dinner party we were having Saturday night. Now normally, when we have more time, this is a joyous, relaxing, and fun time for us. Unfortunately, Saturday wasn't one of those times since we had to be back to actually cook everything.

So, my question to you Chowhounders is: Where is the best all-around gourmet area in TORONTO to get all your gourmet food items. I don't mean just one store to get everything, but entire areas or streets, ie. Bayview, Mount Pleasant, etc. that you shop for more than 1 or 2 items. Also helpful would be if you listed the stores within those areas.

Many thanks!

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    1. It depends a bit on the specific items you're looking for but you should do quite nicely with the notorious Five Thieves and their neighbours at Yonge and Summerhill - Harvest Wagon for produce, olive oils and vinegars, Pisces for fish, Ollife for meat, All the Best for cheese, Petite Thuet/Patachou/All the Best for pastries, jams, etc. And of course, there is the big LCBO right next door. All are expensive, all are great quality.

      SLM would be another great option.

      On Bayview, you would do well with meat (Cumbrae), cheese (Alex Farm) and pastries (Rahier) - I think you're out of luck for fish. Mount Pleasant has a great string of pastry shops and Culinarium for some gourmet pantry items and produce but you wouldn't be able to fill a full list here.

      1. I'm just curious what your itinerary and shopping list were Raquel?
        Maybe we can point out some tips or suggest a different locale?

        1. I would go to a reliable big box place ( a club) to get most things out of the way. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken and salmon are first rate, with quality checks that supermarkets can't come up with, and they have evoo, cheese, dips, and some prepared foods such as pasta, baguettes, pesto. That will take about an hour. Then off to a street with specialties, such as Bayview, for the best of the rest. I usually park on the side streets at Bayview, a better option than parking at SLM or Yonge and Summerhill.

          1. I can't put any meaningful name on the area, but there is a surprising, and quite remarkable, range of not very publicly visible food emporia off Kipling Av south of the Six Points. Boncheff is one great place I can think of in this area. There are quite a few more.

            4 Replies
            1. re: embee

              Really? South of Six Points? Wow. I grew up in Etobicoke just a bit north of there (Thorncrest Village - Rathburn/Kipling). Anything south of Bloor was little more than an industrial wasteland, lots of manufacturing and not much else. The area must have changed a lot in the last 20 years. Never would have though of looking anywhere in that area for gourmet delights. I'd love to hear some of your other recommendations for the area.

              1. re: cynalan

                SHHH! Don't tell anyone! European Meats on Jutland with a range of meats and a decent hot counter to try before ya buy. Right beside it ,a German(?) store that sells smoked fish,mustards,cookies and lots more and down the street, Chef's Choice for fresh produce/specialty gourmet condiments etc.,Dimpflemeier on Advance for fresh rye bread and some pastries/cakes.I think there's a place across from it that carries pickles,sauerkraut etc. Boncheff Greenhouse on Olivewood for flowers with West End Meat Packers across the road with a fairly good range of meats,Greek products and helpful staff.Further down that street is Blue Danube Sausage House with...Surprise!...sausages and other mid European cheeses,smoked meats/cold cuts and various other grocery items.Have fun!

              2. re: embee

                Unfortunately, the Fine Food Boutique at Boncheff Nurseries closed up a few months ago.

                1. re: Tatai

                  a very big shame! they had a wonderful selection.

                  in the same area i tend to visit pasquale bros. they are a bit limiting though as i don't find their cheese selection to be unique and the grand majority of their products to be of only italian origin, but the price is usually right for what you get there!