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Good Kitchen Knives

Hello! I checked through the search tool, but the most recent post about good kitchen knives is a few years old, so I thought that I'd bring it up again =)

I'm looking for a good kitchen knife, or maybe a set. I'm a bit limited to places that are TTC/downtown core friendly and Mississauga. If anyone has any recommendations, I'd really appreciate it =) I'm willing to spend a bit if it's worth it - I mainly want a good knife to chop my veggies with! I think it's time to retire my crappy knives - they have a hard time cutting chives :|

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  1. I have a set of Cutco knives that I really enjoy. There is a distribution warehouse in Oakville. Don'tknow if they can be bought at a store as they are sold through direct marketing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cynalan

      Cutco knives are really expensive cheap knives. For the money you can do a lot better pretty much anywhere listed below.

      1. re: Kooper

        I own a Cutco 9" chef's knife, the 7" Santoku and a pairing knife. I find them of very good quality both in design and manufacture. I'm not a chef, but they've performed extremely well for me when cutting produce to meats for the past 5 years (the santoku for the past 2 years). I just wanted to know why you think they are cheap knives. They don't feel cheap, seem well balanced, and the tang runs through the whole handle.

    2. Henckels.

      A place by George Brown College sell's them at wholesale prices for the culinary students.

      2 Replies
        1. re: pinkprimp

          I believe Connoisseur is thinking of Dinetz. I've never bought knives there but I have bought cookware.


      1. The Healthy Butcher has very good prices on knives. I think it's their way of repenting for the price of their meat.


        1. The Paderno Store in Miss. at Mavis+Britannia(near BestBuy)carries MAC and can order whatever's not in stock. Costco carries a big Global set for $599.

          1. Make sure you have a sharpening steel to keep your knives sharp: http://www.hub-uk.com/cooking/tipskni...

            You can probably rescue your knife with a stone and a steel, but really, life's too short to put up with crappy knives.

            The calphalon store at King and Bathurst has very good knives, I find at least about as good as Henckels. Tap Phong on Spadina north of Dundas also has a cache of decent knives behind the counter, and several stores northwards on that side of the street; there's one particularly good store a block further north on a corner, name escapes me.

            8 Replies
            1. re: svanegmond

              Another vote for Tap Phong. Got my Global Santoku for $100 there. Decent price. There's also the Cook's Place on the Danforth that carries many different brands of knives and they're fairly knowledgeable there, so it may be worth a visit.

              1. re: jlunar

                I also have to put in my vote for Tap Phong. They carry several brands of really good knives at an excellent price. I bought a few Forschner Victorinox knives from them at an excellent price.
                Cook's Illustrated, which I love because they test everything, rates most of the Forschner Victorinox knives very highly in their tests. The Fibrox handles are easy to grip, even with wet hands.

              2. re: svanegmond

                There are many many good knives (global, mac, shun, wusthof, misono, the list goes on and is quite subjective). Go out and hold them to see which one feels the best (weight, size, grip, balance) then scope out pricing on the net. Williams Sonoma has a wide variety of Shun, Global, and Wusthof. A Cook's Place on the Danforth carries a bunch of Mac and Shun. They also have a discount program when buying multiple knives and donating some old knives to them. Tap Phong for Global.

                www.paulsfinest.com is a great place for knives. Fantastic correspondence, knowledgeable, and quick shipping.

                I own a calphalon and am not particularly happy with it. I find it looses it's edge quite easily. I do hone with a ceramic steel every 2-3 uses, but i find the steel is a little soft.

                I also own some shuns, mac, and misono knives. They are all lovely knives. Misono's chef knife is the one for me.... but a wee bit on the costly end. If german is your thing, i think the Classic Ikon line from Wusthof has a great feel... for me anyway;


                Happy hunting... bad choice of words maybe. Good luck. Grab a ceramic steel to keep a nice edge to your blade. Much better than a regular honing steel. Just make sure you practice on the cheap knives first!!

                1. re: Derksen

                  I would suggest you look at these places also, but paulsfinest.com is a good choice for a Canadian retailer.



                  You will get more bang for back buying knives from these places than from any retailer in Toronto. Suggested brands include Misono, Tojiro, Hiromoto, etc.....Japanese blades will outperform the German ones, except for rough work (ie. chopping through bones).

                  1. re: aser

                    I agree aser but would advise anyone considering high-end Japanese blades to look into "edge geometry" and how these knives differ from more familiar European models. They require different care and don't suffer abuse very gracefully.

                    1. re: aser

                      Thing is with Korin, they highly recommend you go in and at the very least hold the knife. A lot of buying the RIGHT knife has to do with feel. So buying blindly off of the website - given the OP's circumstances - might not be the best idea. especially when investing around $200 - $300 per knife.

                      1. re: goodcookiedrift

                        I wouldn't suggest they spend so much if they're just getting into Japanese knives. Something like a Tojiro DP 8" gyuto/chef's knife is only $56.50. It far outperforms a Henckel or Wusthof.


                        1. re: aser

                          Try www.knifewear.com. Canadian company based out of BC I think. You can order online. Good selection. Price is fair. Carry both factory made and hand made JP knives. I might order from them. Especially if I buy some Tojiro DP's.

                          Any one know where in Canada or Toronto we can find Hiromoto Aogami steel knives?

                2. I did myself a favour a few years ago and bought a Global 8" Chefs Knife....Best knife I've ever owned and I actually look forward to working my chopping board

                  1. Thanks everyone!! Looking forward to finding a great set :D

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ekim256

                      I also suggest you buy the best knife for each function, regardless of brand. Don't get attached to having a matching set.

                      Since Kagemusha mentioned it a quick breakdown on Japanese knives.

                      - thinner blades, less resistance cutting through food
                      - sharper angles, 15-17 degrees instead of 22.5 degrees - sharper edge
                      - harder steels, which is necessary for the blade to hold the 15-17 degree angles.
                      - less give on the harder steel, more prone to chipping if used improperly (bones, etc)
                      - german blades 50/50 bevel, japanese can range from 70/30 to single bevels, meaning knives are shaped for either right or left handed use w/ extreme bevels.

                        1. re: Kagemusha

                          doh, can't access the whole article. My New Yorker sub ran out a while ago and I never bothered to renew :(

                          That was the food issue if I recalled.

                          edit: found it on his site...


                          1. re: aser

                            Kramer knives are overpriced. Bob Kramer is also one with no allegences. He's got a line of his knives with Henckels and Shun Kai. Same design.

                    2. I'll second Tap Phong on Spadina, just south of College. Have bought some Viictorinox knives there at prices at least 25% less than anywhere else. Good selection too, from top of the line to the cheaper models with molded plastic handles (but still with the same great victorinox blades)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Finnegan

                        Tap Phong is an alright source for Victorinox but I have found that the selection is much, much better at Nikolaou (Queen and Bathurst). As well as more selection, like having the rosewood handled versions as well as the fibrox, I like that at Nikolaou once they have unlocked the case for you, you are left alone to try out the knives. At Tap Phong I don't like that the knives are at the front counter where you end up delaying the checkout line while testing the feel of a knife you are interested in.

                        Not sure if the prices are any different but I don't remember Nikolaou being particularly more expensive and they have a trade discount (10%, I think) that I often get without asking for it.

                      2. Nikolau has an amazing selection of pretty much everything you want, but I find it slightly pricey. Same with Calphalon (although I do really like my C knife). To be honest, if you are just starting out and want your first 'good' knife I would suggest going to Nella Cucina. There is one on Queen at Sackville and another on Bathurst just north of the subway station. Nella knives are cheap and they will sharpen them for you for free at anytime. They aren't the greatest knives, but they definitely do a great job, and you'll save around $200 on a knife you might find isn't a good fit for you. I use them at work everyday and save my expensive Henckel knife for occasional home cooking (because I find it's slightly too small for my hand).

                        1. There is a lot of good advice here (Derksen, Kagemusha, aser, and others) so I would just add
                          Lee Valley Tools, King St west of Bathurst, as a source. Ask for a knife specialist at the counter.

                          Lee Valley
                          590 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jayt90

                            If you want to go up to Eglinton & Yonge..actually on Eglinton West past Duplex on the north side is a store called "The Internet Kitchen Store". Owners are very helpful and obliging.....they do have a pretty good website so I would say to look at it and see if anything (knife-wise) appeals before going to the store... you should get the 'feel' of a knife before buying online.
                            p.s. Someone else on this board posted about Cutco...I have 4 of their knives and am very sorry I bought them, not worth the price I paid...and too expensive to throw out!

                          2. if you have to ask where to buy knives... then the only place to go to is Nella on Queen St. east.... ask for Sam or Mike.

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: dyne1

                              I purchased a traditional japanese knife, with a wooden handle, from tap phongs on Spadina. The lady told me it is from a company called Shogun. It looks like a deba knife but the blade is much thiner. Does anyone know what kind fo knife this is or if the company is any good? The knife only cost me $50. Thanks

                                1. re: gazzer55

                                  If it's $50 bucks and it came from Tap Phong, quality wise, it's not very good. Can't tell you what type it is as I would need to see the actual blade.

                                  1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                    It is a carbon steel blade. The blade has some japanese characters on it. I cannot tell if the edge is a single bevel or not . It looks as if the left side is flatter and the right side has the angle on it but im not totally sure. I will have to get some pictures because im interested to know if it is a decent knife or not. All I know is it is sharper than any other knife I have used before!

                                    1. re: gazzer55

                                      Well, I guess technically what defines a "decent knife" is whether or not it's a good fit for you. However what I think you're asking is if it's a renowned name in Japanese Knives and if it's a collectible with centuries of history. I can tell you that it surely is not. From what I can gather Shogun is a household consumer quality knife of no particular value. If you're interested in getting a really good quality Japanese Knife look into these brands:

                                      Masamoto Tsukiji
                                      Masamoto Sohonten
                                      Ichimonji Mitsuhide

                                      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                        I lust after a Ichimonji tkp 150mm petty but they're pretty hard to find on our shores. Their online store shipping is not cheap, like anything shipped from Japan.

                                        You might be interested in knowing of several ebayers (metalmaster, etc) from Japan selling ao-ko (blue steel #2) knives by Tanaka and Shimatani at very cheap prices. Tanaka's have been highly rated on knifeforums.


                                        As for gazzer, you might want to try sharpening the knife. Most Japanese style knifes comes shipped w/o much of an edge on them. The palate is left blank to allow the user to sharpen the edge to their preferences. If it's carbon steel, the edge retention will be much better than the stainless steel knives you've used in the past. Your knife most likely has a 90/10 edge to it.

                                        1. re: aser

                                          Yeah, looks like a trip to Sakai city if you want one. I have an Ichimonji Mitsuhide Yanagi, Magnolia Handle, Bolster is some kind of Horn but I'm not sure, as it was a hand me down. Great knife.

                                          Tanaka's are a secret!!! ;)

                                          1. re: aser

                                            I recently bought a Japanese knife from eBay. I wanted to try to avoid ordering from outside Canada because of duties etc.

                                            I found a guy on eBay who was located in Ontario. Krasivy_koocool didn't have the model I wanted listed on his eBay posting so I contacted him and he was able to get what I wanted.

                                            I got the Masamoto gyuto VG-10 and I'm still getting used to it but it does slide effortlessly through a carrot.

                                            I am still trying to learn about Japanese knives. If anyone knows anything about Gyuto knives, why does one edge of the blade have a shiny smooth edge? I thought gyuto knives were sharpened on both sides like a western knife?

                                            1. re: chefhound

                                              A Gyutou is sharpened on both sides like a western knife however it's not a 50/50 ratio. It's either a 70/30, 60/40, or 90/10 with 70/30 being the most common.

                                              1. re: chefhound

                                                It's most likely a 70/30 as N.PIG said. What this means is that for every 7 strokes you sharpen on the right hand side, you use 3 strokes on the left side. There are other brands of Japanese western knives that have 50/50 bevel (Mac, Shun, Global), but most tend to be 70/30.

                                                At the end of the day this is the factory bevel. If you prefer to change it to a 50/50 you can if you want. The edge is mirror polished because it was finished on a high grit whetstone.

                                                1. re: aser

                                                  Thanks Aser and PIG. This is exactly the information I was looking for.

                                        2. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                          Tap Phong carries several Henckel Twin Master yellow handle-series knives as well as a selection of Victorinox/Forschner, all for under $50. Granted, they aren't Japanese knives but they're really great for the price.

                                          1. re: Boodah

                                            Good to know. They're not really my thing, too heavy, not sharp enough, bad balance. I personally would spend a bit extra on something that performs a bit better.

                                            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                              I would highly suggest someone spend $20 more on a Tojiro DP or Mac Superior instead. Those poly handle knives are not good at all, their edge retention is poor.

                                              Cheap knives aren't always bad. I have one of those cheap Chinese cleavers that sharpens easily, retains an edge much better than my much more expensive Henckel 4 star.

                                              If you're interested in a cleaver, visit Chan Chi Kee in Pacific Mall. They're a famous maker of cleavers from HK.

                                    2. I know it's not downtown but Caynes is excellent -- kitchen appliances etc are sold pretty cheap -- went for the first time last week. Bought pack of Cuisinart steak knives which we love for 20 bucks.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                        Cayne's is great because they're a bulk discount purchaser, but I would not recommend them for knives. It's best for small knick knacks like microplanes, smallware, pots/pans, small appliacnes.

                                        1. re: aser

                                          I went there a few weeks ago looking for knives and the selection was very small. They are great for some things but not knives.


                                      2. Make sure you have a decent knife sharpener & sharpening steel to keep your knives sharp: http://www.knife-sharpener.org.uk Once they are past a certain point its more works to get them back into shape

                                        You can always rescure an old knife.. it just depends how far gone it is as to how much life it will have after youve sharpened it. If you dont have experience with a whetstone then id go for a modern sharpener.. a quality sharpener will do just as good a job, and take half the time!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: robvarny

                                          The "Steel" is actully a truing tool, to smooth out any small knicks and dings on the blade.

                                          Its is used before using any type of abravise sharpening toll, stones, ceramics, etc.

                                        2. After many years cooking my own preference is BergHoff in Kensington Market which is superior for holding an edge to any other I have tried. Good German steel, good weight and good price. Nikolaou on Queen is also pretty good.

                                          1. Finding knives that you really enjoy using is a long process. Most chefs I know have an arsenal of only 3-5 knives and each are almost always from different brands (10-12" chefs knife, paring knife, boning knife, carving knife, and a bread knife). From reading this thread you can see that everyone's preference is unique. I think the most important criteria when looking for a knife are the following. The weight is comfortable in your hand and not too flexible (for people still getting comfortable with a sharp well engineered knife). Also, Japanese knives tend too need to much care and can easily let down the casual user because of neglect.
                                            I think the best thing to when purchasing knives is to start cheap and slowly exchange out the old for an upgraded knife (kijiji is great for getting rid of knives). Chefs and serious home cooks use their knives everyday and treat them like an appendage. It takes time. One example is I love my wustoff 12" chefs knife and my global boning knife. I hated my global chefs knife and the henckel boning knives I used to own. Take your time and no matter what take the time to learn how to sharpen your own knife. Most commercial sharpeners gradually grind you knives down to nothing!

                                            1. You're in luck. Most if not all of the best kitchen knife shops are located downtown. Tosho, Knife and Slice & Sear (owned by TheHealthyButcher). If you want to go handle knives...even better for you because you are in the area.