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Exploring Kensington Market

Went to Kensington Market last week - have not gone in a long time.

Bought some great coffee beans at a store on the corner. Some very fresh sushi at the Japanese fish market place but then ran out of time.

What are the must eats or must buys in our own Kensington Market? I would like to explore it like a tourist next weekend. Thanks.

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  1. I highly recommend the Hot Box. Not sure about the eats but time spent there will put you in the mood to eat. For me, a nice Jamaican patty from one of the Caribbean bakeries on Baldwin does the job.

    1 Reply
    1. One of my favourite things to do is to eat the various South American and Mexican tacos, tamales and pupusas from the back of Perola's or Emporio Latinho on Augusta. You might end up sitting on an old plastic bin, or at a communal table looking out over the street.

      For walk-around food, doubles or patties from Patty King; empanadas from El Gordo; chorizo, burgers (chorizo meat), chili or sweet empanadas from Segovia Meats. Moonbeam Coffee has amazing coffee, and a great selection of sweet and savoury pastries.

      If you want to sit down, El Trompo has decent tacos, Mexican beers and respectable margaritas.

      More formal dining would be La Palette, Torito and Amadeu's (haven't tried that lately).

      Hint: Pedestrian Sundays are the last in each of the next few months. Streets closed to traffic, and more options of street foods. You could find grilled sardines, grilled pizzas.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Snarf

        Agree with everything you said. I loved the chili at Segovia.

        I prefer the patties at Patty King and get mine on coco bread.


        1. re: Snarf

          Definitely Perola's, much better than the competition for Mexican food in Kensington. They're only open Saturday/Sunday though.

          Go to Emporio Latino for their pupusas.

          La Tortillera is only worth going to buy their tortillas for making tacos at home.

          Head over to Tap Phong on Spadina for cheap cheap kitchen supplies.

          1. re: Snarf

            I tried La Palette this weekend and was very happy with my experience.

            My dining companion and I split the steak tartare (delish, sided with a nice tangy salad), an heirloom tomato salad (probably my least favourite dish - the tomatoes weren't very tasty), the bison (done a beautiful medium rare. Lean, flavourful, tender: my favourite!) and yellow perch (delicious, but greasy. Not entirely surprising given the fried potato crust preparation). Decent chocolate cake but have had better elsewhere. Enjoyed a good glass of smooth tempranillo.

            Good friendly service, cosy room, great for a date.

          2. Also, if you haven't already been in, check out Good Egg. They have a really well-curated assortment of cookbooks, food-related gifts, etc. It's a neat store that I can spend ages in.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Wahooty

              I love Good Egg-it puts a huge smile on my face every time I walk in.


            2. The tacos "Al Pastor" are enormously delicious at El Trompo but they are pretty expensive for a small plate. Still, for a bit of a faux-tourist splurge they're pretty good. Service is friendly, too.

              La Tortilleria on Wales St. is a bit out of the way (walk towards the big hospital smokestack). I've been twice about 6 months apart and both times I've been disappointed. Flavourless lukewarm fillings, lacklustre service, oppressive non-umbrella covered patio. I wanted to like it but have given up.

              Jumbo Empanada is always a favourite, very consistent over the years.

              Torito is fun for tapas, lots of different things to try. If you're having a full dinner the prices will add up, though, it's not necessarily cheap eats.

              I also really enjoy the coffee and vibe at Moonbean.

              Not a huge fan of the fish or cheese shops, frankly. SLM is more expensive but seems... safer for these products.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Gary

                The tinga tacos at El Trompo are really good too.

                1. re: Gary

                  I've only eaten at the La Tortilleria on Dufferin, but the fillings weren't bad. They were, however, lukewarm.

                  The tortillas, though, are good. I just wish they put a little more effort into the fillings.

                  1. re: Gary

                    La Tortilleria is definitely a place to buy your tortillas for taking home more than a place to purchase a meal. Aside from tortillas, their salsas are good as is their jamaica and horchata. Not a fan of the prepared tacos. I love this place to no end, however, despite its flaws because I am so happy to have a place to buy fresh tortillas, even if a tortilla made from fresh masa will most likely forever remain a pipe dream.

                    I think the tacos al pastor at El Trompo are good but tends towards being a little dry.

                    I had menudo from las damas de Perola the other week and it was great. I wasn't sold on their pozole when I tried it so I was pleasantly surprised.

                    1. re: basileater

                      Not mexican, but the pozole at Tacos el Salvador is my fave.

                  2. My family are also big fans of Back Alley Grill. Their short ribs are quite tasty and the owners are very friendly.

                    1. I really like the Herculatte at Moonbean on St-Andrew St.

                      1. I love the black rum cake at the Caribbean bakery.

                        1. Has anyone eaten at the little Hungarian place in Kensington? Walked by it the other day and was curious.

                          13 Replies
                            1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                              Are you referring to the Hungary Thai?
                              If so, I've found the food to be subpar as both hungarian and thai food... I'd skip it.

                              1. re: gegtik

                                It was on the east side, a couple of blocks south of College (I think). It had a patio out front. I don't recall there being a Thai component to it, but my powers of observation are pretty sub-par, so perhaps I missed it. Sorry to not be able to provide more details.

                                1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                                  That's Hungary Thai which is the one Gegtik refers to. It's right beside Back Alley. I can't even bring myself to attempt to try a restaurant that is doing a Thai/Hungarian combo menu.....

                                  1. re: elrik

                                    That's just bizarre...If I'd noticed that when I first daw it, I could have spared you all having to answer my question. Won't be checking it out any time soon...

                                    On a more positive note, I saw it while I was in the 'hood to have dinner at Torito. Our dinner was most excellent, the highlight being the flatiron steak with fried egg (delish). As other posters have noted (in this and another thread) it's a bit more pricey than it appears at first blush. However, it was a really enjoyable meal and their back patio is lovely.

                              2. re: torontofoodiegirl

                                Hungary Thai? It gives both cuisines a bad name.

                                1. re: svanegmond

                                  Thanks, everyone. I am pretty sure the coffee place we bought from was Moonbean. Will try out the rest as well.

                                2. re: torontofoodiegirl

                                  I think you're thinking on Palaczinta (sp?) the new Hungarian crepe place. I haven't tried it yet, but Im dying to as I grew up with those lil magyar morsels of numnum.

                                  1. re: Everythingtarian

                                    Ah, so I'm not crazy after all... (despite my rather deficient powers of observation, I was surprised that I hadn't picked up on the Thai/Hungarian thing). Let us know what you think if you do try it. I've been planning on going out for Hungarian, and a patio would be great for the summer if the food's good.

                                    1. re: Everythingtarian

                                      What? There's a new Hungarian crepe place! I will have to check it out...and you really had me laughing with the "lil magyar morsels of numnum"

                                      1. re: Everythingtarian

                                        Okay, I gotta ask: what is a Hungarian crepe, and how does it differ from the usual crepes that I would be familiar with?

                                          1. re: stw

                                            Hungarian crepes are similar to the French ones, but we serve them mostly as dessert.

                                      2. Virtually every time I'm in Kensington I stop at Amadeu's for a plate of grilled sardines and some sangria. One of the better patios in the city, sunny and perfect for people-watching.