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Toronto food tour! Looking for itinerary

So here's the thing. A couple of friends and I, who live a bit outside Toronto, are planning a day food tour of the city. We already have some ideas (which I will list) but we're open to a couple of other stops if they seem enticing. This will be pretty much strictly shopping, not dining or street food. We are already familiar with Kensington and St. Lawrence Market. And we've spent our share of time at Arz and Nasr, so it probably won't make the list.

Here it is so far:
Milbree Viking (for smoked fish)
The Cheese Boutique
Possibly Kensington for a few cooking odds and ends (Sasmart is my fave)
Looking for a really good Italian bakery
Might go to Seafood Depot (but it might be too out of the way)
Also looking for an excellent Middle Eastern place that isn't Arz or Nasr

Cannot be overly precious, but must be good stuff. And it's only one day, so we have to be somewhat sensible.

Ideas?

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  1. What day of the week/date are you planning on doing this?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tatai

      Has to be Saturday, unfortunately.

      1. re: Nyleve

        You might want to stop in at one or two of the better farmers' markets. I'd recommend the Green Barn or Brick Works.

        As for Middle Eastern, you might want to try Ararat on Avenue north of Lawrence or, for an interesting twist, Marche Istanbul (Turkish) at Dufferin and Orfus or one of the many Persian food markets on Yonge just south of Steeles.

        1. re: Tatai

          I was thinking of Ararat - never been there. Or Marche Istanbul might work also - I know exactly where it is.

          The truth is that we have an outstanding farmers market in Peterborough, so probably won't bother with any of the city ones. But thanks for the suggestions.

    2. I like Djerba Ladouce on Danforth, west of Coxwell. It's a neighbourhood spot for Tunisian food. Don't expect fancy; it's a mom and pop spot. It's also halal so no liquor license if this is a concern.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Zengarden

        I think you missed the part where Nyleve said " This will be pretty much strictly shopping, not dining or street food".

          1. re: Nyleve

            Sorry for the misread. Hope that you find some joy with the shopping. If you're going to be close to Kensington, perhaps check to see if the Wychwood Barns are open for their Farmer's Market?

            1. re: Zengarden

              Wychwood isn't exactly close to Kensington. But yeah, the farmers' market is on Saturdays.

      2. How about one of the many Portuguese bakeries for custard tarts, salt cod fritters and other goodies? Nova Era has many locations. I'm partial to Doce Minho, but that's probably a proximity issue more than anything else.

        1. For Middle Eastern, I have friends who rave about the store connected to Sababa restaurant (Steeles, west of Yonge) though I haven't been:

          http://www.sababafoods.com/

          1. Seafood Depot is a great place but it is pretty far north/west...you might want to try Diana's...Lawrence just east of Warden...rumour has it they are supplying McEwen...

            I can highly recommend Milbree Viking...nice people and good food...

            2 Replies
            1. re: tochowchick

              I adore the almond cardamom bread at Milbree Viking. Their smoked salmon is very good as well, and their oven-roasted deli-style turkey (nitrite-free!) is delicious. Yummy doughnuts, too!

              1. re: Tatai

                It's definitely on the list. And I forgot about Dianas - it could be ok. I like Seafood Depot because it has such an insane collection of stuff - I love the religious artifacts and schmaltzy lace doo-dads!

            2. I also recommend Brickworks, especially if you haven't been before. It is a cool area and you can walk around and enjoy a bit of nature for a break too..

              For Middle Eastern restaurants I see a lot of praise for "Taboule" but I haven't tried it yet myself. I finally made it to Pomegranate on College and that place was pretty good. It is Persian food. One of my friends who is from Iran kept telling me that it was good/authentic. In the end it was a good experience though I didn't find it too cheap!

              5 Replies
              1. re: ylsf

                Thanks but, as I mentioned, we're more looking to shop than to dine. Although some lunch will probably happen during the day - but we'll just have to play it by ear. I've eaten at Pomegranate and enjoyed it very much. Not super cheap, but reasonable and a very nice vibe.

                And again, the Brickworks or any other farmers market won't make the short list for us. The Peterborough farmers market - which I go to almost every weekend - is really fantastic. I know many of the farmers personally and the produce, starting at about this time of year, is second to none. There's at least a couple of bakeries represented also and quite a few small producers of meat - weird and otherwise (emu anyone?).

                1. re: Nyleve

                  Some of our favourite spots include:

                  LaSalumeria - great cheeses, cold cuts, oils and vinegars, fab proscuitto
                  La Grande Cheese - italian supermarket, has a little of everything
                  Lady York - same thing as LaGrande
                  Summerhill Market - similar to Pusateri's but smaller and better. Great bread selection.
                  Harvest Wagon strip - yes pricey but fun if even to just check out what's available. Speciality stores include a fish market, butcher, cheese shop, breads and fruit market.

                  Let us know where you ended up.....and have fun!!!

                  1. re: millygirl

                    Thanks - It now looks like it will be later in the summer. But I'm looking forward to a day of exploring.

                    1. re: millygirl

                      When you mention "La Grande Cheese" I assume you mean "Grande Cheese" ?

                      All the locations of Grande Cheese are listed here: http://www.bestbuys.ca/FoodProducts/F...

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        Oops yes, that's the one. Thanks fD for clarification.

                2. You might consider T&T if you're looking for an alternative to Seafood Depot. The fish/seafood counter is fab and if anyone is looking for Asian grocery items that's a bonus. Also they have a deli/takeout counter if you need fortification during the tour.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Rabbit

                    Going to head to Seafood Depot today. Any suggestions on lunch in the vicinity?

                    1. re: spine64

                      It's a wasteland up there - I know this because it's within spitting distance of York U where my son went to school. There is one good Vietnamese place on Keele just west of Jane (north side of street, in a strip plaza beside Grace Textile). There's also a halfway decent Thai place just east of Keele, north side, called Thai Bamboo.

                  2. I would recommend Bhamiyan Kebab for some great afghani fare. Its close to Thorncliffe park and Overlea Blvd.