Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Sep 2, 2009 11:46 AM

Whats your Special Chowfind

I've been long time reader but just recently started to join in the postings. I've found several "gems" of restaurants that I never would have come across, thanks soley to the postings of fellow chowhouders. These are not places that are repeatedly listed and rated and flouted by toronto life and other mainstream food related writings.

thanks to you guys I've discovered:

Frida's - love the small friendly atmosphere and the original food a beverage offerings - especially the oaxaca queso! It can be a dress up "event" dinner or a last minute spur off the moment event. Never would have ventured here except for the repeated raves from fellow chowhounders

Aoyama - out of the way in suburbia (but good for me when I don't want to venture too far) in a non descript strip mall sharing real estate with KFC. But what a great omikase dinner. the best finish with my favorite black sesame ice cream.

High Street Fish and Chips- I used to go to McNie's before I moved away from that neighborhood. Imagine my surprise when on the recommendation of chowhounders i arrived at High Street only to find that they were owned by the very same owners, the McNies! It like arriving at fish and chip heaven!1 new discovery was that they have what I think is the city's best sticky toffee pudding.

I wanted to know which places you've found soley through chowhound as well as special places you've shared with chowhound.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Buster Rhino's - smoky meaty goodness. Awesome brisket.

    Perfect Chinese - good, inexpensive...service not so much.

    Allen's - love the burger and sweet potato fries. Have never had bad service there
    (but almost didn't go because of some of the reviews here...glad I didn't heed them).

    Agincourt Bakery - great veal sandwich (of the meat sitting in sauce variety). Generous and flavourful. Bun holds up if you don't get too many squishy toppings.

    Still want to try:

    Calabria Bakery pizza
    Montreal Fries & Steames in Oshawa (for the poutine)
    Teddy's in Oshawa

    14 Replies
      1. re: CeeQueue

        I definitely agree with Zen and Buster Rhino's (brisket and pulled pork available in cryovaced packages from Buckingham Meats in either Brooklin or Oshawa Mon. - Sat.).

        Partly through this site and another food blog,, Kosta's Meats on Ellesmere west of Warden for souvlaki, lamb and barrel aged feta (so good). The barrel aged feta is sold by the kilo, and then they give you a bag of brine to keep the feta until you eat it.

        1. re: CeeQueue

          Make sure you're really hungry if you order the turkey dinner at Teddy's. :>)

          1. re: Wiley

            (and the strawberry pie for dessert, if you can manage it)

          2. re: CeeQueue

            Why Calabria bakery pizza? I am intrigued; do tell.

            1. re: itryalot

              I tried Calabria pizza for the first time last week and it is superb, at a reasonable price ($8 to $12 for a 12").
              It is made to order (in front of you) and quickly baked in a log burning oven. Takes about 12 minutes. Thin crust, and simple but very fresh toppings.
              The pizza maker is an older gent who has probably been making pies for many years, and perhaps he only wants to do it on Thursday and Friday now.
              I haven't tried Fratelli's yet, but I'm very happy to have found Calabria.

              1. re: jayt90

                jayt90, Fratelli's pizzas are similar to Calabria, but I'd say theirs are made with a little more care (and more toppings,but, at a slightly higher price). Fratelli's also has a larger variety.

                In terms of atmosphere, Fratelli's wins hands down (it's an established restaurant). For a wood burning pizza on the go, you can't beat Calabria.

                1. re: Dr Butcher

                  In my limited experience with Calabria I think they actually put quite a bit of care into their pizza! Which I really appreciate. It's refreshing to see.

                  I also must say, their canolis (esp. the ricotta), when fresh, are to die for. Best I've had in Toronto. Even when not fresh they are probably better than most.

                  Fratelli's sounds interesting. Will have to list that puppy up.

                2. re: jayt90

                  I think they only do pizza Thursdays and Fridays because the wood is pricey for them and they try to make their wood supply last. At least that is what someone there told me. She seemed to know what she was talking about. Makes sense. Might be other factors too, who knows.

                  The pizza maker is a real sweet guy. Last time I was there, when they were in a slower period, my pizza took 5 minutes to come after ordering. If that. Quick!

                3. re: itryalot

                  They serve wood oven baked pizzas 2 days a week (Thursdays and Fridays). They are a thin crust style 12" pizza, cooked upon order.They start at $8 and range to $12 or so for more exotic varieties. A bargain and pretty darned tasty. I've tried the pepperoni and the Calabria (capicolla, hot peppers, black olives) and they were both great, I'd avoid the seafood pizza at all costs, it's made with pickled seafood.

                  1. re: Dr Butcher

                    Ewww! Thanks for the warning on the seafood, I won't order it when I go.

                    1. re: Pincus

                      I don't know if you've ever tried pickled herring. Imagine it on a pizza and you'll know what I'm talking about. I was so disappointed with that particular pizza.

                      1. re: Dr Butcher

                        My most recent visit to Calabria yielded a slightly doughy, or non crispy pie.
                        There was almost no charring on the crust (maybe 1"), and the toppings (pancetta, olives, and hot peppers) could have withstood more time and heat.
                        This pizza was still good, and I scarfed it down.
                        But I mention this because next time I'll ask the pizza cook to give it extra time, for a crispy crust.

                        Calabria Bakery
                        1772 Midland Ave, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

                    2. re: Dr Butcher

                      Yeah, the dough, the oven, the people working there, and above all, the atmosphere of the joint, are all fantastic and worth checking out. The toppings on the pizzas, not so much. Put some simple pure├ęd san marzano tomatoes, some fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, sea salt, and a drizzle of good olive oil on that crust and in that oven, and now we're talking! Otherwise, it simply isn't worth the trip, at least for me, as I live in Etobicoke...

                  1. re: SocksManly

                    Frida is on Eglinton between Bathurst and the Allen. I'm told it is the old spot where Boujadi used to be.

                    999 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C, CA

                  2. Excellent topic. Despite all of the hot debates, I owe so much to Chowhound.

                    Chowhound has led me to: Maroli, King Palace, Mother's Dumplings, Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu, Lahore Tikka House, Gandhi Roti, Pain Perdu, Caplansky's of course, and surely countless other places.

                    Thanks, Chowhound.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Fwagra

                      How could I have forgotten Caplansky's? It's on my list of pilgrimages to the downtown core.

                    2. Great idea for a thread, Jelly Belly.
                      We went to 93 Harbord last night based on Chowhound recs. We regularly go to Loire and Harbord Room, but decided to try 93. The mezze are quite wonderful. I especially liked the parsley dip, tabouleh and green olive dip. The mains were also pretty good, though I probably overindulged on the first courses.
                      We normally wouldn't have tried this restaurant if it weren't for this board. Thanks for the rec. fellow Chows

                      1. The Breadhouse Bakery, in Pickering, for rye, Austrian, whole wheat, and French loaves, all made by Terrance who hails from Hong Kong.

                        Also Steame's hot dogs and poutine, in Oshawa. The address in the link is only approximate, as it is on Bond St near Simcoe..

                        Breadhouse Bakery
                        893 Bayly St, Pickering, ON L1W, CA

                        36 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1G4S1, CA

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: jayt90

                          I want to try the Breadhouse!!

                          Also Open sesame lebanese bakery in Ajax (on bayly across from pizza hut) - Best Lahm-b-ajeen I've tasted from what I've tasted in the GTA. The other mana'eesh are good too, sausage and cheese and cheese alone. Mmmm.

                          Not exactly a restaurant but Foody's in Pickering is a wonderful gourmet bulk store that stocks a lot more - thanks to another chowhounder for posting about it.

                          1. re: jayt90

                            I finally made the trek out to Steame's (approx 70 Km round trip) and it was quite the experience. The owner is a real chatterbox and definitely a character. I ordered the in-house special of two steamies and poutine, with a can of pop or bottle of water, for $8.50 + tax. I really enjoyed the steamies, all-dressed with choux, relish and mustard. Steamed buns are so different. My expectation was of something kind of soggy, but steaming develops this lovely squishiness with a hint of elasticity to it. They were perfectly dressed and delicious, though that would never have been a way I would have ordered a hot dog. The cabbage is chopped very finely, not like cole slaw, as I had imagined it.

                            The poutine is probably quite authentic compared to what I've had at places like Poutini's. The sauce is definitely not a gravy, but more like a chicken dipping sauce (blander than Swiss reminded me of St. Hubert's chicken sauce, which I have to admit I never much liked). If I drive out there again I'd order it with waaaaay less sauce. I was a convert to the taste of the sauce by the time I finished my enormous serving, but it was really drowning in it and all the fries got soggy quite quickly. The curds were really fresh, and a couple even squeaked a tiny bit. They melted into the gravy much more than the ones at Poutini's do (which is something I like, to a point, but not as much as these did. Less gravy would probably fix that). It was served in a large, round aluminum container like you'd get fried rice in. Very easy to make the cheese last through the whole order that way.

                            Overall, I enjoyed the whole experience and would go back again. I stopped at Buster Rhino's on the way home and bought some frozen brisket and some freshly made hush puppies. Those things are addictive, though more heavily spiced than I was expecting (not that I knew what to expect). They aren't hot spicy...more savoury but pungeant. I couldn't place the spices; maybe a hint of cayenne or hot paprika and some cumin and/or cardamom...among others.

                            Being able to hit both of these gems in one trip makes it worthwhile to make the trip, though not as often as I'd go if I lived closer.

                            1. re: CeeQueue

                              Nice review. My trek to Oshawa is less than 20 minutes each way, so I can go once a month or so. In addition, I hit the Oshawa farmers market, at the Oshawa Centre, open Friday's.