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The Corned Beef House on Adelaide

I just had to give a shout out to the CBH. If you're in the mood for good deli, a simple laid back meal and in the downtown Toronto area, this is the place to eat! It's a small place and once the ovens get going in there, it's pretty hot but in my opinion well worth it because the sandwiches are fantastic! The meat is tender and not at all chewy! I cannot say enough good things about this place. Granted deli can be pretty basic but lets face it! Outside of NYC you aren't going to find very many good deli sandwiches with fresh meat cooked to perfection. The Corned Beef house just does it right.

You are always greeted warmly by one of the staff, whether it's one of the very busy servers or the gentleman taking orders behind the bar. I always feel very at ease in the place. Everyone who works there is very personable and that just makes the place so much more appealing (apart from the great sandwiches of course). Even the other patrons are friendly when waiting in the very busy restaurant.

I had lunch there today and have eaten there several times before on a recommendation from a co-worker. Each time is just as good as the last. Today I had the corned beef on rye (which they are known for hence the name) with the spicy mustard. It was the perfect amount of spice and a great compliment to the sandwich. Hats off to the two guys who slave over the hot meat all day! If you don't like spicy, try the regular yellow mustard.

While waiting for my sandwich I sat at the bar and chatted with the gentleman who took my order and it was like talking to an old friend. There's something to be said about the service you receive in establishment such as a restaurant or deli. No wonder it's a busy place! The staff is great and so are the sandwiches! It's a place that is definitely my speed. I work in the financial industry and am used to being in the business world with it's people however I much prefer laid back and friendly places to eat like this. The wait today was only a few minutes which was good considering how busy the place was. You always feel welcome and are always treated well, even if all you are ordering is a $7 sandwich.

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Corned Beef House
303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

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  1. I've always wondered about that place. Every time I walk by it's either closed or looks like it's closed, but it's been there forever. How does it rank on the Dunn's-Caplansky's-Schwartz's scale?

    11 Replies
    1. re: itsvince

      Vince, I used to think the same exact thing, and even thought it was a bit of a dive, but then necessity made me try it and I was so pleasantly surprised. It is tiny inside and much of the business they do is take-out, but it's pretty busy during lunch. And because of that, everything there is extremely fresh. In terms of the flavour, I guess I would rate it as a mild corned beef flavour, not too peppery, not too salty, just perfect combo. It does not have an overly 'smoky' flavour like Caplansky's, nor as meaty as Montreal, and I always fear comparing anything to Schwartz's! Their other menu items are quite good too from what I recall--coleslaw, soups, fries, etc.

      I really think it's worth giving it a try.

      1. re: Restaurant Dish

        I second Restaurant Dish. Believe it or not I have yet to try out Schwartz's so unfortunately I cannot compare the two and give an opinion...yet!

      2. re: itsvince

        I'm hesitant to compare it to the delis you mentioned since it isn't a deli, it's a sandwich joint. That being said, what they serve is really well prepared and I can't think of anyplace else I've had a better roast beef sandwich.

        1. re: Boodah

          I forgot to mention, the convection oven-baked fries are fantastic.

          1. re: Boodah

            Can you explain, for the benefit of a Kiwi goy boy who was not raised in this culture, what is the distinction between a sandwich joint that serves corned beef sandwiches and a deli which does the same? What exactly makes a deli a deli? How come Caplansky's is and Corned Beef House ain't?

            1. re: munchieHK

              I don't really know how to answer you as there's no definitive "This is a deli" in my brain but let me try to answer you by doing the hated answer-a-question-with-a-question...Is Subway a deli to you or is it a sandwich joint? Look at any thread on Chowhound where Caplansky's is involved (hopefully not this one soon) and you'll see apoplectic rants about whether it's good or not, how it compares to places in Montreal, how it compares to places in New York City, whether hand slicing or machine slicing is better, yadda yadda yadda ad nauseum. The Corned Beef house isn't trying to be a deli in Montreal or New York, it's trying to be a joint in Toronto where you can go get a good sandwich prepared by guys that seem to care about the end result. I really wish a had a better answer for you, I just like the fact that The Corned Beef house doesn't seem to burden itself with the label of "deli", guaranteed to lead to no good in this city if the threads here are any indication.

              1. re: Boodah

                Well said. Sometimes we should enjoy things for what they are.

                1. re: Boodah

                  Nice answer, although I'm still not sure of the distinction. I went to Caplansky's on a slow day, just to see what the fuss was all about. I found a pleasant place with pleasant service and a decent, if plain sandwich. Corned beef house seems to be pretty much the same deal, so I fail to understand why one is a deli and one is not. Still, I agree that people should just enjoy a place for what it is. Just my idle curiosity, really.

                  1. re: munchieHK

                    These two places, CBH and Caplansky's, are sandwich shops gussied up and with alcohol. Not really a deli.
                    They don't have a deli counter, where you can take their wares home.
                    Maybe someday they will discover real deli.

                    1. re: munchieHK

                      A deli is really whatever you consider one to be. For example, I personally don't think Arby's is a deli yet they specialize in sandwiches so, depending on your definition of a deli, Arby's might meet your criteria. I've eaten at some "famous" delis like Carnegie's, Stage Door, Zingerman's, Cantor's, etc... I just wouldn't put The Corned Beef House into the same genre as those places, but that speaks to nothing other than my classification of them. And to be honest, The Corned Beef House serves a better roast beef sandwich than all of them (especially Arby's).

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                      Corned Beef House
                      303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

              2. re: itsvince

                They serve machine sliced Lester's (not old fashioned), which is what it is. Nothing wrong with the place, but it isn't a "real" deli.

              3. I agree, food and service here are both excellent.

                1. The roast beef brisket sandwich with spicy mustard makes me so happy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: geekazoid

                    Me too, though next time I'll have to try the Reuben.

                  2. i always order the the reuben....sort of my go to place for the sandwich-craft sodas

                    1. Corned beef house must be applauded for everything that they do!. The service is good - fast and efficient. The potato salad is fresh, tasted like... potatoes, and the dill pickle was crisp, cold and the right size - half a pickle - not a tiny sliver. The sandwiches bring back memories of the Brothers Restaurant on Yonge st, which sadly closed. The meat is lean, the spices are even and the saltiness is just enough to need a coke to wash the mix of rye and mustard down so I can eat more! Deli or Sandwich shop is a good debate for sure and I know that is what I will ask the staff the next time I am in - what do they think they are? In the days of a lot of restaurants trying to do everything, to capture every dollar they can with something for everyone, (read spring rolls everywhere), it is ALWAYS a delight to not have to read a menu to know exactly what I will be eating. They do what they do very well and are deserving of the praise and our repeat business. Let's all go there for lunch today! And tomorrow. (call me so we don't all go at noon - even with the fast and efficient service I want my food first! )

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: meathead2

                        I think I'll try the reuben on my next trip. I have yet to try that one at CBH. I'm just glad there's a go-to place nearby for when I get that craving.

                      2. I read on the blog TO that this place has closed down due to condofication in the area. Does anyone know anything more?

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: terrycar

                          Not much. I went about a week before they closed and was told only that they were going to move somewhere close by but didn't have an exact location yet.

                          1. re: ggom1

                            Thanks. Will keep an eye out for their (hopeful) return.

                            1. re: ggom1

                              There's a sign on the door stating their new address...I think it's 270 Adelaide, but I'll check today to make sure and report back if not.

                              1. re: Strongbad789

                                @Strongbad789: I'm guessing that you had the correct address of 270 Adelaide?

                                I'm rather sad this place has closed down. There's already enough condos along the waterfront! At least they will still be around (just at another location). I hope the quality isn't affected by the move!

                                1. re: Sarah_G

                                  The sign does say 270 Adelaide.

                                  1. re: lister

                                    Awesome! Thanks for letting me know. I'll be keeping an eye out to see when they open up.

                                    1. re: Sarah_G

                                      They've been open for a little while now. I went in last week for takeout. A little more swanky than the old place. Decent micros on tap.

                                      It's on Adelaide St west, north side just before John St.

                                    2. re: lister

                                      Adelaide East or West? I've been meaning to try this place. I do love a reuben

                                          1. re: ziggystardust

                                            Let me know how it goes. I went a really long time ago, but I remember feeling underwhelmed, as it wasn't juicy at all. My dad used to make corned beef in our pressure cooker, and it always came out soooo soft and juicy. But from all of the happy feedback on this board, maybe I got a bad sandwich? I also went RIGHT before closing, if I remember correctly. I super-love sammies, particularly corned beef and smoked meat...so I'm thinking of giving them another chance

                                            Erin

                                              1. re: ziggystardust

                                                yeah! It is actually super easy if you have a pressure cooker. We have an old school-ghetto one, that we poke with a chopstick to release the steam (kind of dangerous when I think about it). Takes less than an hour to get juicy, tender, corned beef goodness...
                                                This is awful talk for 1AM. Corned Beef House is closed.

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                                                Corned Beef House
                                                303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

                                              2. re: ekim256

                                                It is what it is, the deli snobs turn their noses up at it because it's machine sliced commercial meat (from Lesters I believe). Is it the best sandwich I've ever had, no, is it worth a special trip? probably not, but if I find myself in that neighbourhood at lunchtime it's fairly high on the list.

                                                1. re: bytepusher

                                                  hmm I wouldn't call myself a delisnob though - just a girl with an extreme fondness for tasty sandwiches. I'm really just thinking I got a bad last-minute sammy...or maybe I'm just being optimistic? In the area, I usually hit Fusaro's kitchen for my sandwich fix, but I ought to branch out and try Little Nicky's sandwiches as well as give Corned Beef House another go =). I once got a notsogreat sandwich from Fusaro's (it was kind of smushed together, possibly because the employee was arguing with someone while making it)...it happens.
                                                  I'll never know until I try!

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                                                  Fusaro's
                                                  147 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V2L7, CA

                                                  Corned Beef House
                                                  303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

                                    3. re: Strongbad789

                                      By the way does anyone know if there is an expected date that CBH will reopen?

                                2. Love love love the fries there.
                                  Great coleslaw too

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bbbradk

                                    Their baked fries with gravy - the stuff dreams are made of...

                                    1. re: April Girl

                                      haha April Girl! I agree! I'm thinking of making a trip over there just for that alone!