Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Dec 4, 2009 06:43 PM

Russian or Ukrainian Restaurant in Toronto (south of the 401)?

Can anyone recommend one? I can't even find a listing for one anywhere. Surely there's a good bowl of borsht out there somewhere?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Quite a few are north of the 401, as many Russians live north of Steeles.

    Here is one:

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodyDudey

      Not a restaurant, but there's an excellent Russian grocery store right on Steeles, International Discount Foods ( that sells all manner of Russian goods.

      There is also a prepared food counter and deli counter that is very good.

      International Discount Foods
      2777 Steeles Ave W, Toronto, ON M3J3K5, CA

    2. Barmalay 505 Mt. Pleasant Rd. has been around for years.

      8 Replies
      1. re: jayt90

        Barmalay WAS around for years, but not for the past several. It has been out of action for quite a while now. Its steadily rising prices and strong competition from other restos in the neighborhood forced it to the sidelines. Used to do a pretty good bowl of borscht, too. My go-to joint for borscht nowadays is Caplansky's, at College St. and Brunswick Ave.

        1. re: juno

          Thanks, I found several references by Googling, but none up to date.

          Ditto Capllansky's borscht. At the Monarch I watched them make it in a giant stock pot full to the brim with vegetbles and smoked meat scraps.

          1. re: juno

            Samovar Room (more of a bar/lounge than a restaurant) in Cabbagetown serves some Russian food:
   Note: Only open Thu- Sat, after 7 pm.

            I've ordered decent beet borscht at Chopin on Roncesvalles (although it's the thin type, and Chopin is a Polish restaurant). I wouldn't travel out of my way for the borscht at Chopin, but it's fine if I'm in the neighbourhood.

            The Caplansky's version of borscht is a cabbage and beef borscht, not a beet borscht fyi.

            re: borscht in Toronto
            I also like the refrigerated Sunflower Kitchen's Vegetarian Borscht that's carried at the Big Carrot and Whole Foods.

            1. re: phoenikia

              What do you mean by "beet borscht"? The word borscht is derived from the word for beet in many Slavic languages.

              1. re: Smachnoho

                I'm using the word beet borscht to separate the beet borscht from the borscht that does not contain beets.

                The Poles and Russians also make a green borscht containing sorrel (and no beets). The Russians call this Zelany Borscht.

                There's also a cabbage and beef borscht which does not contain beets that is served in some Jewish restaurants around town. I haven't tried the borscht at Caplansky's, but as far as I know it is a cabbage and beef borscht.

                Mennonites also make a cabbage and beef borscht which does not usually contain beets.

                Hong Kong style borscht uses tomatoes, not beets.


                According to the article on Borscht in the Guardian, , "the word "borshch" comes from the Slav "borshchevik", which means "hogweed". Apparently, hogweed used to be an important vegetable in Slavic cuisine.

                1. re: phoenikia

                  "There's also a cabbage and beef borscht which does not contain beets that is served in some Jewish restaurants around town. I haven't tried the borscht at Caplansky's, but as far as I know it is a cabbage and beef borscht."
                  If the soup does not have beets then it surely must be Kapusniak meaning cabbage soup. My grandmother made sorrel soup in the spring but it was not called Green Borshch.

                  1. re: Smachnoho

                    I realize many Poles and Ukrainians refer to cabbage soup as Kapusniak, but the cabbage soup is called Cabbage Borscht on Caplansky's menu.

                    Considering many different languages including Yiddish, Polish, Russian,German, Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian, Belarussian, Montenegran, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, etc. were/are spoken in Eastern Europe, is it really surprising that there might be more than one word or label for a type of cabbage soup originating in Eastern Europe?

                  2. re: phoenikia

                    Polonez makes a white borscht called Zurec...has a cut up egg and chunks of sausage in it..they classify it as a white borscht.

          2. It's not baba's, but My Place in Bloor West Village makes pretty good borsht.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chasnik

              If you want Ukrainian food try the Golden Lion:

              Borshcht is only $5 a bowl:

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Bloor West Village, between Annette and Bloor - a place called On Cue Billiards. It's a pool hall, and it's pretty well hidden, but the food is handmade fresh. The menu's pretty limited - basically Varenyky (ukrainian perogies) and Borshch - but what they have is really good. The Varenyky are served sauteed with bacon bits, sauteed onions and sour cream. There are different types, too - with jalapeno peppers, with mushrooms, or sauerkraut.

                The borshch is a drink, hot or cold, with sour cream or without.

                Don't be afraid of the stairs - it's worth it.
                Best Ukrainian food in Toronto.