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Kensignton Market good eats

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Was thinking of Burger Bar but have read several negative reviews online and on this board.
What's your favourite? Will be there on a Saturday afternoon.

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  1. Oooh...I love Kensington Market. Here are a few ideas, pick according to your craving :) I ordered them, starting with my fav

    Salsas for Taquitos
    The Bellevue for chilling with a sandwich and I loved their pie! (Sorry Wanda's!)
    Krepesz for a yummy banana-nutella crepe
    El Gordo for pastries - try their "ear" pastry!
    Jumbo Empanada for a good traditional empanada (beef) and I love their salsa that comes with it. I heard their corn pie is really good too
    I happen to like Big Fat Burrito's pulled pork (and ask for a bit of yam!) but it's a chain, so not special for Kensington Market.

    And yes, stay away from Burger Bar. I had a very disappointing experience recently =( Well, their onion rings are good. Friend suggested it should be called "Onion Ring Bar". Good idea.
    While I'm at it, I'd say also avoid Fresca's Fish and Chips and Waterfalls

    I've been to a few others, but nothing neg or pos to really note.

    And I like peeking in 4 Life Natural Foods for produce :P

    Erin
    http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/

    -----
    Jumbo Empanadas
    245 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L8, CA

    The Bellevue Café
    61 Bellevue Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

    Krepesz
    253 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

    Pancho's Bakery
    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

    El Gordo
    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: ekim256

      Big Fat Burrito isn't a chain. The three BFF (the first was in Kensington) are all owned by the same people.

      -----
      Big Fat Burrito
      285 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

    2. I had the spelt sweet potato date muffin from Urban Herbivore for the first time today. It was fabulous!

      -----
      Urban Herbivore
      64 Oxford St, Toronto, ON M5T1P1, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: pescatarian

        YES...the muffins at Urban are pretty darn amazing. Agreed.

      2. broaster fried chicken from akram's! try to get just the chicken. salads and rice are fine, but unnecessary.

        otherwise i tend to end up at emporio latino - chiles rillenos, pupusas, etc.

        14 Replies
        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Broaster?
          Is that like Broiled + Roasted chicken? Because I had "Broasted "chicken in Bim from one of their local fast food chains and it was pretty darn tasty. Similar to fried chicken...I hope it's the same idea

          1. re: ekim256

            it's a particular system that's essentially a pressure cooked fried chicken.

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              It's how the Colonel does it.

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                hrm... interesting. i've never been interested enough in their chicken to ever look into that. the pieces at akrams were ridiculously moist though i think their marinades are rather salty.

          2. re: pinstripeprincess

            Would emporio latino be good for take out food? We have friends who want some latin treats(empanadas, chiles rillenos) and we would have to travel home with them (3 hours). They even want to give me a platic container to transfer the goodies from styrofoam for safer travel. Muffins sound intruguing. If we get there mid afternoon, is it too late? I know it's not a market so I am hoping that it would work out.

            1. re: itryalot

              i think you'd be fine with most of the items, especially pupusas. i'd just be concerned about items with melted cheese just because of how it turns over time. everything is cooked so no major risk of spoilage if you keep them in a cool space. i like their colombian empanadas, not completely traditional because the shell is on the softer side but i'm finding the more authentic ones are too "chewy" for me.

              there are a lot of choices for empanadas in kensington market. you should perhaps sample a few to figure out which ones you like best. i'm a fan of the sausages from segovia, they have some interesting herb combinations that i'm having a hard time recalling right now... the one with some yellow in the filling that was my favourite.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                I really like the 3 chorizo chili at Segovia.

                DT

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  You seem to know your stuff. Any arepas in the neighbourhood?

                  1. re: itryalot

                    Closest that you'll find would probably be pupusas, at the back of Emporio Latinho. There was a time (he says, showing his grey hair) that they were also at the back of Perola's, but that seems to be in change.

                    -----
                    Perola
                    247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                    1. re: itryalot

                      They had arepas at El Gordo back in August during a car free Sunday. They had a new counter on the right side just for arepas. I had one with a chicken filling that pretty good. The arepas itself were pre-made so they lose points to Arepa Cafe on Queen who always makes theirs to order. But I believe El Gardo's were a touch bigger and a buck or so cheaper.

                      I haven't been back there since, so don't know if arepas are now a regular item for them. Incidentally, they also had another setup within the place serving fresh churros. I wonder if those have become a regular item as well?

                      I guess I'm overdue for a visit . . .

                      -----
                      Arepa Cafe
                      490 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                      El Gordo
                      214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                      1. re: num nums

                        The churros are a regular item from the Pancho's Bakery counter side :-) Might not be as ridic fresh as Pedestrian Sunday as they sit beside the cash. Their orejas are awesome. Popped in recently, they werent doing emapandas but just arepas that day, which was surprising.

                        Erin
                        http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/

                        -----
                        Pancho's Bakery
                        214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                        1. re: ekim256

                          I love the rag tag feel of the place. It's almost like a super low rent version of the Marché, with the different food "stations". The under-utilized counter on the right side is screaming for another food specialty.

                      2. re: itryalot

                        i'm not keen on arepas so i don't look out for them. as mentioned below they were available at pedestrian sunday but doesn't seem to be a regular item at el gordo.

                        if you do want an arepa and will be staying downtown-ish then arepa cafe is your best bet. not my thing though so i wouldn't particularly recommend anyone go there. quite bland. if you're willing to travel though, there are some great areas outside of the main city to find columbian goodies and arepa dedicated shops.

                        i prefer the churros from emporio latino to the ones at el gordo, if el gordo sells the ones they had at PS. they are whole (vs tubular) and so they retain that nice soft barely cooked batter interior. the dulce de leche, strawberry and chocolate fillings from el gordo aren't good enough to me to beat a simple fried batter. i can't recall how el trompos churros are.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          Yeah, I don't get the arepa love either. Bland, bland, bland. Give me a pupusa any day.

                2. taco ladies at the back of Perola's, puts the other Mexican places in Kensington to shame.

                  hibiscus if you're aboot vegan/gluten-free.

                  -----
                  Perola
                  247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: aser

                    hibiscus crepes!!

                    1. re: aser

                      perola ladies have been gone for a few weeks now, some controversy and a new food vendor will be in place.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        no

                        no

                        NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

                        What am I to do?

                        1. re: aser

                          At least you've had a taste of heaven. What about us who have not??? I have heard about this urban legend.

                    2. Yeah, avoid Burger Bar. I went near when it opened and wasn't very impressed. I went back this past weekend as I got a deal from one of those group buy sites. The burger was overcooked (they didn't ask how I wanted it cooked, I guess I should have specified medium... although, not sure if that would have made a difference). It was WAY over priced at regular price. I had the market burger at $10. I also ordered the tasting flight of beers, which , I am pretty sure was specified at $4 on the menu but when the bill came it was $5. I mentioned it to the waitress and she didn't even offer to check the menu. It wasn't a big deal really for $1 but that type of stuff is annoying on a service level (especially when she said that the owner is known to do that, raise prices without changing the menu!). I checked their menu online after because I was curious and it did show $5 so I am pretty sure they made new menus and didn't update all of their old ones. I wouldn't have ordered it if it was $5 so I know it was less than that (yeah, I know, $1 difference, but, still, in my head, $4 seemed like good value) .

                      So, bottom line, if you are going to drink, check it out... And, the onion rings were okay/good but the ones at W Burger Bar on college blow them away (as do the burgers).

                      1. Salsa's taquitos are awesome.

                        If you happen to find yourself there on Sunday, check out the Black Metal Brunch at Grafittis's from 11 - 4. Amazing food and super creative specials based on what's fresh and in seaason. There's only one cook so it can take awhile to get your food if it's busy but it's well worth the wait. Mike makes an amazing bloody mary too.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: abigllama

                          wow! I can't believe I haven't heard of this place yet. Looks like I know where I'll be going for brunch next!

                          1. re: abigllama

                            I ate at Salsa's recently & wasn't impressed. The food was bland, the Mexican Coke was stale, no hot sauce on the table & I was still hungry when I left(and I can't say that about any other place in the market).

                            1. re: terrycar

                              sad to hear that. What food did you order?

                              1. re: ekim256

                                I had the taquitos-chicken & pork with the works. I had great expectations after reading all the big ups, but I dunno. Maybe they were having an off day?

                          2. I went here for a brithday dinner yesterday and didn't expect much at all. I was very pleasantly surprised. The food was good. The mango lassi was divine.

                            I couldn't believe how juicy the tandoori shrimp and chicken were. Everyone loved their food. We were a group of 10 and ordered a mix of veggie and non veggie options. I will definitely go back. I would also like to mention that the group was mostly South Asian and we love our food and most of us are good cooks. I highly recommend this place.

                            The service was ok. They have jazz on Friday nights. I can't wait to go back and relax to some jazz and good Indian food with a nice glass of wine soon.

                            http://www.waterfallsrestaurant.ca/ma...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: TOchowgal

                              Agree the food can be pretty good, but what's with the sports bar vibe?