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Uzel- Artisanal Turkish olives, olive oil

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Before I bought the internet coupon I looked on the internet at what Uzel (974 Danforth) offered and the prices. I knew that the store was pricey, but I bought into the hype of artisanal products etc. I figure, at the worst , I would be paying net the same price and would get better quality.

Everyone can charge what they want . And certainly Uzel's ambience is very nice and he pays big rent in relation to what he has to sell. But in comparison to Marche Istanbul, wow!
Prices seem to be two times, two and a half times and even, (in the case of soap) perhaps four times the prices at Marche Istanbul. As for quality, I would have to taste the olives together and when not irate to decide that some of them are not the same or that I don't like MI's olives better, even though they undoubtedly were not hand picked from the top branches of the tree by the proprietor's family as Uzel claims for his. I thought that Uzel's olive oil also was way overpriced.

But I had aleady bought the coupon and went through with the charade of being pleased.

MI is a large grocer and a branch of the Montreal main store. It is a direct importer from Turkey. The Toronto store has greatly increased the number of items that they carry and it is now a interesting place with a lot of nice things and reasonably priced. It is on Dufferin, north of Lawrence west side.

As for Uzel, I have a fair bit of experience in the Middle-East being a "stupid American tourist ". I didn't think that I would be one in my home town. But you may like the experience. As for me, this coupon is my first loser.

VVM

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  1. That's too bad to hear Vinnie. I was thinking about picking up a coupon to try too, but decided against it.

    1. I dropped into Uzel twice when they were at the corner of Pape and Jones. I was completely unimpressed with the olives. One clear memory was of those little plastic tubs of olives all wiith expiry dates that had either passed a few weeks earlier, or coming up in a week or two. That's something I've never encountered before.

      1. What about their Olive Oil? Is it any good?

        1 Reply
        1. re: ultimobailey

          It is a yellow oil. I thought that it was not interesting and that it's greatest virtue was that it was slippery. $25 (!) a litre bottle.

        2. went there today. made a special trip actually. unimpressed. i'll stick to the nut house's olives.

          1. If you're looking for olive oil, I note that Acropolis Organics headquarters are in the St Clair/O'Connor area. Not Turkish, of course, but I think that's not too far from you. I keep meaning to drop in and ask if they'll sell direct to the consumer.
            http://www.acropolisorganics.com/

            1. i have only been to Uzel once. bought 3 bags of olives.
              ... the olives were good but not great. wondering what the hype surrounding this place is for.

              8 Replies
              1. re: chocohead

                There's no hype and the place is gone - leaving behind quite a bit of garbage including Product of Spain-labelled olives. I am not sure how he ever broke even.

                1. re: julesrules

                  They were probably selling something else besides cheap olives and oil. My wife and I dropped in early this year an I asked the owner for the prices of some items because there was no price marked. He became very suspicious as asked if I had a store! He thought I was trying to check on his prices. I bought 2 or 3 types of olives to check if they were any better than last time when I bought them at his other location, they were not. I just told my wife that Uzel closed and she said "of course when they don't know how to treat customers and the product is not good what do you expect?"

                  I've been very happy with some olive oils I have bought this summer at the Cheese Boutique. They are from Sicily and are for finishing a dish, not for cooking. We use them for drizzling a caprese salad, for instance. The bottle labelled "Nocellara" is the one we like for general use so if you just buy one bottle, I'd recommend that one. (see pic below)

                  500ml is around $16.00 at Cheese Boutique.

                  I see it for $29 to $36.00 online:
                  http://www.olio2go.com/Products/Frant...

                   
                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    Just my 2 cents - last time I was in Cheese Boutique I noticed quite a few best before dates on various brands of chutneys, jams and spreads. I do like it there but I am very careful to check dates.

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      It was very odd. There was one selection of olives that I really did like at Uzel so I did shop there. He started opening a neighbouring store, did all the renovations and then closed! Service sucked, there were constantly staff there that didn't speak english and couldn't understand what I was asking for when I was simply asking for one of their standard items (I got looks like I was an idiot).
                      Anyways, very weird scene.....

                      1. re: Baelsette

                        The new Uzel space that never happened has major issues which prevent Public Health from giving a PASS. Rumour has it the landlords do not warn their tenants about said issues and have them sign a lease making all repairs the tenant's responsibility. I am surprised Uzel got sucked in since he was next door for years and would have seen Champion's dramatic exit (banner etc) from the same space. I was no great fan of the business or man but for the past couple of years he had a nice woman working there who made delicious spicy spinach pastries and some other treats, those I miss dearly. And honestly along that strip any business owner who can stay open with a decent store front and some kind of legal product is fine by me, no matter how they actually make ends meet.

                        1. re: julesrules

                          I am confused by this part of your post: "any business owner who can stay open with a decent store front and some kind of legal product is fine by me, no matter how they actually make ends meet". I can interpret that to mean that if someone sells something such as spinach pies to us and some contraband to others, it's OK? (this is just my example and not directed at any specific actual store)

                          1. re: foodyDudey

                            We're getting off topic - I just mean that compared to some other businesses on the strip (do you know the place with the mirrored windows and what they sell?), Uzel was fine by me and I am actually sorry to see them go. I'm not suggesting he had contraband either (that was you :) )

                            1. re: julesrules

                              Totally agree Jules. I am always glad to see a legitimate business entering the strip. There are a huge amount of crappy bars and stores selling refurbished junk.
                              I frequented Uzel mainly for the Autumn mix olives which were amazing. I am sad to see the store go. I was always happy when it was him there to serve me.
                              Crazy about the other store, looked like they were doing major renos. He also had opened another store just west of Pape which closed quickly and is now a clothing store.