HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Are you making a specialty food?

The Junction and surrounding areas -- Recommend Me Anything

Jacquilynne Apr 4, 2011 08:30 AM

I just moved into the Junction and I'm looking for recommendations from Hounds on what's great in this area -- Roncey, High Park, etc are also in easy striking distance. Restaurants, delivery, specialty food shops, major supermarkets, etc, etc. Where do you eat? Where do you buy things to eat?

So far, I've tried Cool Hand of a Girl for brunch and lunch (good food, service a little slowish during weekend brunches, terrible iced tea), the Junction Eatery for brunch and dinner (great food, service a lot slowish at all times, terrific iced tea), Vesuvio (good pizza, meh gnocchi, cheap wine).

I've picked up a few groceries at the FreshCo at Bloor and Dundas, which seems pretty clean and shiny for a discount grocer, and the produce looked fairly nice. Where else do Junctioneers (Junctioners? Junctionites?) shop for groceries? Eventually I will unpack my kitchen and want to buy more than a loaf of bread and a jar of nutella.

Vesuvio Pizzeria & Spaghetti House
3014 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z3, CA

Junction Eatery
2790 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P, CA

Cool Hand of a Girl
2804 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P 1Y5, CA

  1. Jacquilynne Jul 18, 2013 09:28 PM

    I was picking something up at the postal outlet on Dundas and saw the sign for Full Stop a couple of doors down, so I went in to check it out. Nice space - open and airy.

    They have a menu with a few breakfast and sandwich options plus some baked goods and coffee. I picked a prosciutto and cheese and tomato sandwich and a very large chocolate chunk cookie. Great bread and good ingredients on the sandwich. Cookie was great, too - lots of chocolate, nice flavor to the cookie itself. It totalled $12.50 and the sandwich came with a choice of chips or salad.

    Service was friendly and efficient. Judging by the number of laptops at the tables, they have free wifi. They sell their own coffee, so i would guess it is roasted by them, but I don't drink coffee so I didn't ask.

    It's not a destination, but as someone who lives in the area and spends a lot of time at that post office, I would definitely put it in my regular lunch rotation.

    1. p
      plasticanimal Dec 24, 2012 10:14 AM

      My favourite budget pizza is just north of the Junction - Pizza Pan. When money's tight this is better than anything in its price range. Wings are decent and incredibly cheap. They just started selling burgers and shawarma and other things but I haven't tried them.


      1. 5
        5andman Sep 23, 2011 03:34 PM

        Another place I've been visiting is Locomotive (right across from Crema or Starbux).

        Love the Porchetta sandwich. Its a perfect combination of juicy, savory, heat, brine and the perfect size (for me). Great price and friendly atmosphere.

        I'm slowly checking out the rest of the menu (someday I'll feel like a vegan and try the vegan option).

        3079 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z9, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: 5andman
          00CP Jul 5, 2012 12:14 PM

          Their baked goods are delicious and I would also suggest trying the house Club... very very well done.

          1. re: 5andman
            prima Dec 22, 2012 08:53 PM

            Finally tried Locomotive today when I was in the Junction. A friend had mentioned the sandwiches a few months ago.

            Great cappuccino, and good vegetarian sandwich (with 2 types of mushrooms, pepperonata, cheese) on a super-fresh pada bun (from Caldense). Neat place. If I lived in the Junction, I'd be a regular. I wish a coffee shop with tasty sandwiches, like Locomotive, existed on the Yonge subway line.



          2. Jacquilynne Sep 9, 2011 01:34 PM


            The Pie Shack from out in the Beaches has opened a branch on our end of town, at Annette and Clendennen. I tried the strawberry rhubarb today and it was delicious.

            The picture is peaches and cream. Haven't tried that yet. Not sharing. Stay back! Keep away from the pie!

            7 Replies
            1. re: Jacquilynne
              Kellz Sep 22, 2011 06:33 AM

              I am an adult who grew up in the Junction. My own children have grown up here as well and are now attending a neigbouring High School. Sadly, this place is not feasible for the local kids who want an after school snack. At 6$ a slice, it's very over priced. Giving my kids lunch money, daily ......... I can not afford to give them each an extra 6$ for a piece of pie on a regular basis. At least when it was Sunny Bar, they could go in and get a piece of pizza or a salami sandwich for much less. So sorry to see you go Sonja. Sunny Bar is certainly missed, especially by us parents!

              1. re: Kellz
                Jacquilynne Sep 22, 2011 07:20 AM

                The waitress who was working when I went is said that their biggest customer base was actually kids from the local school. And indeed, as I was leaving, school let out, and the place was getting swarmed with teenage boys.

                Maybe it's just the novelty of it since it's new, but there definitely do seem to be some kids who are going there.

                1. re: Jacquilynne
                  Lazar Sep 22, 2011 10:10 AM

                  Yes, when I went in I noticed the exact same thing. Lots of kids hanging about and partaking of blueberry pie. So the price doesn't seem to be too off putting to the kid crowd, but as you said, give them some time to realize the economics of it, and maybe the newness will wear off.

                  The pricing seems off to me as well, $6 per slice (or 1/4 wedge), but to buy a whole pie is $1 more....doesn't make sense to me.

                  Seems to that they could sell the pie in 1/8 wedges (which is still pretty fair size slice of pie) and sell them for about would be $3.50. It would make more sense, to me at least.

                  Also, I find their pie is good, but nothing spectacular. I picked up a quarter wedge of cherry and cinnamon apple. The cherry was by far the superior pie, but again, good, not great.

                  Still, it is a nice addition to the neighbourhood.

                  1. re: Lazar
                    Jacquilynne Sep 22, 2011 10:56 AM

                    The whole pie actually ends up being $1 cheaper because of the tax situation, but yeah, the pricing is strange.

                    1. re: Jacquilynne
                      Kellz Sep 22, 2011 02:08 PM

                      I saw a little photo of their price list on their website and I'm under the impression that a whole pie is 25$. Is a whole pie only 7$ ???

                      1. re: Kellz
                        Jacquilynne Sep 22, 2011 03:38 PM

                        A whole pie is $25. Which, if you do the math on 4 slices of $6 pie, seems like it would be $1 more expensive than just buying 4 slices.

                        But they charge 50 cents tax on each $6 slice of pie. How they get away with charging round number tax, when the actual tax would be higher, I have no idea. But in any case, the actual price of individual slices is $6.50, which means buying 4 slices is $26. But buying a whole pie isn't subject to tax, so it's actually the $25 that's quoted.

                        1. re: Jacquilynne
                          donelikedinner May 30, 2012 07:56 PM

                          a whole pie is $ 25? hmmm, flour, water, butter or lard for pastry (i'll be generous and say 75 cents value), organic fruit? for one pie? $6-10 (again quite generous as they should get much better deals wholesale)..Sugar, perhaps cream or sour cream, spices... cost of gas/electricity for stove? employee wages and overhead? Well ok if they are selling 5-10 pies per day. Otherwise, that is a pricey pie!

            2. k
              kenjiro Aug 25, 2011 07:06 AM

              Little Fish - Breakfast/Brunch
              Curry Twist - Indian
              Westwood Grill (Annette/Runnymede) - Chinese
              Sweet Potato - Organic Supermarket
              Ban Thai - Thai

              Curry Twist
              3034 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z3, CA

              1. Underdog Rally Aug 15, 2011 11:35 AM

                Has anyone found a good place for fish in the area? I need some salmon to cure for this weekend, but won't be able to get to Diana's till Saturday, which is too late. I live at the northern end of the junction on St Clair, so my two closest grocery options are Metro (terrible fish counter) and No Frills on Black Creek (better fish counter, more variety and "ethnic" options, but still not great for quality).

                I'm hoping to find something with reliable, fresh fish (bonus points if you know when delivery days are).

                1 Reply
                1. re: Underdog Rally
                  sway Aug 24, 2011 08:23 PM

                  There is a fish market on Drurie just north of Bloor, across from Grace and Angeline jewelery studio. I think it's called Snappers or something like that? Their fish is good, I buy bags of mussels there every so often, and buy fish from time to time, it's always been extremely fresh.

                2. Jacquilynne Jul 8, 2011 09:21 AM

                  Dear hounds,

                  For the love of all that is good and right in the world, please tell me where I can find decent shawarma in this area. I've tried two different places (one just a couple blocks east of Dundas on the South side of Dupont, the other an Ali Baba's at the corner of Dundas & Roncey) and both were *terrible*.

                  I never thought the thing I'd miss about my old neighbourhood was having a half decent shawarma place around the corner.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Jacquilynne
                    Snarf Jul 8, 2011 09:30 AM

                    There is a place on Bloor, forgive my senior moment, which is a few doors in from the corner of either Jane, or one block east. It's the only middle eastern in that area, so shouldn't be hard to miss. The owner is Sam, and everything is freshly done. If you like it spicy, you might have to nudge a bit.

                    1. re: Snarf
                      mikef76 Jul 8, 2011 11:37 AM


                      The place is called Falafel World and it's my favourite shawarma place in the area. It's on the north side of Boor a block and change east of Jane.

                      Falafel World
                      2396 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S1P5, CA

                      1. re: mikef76
                        haggisdragon Aug 4, 2011 07:35 AM

                        Agreed. Its a bit out of the Junction, but I haven't found anything else better in the area. They also do a Janina sandwich (stewed lentils with caramelized onions) that I have found memories of.

                        1. re: mikef76
                          dannyboy Aug 4, 2011 08:31 AM

                          I second Falafel World - my fave middle eastern food in the city!!!

                          Falafel World
                          2396 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S1P5, CA

                          1. re: mikef76
                            Jacquilynne Aug 4, 2011 08:39 AM

                            I did go and try this place, and while the falafel was amazing, the shawarma was really, really dry. I'm not sure if that was just a time of day issue (it was in the evening after what you'd consider to be a dinner rush period) or just because they're using such lean white meat chicken in the first place. I'm inclined to think it's the latter because they were still spit roasting it at that time, it wasn't sitting there in a steam table getting dry for hours.

                            I'd definitely go back for the falafel and salads, and I'd give them another try on the shawarma, just to be sure it wasn't an off-day.

                            1. re: Jacquilynne
                              haggisdragon Aug 4, 2011 10:00 AM

                              I find it to be a bit dry too. But I don't mind as long as theres plenty of hummus and tahini and hot sauce to moisten it up.

                              1. re: haggisdragon
                                5andman Aug 4, 2011 04:05 PM

                                I agree the shawarma is best when you take it home and allow all the ingredients to merge.
                                Even better as a leftover overnight.

                                But the hummus is the best

                              2. re: Jacquilynne
                                00CP Jul 5, 2012 12:13 PM

                                Try Sham Shawarma on Dupont near Symington.... I recommend it.


                                1. re: 00CP
                                  Jacquilynne Jul 5, 2012 04:50 PM

                                  That was the one that was a couple of blocks east of Dundas on Dupont, alas.

                                  I liked their garlic sauce, but the shawarma itself was awful.

                                  1. re: 00CP
                                    00CP Jul 19, 2013 08:36 AM

                                    Sadly they have since closed

                          2. Jacquilynne May 24, 2011 11:34 AM

                            On another note, does anyone have any thoughts on June Harlowe Foods on Dupont? It's pretty close to me and looks pretty from the outside.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Jacquilynne
                              YYZjeff May 24, 2011 11:50 AM

                              I've been there twice. It's great and the only place I know of with ice cream sandwiches on the dessert menu.

                              1. re: YYZjeff
                                DDD May 24, 2011 07:18 PM

                                If you crave ice cream sandwiches for dessert - Marben has them too (although not in the junction).

                                488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

                                1. re: YYZjeff
                                  Jacquilynne Jun 17, 2011 01:26 PM

                                  I managed to get here recently, and it has a super casual, friendly, neighborhood vibe. They weren't busy and were perfectly happy to just let us sit there and talk for quite some time after we finished dinner. Somehow managed to run up slightly more of a bill than I'd expected, but it certainly wasn't because anything on their menu was expensive, it was just we sat there for so long talking and eating that we managed to order many things.

                                  We split the garlic bread with mushrooms, which was excellent, and then I had the Shepherd's Pie, which was good but not great, but also a generous serving and came with a salad, as well. Finally, I had the angel food cake for dessert.

                                  Given that this place is an easy walk from my place, I'm sure I'll be back.

                                  Just a note that it's cash only.

                                  june harlowe foods
                                  1627 Dupont St., Toronto, ON , CA

                                2. re: Jacquilynne
                                  26Marushka May 29, 2012 12:15 PM

                                  June Harlowe's closed in 2011.
                                  It looks like Darcy MacDonnell of La Societe is putting the finishing touches on Farmhouse Tavern, which will open in it's place. It is apparently scheduled to open in June 2012 with rural Ontario influences. I'm looking forward to trying it!

                                  Farmhouse Tavern 1627 Dupont St.

                                  1. re: 26Marushka
                                    Jacquilynne May 29, 2012 02:15 PM

                                    The build out was done for some reality TV show -- I saw them filming for a few days. Hopefully the food will be less obvious and cliche than what I could see of the decor. It's a good location for me, so I'd like it to be awesome!

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne
                                      smartygirl Jul 5, 2012 10:24 AM

                                      i saw the filming too... they seemed to me to do way more than necessary, june harlowe was lovely. they're trying too hard with the decor. love the local focus though.

                                3. Underdog Rally May 24, 2011 08:39 AM

                                  I also just moved to the area, and it turns out that I now live around the corner from International Cheese. They brand as Santa Lucia, and recently won a Grand Prix award for their bocconcini. The little retail store stocks mild Italian cheese along with standard stuff like parmesan (there's a list on the website). When we pick up ricotta, it's actually still warm from having been made earlier that day. My wife and I had an entire burrata with strawberries for dinner on Sunday, and we confirmed that we're getting too old to continue doing things like that. They carry fior di latte and buffalo mozzarella too.

                                  Product lineup: http://internationalcheese.ca/interna...

                                  Conveniently, there's an eastern European sausage outlet across the street.

                                  Moving here from Bay and Bloor - I have to admit that we really appreciate the new food costs (though not our increased gas costs). Two brunches at Phoga Banh Cuon for $10 is hard to beat.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Underdog Rally
                                    Jacquilynne May 24, 2011 11:33 AM

                                    Oh, this is interesting, thanks! I knew they had a plant near here, but I didn't realize they had a store.

                                  2. Jacquilynne May 3, 2011 08:15 AM

                                    A few things I've tried since my first query:

                                    LAN Sushi. It's sushi and it's in the Junction. If that meets your requirements as a Junction resident, then it's there for you. It's neither particularly good nor in any way bad. There are a few counter stools to eat at if you're desperate, but basically a take-out place. The people are super friendly, and inclined to feed you random free handrolls if you stand around waiting for too long.

                                    La Revolucion is sadly not all I'd hoped it would be. I tried a few of their tacos which were okay, but I expect cochinita pibil to have a bit more bite to it. I also tried one of their burritos in which they paired the same cochninita pibil with rather a great deal of cheddar cheese. While I appreciate them not skimping on the expensive ingredients, cheddar cheese? With cochinita pibil? If that burrito needed to have cheese (note: that burrito did not need to have cheese), cheddar was not the right choice.

                                    The Beet -- cute room, decent sandwich, scary looking but tasty salad dressing.

                                    I also tried a bagel and baguette place on Dundas that I've already forgotten the name of one afternoon. I had a very good sandwich (though it was not on either a bagel or a baguette), and would go back there again.

                                    In addition, I've tried the Super Sub on the corner of Keele & Dundas. My first instinct was to stay away, but I was walking by one day and noticed the epic level of cleanliness they were maintaining despite the out of date decor and decided that it was worth trying any place that took that much pride. Sadly, the subs are kinda sparse on the fillings and overall not spectacular. It's the sort of place I might eat because it's cheap and very, very close to me, but otherwise, meh.

                                    Another place I've tried is Indian Kiss, which is strictly take-out. I'd been there before I moved into the area, as well. The food is good, but I'm always left thinking there's not enough "stuff" in the dishes. That comes because they use these huge containers and fill them with masses of sauce and then a relatively small amount of chicken or lamb or what have you. I think if they were served in a more normal sized container, I would find that they are, in fact, a normal sized portion of "stuff" for an Indian restaurant, but since they are absolutely drowning in a bathtub worth of sauce, it feels off.

                                    BOSNA is now at the top of my to-try list, but I never quite seem to be out and about and driving (since they're a little far for me to walk) when they're open.

                                    Indian Kiss
                                    399 Keele St, Toronto, ON M6P, CA

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Jacquilynne
                                      pinstripeprincess May 3, 2011 09:12 AM

                                      hold off on bosna for a little while longer. i went recently and it looks like they might be making their own bread and whether it is authentic or not, i think it is for the worse. the nicely brown it but it is more sweet and sour than the bread i'm used to picking up at stores and softer/wetter. the cevapi were also a little different... i picked up a package of frozen ones (they cooked up my meat fresh for the sandwich) and i'm hoping the spicing and meat balance is what i remember and will report back.

                                      if it helps, they're closed sunday. otherwise i think the signs said something like 11-5pm.

                                      1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                        Jacquilynne Jun 17, 2011 01:21 PM

                                        I stopped by here and tried it, and was sadly disappointed. Great, lovely, wonderful people, but the cevapi were utterly overcooked. I have a feeling they'd be very good if they'd spent a few minutes less on the grill (or however they cook them), but I'd rather make the run out to Royal Meats and get something with a little life left in it.

                                        Maybe that's just an off moment, though, if they're not normally overdone.

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne
                                          pinstripeprincess Jun 19, 2011 04:18 AM

                                          they've always been cooked well done for me but retain a good juiciness. the only problem i have now is that they might have changed their meat blend and spicing and so it's really not what it used to be.

                                    2. p
                                      poutineanglaise Apr 8, 2011 12:29 PM

                                      Welcome to the Junction! I also like Curry Twist, the Beet, Vesuvio's pizza, Crema etc Hula Girl coffee shop is also good. Closer to Landsdowne on Bloor is Zocalo's. Rumour has it that there is a wine bar and one or two brew pubs in the works for the area as well.

                                      Curry Twist
                                      3034 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z3, CA

                                      3079 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z9, CA

                                      1426 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M6P 3L5, CA

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: poutineanglaise
                                        PoppiYYZ Jun 18, 2011 07:30 PM

                                        Love Curry Twist, but never understood the appeal of Vesuvio's pizza (very bad ravioli too).

                                        Some good local tips here : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624172

                                        1. re: PoppiYYZ
                                          sarmale Jun 19, 2011 05:15 AM

                                          Many, many years ago when The Junction was still a "dry" area, the Toronto Star reviewed pizza places throughout the area. Vesuvio came up 10 out of 10; From that article everyone
                                          believed Vesuvio was the best in the city....... They are good, but not that good, to be sure; especially since assembly-line take-away competition moved in across the street (corner of High Park and Dundas). Vesuvio was the original pizza parlor in the area; people are loyal and I believe that is what makes a restaurant popular. It is a family run business, with the Pugliesi brothers at the helm, and their sisters and wives doing the other culinary chores.
                                          The Pugliesi family has been very good for the neighbourhood. They sponsor kids' sports, promote local culture, create jobs; that kind of visibility is always rewarded. Maybe you are not crazy about their pizza and ravioli but what the Pugliesi's have done for the neighbourhood far outweigh the mediocre pizza and pasta.

                                          1. re: PoppiYYZ
                                            Underdog Rally Jul 12, 2011 02:02 PM

                                            Now that I've been to Vesuvio's, I like their style of crisped pan pizza and would probably return for that. I also have to agree with other posters that the non-pizza items are pretty weak. I didn't realize that Curry Twist was only open for dinner, but hopefully I'll get a chance to go back soon.

                                            I really liked Delight's ice cream too. I guess it takes someone who owns both an ice cream shop and a cheese store to put together a delicious but disorienting blue cheese ice cream.

                                          2. re: poutineanglaise
                                            scgalea Nov 2, 2013 11:46 AM

                                            Agreed - Curry Twist is my favourite

                                          3. Shorttyred Apr 6, 2011 05:54 PM

                                            I have to say I really like Curry Twist and Little Fish. There is a new sushi joint that i haven't tried yet at Dunas and Pacific, but so far i hear great things. A lot of mediocre thai- I agree that Silk has gone downhill. A few places are opening (or are rumoured to be) which hopefully will provide some variety.

                                            As for food stuff - Junction Fromagarie is nice, a little rich for my student budget, but the couple who own it also own Delight next store - lovely chocolates and ice cream.

                                            Welcome to the neighbourhood!

                                            Curry Twist
                                            3034 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z3, CA

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Shorttyred
                                              sway Apr 7, 2011 08:50 PM

                                              Can I chime in that I LOVE, love, love Delight. Their chocolates are the best chocolates I've ever had, and this is coming from someone who regularly eats chocolate as a breakfast food. We ordered about 500 as favours for our wedding two years ago, people still talk about them. Their ice cream is to die for, they are all either bursting with flavour or intriguingly complex. I constantly crave their hazelnut, mint chocolate and quebec blue cheese flavours. mmm... and although I've been going to Delight regularly for the past two years, I only went into Junction Fromagarie last weekend. I found the prices shockingly low! I let Jennifer choose my cheeses, and they were lovely. I think the average price was about $4-6 per 100 g for artisanal cheeses. They also carry Phuet breads and vacuum packed charcuterie.

                                            2. k
                                              kbdid Apr 6, 2011 05:57 AM

                                              I like Amber for plain, quality Easter European food on Bloor. For groceries, while FreshCo at Dundas west of Runnymede is a nice rebranding of the Price Chopper, if you're cost conscious try the No Frills on Pacific (but avoid it at all costs on a Saturday). I think someone else mentioned it but you can buy some nice produce at the shops on Bloor. I am relatively new to the area too and reading with interest (especially for more info on the Vitenamese places on St. Clair).

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: kbdid
                                                pinstripeprincess Apr 6, 2011 06:49 AM

                                                i'm not sure if you were referring to my reference or others' but there's a small section that is densely viet around keele and i think offers some really fresh great specialized food. nearby pho ga banh cuon is a golden turtle / rua vang location and the ossington one gets a lot of praise so i'd be surprised if this one doesn't operate at the same level. pho ga banh cuon would be where you'd get your chicken pho though and while the banh cuon is better at thanh truc i think everything else on the plate is superior at the other. they both make it fresh in house (can see the process happening behind you at pho ga) and so both are very good.

                                                here's a thread on thanh truc. the chow group did a banh cuon day and went to both, but i'm not sure if it was written up as i can't seem to find it in the search.

                                                if i had a car, this is probably the only place i'd ever eat the vietnamese fresh rice noodle sheets in toronto.

                                                1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                  prima Apr 6, 2011 06:57 AM

                                                  pinstripeprincess, are you aware of any Vietnamese places on St. Clair West that might be serving a broken rice platter similar to the house broken rice platter that Pho Phuong was serving a few years back?

                                                  Pho Phuong
                                                  1603 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K1T9, CA

                                                  1. re: prima
                                                    pinstripeprincess Apr 6, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                    waaaaaaaiiiiiitttt..... does pho phuong not serve it anymore?? for shame, it was one of the most delicious things on their menu.

                                                    i haven't been eating a lot of viet lately and since i've had the pho phuong one i look for similar variety on other menus but have never come across it. the next time i'm dining on viet on st clair i'll double check though and report back.

                                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                      prima Apr 6, 2011 07:05 AM

                                                      sorry if what I wrote was misleading- I'm sure Pho Phuong would still be serving the house broken rice. What I should be asking is, have you seen any other places serving anything similar?

                                                      The reason I'm asking is that it takes me close to an hour to get to Pho Phuong, and St. Clair W is considerably closer. I seem to remember reading some posts in the last year or 2 that had suggested the food quality had slipped a little. That being said, I've been thinking about P P's house broken rice lately, and should probably revisit.

                                                      Thanks for offering to doublecheck next time you're dining out on the St. Clair strip. ;-)

                                                      Pho Phuong
                                                      1603 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K1T9, CA

                                                      1. re: prima
                                                        pinstripeprincess Apr 6, 2011 07:18 AM

                                                        they have the second location on queen w now. i've been negligent though and haven't visited that location yet. not sure if that's any more convenient.

                                                        from my scanning of menus you usually only get about 2 or 3 options with broken rice dishes at other restaurants and generally the focus is on grilled meats. i haven't found another that has my favourite part - the crispy tofu with shrimp paste - nor an "omelette" of vermicelli, mushroom, etc that is as delicious. i haven't been to kim bo yet though, they seem like the kind of place that would do it right but at the same time i've heard they've changed over the past few years.

                                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                          peppermint pate Apr 6, 2011 10:50 AM

                                                          I've eaten at the WQW outpost of Pho Phuong a couple of times now (stumbled upon it after I took you up on your rec for a walnut latte from the neighbouring Tealish in fact...) - yes, they still have broken rice on their menu.

                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                            sway Apr 7, 2011 08:44 PM

                                                            PSP, could you recommend any other viet dishes? 9/10 I order the 'special' pho with everything, and most of the other times I order other noodle soups. I've found it hit and miss when I order off my beaten track. I'm not sure I understand the appeal of broken rice, could you explain? I didn't enjoy it the one time I ordered it (it tasted like dry rice, not cooked with enough water?) but maybe it was an off day? Thanks!

                                                            1. re: sway
                                                              pinstripeprincess Apr 8, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                              one thing that i noticed over time is that with the wide range of skills required to complete the diverse vietnamese menus... each restaurant tends to be more specialized in a certain areas. it makes sense, but the tricky part is figuring out what they do well. also take notice of the herbs they serve in terms of variety and freshness, says a lot about their food.

                                                              for instance, phoga banh cuon and thanh truc do great bahn cuon (rice noodle sheets, latter is exceptional especially the rolled kind with ground meat filling) but side items like the banh cong (deep fried bean based "muffin" with a shrimp on top, rather dense so soak with sauce) were significantly better at phoga. other than also the pho ga (chicken pho) at phoga i wouldn't necessarily recommend a whole lot else of the menu.

                                                              there's another viet place in/near the junction mentioned upthread by someone else, i've only been a couple times but it was pretty easy to tell that pho was not their strong suit, it was in fact their grilled meats... plentiful, nice char marks, and properly cooked. so i'd order the bun or maybe their broken rice dishes.

                                                              broken rice should still have good moisture and be properly cooked rice. it's possible you got it from a place that doesn't serve it frequently and so maybe it was older. my favourite for this so far has been pho phuong (but it's been at least a year since i've been in) and specifically their 'house' plate. the rice is cooked to a nice fluffy softness, the pork chop is well done but still quite tender and moist... plus large, great soft yolk fried egg, the aforementioned shrimp tofu and omelette items, and some nice lightly pickled root veg on the side for contrast (i might be missing an additional protein). i haven't seen anyone put this much care or attention into a dish anywhere else. that being said i really enjoy pho phuong for the atypical dishes... their bahn cuon is ok but they have a different mung bean muffin that is significantly more tender and fluffy and delicious that is served with it. they do a GREAT rendition of banh xeo (vietnamese crepe with bean sprouts, pork, shrimp) whereas everyone else is soggy this one has good crispness and they offer a great variety of herbs. pretty much everything in their apps section is more representative of breakfast items and among the best executed i've had in the city. at the height of my addiction i was there about once a week.

                                                              i haven't had a satisfying pho in years... so to be honest i kind of avoid it unless i have a massive craving. others could also point you towards places that do a good bun bo hue (spicier soup with more of the off cuts of meat).

                                                              anh dao on spadina does a pretty darn good bun, they focus on the really fresh ingredients.

                                                              the one thing that eludes me that i adore to death but it might not be for everyone... is a chicken based broth with a spaghetti type rice noodle and pork blood cubes and julienne of bamboo, that is served with poached duck and a shredded cabbage salad with an intense gingery sweet sour spicy sauce. the first and best rendition in TO i had of it was at pho hung on spadina years ago but gradually the meat quality went down and ingredients went missing. i've found it on other menus but nothing compares to that past one.... the dish can be a bit of an assault on some peoples senses because it is a bit unusual.

                                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                                sway Apr 9, 2011 09:16 AM

                                                                Awesome, I think I'm going to print this out and take it with me! Thanks for the very detailed descriptions, much appreciated! I did smile at your 'might not be for everyone'... yes, I would agree that dish may not appeal to all tastes, though it does sound intriguing : )

                                                                1. re: sway
                                                                  pinstripeprincess Apr 9, 2011 10:37 AM

                                                                  you're very welcome! also, a friend mentioned to me after reading this that the broken rice is actually drier, but still tender. i think that i tend to soak the dish with the sauce and the egg yolk that i don't notice it much. i do prefer a really nice japanese or jasmine rice but all the protein elements are what really make the dish so delectable.

                                                                  if you go to the pho phuong location at dundas/brock, do not miss out on the great items at brazil bakery across the street and a few steps east.

                                                      2. re: prima
                                                        pinstripeprincess Apr 17, 2011 12:16 PM

                                                        there's a place that took over one of the locations on that viet corner about a year ago or so, but i just got to it today - ming phung. my fam went before and found out that their speciality is actually egg noodles. the flavour could be amped a bit more but the texture is phenomenal.

                                                        again, totally a specializer because their house egg noodle dish is fantastic. the meats could be cooked a bit better but it comes with pig's tongue, fried wontons, fresh wontons, a fried dough chip with a dried shrimp, i think some fish paste/ball slices, cha siu. the protein isn't what makes this dish, it's absolutely the chewy fettuccini style noodles. there are other dishes (duck and black mushroom) that have the skinnier spaghetti style cut but it seems to lose it's texture a lot faster.

                                                        we also ordere pho (fine) and their pork chop, chicken and omlette broken rice. while the rice was good and presented well, the meat was only pan fried and so lacked that nice char flavour and crispy ends and the omlette was good... but still not the variety and quality of pho phuong. banh xeo from a previous visit wasn't very good apparently and only the owner will prepare it.

                                                        i kind of wish they'd just tear down all the walls between each and i could go to them like a food court and eat my favourite dishes from each shop.

                                                  2. 5
                                                    5andman Apr 5, 2011 03:08 PM

                                                    My suggestion is just to walk the neighborhood. There are plenty of resto, shops, cafe's, etc.
                                                    The fun, sometime is to just explore.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: 5andman
                                                      Jacquilynne Apr 5, 2011 04:08 PM

                                                      Yes, of course, and I'm doing that, but I'd like to know what other people like, as well.

                                                      1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                        DDD Apr 5, 2011 04:46 PM

                                                        You've also got some great coffee nearby with Crema as well as Friendly Neighbour on Annette. You're also quite close to the Kingsway section of Bloor with some good, slightly higher end dinner options including Casa Barcelona (Spanish), 1800 degrees (steak), Vibo and La Veranda (Italian), Merlot (French/Bistro) and Momiji (sushi).

                                                        Casa Barcelona
                                                        2980 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1B9, CA

                                                        2955 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1B8, CA

                                                        3079 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z9, CA

                                                        Vibo Restaurant
                                                        2995 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1C1, CA

                                                        1. re: DDD
                                                          Food Tourist Jan 12, 2014 04:11 PM

                                                          I just got the Casa Barcelona $30 paella and 2 $8 apps (chicken croquettes and eggplant with manchego) and delivered to my home by Just-Eat online ordering -- the food is terrible. What a waste of money! Below average quality and taste. I will have to check out LaVinia or stick to more conventional home delivery food ordering. The Casa Barcelona food was obviously already made as the delivery arrived 30 minutes after I ordered -- and I live more than 10 minutes away! There is a lot of seafood but none of it is done properly and the chorizo is horrible.

                                                          1. re: Food Tourist
                                                            Jacquilynne Jan 12, 2014 05:33 PM

                                                            I've been tempted by Casa Barcelona occasionally when trawling Just-Eat, but then I always think it doesn't sound like something that'll handle being stuffed in styrofoam and delivered all that well. I'm glad you took that one for the team, so now I can stop wondering.

                                                            1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                              Food Tourist Jan 12, 2014 07:54 PM

                                                              You're welcome, team. Still crying. What on earth are they serving in-house anyway? Are they just sending the dumbed down leftovers out on the streets?!

                                                    2. c
                                                      cecilia Apr 4, 2011 06:56 PM

                                                      We like the Junction Eatery for a simple dinner or brunch. The food is good but it can be very slow. We also like Buddha Pie for pizza. Or, if we want pizza delivered, then we would order from Kings Slice (Bloor and Indian Road). Never tried Littlefish but a good friend told us they were treated very poorly and walked out. Vesuvios' pizza is ok but not much else there.

                                                      We also like the Beet. The food there is great too. My 4yo actually asks to go there sometimes. We go to Delight for the waffle cone and ice cream every week. Sometimes we go to the Junction ice cream if we want a bigger selection. Axis and Aquila both have a nice patio for the summer. The food is Axis is not that great though. Aquila has good ribs.

                                                      Used to order Thai from Silk but quality has gone down lately. We haven't tried the new sushi place yet. We have been ordering from Osaka (Bloor and Indian Road) until now. Pho Huong has pretty good pho and bun.

                                                      We haven't been to the Fresh & Co. I usually go to No Frills when it's not busy. Otherwise I would drive to Loblaws. I prefer the one by Dundas and Scarlett better than the one at Bloor and Dundas. We also go to Butcher by Nature for organic meat.

                                                      3080 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P, CA

                                                      Junction Eatery
                                                      2790 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P, CA

                                                      1. haggisdragon Apr 4, 2011 06:25 PM

                                                        When I worked in the area my regular rotation of lunch spots were: Vesuvios (pizza only, the rest is crap), The Beet (excellent burger, good breakfast options, Falafel World, Pho 66 (which I believe I heard is dearly departed), Banh Cuon (St Clair and Runnymede), and Swiss Chalet ;)

                                                        Falafel World
                                                        2396 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S1P5, CA

                                                        1. s
                                                          Snarf Apr 4, 2011 04:22 PM

                                                          La Revolucion is a nice little Mexican place on Dundas with a limited but tasty menu.
                                                          Buddha Pie on Annette near Runnymede does thin crusty pizzas that are unlike anything anywhere, fresh natural ingredients and great taste.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Snarf
                                                            haggisdragon Apr 4, 2011 06:29 PM

                                                            Oh yeah I forgot Buddha Pie! Awesome! Very friendly chatty owners. Very genereous with the toppings. Most places that make a good margherita pizza just wave one basil leaf over the pie these guys gave me a bushel the size that you would get if you were buying basil in china town, in a separate bag, so I could tear it on to my pie when i got it home. Crust is a bit tacky for my taste though.

                                                            1. re: haggisdragon
                                                              sway Apr 7, 2011 08:36 PM

                                                              Love Buddha Pie! Margherita pizza is awesome! La Revolucion is pretty decent, the pozole is quite good.

                                                              1. re: haggisdragon
                                                                Jacquilynne Jun 17, 2011 01:17 PM

                                                                I tried Buddha Pie recently, and while I loved the toppings (and went on to use half the bag of basil to doctor some spaghetti sauce the next day), that crust was entirely not to my taste at all. I'm sure, given the effort they're obviously putting into things that it's a wonderfully authentic, textbook perfect example of the style they're aiming for. I just didn't actually want to eat it.

                                                                1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                                  Snarf Jun 17, 2011 09:14 PM

                                                                  Too crunchy for you? As for authenticity, not sure what is and isn't these days. I think they are trying to make what for them is the perfect crust. From a relative perspective, I like it, and can understand why some might not.

                                                                  1. re: Snarf
                                                                    Jacquilynne Jun 18, 2011 07:40 AM

                                                                    I don't know that I'd say it was too crunchy. More that it was too crackery and bland. I kind of came away from the experience feeling like I'd been served pizza on a Premium Plus saltine minus the actual salt.

                                                            2. y
                                                              YYZjeff Apr 4, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                              Littlefish looks like it has awesome breakfast. I'm going to check out for brunch next weekend.

                                                              I just tried cupcakes from Bunners yesterday and was surprised at how awesome they were. I didn't think I'd like a gluten-free/vegan cupcake but they were delicious, though quite expensive.

                                                              I really want to know if The Friendly Trini's just a couple doors north of Dundas West station is any good. Their roti's are pretty cheap but it's always dead inside so I'm not sure if they're any good.

                                                              3080 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P, CA

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: YYZjeff
                                                                Smachnoho Apr 4, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                                I really like "The Beet" on Dundas St. West between Keele and Pacific Avenue. It is in an old TD bank. The soups are fantastic. Also the bison burghers ans sweet potato fries. Salads too. And they have take-out. Can't stand "Fresh Co" or whatever it is called now at Dundas north of Bloor since it was changed from price Choppers. Nice fruit and veggies at the stores on the north side of Bloor just west of Dundas St. I also like shopping at the "Sweet Potato" organic foods near the "Beet" on Dundas St. West. And the bakery "Solerno" for Balkan foods.

                                                                Sweet Potato
                                                                2995 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P, CA

                                                                The Beet Organic Market
                                                                2945 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P1Z2, CA

                                                              2. pinstripeprincess Apr 4, 2011 08:47 AM

                                                                bosna burek and cevap at 3333 dundas west .... one of my most favourite-est places ever. their blend of meats is just right for me for delicious cevap. the menu is maybe 4 items and i've never been hard core about burek and so focused on the sandwiches that i cannot comment on them.

                                                                you're also quite close to the viet places on st clair... mmmmmm..... my preference going to phoga banh cuon.

                                                                BOSNA Burek & Cevaps
                                                                3333 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P 2A6, CA

                                                                Show Hidden Posts