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May 31, 2011 03:26 PM

The Best Of The Kensington Market

It seems like ages since I've been to the Kensington Market and after seeing the recent article in the Toronto Star, I was reminded how much I miss it there.

So, that said what are the not-to-miss spots at the Kensington Market these days?

What ingredients, food items or kitchenware are you making a special trip there to pick up?

Where & what do you love to eat?

Best spot for kitchen kitsch?

Best latte or coffee?

I'd love to hear your feedback!

Here's the Star article if you're interested:

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  1. Kensington is amazing. My personal faves are El Trompo (Mexican sit down restaurant), El Gordo and crew (Chilean empanadas and great back patio), and the Brazilian feijoada at Segovia's. Also, they have great Jamaican patties and doubles at Patty King.

    El Trompo
    277 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

    El Gordo
    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: Spice City Toronto

      Thanks so much for this great info SCT, I've marked all these spots on my map!

      1. Go to the back of Emporio Latino (an itty bitty grocery store) and get a cheese and chorizo pupusa from the ladies in the back.

        Head over to El Gordo, which has a bit of a food court set up and see if you have the patience to try something at Agave y Aguacate for some freshly made Mexican food.

        Tap Phong is the best place for kitchen gear (though it's officially Chinatown and not Kensington Market).

        Moonbeam Coffee does an apple cider slushie that is so refreshing on a hot day.

        Oh, and stop into La Tortilleria to pick up a kilo of fresh tortillas to toss into your freezer. Their tortilla chips are particularly good, too.

        Tap Phong
        360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

        El Gordo
        214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

        7 Replies
        1. re: TorontoJo

          The art of the pupusa has been taken to another level at Pupusa Gourmet, one of the stalls at El Gordo. They are made freshly, are significantly larger, and use many of the different Segovia chorizos in their options of fillings. They offer the typical slaw salad with them, but what they also do is offer three (choice of or all) different freshly made hot sauces that are utterly fantastic. He's the queit guy at the back who is patiently waiting while the A y A lineup that dominates the little space foes through. One of the family that is also responsible for the empanadas.

          El Gordo
          214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

          1. re: Snarf

            Oh, hey, thanks for the tip! That might very well be lunch tomorrow...

            1. re: TorontoJo

              If you do, there's now a patio with tables and chairs out the back. The fruit smoothies are also pretty darned good. Try the lolo!

              1. re: Snarf

                I saw that about the patio -- nice. What's in the lolo?

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  TJ & Snarf you guys are amazing, thanks for these recommendations! I can't wait to check these places out!

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    It is the local name for a kind of South American fruit. Not sure what name we would know it buy, but it has a great flavour and texture. Many other flavours available, and the pricing is somewhere around the 4 dollar mark for a large.

              2. re: Snarf

                So I did end up going for lunch on Friday with a friend. We got the Colombian pupusa from the pupusa guy and the chicken tinga, steak salad, side of guac and a lime charlotte from Agave y Aguadente. We sat out back in the sunny and wholly urban (read: trees, weeds, parked cars, open brick garage, random stuff being stored outside) back patio. The day couldn't be more beautiful and we both enjoyed our lunch. The pupusa filling (chorizo, cilantro and something else) was very good and the hot sauces were all tasty, with the green one being our favourite. Best to eat fresh, when the edges of the pupusa are still a bit crispy. The tinga was delicious, if very rich. The steak salad had beautiful fresh flavours, but we both disliked the texture of the shredded beef. It was pale and chewy, and almost seemed to have been citrus cured. Guacamole was excellent. Lime charlotte was delicious and rich (my friend dubbed it a "Mexican tiramisu").

                Not a destination spot for me, but certainly worthy of a meal when I'm in the area.

            2. Miss Cora's Kitchen - AMAZING chocolate chip cookies. Pretty much all of their baked goods are incredible.

              Krepesz European Palacsinta Cafe - any Palacsinta is great. So yummy. Can't understand how it is so under the radar.

              My Market Bakery - for the banana bread. Sooooo good. Sooooo cheap. Like 3 bucks I think.

              And of course, Jumbo Empanadas.

              3 Replies
              1. re: magic

                Miss Cora's butterscotch chip BACON cookies are even more amazing.

                For kitchen kitsch and tchotchkes, there's Sasmart. And for cookbooks and more designy tchotchkes, there's Good Egg.

                Good Egg
                267 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                1. re: num nums

                  I'll have to try those, thanks!

                  1. re: num nums

                    Huh what? Butterscotch chip bacon cookies? Maybe I can finally drag my husband to the market!

                2. Akram's - good combination plate specials and broaster chicken.

                  taco stand at the back of Perola's - new incarnation of an old favourite.

                  Segovia - best sausages in the city

                  Sanagan's - great butcher shop, not outrageously expensive like other high end butcher shops in the city.

                  247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aser

                    I agree with Snarf that the pupusa stall inside El Gordo is outstanding. This is one good looking pupusa!


                    El Gordo
                    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                  2. I'd kick off with the Hot and Sour soup at E-Pan on Spadina - it's loaded with shrimp and pork. Then I'd have tacos at Salsas, the Mexican place at 249 Augusta Avenue, followed by a lemon crepe and wonderful coffee at the Hungarian place a few doors north. Around the world in one lunch!

                    369 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G3, CA