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Old East York food crawl (east of Pape)

prima Mar 28, 2013 02:56 PM

Which spots would you include?

I'm thinking Rally (1660 O'Connor), Danforth Pizza House (920 Danforth), Fuzz Box (1246 Danforth), Pizze Pide (949 Gerrard E).

Thanks for any ideas.

  1. prima Feb 7, 2014 05:17 AM

    Finally getting around to the East York nosh tour. How late is Sultan open on Fridays? (Edit: http://www.sultanofsamosas.com/ open until 9 pm on Fridays


    Which other places would you recommend hitting up?

    Would Rendez-Vous be your first pick for Ethiopian, now that Dukem has closed? I haven't done any Ethiopian on the Danforth as of yet.

    17 Replies
    1. re: prima
      Klafouti Feb 7, 2014 06:23 AM

      Oh!! Dukem is gone!? That's tragic.

      I haven't been to the others in a while but I preferred Wazema to Rendez-Vous. I found Rendez-Vous' injera a bit tough (too much barley I think), the veg combo was served room temperature, and some of the wots were oversalted.

      I hadn't found Wazema as exciting as Dukem, where I particularly liked how different all the veg wots were from each other, but I had no particular complaints.

      1. re: Klafouti
        prima Feb 7, 2014 10:47 AM


        Has anyone tried the spaghetti at Wazema? Haven't noticed that at other Ethiopian restaurants before. (Not that I'm judging, sometimes restaurants need to offer spaghetti, fries or a ham sandwich for picky eaters that end up in a restaurant).

        1. re: prima
          hal2010 Feb 7, 2014 10:59 AM

          Spaghetti is not uncommon in restaurants in Ethiopia. The Italians occupied the country for a few years around WWII and left behind some culinary influences.

          1. re: hal2010
            prima Feb 7, 2014 11:02 AM

            That makes sense.

            I just haven't noticed it on any Ethiopian menus I've seen in other Canadian cities (I haven't been to Ethiopia), but perhaps the larger Ethiopian population in TO might mean there'd be more of a demand for Ethiopian spaghetti. Have you tried it at any of the Ethiopian restos in TO?


            1. re: prima
              hal2010 Feb 8, 2014 07:33 PM

              No, haven't tried the spaghetti at any of Toronto's Ethiopian restaurants. Like Klafouti says, it can be anything from a berbere-spiced bolognese to just spice and butter on noodles.

            2. re: hal2010
              pakmode Feb 14, 2014 08:07 AM

              It's pretty common in some of the Somali and East African restaurants around the city as well. Definitely the influence of Italia.
              I did a double take the first time I saw housemade Tiramisu offered on a menu at a Somali restaurant in Etobicoke lol.

        2. re: prima
          Googs Feb 7, 2014 09:44 AM

          Well if you're going to Sultan of Samosas, it seems silly not to hit up Rally Smokehouse. Can't recall if you've been there yet or not. Anyway, recommend unheated take-out from Sultan (hey, they'll stay refrigerated in your trunk) and dine at Rally. I've been digging their specials of late so if your server doesn't tell you what they are, ask. Oh, and there's a chalkboard at the entrance that'll tell you too.

          1. re: prima
            hal2010 Feb 7, 2014 09:49 AM

            I like Lalibela after Dukem

            1. re: hal2010
              prima Feb 7, 2014 10:46 AM

              Thanks, hal2010.

              Oops. I wrote too soon. Lalibela also offers spaghetti. As well as wings,chicken noodle soup, chicken burgers, Caesar salad and carrot cake.

              1. re: hal2010
                Klafouti Feb 8, 2014 07:16 AM

                Good point - I forgot about Lalibela's Danforth location. This thread is making me want to go back to both Lalibela and Wazema and do a head-to-head comparison!

                I do think it's a bit amusing about the spaghetti coming to Toronto. I haven't been tempted to try it yet, but perhaps curiosity will prevail… When in Ethiopia I had many wildly different versions of spaghetti - there didn't seem to be a standard "this is Ethiopian spaghetti". Most were berbere-flavoured red sauces, with different levels of heat, and oil/butter, some were tomato-based and some were just spices, and there were many creative toppings, like French fries, fried zucchini, carrots, slices of green hot pepper, whole olives, cubes of potato… but the occasional one was a straight up Italian-tasting tomato-basil sauce. Never had a single overcooked noodle though.

                1. re: Klafouti
                  prima Feb 14, 2014 06:59 AM

                  Maybe we'll order some spaghetti just to see what you get on the Danforth.

                  1. re: prima
                    Klafouti Feb 14, 2014 07:01 AM

                    Please report back! :)

                    1. re: Klafouti
                      prima Feb 15, 2014 03:47 PM

                      We had already sampled some pides at Pizze Pide, so we only ended up ordering a veg platter for 1 and a meat platter for 1 at Lalibela. I seem to like the veg dishes better than the meat dishes at every Ethiopian restaurant I've tried, incl Lalibela.

                      I'll report back if I get around to trying the spaghetti on another visit.

                      1. re: prima
                        foodyDudey Feb 15, 2014 05:37 PM

                        Did you include Rally on this food trip? I am just wondering how you liked it, after how it was last week when I was there with 11 or 12 others. (big fail)

                        1. re: foodyDudey
                          prima Feb 15, 2014 06:57 PM

                          Nope. My east of Pape food crawl started with chicken souvlaki at Asteria, followed by 3 VON doughnuts shared with a friend for lunch, then the Pizze Pide lahmacun and assorted pide, followed by a combo platter and ginger tea at Lalibela for dinner.

                          I haven't had a burger since Dec, I only like dark meat fried chicken (Rally switched to a fried chicken breast), and I don't go out of my way for smokey BBQ /smokey wings, so Rally dropped off my wishlist. .

                          1. re: prima
                            foodyDudey Feb 15, 2014 08:36 PM

                            All I have to say if my visit was typical, you didn't miss anything! Wait till the Olympics are over and their regular chefs return before you try it. In my quick review I surmised that the A-team chefs are in Sochi cooking for team Canada as that was my polite explanation food last week.

                            1. re: foodyDudey
                              prima Feb 16, 2014 03:12 AM

                              Yep, I had read your review. Sorry to read that you and your buddies didn't enjoy it.

                              While I'm not likely to visit Rally soon since I haven't been seeking out sports bar food/pub grub/BBQ/burgers/wings, I think most restaurants and kitchens have good days and bad days. No restaurant can please everyone.

            2. a
              air621 Apr 5, 2013 05:59 PM

              I would add Armenian Kitchen, though it may technically be Scarborough. As well, Little Coxwell is tasty, as is (was) the Donlands Restaurant. I heard it changed owners so I can't comment further.

              1. d
                DJFoodMMAn Apr 3, 2013 04:06 PM

                Beside Simba Grill is Raj Kapuri who's known for their donair's. From what I understand, the owner is Indian from East Africa. I've been told by my friend, who's also Indian from East Africa, RK is quite popular within their community. As for the food, their donairs is a rustic meat and pita combination topped with a unique bbq-like sauce and onions. They make their samosas to order so they were super hot and tasty when i had them. I found their samosa style similar to Sultan's tent.

                1. Baelsette Apr 3, 2013 02:30 PM

                  I LOVE the pasta at North Pole bakery at Danforth and Greenwood. Everyday they have a different pasta, all homemade. My favourite is the ravioli on Wednesdays, the cheese filled is unbelievable. I've also tried the chicken sandwiches, smothered in homemade tomato sauce and peppers, yummo!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Baelsette
                    neighborguy Feb 7, 2014 06:39 AM

                    I didn't find North Pole outstanding. Servers not friendly.

                    1. re: neighborguy
                      foodyDudey Feb 7, 2014 06:43 AM

                      Were they a bit "colder" than most?

                    2. re: Baelsette
                      Pincus Feb 7, 2014 11:49 AM

                      They are as friendly as most middle aged Italian women are in that neighbourhood. i.e. I don't really notice anymore.

                    3. Davwud Apr 3, 2013 04:54 AM

                      I've been to Simba Grill and quite liked it. It was definitely "Blogworthy."
                      The two biggest things I think are they have best Samosas (similar in style to the Sultan's) and they had the absolute best Butter Chicken I've had. It was simply amazing.

                      Since it's on the east side of Pape I'll toss Folia into the mix. It's small but you can actually do a nice spread of little things. Mrs. Sippi and I went once and had Steve disassemble our gyro and almost did everything tapas style. Very nice meal.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Davwud
                        Ubervache Apr 3, 2013 07:15 AM

                        I'll second Folia. I've been a big fan of theirs since they opened. I have a weakness for the Zucchini Fries and the fresh feta they bring in for their salads.

                      2. Googs Apr 2, 2013 10:42 AM

                        Strictly Old East York, or do the new borders count?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Googs
                          prima Feb 7, 2014 05:18 AM

                          Not strict about the borders.

                        2. Googs Apr 2, 2013 09:13 AM

                          Time for dessert? Try Du Cafe on the west side of O'Connor north of St Clair. Ignore the Yelp review from the first-time poster. Probably a competitor. The owner is a little eccentric, but extremely friendly.

                          1. u
                            Ubervache Apr 2, 2013 06:32 AM

                            If you're already at Rally, keep heading North to Vic Park, and Eglinton and in the same plaza as the No Frills, there is a fantastic Turkish place called Shirin Kebob House. Really nice pide's, beef and chicken shwarma wraps, and a nice selection of other Turkish dishes.

                            1. prima Apr 1, 2013 09:44 AM

                              Thanks, everyone! Great suggestions...

                              1. p
                                pakmode Apr 1, 2013 09:21 AM

                                I would feel comfortable adding the original Bamiyan Kabob restaurant to your list. It's on Overlea/Thornecliffe, so definitely in East York.

                                1. hal2010 Mar 28, 2013 08:33 PM

                                  Leaside was in East York so I'd include Olde York Fish and Chips.

                                  1. c
                                    cheesymama Mar 28, 2013 06:31 PM

                                    While you are at Rally you should head across the street to Sultan of Samosas. I hear good things about Simba Grill on Donlands, but haven't been myself. If you are looking for wings try The Wally at the corner of Donlands and O'Connor, kind of divey but really good wings.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: cheesymama
                                      pakmode Apr 1, 2013 09:19 AM

                                      I went to Simba Grill last year. We ordered one of the large mixed platters where it contains samplings of most of the menu. Unfortunately, most of the menu is deep-fried lol.

                                      I've never had wings at The Wally, but I will have to try them out.

                                      1. re: pakmode
                                        cheesymama Apr 1, 2013 02:51 PM

                                        Wings are half price with an alcoholic bev on Tues and Thurs.

                                      2. re: cheesymama
                                        Herne Apr 1, 2013 12:32 PM

                                        Had 3 kinds of Samosas from the Sultan on Easter and they were the hit of the afternoon.

                                        1. re: Herne
                                          Full tummy Apr 1, 2013 02:13 PM

                                          Sultan of Samosas is an absolute MUST!!

                                        2. re: cheesymama
                                          Ubervache Apr 2, 2013 06:29 AM

                                          I also have to toss in a recommendation for Sultan of Samosas. They have a great selection and since they are busy, there is really good turnover of the samosas so nothing is sitting out long. The pakoras are also really nice.

                                          1. re: Ubervache
                                            julesrules Apr 3, 2013 11:34 PM

                                            I bet prima has already tried the Sultan but I agree it is a good addition to a food crawl. But prima, in the odd event you *haven't* been there, since I believe you share my love of spinach pastries of all kinds, they make a spinach samosa and it is divine :)

                                            1. re: julesrules
                                              Full tummy Apr 4, 2013 09:34 AM

                                              You are right about that spinach samosa. Impossible to stop at one or even three. I know from experience!!!

                                          2. re: cheesymama
                                            Googs Apr 2, 2013 10:43 AM

                                            Sultan is good, but strictly take out.

                                          3. a
                                            afong56 Mar 28, 2013 04:51 PM

                                            fwiw, mr. pide over pizza pide, imho

                                            1. grandgourmand Mar 28, 2013 04:24 PM

                                              Not exactly my hood...but a few places I'd have on my list:

                                              1) Dukem
                                              2) Morgan's...like the wings (but I was drunk so take with a grain of salt)
                                              3) Mix some dim sum in there at Har Gow (decent quality)
                                              4) Does beer count as food? Right next to Har Gow is The Only

                                              Pizza Pide is on Pape, but the West side of the street. If we're being technical about border demarcations.

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