Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Aug 8, 2013 07:16 PM

Taste of the danforth

Just wanted to know if anyone here is going? I don't like to go that much because it's the same food and it's pretty expensive if your going there on an empty stomach. one time I spent twenty bucks on four kabobs.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I plan to leave Toronto this weekend to get away from it. Mediocre food, an oily stench in the air for blocks around and traffic chaos. Who needs it.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Herne

      It's intersting you say that, I thought most people on the danforth LOVED it.

      Personally I like to go to Zet's for Souvlaki. But it's a once a year thing, hopefully it'll be better this year.

      1. re: flonie

        Trust me, there may be exceptions that prove the rule but the locals mostly hate it.

        1. re: bytepusher

          I liked it when I was young (like 12-14) mainly because you could roam with friends without your parents (because they hated it!) Even then though we'd usually just pig out on jelly bellies at the park though.

          1. re: bytepusher

            I think flonie was being sarcastic. Personally I think Taste of the Danforth might be Toronto's worst street festival. It's always insanely crowded, and the food is generally nothing particularly special (certainly not worth braving those crowds).

            1. re: Michael N

              I think I may agree with Michael N. The last time I went about 3 years ago, I found nothing of interest except smokey areas outside of the various restaurants. The crowds go every which way at once and really there isn't much to do there except buy a couple of souvalkie. I was going to NOTL to get away from this and other traffic chaos this weekend and just found out that the main street will be closed for the Peach festival. Looks like it might be time for a trip to Price Edward County for a lunch and a few bottles of wine.

              1. re: Michael N

                Actually I was serious, I didn't think locals dispised it. I live by Chinatown and we've had chinatown festivals but it doesn't draw as much as the Danforth one and it's been going for 13 years. If I hear people hating on it I figured it was just directed at the neighborhood but I didn't think it extended to the taste.

                I really wonder who are all those people that go tot he taste. I mean when you think about it, if locals don't like it, is it all these outside people? I don't go to teh Danforth during the year so this is the only time and based on the physical assault tonight I don't think I want to ever go back again.

                I've always heard people complain about crowds and stuff but people do not have license to push and shove and then verbally abuse people because you think their in your way. I was in line waiting for something (and we were close to the cash), someone cut right behind me, pushed me and when I called them on it she pushed me again (I lost my footing) and some guy verbally abused me. Everyone standing around did nothing. I feel terrible because I didn't say something back. Now it's going to eat away at me for a few days.

            2. re: Herne

              I guess to those who wanted to go last night but didnt, you missed this:


              1. re: jennjen18

                the mayor is an impressive promoter when he attends city events.

                - khao san road

            3. It is not even on my radar, I ignore the ads and don't even consider going to recommending it to people. Having said that, my first ever experience being on the Danforth was for the Taste of the Danforth so at least it does do a job in educating people about the area/etc. That was years ago and I have been back since but even though I don't mind crowds it is just too overwhelming now.

              There are so many other awesome food events happening this weekend that it is easy to avoid (see the Food Events thread) including Kultura the Filipino festival.

              1. I'm a Danforth local.

                Yes, it's noisy, yes, there's tons of people, yes, there's nothing dramatically amazing about the food.

                I still like the spectacle of it all. I like the simple, outdoor cooking. I like the sense of community. I like the money it brings to local businesses. I like the smiles of the crowd.

                Pooh-pooh it as you will; even taking into account the negatives, I still think it's a fun time and I still go every year.

                10 Replies
                1. re: biggreenmatt

                  I'm also one of those "locals". Generally I find that the crowd is enormous and can in fact be overwhelming. Excellent entertainment this year (Liona Boyd tonight). In so far as the food, it is a sampling of what the area has to offer. I feel that going to a restaurant before or after the festival is a better experience as what they serve at The Taste is not as good. This is almost more of a cultural event rather than a food event. But come on out and have some fun.....

                  1. re: Poorboy

                    Actually I would say yes to what you say but tonight when I went around 8 it was really crowded where we got on at Broadview. What's worse is the lines were horrendous. I mean at least twenty or thirty people in.

                    My sister wanted to try Messini's but it wasn't a line it was six people wide and then the line was massive. How could you tell who was in line when there's six people across in line?

                    While she waited at Christina's, I went to get some Honeyballs. That's when I was assaulted, yes assaulted. I was in line and suddenly someone shoves me. When I look back I see a blonde and I say "What the hell" Shen then pushes me again and some guy says "We're walking asian style" what is that supposed to mean? he said that twice. I really felt violated and assaulted. Worst of all was people saw what happened and one one did anything.

                    I'm really mad because I should have said "What is that supposed to mean? My people don't push but obviously someone as ignorant like you does" But I didn't do it. I'm really mad at myself. later I was almost in tears because of it. Went to talk to some cops and they were indifferent. I shoudl have grabbed the person and yelled assault.

                    It's things like that make me not want to go back there again. I mean there is no decency or civilization at the taste. I don't remember it ever being this bad before. At one point someone with a wheel chair wanted to cut through our line but then everyone else was going through.

                    The food is ok I guess, I got a chance to try liberatto and I found it to be just meh. I like the pizza at Fresco's better.

                    All in all, expensive and what would have been ok turned into a disaster for me.

                  2. re: biggreenmatt

                    Also being a local, I love to see the money being brought to the businesses on the Danforth, but I leave town on this weekend. I can get the same food on Monday for half the price and not get trampled to death getting it.

                    1. re: BIGeater100

                      There's a lot less money being brought to the local businesses on the Danforth than most people seem to think, it's my understanding that most of the restaurants either lose money or break even but make it back on the bump they get in the period following the festival and a lot of the non-restaurant retailers lose big (Sun Valley, when they were still around, claimed once that their revenue was reduced by 100K compared to a regular weekend)

                      1. re: bytepusher

                        Many of the local businesses rent out their frontage to vendors at a hefty price tag if they don't sell food/product themselves. This brings a tremendous amount of cash to the operators. Then there are the businesses who have figured out exactly how to capitalize on the event and they do very well!

                        It can never be that 100% prosper so possibly some suffer the absence of their normal clientele causing them to lose some money, or some places overhead may get so bloated that they too lose money?

                        Overall I wonder what the net gain is?

                        1. re: justsayn

                          Publicity for the olive oil company that sponsors it?

                          1. re: justsayn

                            Is this the same person that went to New sky? I feel like we've met on another thread, just wondering.

                          2. re: bytepusher

                            Really? Are you sure of this?

                            I've been told by one restaurant owner that they take in enough money to cover their taxes for the year.

                            1. re: bytepusher

                              How would the restaurants be losing or even breaking even?! One of the restaurant owners was on TV reporting how many hundreds of pounds of meat he had to buy for the weekend. I too am a local and when I see how much prices are hiked up on items I find it really hard to imagine the weekend not being an advantage for the businesses. The eating is definitely not a value proposition for the visitors.

                              In all I am also happy there is a street festival to bring in business and foot traffic. I'm even happier to support the strip the rest of the year when it's less packed and I can enjoy the experience.

                            2. re: BIGeater100

                              I think the experience is not bad but you are right about being trampled. But I suppose the food isn't as fresh, at least for the meats it is.

                          3. I'm a local, and I do one small walkaround, and then that's it. Not much value in the food experiences you can get.

                            1. Anyone see what Globe is doing this year? Libretto had margherita slices, meatball sliders and caprese at $5 each or pizza/salad combo with drink for $10 - and no line. Ouzeri had my past fave lamb and chicken rosemary pies at $3, they must have made them smaller this year because I swear they were always $4?
                              I didn't actually eat anything other than a gourmet Popsicle from outside the Only. It was just ok. To my surprise had a lot of fun taking my kids tonight - I think the secret is refusing to line up for crappy food.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: julesrules

                                i head to globe every year. had most of their offerings tonight. gazpacho for $3. pork/bc tuna/vegetarian tacos or tostadas for $5. also peach cobbler sundae and ice cream bars.

                                didn't have the sweets but everything else was solid. always a short lineup as well.

                                1. re: julesrules

                                  the chicken and lamb pie was so small for $3 if your going to charge at least give somethign decent for a decent price.

                                  1. re: flonie

                                    That's what I figured, that they had to be tiny. Too bad.

                                  2. re: julesrules

                                    Short visit close to opening time last night, hit 7 numbers for their lamb Spedduci, Globe and believe it or not the resurrected Tapas by Embrujo who have a proper Madrid style calamari sandwich which was pretty good (fair warning it's room temp so some will find that odd but that's correct)

                                    The Globe ice cream bars were off the hook

                                    Caramel ice cream bars, enrobed in chocolate and dipped in roasted walnuts and crumbled bacon.

                                    The Tacos al Pastor were solid

                                    1. re: julesrules

                                      Libretto's offering is a good deal up to their restaurant standards on quality. Each $5 item comes with a decent serving of arugula with toasted good quality walnuts and shaved Parmesan. The combo gets you slider or pizza, the salad, generous serving of caprese AND a San Pelligrino soda. This is a decent little $10 meal by any standards , if not super street-food friendly.

                                      1. re: julesrules

                                        what is the caprese? I'm confused that wasn't the salad was it?

                                        1. re: flonie

                                          Caprese is tomatoes and mozzarella with basil. The arugula is a side salad with the slider and pizza, but generous and well done.
                                          The desserts at Globe are also a good deal. I found the bacon walnut chocolate caramel ice cream bar (not sandwich) too salty/not sweet enough, and I do love salty desserts, but it was worth trying.

                                          1. re: julesrules

                                            I think I remember seeing Globe, I don't know names because I don't come here alot. Were they beside a cuban restaurant? I tried the crab cake, not that great for $4. The ice cream bar sounded interesting but I'm not a big fan of ice cream and bacon. So is Caprese like a salad?