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Dining and shopping in London, 2014

The 'Eating London' thread is getting old, so I thought it's a good time to start a new thread for London. To keep this thread as current as possible, I'm only mentioning the restaurants and shops I've visited in the last 2 months.

Chef Brian Lavery posted a comprehensive list mentioning many of London's best restaurants for various types of food on his blog: http://ethicalgourmet.blogspot.ca/201...

I'd add Black Trumpet as my favourite spot for fine dining. I also had a decent, moderately priced dinner at Blu Duby before a Sunday night concert at Budweiser Gardens in November. Relatively few independently-owned downtown London restaurants apart from David's Bistro and Blu Duby are open Sunday nights.

Remark Fresh Market and the Covent Garden Market are my favourite places to buy groceries.

Hot Oven's burek is my favourite snack at the Covent Garden Market.

I still haven't visited the Western Fair Farmers' Market, which I plan to visit at some point this year.

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  1. Not the right time of year, but the Trails End farmers market is my favourite anywhere. Make sure you get some breakfast sausage from the Mennonite butchers place.

    Great pad Thai is to be had at Quynh Nhi on wharnecliffe rd.

    And of course Portuguese churrascco at King of Pigs (Rei dos leitoes).

    1. Just wanted to add a few thoughts.
      Lately, I've been enjoying coffee at Fire Roasted's King St location. http://www.fireroastedcoffee.com/Arti...

      There's also a new espresso place called Locomotive Espresso that opened earlier this month, which I haven't tried yet.

      Angelo's Bakery on Wonderland North is well-stocked these days. Lots of Italian and Polish imported products, and several types of frozen pelmeni and perogies. Small selection of good quality produce. It's nice to see Angelo's improve its game.

      I recently had a nice Sunday brunch at Garlic's. Recommend the salmon brioche to anyone who likes smoked salmon and hollandaise.

      2 Replies
      1. re: prima

        Nice to see some new dishes on The Only on King's menu:

        1. re: prima

          I went to Locomotive Espresso on Good Friday. It was open and quite busy. A nice spot, roomier than a lot of coffee shops, but full of students camped out with laptops. Anyway, the shop uses Pilot coffee and the barista pulled a decent shot. I had a flat white, which was very good.

          They make some muffins and breads in house, I think. I had a slice of the banana bread and it was really tasty.

          I'd definitely go back, given the dearth of good coffee shops in London. I haven't tried Fire Roasted yet.

        2. Are there any CEE (Central Eastern European) Delis in London?

          I'm thinking like Glogowski Euro Food and Finest Meats in KW, or Starskys and Blue Danube Sausage in TO.

          4 Replies
          1. re: DockPotato

            Yep, there are several Central Euro Delis, although none are as large as Starsky's. The largest Polish store in London would be Alicia's on Trafalgar Rd http://www.alicias.ca/

            Kleiber's in the Covent Garden Market currently has Polish owners, and it has a hot table, as well as a deli section and dry goods.

            The newest Polish food place that's getting good reviews is http://www.uniquefoodattitudes.ca/ on Dundas E.

            I've heard good things about the perogies and other foods at Helen's at 1830 Wharncliffe Rd.,, which is a restaurant, but has some foods for take-out. http://cabbagestore.com/ I haven't been yet.

            There's also a smaller Polish store in the Wonderland Corners plaza on Wonderland Rd North called European Delights.

            I haven't been to the Macedonian deli on Highbury in a while, not sure if it's still there.

            Also, khaosanroad recommended Gigolaj's Bakery at 317 Adelaide St S for cevapi and other Bosnian treats, but I haven't made it yet. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9089...

            Angelo's on Wonderland N also carries a lot of Polish cheeses, luncheon meats and dry goods.

            DockPotato, I just realized we discussed the same topic here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6714... :) Most information in that somewhat dated thread is still relevant.

            1. re: prima

              Thank you. Just checking for anything new.

              1. re: DockPotato

                SInce the last thread, there are some new restaurants you might want to try, in addition to Unique Food Attitudes and Helen's:

                Kantina serves Serbian food made from locally-sourced products when possible


                Milos has a great selection of beers, including some from Central Europe. The food is mostly pub food, but I've heard good things about the Bitterballen (Dutch-style croquettes)


                There's also a new European pastry shop on Richmond St south of Oxford West, which has kipfel and strudel in their pastry case. I'll try this place out next month.

                Also, Felipe from Aroma Restaurant has opened Aroma Café on Richmond south of Picadilly, which has sandwiches, a few house-made pastries, natas, as well as some LaRocca cakes.

                If you have a chance to visit the Masonville Farmers' Market during the summer, there's an amazing German bakery from Goderich that sells German breads and pastries from a trailer.

                1. re: prima

                  Delicious chickpea burger and tasty jerk chicken sandwich at Milos on the corner of Talbot and Carling. Most sandwiches are $11 on the lunch menu, with your choice of a daily soup, green salad or fries. Friendly service, too.

          2. Five Fortune is a new Chinese restaurant located at the southeast corner of Richmond and King. I haven't been yet, but looks promising.

            1. Brazza is a new upscale Portuguese restaurant in Hyde Park. The online photos of their food look great. It's next on my list of places to try in London.


              1 Reply
              1. re: prima

                I enjoyed the caldo verde and grilled squid with smashed potatoes and vegetables (see photo) at Brazza. Service was friendly. They also do take-out.

                I recently tried the fresh rolls, green mango salad and pineapple red curry chicken at Mai ' s Cafe in Wortley Village. I liked their green mango salad, but wouldn't reorder their fresh rolls or red curry.

                I revisited Quynh Nhi on Wharncliffe Rd for a Vietnamese lunch few weeks ago. Enjoyed the bun I ordered as well as the fresh rolls. http://www.quynhnhi.ca/

              2. Enjoyed a late lunch of spanakopita, dill garden salad and beef souvlaki at Mythic Grill on Albert St today. One of the best and most generous Greek-style salads( the dill garden salad doesn't include feta, but the menu includes a Village Salad for those who want feta) I've had in a restaurant in a long time, with ripe, flavourful tomatoes, lots of fresh dill and a good olive oil.

                1. Thanks prima for initiating this thread!

                  Overall, I agree with Chef Lavery's list (especially about David's Bistro being the best -- love it there so much that I got married there in a very "I do let's eat" type affair)...but I would say that best authentic thai in the city is Mai's Bistro in Wortley Village.

                  My favourite Japanese restaurant in the city is Shiki on Wellington, close second would be Gozen (but technically it's Korean-Japanese).

                  I tried Helen's on Wharncliffe -- delicious Polish food but it's a hole-in-a-wall type of place, which I happen to love, but some may not be into that.

                  Another hidden gem for pub food/casual dining would be Morrissey House on Dundas. The food has been consistently impressive. Again, the interior may be a deterrent for some. The cottage pie is my absolute favourite. Also pleasantly impressed by the homemade soups and ice-creams! I'd steer clear of most desserts there, aside from the gelato/ice-cream.

                  Would love to hear more about other hidden gems in the city. I've been living here for over 10 years now and I'm still finding new places to try!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: roho1

                    Hi roho1,
                    I haven't been dining out much in London lately, but I'm hoping to try
                    Unique Food Attitudes on Dundas East http://www.uniquefoodattitudes.ca/ and
                    Icarus (opened by Zack Agathos, the grandson of the people who had run Huron House and the Dancing Greek Taverna) on Richmond St https://www.facebook.com/pages/Icarus...


                    I'd also like to try the brunch at The Only on King at some point. http://www.theonlyonking.ca/

                    I noticed Tasty Coast on Springbank Drive has closed, and has been replaced by a Chinese restaurant named Master Kitchen.

                    The European pastry shop I mentioned a few months ago is called Euro Pastry, and is located at 727 Richmond. It's owned by a couple who immigrated from Serbia. http://www.europastrylo.ca/about.html

                    story about Euro Pastry http://www.londoncommunitynews.com/ne...

                    Some other info about recent openings in downtown London:

                    Farm Boy is a locally-focused/Ontario-focused grocery store which recently opened on Wellington South, near Southdale.

                  2. As an ex-torontoite there are a few places that I enjoy here in my new-ish home!


                    Billy's Deli
                    Morresey House
                    The Bungalow
                    Korean House
                    Fromaggio's Pizza
                    Mai's Thai (not sure that's the right name, but it's in Wortley)


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ONstilts

                      I agree, Billy's Deli is a great place, especially for breakfast, brunch, deli sandwiches and pie.

                      Thanks for heads up re: Formaggio's http://formaggiospieshack.com/Formagg... and Mai Thai. Will have to check them out.

                    2. Recently bought some sheftalia sausages, chicken legs and ribeye from the Hungary Butcher on Dundas St E. Nice guy running the shop. The meats are locally sourced. Sausages are made in house. He also stocks some Portuguese and Polish products. Prices are comparable to Chris' Country Meats at the Covent Garden Market.

                      I also bought a tourtiere, and a selection of 6 pastries (custard slice, eclair, caramel pecan tart, butter tart, walnut fig square, can't recall the others) from the Artisan Bakery, also on Dundas E. Enjoyed everything I tried. The owners are Dutch, and they have a Dutch apple tart I'll try next.

                      Newest kid in town is La Noisette patisserie on Oxford E, which I haven't tried yet.

                      I tried the poutine and wings at Beertown in Masonville. The wings weren't very good. The poutine was fairly typical Sysco resto poutine. Popular place, but I wouldn't return to Beertown for the food.

                      Has anyone eaten at the Black Shire Pub lately? How is the food?

                      1. Noticed Taste of Asia on Waterloo south of Dundas advertising hot pot, noodles and dim sum. Haven't been.

                        1. Noticed Taste of Asia on Waterloo south of Dundas advertising hot pot, noodles and dim sum. Haven't been.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: prima

                            Thanks for the tip. Haven't been either, but over the phone it sounds like they do a smattering of dishes - dim sum items mainly consist of har gow and siu mai, with some Northern specialties (red bean), noodles = singapore style, etc.

                          2. Olive R. Twists is now open in the Covent Garden Market.


                            1. Planning on visiting David's Bistro this weekend. Any suggestions on what to order. Party is four so we can sample many things.

                              BTW, what is the best way into London from the 401 ? Last time the Nava-computer took me in on Wellington. There has to be a better way than that (hopefully).

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                If you're driving to downtown London from the westbound 401 and want to go downtown, take the Highbury exit. Take Highbury Ave to Hamilton Rd, turn left onto Hamilton Road, then drive along Hamilton Rd until it becomes Horton St, then turn right to head north along Richmond St (if you're going directly to David's). Whether you take Wellington Road or the Highbury exit, it will take roughly 15-20 minutes to reach downtown London from the 401.

                                The duck confit is always good at David's. He used to have a fish stew on the menu which I liked, but it's not on the current menu. Seafood dishes tend to be good. Before operating David's, David Chapman had run Anthony's which was the best seafood restaurant in London for a long time. I don't tend to order much red meat, so I can't comment on the beef or bison, apart from saying I've heard good things about the braised short ribs which are sometimes a special. The Prix Fixe menu, which changes frequently, is also usually a good choice.http://www.davidsbistro.ca/menu.html

                                Have a nice dinner!

                                1. re: prima

                                  Sadly we weren't able to get into a fully booked David's, BUT it led to a new addition for this thread : Abruzzi (Italian) on King.

                                  Nice vibe, great energy (a little loud but it wasn't a bother), and most important every dish was great. We ordered mostly Specials and the salads, fish, seafood, fresh pasta, and apps were all delicious. Small but excellent wine selection. On the pricey side but very much worth it.

                                  BTW, thanks for the Highbury route tip. It is the only way to get into London from the east.

                                  David's is top on the list for next time...

                                  1. re: PoppiYYZ

                                    Glad you enjoyed Abruzzi. I'd say Abruzzi & The Only on King are my favourite upscale options in London right now. David's is great, but I eat at Abruzzi more often than David's.

                                    You might also want to check out Kantina on Talbot on a future visit.

                              2. I tried take-out from Taj Mahal recently. Nice people running this little restaurant/South Asian grocery store/Ring a Wing location (same kitchen is used for Ring a Wing and for preparing the South Asian food). There's 4 or 5 tables for people who want to eat there. The take-out was ready 15 minutes after it was ordered.
                                I tried the daily special of chicken tikka masala and rice ($6.99), beef curry ($6.99), large chicken biryani ($7.99) and some samosas. Nice flavours. I'll be back to try the veggie and non veggie thali (not mentioned on the website, but listed on the menu at the restaurant and in the take-out menus). They also have snacks such as pani puri, kathi rolls, etc. http://www.tajmahalfoods.ca/aboutUs.html

                                In the grocery section, there's frozen rasmalai, frozen gulab jamun, and soan cake (one of my favourite Indian sweets), which I haven't seen in London before.