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Religious-based food events or restaurants, GTA and beyond

Hounds seem to be quite familiar with traditional and modern halal and kosher foods in the GTA. In addition, I have often eaten Sikh food at Brampton's gurdwara langar community kitchens (free vegetarian food shared with anyone who visits), and Hindu veg food (during and after pooja/puja ceremonies in people's homes) but what intrigues me is finding foods and eateries of other faiths (Christian (Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox), Baha'i, Hare Krishna, Buddhist, etc.) What got me thinking about this topic was Twin Fish Thai Christian restaurant in Peel region and considering what makes it Christian (none of the stereotypes apply!). Help me find good food (chow-worthy) that celebrates faith and religious belief (but is open to non-believers). Any festivals or house of worship-based bazaars also welcome.

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  1. Sidetracking a bit but what about Trappist beers at Sin and Redemption on McCaul?

    13 Replies
    1. re: Frids

      Or Burgers Priest for burgers? :-)

      1. re: foodyDudey

        Cute. That covers Protestant Christian. :)

        1. re: foodyDudey

          Holy Chuck seems to be a close second on some of their delicious offerings.

          1. re: Food Tourist

            It's only Catholic if you don't enjoy it.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                Martin Luther also liked his beer. Some beer is Lutheran. Esp the Lutheran Monk Brewery's beer.

                1. re: prima

                  This explains why Catholics have most agreement with Lutherans in official ecumenical dialogue.

            1. re: Frids

              I found a statue of St. Jude with a candle on the bar at a new Mexican-French brunch restaurant Huevos Gourmet in New Toronto. St. Jude is patron of impossible causes (he intercedes when you're desperate). Kind of fitting for a restaurant that opened in another failed restaurant space.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                Incidentally, all their table tops are photos of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. (This place is otherwise clearly Mexican, though. Some very decent huevos rancheros on the menu.)

                1. re: Food Tourist

                  They added St. Therese of Lisieux to the bar. Must be needing extra prayers during a slow summer!

                  This made me think of all the buddhas and bodhisatvas at Thai restaurants. I wonder how respectful or disrespectful it seems to practicing buddhists to see their role models on display presumably as decor. Incidentally, using saints to watch over a space is different to mere decor.

                2. re: Frids

                  Had brunch on Sunday after Mass at St. Patrick's -- many menu items have religious pun or theme names. Not great food. But stellar beer list and Trappist section. Ordered a gueuze.

                3. St John's Festival is on this weekend (July 11th, 12th, 13th), at St John's Greek Orthodox Church on Warden in Scarborough.

                  $10 admission (Food and drink are not included in admission price, but reasonably priced)
                  Greek food (souvlaki, spanakopita, pastitso, loukamades, other sweets), along with Greek music and dancing. Open to everyone, but the crowd tends to be mostly Greek.

                  Greek church festivals are held at various Greek Orthodox churches throughout the summer. Different weekends for different saints in the Orthodox Church.

                  Also, the Christkindlmarkt (the TO version is held in the Distillery District at Christmas time) was originally based on faith, even if it's become increasingly commercialized and mostly secular at this point in time. Some Xmas baked good trivia: The shape of Stollen is modelled after the shape of Baby Jesus swaddled in cloth.

                  1. Feel free to add halal, kosher, hindu and sikh food ideas on this thread - don't limit to the OP request. :)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Food Tourist

                      The syrupy sweets on Gerrard St are pretty amazing during Diwali. Not sure what they're called, though!

                          1. re: prima

                            Once I had homemade jalebis at a Diwali house puja/party, I was spoiled for life. Imagine funnel cake made fresh, with just a hint of sweet syrup on top. Heaven indeed.

                    2. Since Ramadan is in full swing you are welcome to drop by almost any Mosque or Islamic Centre across the GTA for the sunset meal called Iftar, literally 'breaking of the fast' or break-fast lol.

                      There are free community meals daily at Mosques, or there are even opportunities to visit homes for home-cooked meals. Several great initiatives out there as outlined below.




                      1. Good idea for a thread. I am always curious about various "church sales" of food/etc. Often see signs for bake sales and other ethnic food but never gone.

                        1. Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Demetrius at 3338 Lake Shore Blvd West usually has once a month lunch open to the public where you can buy perogi, cabbage rolls and a few other Ukrainian foods. I don't see any coming up on their calendar so they may be on a summer break.

                          1. Although they insist that they are non-denominational, Govinda's at 243 Avenue Road (in the Hare Krishna Temple) fully complies with all the Hindu meal requirements.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: estufarian

                              When the monk in charge of the kitchen cooks the food at Govinda is superb. See prior posts.

                              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                Here's the link. Adults cost $10 contribution. http://www.govindas.ca The menu varies daily.

                            2. Ho- Lee Chow.
                              When one opened on Bathurst near Drewry I thought it was kosher.

                              1. Without provoking a political argument, is there any restaurant or eatery in the GTA that combines Israeli and Palestinian cuisine? I'd like to support peace through eating side by side.

                                16 Replies
                                  1. re: Food Tourist

                                    I don't know where you can get that sort of food in Toronto, but Ottolenghi has some restos in London, United Queendom

                                    1. re: foodyDudey

                                      Fat Pasha is as close as Toronto gets to Ottolenghi.

                                  2. re: Food Tourist

                                    Jerusalem on Eglinton Ave West is what you want. http://www.jerusalemrestaurant.ca/

                                    I just checked the website and see they have three locations, in the past the Eglinton location said they were not affiliated with the Leslie one. I am not sure if there was a change of ownership. But the food is common, after all these two groups are actually genetically related and are just having a family feud.

                                    1. re: foodyDudey

                                      Is it both halal and kosher? That was the main question I had about that exact place (Eglinton location).

                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                        That is not mentioned anywhere on the website, better call and ask. I'd think it would be halal and kosher but better check if that is important.

                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                          No. Jerusalem is not kosher. There are several websites that list the recognized kosher restaurants and recognized halal restaurants in Toronto.

                                          For kosher Middle Eastern/ Israeli/Iraqi food, there's Dr Laffa. Yehudale' s serves kosher falafel.

                                          That being said, Jerusalem, Armenian Kitchen and Tabule attract customers of all backgrounds and belief systems, even if they don't meet the requirements for customers who keep a strictly halal or kosher diet. I'd think you'd be more likely to find a mixed faith customer base at Fat Pasha, Jerusalem, Armenian Kitchen or Tabule than at a kosher or halal restaurant.

                                          1. re: prima

                                            Isn't Fat Pasha predominantly Israeli/Jewish in menu?

                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                              Fat Pasha serves up the same kinds of foods you'd find at an Ottolenghi /Tamimi run restaurant, so I'd consider it modern Levantine cuisine or modern Israeli cuisine (including the culinary contributions from the Palestinian communities living in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel.)

                                              1. re: prima

                                                Thanks Prima. I did mention that cookbook above. I was just wondering if Fat Pasha intends to include many traditions.

                                                1. re: Food Tourist

                                                  I think Fat Pasha might be trying to cash in on the popularity of Ottolenghi ' s books and restaurants.

                                            2. re: prima

                                              Enjoyed Fat Pasha and Dr. Laffa this past summer. Going to Tabule for the first time later this week.

                                        2. re: Food Tourist

                                          This is not a restaurant but an event happening next week aimed at bringing the Jewish and Muslim communities in Toronto together.


                                          1. re: pakmode

                                            Cool. The same people who do the fair trade olive oil from Palestine are partnering for that event.

                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                              Yes, and the Noor Centre is a beautiful venue.

                                        3. Would love to try Japanese Buddhist temple cuisine (shōjin ryōri). Even Korean temple cuisine. Does this exist in the GTA or nearby?

                                          3 Replies
                                            1. re: mrsleny

                                              Kingyo izakaya in Cabbagetown makes a couple of dishes inspired by monks' style.

                                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                                Thank you! I completely forgot about them.

                                            2. This may be stretching the "beyond," but it's not too far over the border...the Thai market at the Midwest Buddhist Meditation Center in Warren, MI:


                                              1. Buddhist Temple on Bayview http://www.chamshantemple.org/en/

                                                I have eaten there a few times when a buddhist friend has brought me there, usually on a special holiday like CNY. Food is all vegetarian, of course. I don't know much about when they serve food but I'm sure someone else can elaborate.

                                                1. The Hare Krishna temple on Avenue Road has Sunday feasts but it looks like it's part of the ceremony rather than after or separate: http://iskcontoronto.blogspot.ca/p/su...

                                                  So I suppose Govinda's is their outreach (the restaurant is closed every Sunday, however). http://www.govindas.ca

                                                  1. there is a feast every thai religious day at the temple at major mac and bayview. tho the food is not for sale.

                                                    - khao san road

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                                                      I had no idea there was a temple at Major Mac and Bayview. Whereabouts please?


                                                    2. With Diwali quickly approaching, does anyone have a go-to recommendation for enjoying this festival?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                        If you're not familiar with The Depanneur, I note they have a 'drop-in'/'take-out' Diwali 'linked' feature.


                                                        I love the Dep - but don't go expecting fine dining. It's almost an anti-restaurant but IMO one of the unsung gems in Toronto - especially for those on a budget.

                                                      2. The Christmas bazaars are in full swing. Tried some meat on a stick, perogies and cabbage rolls at St. George's Ukrainian in Oshawa yesterday. The Holy Eucharist (Ukie Catholic) bazaar is on November 29 on Broadview.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                                          Oooh, thanks for the heads up, MiniFirefly and I are even free that Saturday. Shocker! ;)