Great Eateries in Kensington Market

Published: May 31st 2010
in Culture » Food

Kensington Market

“Take whatever you want and pay for whatever you eat!” said the merchant at New Seaway Fish Market in Kensington Market.  On hot summer days they sell fresh, raw oysters for a great price – 3 for $5.


Quality seafood at this price is such a rarity, so of course it draws a crowd! Torontonians gather around the fresh basket of oysters, squeezing lemon wedges and drizzling hot sauce onto their plates.


Oysters are only one of many delicious finds in the old Jewish Market. What was once a poor Jewish area of houses and small shops in the 1920s has morphed into a multicultural community. After WWII, Jews moved to the suburbs and Kensington Market became populated with immigrants. The Jewish culture has been replaced with vintage finds and authentic food.


To take advantage of Toronto’s scorching summer, Kensington Market has introduced Pedestrian Sundays. No cars are allowed on the streets, so pedestrians can roam free circa 1970s Woodstock.  It really is a blast from the past; don’t be surprised if you see antique cars painted with groovy flowers and bubble machines outside shops that sell records.


The local eateries take advantage of Pedestrian Sundays with fun festivities. The street is alive with music, food, and sidewalk sales. Outside the Mexican bakery a mime offers pastry samples and Mexican musicians play guitar. Step inside and order an empanada. Choose from chicken or beef with a variety of vegetables and toppings wrapped inside a savoury puff pastry for only $3. Then, why not have a churro for dessert, which is a Spanish donut fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar.


Or, save yourself for a comforting slice of pie from the famed Toronto landmark Wanda’s Pie in the Sky. Once you see her open window bakery filled with pies bursting with fruit jelly, you may find it hard to resist. You can also purchase her award-winning cookbook, Wanda’s Pie in the Sky: Pies, Cakes, Cookies, Squares and More.


Relive your childhood with a slice of grilled cheese from The Grilled Cheese. They’ve taken the classic North American sandwich and transformed it into a gourmet dish by adding toppings like basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. They call it “grilled cheese for grown-ups” but serve it with childhood basics, like a pickle and plain ruffle chips.


Among Toronto’s best vegetarian restaurants is Herbivore. Located in the heart of Kensington, it serves salads, freshly squeezed smoothies, and grilled pancetta sandwiches. Despite the name, Herbivore welcomes herbivores and carnivores alike. Their menu is packed with nutritious and delicious meals that are sure to satisfy anyone.


These unique eateries are only part of Kensington’s edible appeal. They also have numerous produce markets, bulk stores, and bakeries, with goodies that are perfect for take-out treats.


Take advantage of summer in the city, and make Pedestrian Sundays a whole family affair.

Related articles: (Food, Kensington Market, Jewish market, New Seaway Fish Market)
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