The top 10 latkes in Toronto
The top 10 latkes in Toronto, delicious as they may be, tend to falter in comparison to the truly homemade. Yes, I'd (defiantly) wager that you simply can't find a better latke than those made at home. Maybe it's something in the atmosphere of nagging and guilt that makes the respite of a homemade latke taste extra good, but restaurant versions usually can't compare. That said, some do come close.
The best latkes are those served hot off the pan, and these restaurants recognize the importance prompt latke service. Many stick to traditional recipes (just like bubbie used to make), and it always helps that you can't actually see the inch of oil used for perfect frying. Smothered in applesauce or sour cream (and for some gluttonous indulgers both), here are the top 10 latkes in Toronto (after homemade, of course), in no particular order.
Free Times Cafe
The potato latkes here are just perfect--hot, crispy, unapologetically greasy, and overall just terrible for your diet. They're offered as part of several combination plates (blintzes, soup, smoked meat on rye), but for the best latke experience, I'd say go with Free Time's "Bella! Did Ya Eat?" Sunday brunch.
Caplansky's indeed does more than smoked meat! (I know, it's tough to see over that mound of a sandwich.) Its latkes are intended as more of a side than a meal, with five small potato pancakes priced at $5. That is not to say, however, that Caplansky doesn't take latkes seriously, especially since it plays host to the annual "Latkepalooza" event in Toronto.
Centre Street Deli
Buicks and Oldsmobiles line the lot Sunday nights as patrons pine for some smoked meat with a latke or two on the side. Centre Street does two types of latkes--a traditional potato as well as a vegetable--though my preference is always for the old faithful. Latkes are available for takeout starting at $14.50/dozen.
While United Bakers' split pea soup will always be my choice pick from this restaurant, its latkes are a close second. You can order a full plate of six for $10 and change, which is served with sour cream, applesauce, or blueberry topping, or else order them a la carte for $2.49 each.
Uh, which one of these is unlike the other? While Cardinal Rule it might not fit the profile of the place to get authentic latkes, it does serve a delicious version made with shredded leek and potato. They can be tacked onto a plate for $4, or enjoyed atop its famous its famous Wallop Burger.
While two latkes for $6.95 might sound like a measly deal, only the ignorant dare scoff at Yitz's deal. These two latkes are thick, round, glistening brown potato pancake delights, served with heaping dollops of applesauce or sour cream on the side. Alright, you'll probably still have enough room for matzo ball soup.
Speaking of large, Pancer's Deli doesn't pack its latkes modestly. While they're listed among the starters, Pancer's two latke plate for $8.25 could certainly serve as a meal. Served hot off the pan with sour cream or applesauce on the side, of course.
Families out with their bubbies or zadies rave about Steeles Deli's potato latkes. Or maybe they're just talking extraordinarily loudly to be heard over the extraordinarily loud crowd. These latkes are sized appropriately for an appetizer or side, and come two to a plate for $4.50.
Edward Levesque's Kitchen
Edward Levesque's is another spot unlike the others, but it is nevertheless deserving of a spot on this list. Its golden brown latkes can be ordered as a side with sour cream and chives ($5.00) or as a complete plate with smoked salmon, sour cream, chives, and a salad ($14.00). Just don't let your bubbie see the pig on the menu.
This world is big enough for bagels and latkes. While obviously not the main attraction at any of the Bagel Worlds throughout the GTA, the latkes here are deserving of some attention. They're made large and brown, fried a sinful brown, and presented two to a plate for ($7.99)
Photo by santheo on Flickr