Where to buy kosher food in Toronto
Kosher food is easy to find in Toronto. As long as you have ready access to Bathurst Street and you can handle crowds on early Friday afternoons, you should be able to consider that can of Manischewitz matzo ball soup is as good as yours. While there are several national grocery store chains that have dedicated kosher food sections, there are other, smaller Toronto shops that are exclusively kosher, as well as a few anomalies that might surprise you with a their selection of Golden Fluff.
These stores reach beyond just the Jewish market to those with other dietary restrictions, such as vegans who are keen to discover the latest dairy-free Tofutti cheese delight.
Here are some places to buy kosher food in Toronto.
Hartman's Fine Kosher Foods, 3500 Bathurst St (416.663.7779)
With both north (Steeles) and south (Lawrence/Wilson) Bathurst Street locations, Hartman's has earned the reputation as one of the go-to Toronto spots for freshly butchered kosher meats. Chickens, steaks, fish, and more, with plenty of marinated and prepared options such as brisket, chili dogs, and stuffed chicken breast. The shop(s) also make salads and baked goods, and offer a selection of dry and pantry items.
Hermes Bakery, 2885 Bathurst St (416.787.1234)
Yes, Hermes makes a mean (read: fluffy) challah, the bakery has extensive frozen and cupboard sections that shan't be overlooked. Hermes is a good store to visit if you're looking for dairy-free "dairy" options, as well as certified kosher frozen meals. Lots of cookies, candies, and snacks, too; but if you're really pining for something sweet, you'll find the best grabs in the bakery section.
Toronto Kosher, 3459 Bathurst St (416.789.5333)
Toronto Kosher is another quality option to consider for fresh meat, with a spread that includes lamb, organic chicken, turkey, veal, and beef. Its marinated and prepared section is perhaps Toronto Kosher's busiest counter, with meats that are ready to toss in the oven and serve, with salads, pastas, and pickled miscellany to go alongside. The shop also has a decent selection of dry grocery items.
Honest Ed's, 581 Bloor St W (416.537.1574)
While its occasional specials on pork hot dogs might give a clue as to the fact that Honest Ed's is not exclusively kosher, the fun-house megastore indeed has a pretty impressive kosher section. Though it's somewhat unexpected for a store at Bloor and Bathurst, Honest Ed's has its kosher grape juice, cookies, crackers, and occasionally, fresh meat, in its grocery section on the lower floor.
Kosher City Plus, 3468 Bathurst St (416.782.6788)
The "plus" might refer to the hoards of other customers you didn't expect to encounter when you thought to make a last-minute dash for groceries. Kosher City Plus between Bathurst and Steeles has produce, candy, snacks, deli meats, health food and more, all of which is kosher, and some of which is mainstream, familiar brands.
Chocolate Charm, 3541 Bathurst St (416.787.4256)
OK, so not so much groceries as wonderful chocolate delights, but some would argue that chocolate is a staple for every grocery list. Chocolate Charm does it all when it comes to chocolate, including truffles, bark, baskets, and plain old bars. Delivery is available, of course, and everything is kosher.
Pantry Foods, 3456 Bathurst St (416.785.0996)
Pantry is less for the grocery-shopper than for the forgot-to-go-grocery-shopping-shopper. The kosher cafe and prepared food shop offers a daily assortment of soups, salads, sauces, and complete meals (lasagnas, blintzes, and more), that are ready to take home, heat, and serve. There's fresh espresso and little snacks for sale to enhance the experience of picking up dinner.
Sobey's, 441 Clark Ave W (905.764.3770)
Yes, Sobey's is a big chain supermarket, and yes, many big chain supermarkets in Toronto have kosher sections, but this Sobey's is particularly noteworthy. In Thornhill just north of the city, the store has perhaps the most thorough selection of kosher food as compared to other big names, with its own kosher bakery, prepared foods section, separated meat and dairy, and a number of Israeli and other kosher products.