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Toronto

The top 10 places to buy kitchen knives in Toronto

Posted by Lauren / August 18, 2010

kitchen knives torontoFinding kitchen knives in Toronto is serious business for both the home cook and the professional chef. There is so much to know about knives - how they are made, the different materials they are made from and the benefits of their various styles - that you could dedicate weeks and months to selecting the right one.

Many experts prefer the quality, durability and performance of Japanese crafted knives, be they fashioned in the traditional Japanese or Western style. But whether you're looking for Japanese or German, ceramic or high carbon stainless steel, or just a inexpensive entry-level chef's knife, there are a wide variety of shops and purveyors (we're talking bricks-and-mortar for the purposes of this list) in Toronto that specialize in the coolest of kitchen utensils.

And, unlike many of the big department stores and discount chains -- The Bay, Home Outfitters, Costco, etc. -- the staff at these places have the type of expertise you can rely on to make the most informed choice about what knife (or knives) you'll want to invest in.

Knife
Former chef Eugene Ong opened this little shop on Queen West earlier this summer to the joy of chefs and other blade-enthusiasts across the city. Knife carries a nice variety of Japanese knives from makers like Suisin, Sugimoto, Mcusta, Misono, Sakai Takayuki, and Moritaka. They also offer accessories like Japanese whetstones (80-12,000 grit) and sharpening services for all knives (Japanese or not), plus free educational sharpening classes every Thursday.

Fonseca Sharpening
Local chef Ivan Fonseca has had an infatuation with blades since he was a kid. It started with his grandfather's Japanese woodworking tools and evolved to knives when he got into cooking professionally. For the last 12 years he's spent countless hours learning about knives and how to sharpen them, taking his inspiration from 'katana togishi' or Japanese sword polishing/sharpening techniques. Now he and his partner Olivia Go are expanding their sharpening services into sales, and will be opening Tosho (meaning sword cut), a store dedicated to all things knives slated to open at the end of this year. Until then, you can purchase knives from them directly. They are working with Japanese knife maker Konasuke, and are involved in every aspect of the design and forging of their product.

shun knifeNella Cucina
Nella built their business on their knife sharpening/rental services and restaurant supply. Today, the Nella Cucina location at Bathurst and Bloor offers a great variety of supplies for both the restaurateur and home cook. Their house-branded, German made knives are great value for the money (an average 8" chef's knife runs about $30) and can be found in many professional kitchens across the city. They carry: Wusthof (Classic and Classic Ikon), Kasumi V-Gold 10, Global, Henckels Professional "S" series, Victorinox's Forschner line, Shun (Ken Onion and Classic series). As for accessories they sell regular and diamond sharpening steels, blade protectors, and bags/rolls. Once you've got your new knife, you can take in one of their Saturday skills classes (75$).

The Cook's Place
This small shop on the Danforth is packed with almost everything you'd need to outfit a home kitchen, and friendly knowledgeable staff to boot. They carry: MAC (Mighty and Superior series), Shun Classic series, Global, KAI Pure Komachi, Wenger Grand Maitre series, Kasumi V-Gold 10, Kyocera, and Wusthof (Culinar, Cordon Bleu, Classic Ikon, Classic series). Accessories include blade covers, rolls, and steels (regular and diamond). The staff are very helpful and will pull out a carrot or potato for you to test different knives on. If you buy three knives you get a 10% discount, if you buy five a 15% discount, and if you bring in gently used knives, they'll offer an additional 5% off.

damascus steelThe Internet Kitchen Store
The Internet Kitchen Store is, who would have guessed it, an internet kitchen store. But it's also a bricks-and-mortar store west of Yonge on Eglinton that carries a wide variety of knives. For German knives they carry pretty much all the products offered from Wusthof (Classic, Classin Ikon, Culinar, Grand Prix II, Le Cordon Bleu) and Henckels (Cermax, Four Star, Four Star II, Miyabi, Professional "S", Twin Profection). They also carry Kasumi (Ceramic and V-Gold 10), Shun (Classic, Elite, Pro and Ken Onion series), and entry-level brand Wenger (Grand Maitre and Swibo series).

Healthy Butcher
It's not surprising that butchers would know a thing or two about knives. They offer some great resources for learning knife basics and what to look for in a knife on their website, and you can pop in any one of their three locations to try them out for yourself. They carry Victorinox (Fibrox series), K Sabatier, Grohmann, Global, MAC (Chef, Superior, and Professional series), Kasumi and Wusthof Classic Ikon series. On top of all that they guarantee the lowest prices too (promising to beat any Canadian competitor's price).

Nikolaou Restaurant Equipment
A stalwart for professional and home kitchen supplies, this small dingy shop at Queen and Bathurst carries one of the larger varieties on this list. Wusthof (Classic, Classic Ikon, Grand Prix, Culinar series), Global, MAC (Superior and Mighty series), Shun (Classic and Pro series), Kasumi (V-Gold No. 10), Miyabi by Henckels, Henckels (Professional "S"), and entry level knives from Giesser and Victorinox. The staff are perpetually busy, but knowledgeable and helpful if you can snag someone to talk to. They also carry a variety of Japanese sharpening stones, from 800-6,000 grit, rolls, bags, and blade protectors.

Toronto kitchen knivesTap Phong
Another go-to for industry types and the home cook, Tap Phong in Chinatown has a little bit of everything, including a small selection of knives at lower prices than you'll find elsewhere. On offer are Wusthof (Classic & Classic Ikon series), Henckels (Professional "S" series), Shun Classic series, Global, and Victorinox's Forschner line. Stock levels are spotty, but they can order in any of the knives from the makers they carry. They sell basic sharpening steels as well.

High Tech
High Tech on Front Street is a kitchen equipment store specializing in chrome and stainless steel pieces, and what better line of knives to fit that aesthetic than Global. They offer the best selection of Global knives on this list, from chefs knives, bread knives, slicers, sashimi, and Deba knives too.

Dinetz
The east side's restaurant supply store, Dinetz on King East, has a modest selection of knives including Global, Victorinox, Wusthof Classic and Henckels (Professional "S" and Four Star series). They can also order in specific knives from any of the makers they carry.

See also: The best kitchen supply stores in Toronto

Photos: Derek Flack, Yogma, Ivan Fonseca and webponce.

Discussion

45 Comments

Jennifer / August 18, 2010 at 10:30 am
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Thank you for this informative post. I just got married and was going to try the Bay, but these places look so much better.
Mike / August 18, 2010 at 10:38 am
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Say I buy a new set of knives. How do I dispose of the old ones? There's got to be a safer way than simply tossing them into the garbage. Are they recyclable?
AV / August 18, 2010 at 10:40 am
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Knife is such a great shop. Small and to the point... its like Chef porn. I have to keep my hands in my pockets when i go in there because anything I touch I want to buy.
Dave / August 18, 2010 at 10:46 am
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Thanks Lauren. This is just what I was looking for.
Brad replying to a comment from Mike / August 18, 2010 at 10:46 am
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Mike: If they are still any good at all then consider wrapping them in an old tea cloth and donating them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
DAY LATE DOLLAR SHORT / August 18, 2010 at 11:04 am
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The Dundas Square stabber really needed this information yesterday. Oh well.
LJ replying to a comment from DAY LATE DOLLAR SHORT / August 18, 2010 at 11:54 am
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stay focused dude.
p.s nice article
M / August 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm
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When I moved out for the first time, I went to my favourite kitchen store the Inspired Cook on Queen St. E. If you talk to the owners, Kim and/or Richard, they'll be able to explain what kind of knives you need and why you need them. It's great to go to a store that has lots of variety but unless you know what you want, it's better to talk to someone who can give that you information.
ticklemekaren / August 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm
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Great article! Does anyone know of a good (and trust-worthy) place to get knives sharpened besides Fonseca Sharpening?
bittles / August 18, 2010 at 01:18 pm
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Nikolaou? pay out the nose much?
Ryan L. / August 18, 2010 at 03:10 pm
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Williams-Sonoma on Bloor is another excellent place. I got my Shun knives there. Their return policy is better than almost all of these places, and surprisingly, their prices comparable. They also carry a lot of styles that aren't carried by other Toronto (or Canadian for that matter) stores.

I've worked in the industry and

Henckels: Don't bother. They suffer from manufacturing flaws which aren't highly reported on. Additionally, their wide range of knives means you can easily mistake a cheaper knife with a high quality one.

Wusthof: has comparable knives to Henckles that are pretty much identical. They don't suffer from the same manufacturing issues. They also only manufacture high end knives so you know that when you're getting a Wusthof, you're getting a good knife.

Global: The number one thing that is important when buying a knife is how it feels in your hand, NOT how it looks. This is the number one mistake people make when buying Global. They are designed by the Japanese FOR the Japanese. Most westerners hands are really just too big for these knives.

Shun: Don't try to sharpen these yourselves. You're not as good as you think you are. This goes for other Japanese knives as well, but when it comes to Shun, you can send them to the company once a year and they'll sharpen them free of charge and done properly. Why bother destroying them yourself?
Ryan L. / August 18, 2010 at 03:11 pm
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"I've worked in the industry and if you'd like some knife shopping tips:"
Alan / August 18, 2010 at 03:32 pm
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Nella has a Queen East store as well. i agree with talking to someone about what you need in terms of knives and what you're going to use them for. And just remember, spending a lot of money on knives doesn't make you a chef.
Lizz replying to a comment from ticklemekaren / August 18, 2010 at 03:40 pm
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@ticklemekaren The cook's place will send your knife out to be sharpened. Whoever it is does a good job and doesn't charge much. It's a great store. I'm sure all the other stores have similar services.
Johnny B / August 18, 2010 at 06:42 pm
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Cheapest Wusthof = George Brown Bookstore

Cheapest Wusthof = Best?.... YES
silver replying to a comment from Ryan L. / August 18, 2010 at 08:47 pm
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You may be right about Global were designed for a smaller had but that's exactly why woman are drawn to these knives. I have a wide variety of knives in the 3 blocks that I currently have, not purchased as a knife set but rather each one I have selected for various reasons. To say that one knive is less or more then another is not entirely true, considering all the factors that go into the purchase of a knife.
Derek / August 18, 2010 at 09:54 pm
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Calphalon makes very good forged knives at relatively low prices.
George Brown store sometimes have great deals.
Ikea have a few fine knives super cheap.
aaron / August 18, 2010 at 10:43 pm
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what i don't get that nobody's talking about is how rob ford wants to halve the number of councilors. it's all well and good to say - we'll save money on salaries - but what that also means is less representation. 22 wards in toronto instead of 44. the population of our wards is huge. do i really want my ward 6 suddenly combined with ward 5? so instead of having a representative for what i think the needs of my area are, i'll have a representative who has to address the needs of many more people and a hugely diverse geographical area? good luck getting getting my voice heard. good luck getting anything local on the table at council. "hi, i'm rob ford, and i want to stop paying politicians so much" sounds so much better than "hi, i'm rob ford, and i want to take away your representation on council".
aaron / August 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm
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and.... there i go posting on the wrong article. +1. damned tabs.
Miriam / August 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm
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Giant Tiger. No kidding! I got one of those kids with the special knives come and demonstrate there $324322 knives in my house and then I pulled the GT knife and he was amazed at how well it worked. It was in a bagel cutting kit...amazing! :)
Dave Z / August 19, 2010 at 01:23 am
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http://recidivism.ca/post/906686268

The majority of what you see there was purchased at The Healthy Butcher. Their prices can't be beat. Don't have something you want? They'll get it for you. Now as nice as Ryan was (for HAVING worked in the industry), I still do, and will tell you, that you can take a piece of sheet metal, sharpen it and cut sashimi like a Japanese master. The tools don't matter as much as the way you treat them, and the way you maintain them. I'm just plugging The Healthy Butcher 'cause I used to work there and it was one of the best jobs I'd ever had. But seriously, they do have THE BEST PRICES on some GORGEOUS, last a lifetime, forever knives. Mario will not lead you astray. He knows his stuff, (if only because when they first started selling knives, he came up to me and asked, 'Hey Dave, what do you use?"). So, ya.

A. / August 19, 2010 at 09:46 am
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Paul's Finest...great prices

http://www.paulsfinest.com/
Linda / January 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm
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Does anyone know where in Toronto I could find the German Golden Hamster knives??
Many thanks
Linda
marty / July 27, 2011 at 01:12 pm
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by "knifes" I mean "knives"
Rhancha / October 26, 2011 at 03:50 pm
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You should really check out CUTCO Cutlery at www.cutco.ca. They have been around since 1949 and they have a forever guarantee which means you can buy them now and pass them on to your children, and they would still be guaranteed - forever. They will be the last knife you ever buy. I have had mine for over 21 years now and just got them sharpened for the first time a few years back.
Karen / November 23, 2011 at 03:20 am
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I recently visited The Healthy Butcher on Queen West, and the staff were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about not only the products they sold, but seemed genuinely enthralled with knife craft in general. Not surprising, since they are a butcher shop.

They also referred me to their new knife and cookware site slice and sear.com if any of you want further info.

Great article, resources and info! Thanks.
zhenyu huang / January 31, 2012 at 08:56 am
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best Chef Knives / August 31, 2012 at 01:20 pm
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sumit / August 31, 2012 at 03:01 pm
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some retailers might hate me for this (specially KNIFE), but for japanese knives, if you know what you need, you can just go to japanesechefsknife.com and order it directly from japan, bypassing the retail cost (which is high in north america cuz you know, we like to make it fancy and hip). The guy who owns the website apparently got lots of manufacturers, genuine blacksmiths in seki city, Japan together to participate on this website and sell their stuff. Design of website is shit, but if you can be patient and look, there are some great knives available there.
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best kitchen knives / September 27, 2012 at 02:37 pm
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global knife sharpener / October 22, 2012 at 12:21 am
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Andrew / January 10, 2013 at 06:09 am
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Hi-Tech is gone on Front. Who do you think has the best prices and what would you recommend for someone who wants a few good quality knives but is just starting to learn how to cook. ALSO, do you prefer a steel sharpening rod over stones-- and if it's stone, how do you know what "grit" to get? i do have a good steel rod, but i don't really know how to use it. do i really have to spend $75. bucks on a knife skills class?
Johnathon Tattum / February 26, 2013 at 05:18 pm
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I always buy my knives from www.auroracollectibles.com. They always give me free shipping, and it's cheaper than anywhere I've seen. I heard they have a store in Scarborough, but I've never been there.
Chris / August 7, 2013 at 06:56 am
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Since this post was written Hacher & Krain has opened on Dupont Street and is Toronto's new Church of the Knife: http://www.stylenorth.ca/blog/2013/06/church-of-the-knife/
Chris replying to a comment from best Chef Knives / August 7, 2013 at 06:58 am
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Editor: Lots of spam comments here to be cleaned up
Robert replying to a comment from Johnathon Tattum / August 12, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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I went to Aurora's and picked up a set of Wusthof Ikon knives. The set was $300 cheaper then some of the larger stores. The staff was very helpful. Thanks for the reco..
Robert replying to a comment from Johnathon Tattum / August 12, 2013 at 04:53 pm
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I went to Aurora's and picked up a set of Wusthof Ikon knives. They were $300 cheaper than a couple of the stores I looked at. The staff was really helpful too!
Jason / November 12, 2013 at 01:25 pm
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You should check out my etsy shop! I'm in brampton, near by toronto and am putting custom handles on very high end VG10 japanese chef knives. My shop name is EEKnives! thanks!
Mark / December 31, 2013 at 12:14 am
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if you're not sure what kitchen knives are the best you can always check out this site http://bestchefkitchenknives.com/ that offers comprehensive reviews and ultimate kitchen knife guides to help you choose the right kitchen knife for you and your prepping needs.
Alex replying to a comment from Johnathon Tattum / January 7, 2014 at 11:38 am
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Thanks for the Reco! Aurora's was awesome! They carried the most knives I've ever seen in any store and was so much cheaper than any other store I checked out. I picked up a few Miyabi Knives from there and am really happy with my purchase!
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Coltelli da Cuicna / July 6, 2014 at 09:24 am
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I would like to have all the Global knives like in the picture above!

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