Wednesday, July 30, 2014Partly Cloudy 15°C
Best of Toronto

The Best Bulk Food Stores in Toronto

Posted by Tim / October 8, 2009

Bulk Food Stores TorontoThe best bulk food store in Toronto is not the Bulk Barn. Let me just put that out there. Sure, the Bulk Barn might have the most locations, a familiar sign and a massive inventory of bulk products. But when it comes to friendly neighbourhood service, hunting down hard to find imported products and an overall fun shopping experience it's in tough to beat many of the places on this list.

From a specialty rice purveyor in St. Lawrence Market to fresh figs and pistachios on Lawrence Avenue east, the smaller, focused bulk food stores in Toronto are worth stocking up at.

Here are the 12 best bulk food stores in Toronto.

Casa Acoreana

Casa Acoreana

The search for bulk products in this city begins - and almost ends - in Kensington Market. There are many options here, but it's hard not to start your search at the corner of Baldwin and Augusta. Case Acoreana win points for their massive selection of spices, coffee, chocolate and candy but the real fun here is just being in the store and watching others discover a new favourite ingredient. More »

House of Spices

House of Spices

From bags of garam masala to bins of roasted coffee beans from Tanzania, this Kensington Market staple, just a stones throw from Casa Acoreana, lives up to its name as one of Toronto's best deals for bulk nuts, dried fruit, coffee and rice. Almost everything is packed, sealed and priced in various size pouches so there's no need to go through the trouble (or sticker shock) of weighing your bounty. More »

Tutti Frutti

Tutti Frutti

Tutti Frutti, also in Kensington, is part general health food store, part bulk food store. Go here for hard to find spices (especially Chinese herbs) and cheap prices on spelt, rice flour and organic cereals. More »

Domino's Foods

Domino's Foods

Found in the bowels of St. Lawrence Market, Domino's Foods has an excellent selection of nuts, dried fruit, candies and chocolate. But not to be missed is their bulk selection of olive oil. Don't miss filling a tin before you leave. More »

Rube's Rice

Rube's Rice

Down the hall from Domino's Foods, Rube's has the best selection of rice in the city. Offerings are endless here from familiar varieties like brown basmati, sushi rice and arborio, to much rarer (and pricier) finds like jade pearl with bamboo extract. They also have a separate, non ricey location across the hall that stocks potato, soya, spelt and other kinds of flour and grains. More »

Strictly Bulk

Strictly Bulk

With three locations in Toronto, Strictly Bulk is a serviceable neighbourhood spot to fill up on a standard selection of bulk food items like nuts, spices, chocolate and cookies. They also have plenty of eco-friendly cleaning products, chips, teas and organic milk. More »

Kenpik Bulk Shop

Kenpik Bulk Shop

Kenpik, just off of Mt. Pleasant, has a smaller selection than most bulk food stores in Toronto. But their clean, non-cluttered layout makes shopping here a breeze, even if you can't find everything you're looking for. More »

Qi Natural Foods

Qi Natural Foods

Qi is part health food store, part bulk food store and has three locations in the city including Roncesvalles, Koreatown and Eglinton West. They specialize in organic, natural and healthy bulk grains, cereals, soy products and prepared foods. More »

Essence of Life

Essence of Life

Also mainly a health food store, Essence of Life has a small but excellent bulk food selection including fresh, bulk tofu, a variety of organic and non-organic peanut and almond butter, honey, maple syrup and organic flours and rice. More »

Ladan Pastry and Nuts

Ladan Pastry and Nuts

Ladan Pastry and Nuts distinguishes itself from the also-ran pistachio purveyors on Lawrence Avenue East. This tiny shop reminds me of my travels through Morocco. A wide variety of roasted nuts, dried fruit and, yes, pistachios are artfully presented here - almost like the markets in North Africa. There's also a great selection of hard-to-find Persian food products, fresh baked pastries and other mouth-watering snacks. More »

Indian Grocerries and Spices

Indian Grocerries and Spices

Look past the misspelling in the name (apparently done on purpose to bring the business good luck) and head to this Lawrence East bulk food store for a wide selection of Indian groceries and spices. If you're looking for 5LB bags of tumeric or fennel seeds, massive tubs of ghee, fresh okra or fresh-pressed yogurt, this is the place to go. More »

Discussion

42 Comments

m / October 8, 2009 at 12:16 pm
user-pic
Essence of Life map is wrong; it's in Kensington on Kensington Av, not near Yonge & Finch on Kensington Av.
J-Dawg / October 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm
user-pic
What's wrong with Bulk Barn?

Place is fantastic and you can go around eating everything, who's going to tell you to stop, a 16 year old girl?

I see some of those places in Kensington and their wares are sitting outside in the sun all day, GROSS.

OH YEAH CAN I HAVE A GIANT BAG OF THOSE DISGUSTING GROSS DATES THAT HAVE BEEN SITTING OUTSIDE IN THE SUN ALL DAY.

MAKE IT TWO BAGS ACTUALLY.
Tim replying to a comment from m / October 8, 2009 at 12:23 pm
user-pic
Thanks. The map has been fixed.
Jen / October 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm
user-pic
I've been to several of these locations, and for selection, the bulk barn can't be beat for regular stuff. Plus, like a previous person said, it isn't sitting in the sun all day.

I do prefer some of the other ones, especially tutti frutti for health food related stuff.
Tim / October 8, 2009 at 12:35 pm
user-pic
None of the places on this list have food sitting in the sun. Sure, there are stores like that in Kensington and elsewhere in Toronto; but don't paint all indie bulk food stores with the same brush.
Collin / October 8, 2009 at 01:05 pm
user-pic
f bulk barn.

i remember going into the bulk barn in sq one and saw a kid with a couple of teenagers...the kid took a cookie out of the bin, licked all the sugar off of it, and put it back into the bin.

i haven't been back to a bulk barn since.
jake replying to a comment from Collin / October 8, 2009 at 01:15 pm
user-pic
that could happen anywhere, even at an indie bulk store
todd / October 8, 2009 at 01:17 pm
user-pic
Better Bulk is awesome. the owner is super friendly, the prices are much lower than other bulk stores and the selection is tailored to the neighborhood. it's been a great addition to the danforth midway.
keven / October 8, 2009 at 01:38 pm
user-pic
Great post! Now I have a couple of new bulk stores to try out.
chris / October 8, 2009 at 02:02 pm
user-pic
http://www.strictlybulk.ca/

oh wait it has 3 locations, its a chain!
J-Dawg / October 8, 2009 at 02:25 pm
user-pic
ZOMG ITS NOT INDIE!?!?!

Jen replying to a comment from Tim / October 8, 2009 at 02:46 pm
user-pic
Well I suppose one could say that you shouldn't paint all non-indie bulk food stores with the same brush. I like to support local business, but saying that the bulk barn shouldn't be considered because its a chain is lame and disregards the fact that it probably has the most bulk items due to its size.
jack / October 8, 2009 at 03:09 pm
user-pic
i think you can get most of this stuff from T & T
R / October 8, 2009 at 03:55 pm
user-pic
Why isn't Johnvince Foods on this list?
M / October 8, 2009 at 04:08 pm
user-pic
i heart you guys for marking them on goog maps
Lu Galasso / October 8, 2009 at 04:29 pm
user-pic
Can't believe people are this passionate for/against Bulk Barn. Haha.

-Lu Galasso
Michelle / October 8, 2009 at 04:34 pm
user-pic
Great idea for a list. I have been to most of these and was happy. We used to live near Bathurst and Eglinton, there is a lovely bulk store at Marlee and Glencairn that I miss going to. I think it is called Not Just Nuts. Great stuff, plus a cheese counter.
Frankly / October 8, 2009 at 04:50 pm
user-pic
Okay, perhaps favouring smaller, neighbourhood bulk food stores over Bulk Barn is commendable, but for Bulk Barn to not even make the list?! Come on, people!! Vote with your heads, not your hearts!! (okay, maybe with your hearts a little bit...)
Sunrisedt replying to a comment from J-Dawg / October 8, 2009 at 04:51 pm
user-pic
LOL...oh my!
michelle / October 8, 2009 at 05:05 pm
user-pic
Johnvince foods in North York is amazing. It's like bulk food heaven
mondayjane / October 8, 2009 at 06:04 pm
user-pic
I love shopping in Kensington and live near the market, but I gotta say I stay away from the bulk food stores. Too many rats and mice. <br> <br>
I buy all my health food stuff at Essence of Life, but bought bulk granola there once only to find MOUSE SH!T in it. Seriously horrible. I have never bought anything in bulk in Kensington since. It is not the shopkeepers' fault; it would I am sure be virtually impossible to keep rodents out of bins of nuts and grains. But you can make a choice to buy somewhere more sanitary.
Bob / October 8, 2009 at 07:23 pm
user-pic
Indian Grocerries and Spices store, doesn't belong on this list. It is possibly the worst Indian store I have been to in all my 25 years of living here. The shop is very messy, and disorganized. It for sure doesn't belong on this list!!http://www.blogto.com/images/button-addcomment.jpg
Avtar / October 8, 2009 at 09:48 pm
user-pic
I love Qi Natural Foods. They seem to have the lowest prices when it comes to health food and a pretty decent selection, if you're willing to trek it to the Bathurst & Eglinton W location. Just wanted to point out one thing though, you guys mention they have three locations but the one on Ronces isn't related to the other two http://www.qinaturalfood.com/contact.html They only seem to have the location close to Eglinton W station and one close to Christie Pitts.
Jo / October 8, 2009 at 10:33 pm
user-pic
Strictly Bulk at Pape & Danforth is awesome. Been shopping at Strictly Bulk almost 20 years. I've been to all three of their locations and the Danforth one is the best stocked. That being said the bulk shops in Kensington have the best prices (Qi's Natural Foods prices are great too) although I have seen packaged food (chips, tortillas,pita breads) sitting outside all day in the heat/sun/rain at the Kensington bulk shops...thanks for the mention of the newby "Better Bulk"...it's in my neighbourhood and I will check it out soon!
Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen / October 9, 2009 at 09:02 am
user-pic
I was already to chime in with "You forgot Qi". But you didn;'t. Definitely my favourite.
MV / October 9, 2009 at 10:24 am
user-pic
I have no problem with Bulk Barn, it gets the baking job done for me :)
But I am super happy to see that Better Bulk which only opened over a month ago made the list! Super friendly owners, great prices and selection (they have these honey roasted pecans that are to die for!)
Great addition to the neighbourhood!
infernalmachine / October 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm
user-pic
you know what? bulk barn is a chain store that actually does a fine frickin' job. whenever i walk into one i ALWAYS see one of the staff people cleaning a bin and another topping the bins up. so no worries about bulk food that's been sitting in the same unwashed bin since 2002.

the thing i notice about most other bulk food places is that if they aren't very busy places and well maintained, they are dingy. no offense kensington but i like my food as clean as it can be.

Lu Galasso / October 21, 2009 at 02:40 pm
user-pic
Live close to the Market and Domino's is fantastic for almost everything. Their selection is mind boggling. The best pistachios for sure.
Jordan / November 7, 2009 at 11:47 pm
user-pic
Perhaps Bulk Barn didn't make the list as they are so hard to come by in downtown toronto.... I think there might be one out in the east end, but really... when was the last time you walked by a Bulk Barn downtown - it's a big box suburban entity. This site focuses mainly on the old city of Toronto - so listing bulk barn is a bit irrelevant - it's like listing Ikea as the best furniture store in Toronto.



Karen / November 17, 2009 at 01:20 pm
user-pic
I work near Kensington, and live in Scarborough. Essence of Life, tutti frutti, Bulk Barn and the neighbourhood shops of kensington are all my friends. They all serve a purpose and are great for getting healthy foods at a reasonable price. The stuff that sits outside by the way is mainly for display purposes. They don't really expect you to buy it. That's why they have the exact same thing indoors. In addition you can get packaged bulk at the Spice Barn in Kensington is you are skeptical of the loose stuff. Let's face it, it's a d/t market. You will meet a rodent or two hear or there. Nothing to worry about, boost the old immune system. Happy eating.
MH replying to a comment from Jordan / November 26, 2009 at 01:51 am
user-pic
Well said. Purpose of such a list is to highlight little hidden gems that people *may* not know about. Whether for or against Bulk Barn is a bit irrelevant.
&#1589;&#1608;&#1585; &#1587;&#1603;&#1587; / January 30, 2010 at 11:09 pm
user-pic
hi guys so happy to be between you yayaay love the blog soo much ^^
totitache / February 22, 2010 at 07:38 pm
user-pic
Warts on hands are from the most frequent reasons for individuals seeking warts on hands remedy. Although they're generally harmless, they're a blemish on the skin that most individuals really do not appear at and, if there's 1 point you appear at a lot, it's your hands!

But, how do you get warts on hands?

warts on hands are really due to a virus and you are able to get it by being exposed towards the virus. This virus affects the skin cells and causes them to multiply faster than they normally ought to which results within the bumpy lump that we know of as a wart. How you catch this virus is somewhat of a mystery, but it's thought that it gets in via cracks within the skin. It might be that you simply have come in contact with somebody that has warts, or it has been transmitted to you via a moist surface.

Warts on hands, elbows, knees, and ankles are generally the most frequent kind of wart - Verruca Vulgaris, or merely known as the frequent wart. They're generally bumpy and scaly searching and might even have dark spots inside which are really blood vessels. The virus that causes them is known as the human papillomavirus and it hangs out within the bottom layer of the epidermis, causing the cells to become distorted and pushing them up which causes the skin to bump out. They really grow in cylindrical patterns that binds together giving them the appear of a mosaic.

1 point about warts on hands is that you simply may try a remedy only to discover warts returning. That's simply because you require to treat the virus that's causing them. You might be able to scrape off the upper layer from the wart but eventually it'll pop up again simply because the virus is still within the layers underneath. Therefore, remedy must be thoughtful and thorough.

Anyone can get warts, but warts on hands are typically seen in younger individuals and frequently affect teenagers. This could be really devastating at an age when self-esteem is low anyway. There are lots of treatments for warts but not everybody will react towards the same remedy same way so if your friend got rid of their wart utilizing duct tape that may not work for you. The greatest point you are able to do is experiment and discover a great solution that gets rid of warts for you.

Are you searching to get rid of warts on your hands? Click here for a lot more on warts on hands also as a remedy that will get rid of warts on hands in 1 to three days within the privacy of the own home..
<a href=http://wartsonhands.info>;warts removal</a>
lisa / March 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm
user-pic
The bulk store on Marlee near Glencarin is called Villa Bulk and its amazing!! I've tried the shops in Kensington and the Strictly Bulk on Bloor and I've found that the freshest nuts in the city can be found at Villa Bulk. The nuts are dry roasted (rather than roasted with oil) and many of the bulk products are Kosher--yay!!!!
Super Ivan / October 27, 2010 at 09:33 am
user-pic
I love them all actually. All have their own strength.
Bulk Barn offers convenience, and health food stores offer service and friendship.
I guess we just value things differently.
P.S. I met the owner from Essence of Life and he is AWESOME!
Jess / July 25, 2011 at 04:15 pm
user-pic
It just comes down to what people are looking for, I suppose. I don't particually care for "an overall fun shopping experience" when I'm picking up baking supplies or candy. I am a student trying to save money and I want SALES, and that's what Bulk Barn provides! Plus, it's big, bright, clean, and being a chain I at least know the stuff hasn't been sitting around for years ... and that's definitely the vibe some of those places in the St Lawrence market basement give off.
Cosplay / September 26, 2012 at 10:38 am
user-pic
I have no problem with Bulk Barn, it gets the baking job done for me :)
But I am super happy to see that Better Bulk which only opened over a month ago made the list! Super friendly owners, great prices and selection (they have these honey roasted pecans that are to die for!)
Great addition to the neighbourhood!
Jasa Custom Clearance / March 23, 2013 at 03:27 am
user-pic
Thanks for a marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will make certain to bookmark your blog and may come back very soon. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!|
financial / March 23, 2013 at 10:10 am
user-pic
Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks|
Jay / May 17, 2013 at 05:13 pm
user-pic
I've read all the comments so far...great tips guys :) I prefer the Bulk Barn too - I like to get my shopping done all in the one go...not big on food shopping.
Sherry / June 1, 2013 at 08:27 pm
user-pic
Just a heads up: although Tutti Frutti is where I go for my non-wheat bread and other health food fixins, their flours consistently has flour grubs :( Oats and nuts seem fine though.
Ken macdonald / June 29, 2014 at 01:11 pm
user-pic
I notice Karma Co-op was not on the list.
Although it is still a co-op, and you can still join, we now welcome anyone to come and shop! Organic local produce, good bulk selection, meat and dairy and more.
On Karma Lane, north off Barton between Palmerston and Bathurst.
(2 blocks north of Bloor)

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal