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Best of Toronto

The Best Butcher Shops in Toronto

Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / April 21, 2014

butcher shops torontoThe best butcher shops in Toronto have elevated the traditional methods of preparing meat. Gone are the grocery-store Styrofoam and reams of cellophane enclosing dubious cuts sold with little regard to origin, farmer, or flavour. The best butcher shops employ curious, courteous staff who know how to break down sides, age meat properly, and achieve specific cuts, carving in ever-increasing increments to get the slice or chop or wing you want.

They consider the life of the animal, what it's been fed, and how it's been treated from farm to table. The result: Fresh cuts, deli meats, sausages, terrines and charcuterie that you can configure at home, or oven-ready entrees that will bring ease to lunch or dinner.

Here are the best butcher shops in Toronto.

See also:

The best sausages in Toronto
The best hot dogs in Toronto

Sanagan's Meat Locker

Sanagan's Meat Locker

Peter Sanagan breathed new life into Kensington Market when he opened his original butchery, but when he took over European Meats, Sanagan's was taken to a whole new level. Staff is wonderful and knowledgeable about the wide range of locally sourced meat they carry, and helpful with special orders, requests and cuts. The deli counter (one of the few places to carry Grant Van Gameren-cured meats, among others) is not to be missed, and if you don't feel like cooking, you can have a hulking sandwich or one of the rotisserie chickens. More »

Cumbrae's

Cumbrae's

As a third generation butchery, Cumbrae's craft has been finely honed. The high-end butcher takes local, traditional farm-sourced meats and breaks them down using the best butchery techniques in the city. Cuts are beautiful and resourceful - and worth the king's ransom it takes to get them to the table. Find locations on Church St. and Bayview with a West Queen West outpost currently in the works. More »

The Healthy Butcher

The Healthy Butcher

The Healthy Butcher led the downtown butchery trend toward organic and ethically sourced meats. Whole cuts from farmers, air-dried and aged in their cooler and butchered daily, are the standard, and prices reflect the care and attention they pay to the meat. Their "Express Gourmet" line simplifies meals for working families. They currently have two Toronto locations. One near Queen and Spadina and the other at Avenue and Eglinton. More »

Vince Gasparro's

Vince Gasparro's

Vince Gasparro has been charming the Bloor and Ossington neighbourhood since the early '60s. Sons Pat and Nick are now the faces of the business, always ready with a friendly word and helping hand. Fresh Ontario lamb, pork, beef and Mennonite-raised chickens, simple cuts, and ground meat to order make this old school butchery at its best. More »

The Friendly Butcher

The Friendly Butcher

The Friendly Butcher on Yonge St. is a lovely, family-friendly butchery dedicated to customer service. The locally-sourced beef, pork, lamb and poultry is fresh, never frozen, the cold cuts are nitrate-free, and freezers are full of take-away entrees and prepared soups. They get a barbecue going in the summer for lunch. More »

Bloor Meat Market

Bloor Meat Market

Feel the spirit of old-world butchery at the Bloor Meat Market. Staff are talkative and helpful. They source widely, so check if you are particular about local or organic (they have lots of both, but not everything is). They even carry some fish, including organic salmon from Ireland, and the deli counter and prepared foods section offer plenty of treats. More »

Cote de Boeuf

Cote de Boeuf

Brothers Teo Paul and Chasen Gillies, along with Chris Mathias, have perfectly melded Parisian charm with rural Ontario farm life in their sweet Ossington butcher shop. A pig's head usually hangs in the freezer window along with other aging cuts, while the beautiful old shelving inside holds terrines, duck confit, pickles, game, prepared steaks, chops, chickens, roasts and sausages. More »

The Butcher's Son

The Butcher's Son

Inspired by the meals at restaurant Five Doors North, owner Vito Rizzuto partnered with Matthew Kumprey to provide the same high-quality and traditionally raised meats for customers to have at home. The store focuses primarily on these very exclusive, restaurant style-cuts (Australian Waygu beef, anyone?) along with fine game meats and poultry. Prepared foods include potpies, soups, wings and sandwiches. More »

Butcher by Nature

Butcher by Nature

You can recognize the enthusiasm and pride at Butcher by Nature, located in the Junction. Even a devastating fire in 2012 couldn't stop owners Frank and Mirella DiGenova from their business. The store stocks wholesome, organic and naturally raised meats and poultry, as well as fresh fish, grocery items, breads and prepared foods. The flat chickens and accompanying marinades are famous. More »

Royal Beef

Royal Beef

For over 25 years, Royal Beef has been satisfying customers on the Danforth with their quality meats, poultry, deli items and cheeses. They try for the best naturally raised and hormone free products, with beef being the obvious specialty. More »

Roast

Roast

St. Clair West was blessed with the recent addition of Roast butchery, and its presence on the list so soon after opening is testimony to the great things they are doing there. The room itself is beautiful, with a window for viewing directly the breaking down of the whole sides into cuts, and fridges full of lovely products and prepared foods. More »

The Meat Dept.

The Meat Dept.

'Unique' is one word for the Meat Dept. - 'fun' and 'enthusiastic' are two others. They carry quality meats and poultry, eggs, butter and cured meats, prepared foods, preserves and pickles - they are even Green Egg barbecue distributors. For your animal friends, they have their own line of raw dog food. More »

Discussion

43 Comments

Yvonne / April 21, 2014 at 01:11 pm
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go to Loblaws!!!
Brent / April 21, 2014 at 01:14 pm
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Pretty spot-on list. Sanagan's probably best overall but Cumbrae's has the best steak.
Amanda / April 21, 2014 at 01:17 pm
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Butchers of Distinction at Queen and Broadview is my favourite. Each piece of meat is labelled with the farm it came from, and what the animal was eating. Plus it's super fresh, sometimes the animal was butchered that morning. And it's not much pricier than supermarket meat, often just a dollar or two more, if that. Worth it for me!
The Shakes / April 21, 2014 at 01:47 pm
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Tried out most of the places on this list, but by far still prefer Cattlemen's Meat on Queen West/Fuller and The Steak Master on Bloor St West in Etobicoke.
John replying to a comment from Ivan / April 21, 2014 at 01:51 pm
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LOL, seriously? You probably didn't cook it properly, just sayin'
asdgfsdga / April 21, 2014 at 02:01 pm
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I wish Sannagans would open up another location in West Queen west. There's a serious shortage of well priced quality meat shops in this area. cote de bueff and friendly butcher don't count because they are overpriced.
Jason replying to a comment from Ivan / April 21, 2014 at 02:20 pm
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Chicken DOES need to be cooked. Also, wash your hands after handling raw meat.
Woody / April 21, 2014 at 02:29 pm
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I would argue that the Butcher Shop on Kingston Rd should also have been on this list. We have consistently been getting amazing cuts of meat at really reasonable prices from these guys, and the butcher himself really knows his business!
Bobby replying to a comment from Yvonne / April 21, 2014 at 02:44 pm
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Enjoy your hamburger helper, sigh.
Oh yes replying to a comment from Amanda / April 21, 2014 at 02:53 pm
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You nailed it!

Butchers of Distinction is hands down the best in town.

Parkdalian replying to a comment from The Shakes / April 21, 2014 at 02:56 pm
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Re: Cattleman's. Have you had any luck figuring out where their meat is sourced from? I want to like them, but it would help if they were a bit more transparent....
Lavender Blume / April 21, 2014 at 03:11 pm
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Custodio's on Roncesvalles may be a relatively new joint, but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked. It belongs on this list. More affordable and more selection than The Healthy Butcher, and no hipster pretension.
keven / April 21, 2014 at 03:41 pm
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Went to roast and was pretty impressed with their meat and local varieties of canned goods and specialty products. We ended up trying out their chicken wings and they were delicious. A welcomed addition to the neighbourhood.
Jono replying to a comment from Ivan / April 21, 2014 at 04:26 pm
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Learn to cook your chicken and wash your hands.
local is overstated / April 21, 2014 at 04:35 pm
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Local meat is a little over played. We don't get meat shipped in from China. If it wasn't fattened up in Ontario than it was probably born in Ontario and shipped West before being slaughtered. There will be some beef from the USA as well but quite minimal. Knowing the farm means nothing unless you know that farm did something special you like. Also, ethically sourced meats is an oxymoron; respect the piece of meat you're eating, the animal was slaughtered, it didn't want to die though.
Andrew replying to a comment from Lavender Blume / April 21, 2014 at 04:43 pm
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Custodio's is owned by the former head butcher of Cumbrae's. Much better. Check it out.
EDWORD / April 21, 2014 at 06:59 pm
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Big fan of Gasparro's. From Pig to cow to chicken the meat there has always been fantastic. Plus, it's always awesome to shoot the shit with the guys who work there.
Jon replying to a comment from Andrew / April 21, 2014 at 08:11 pm
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Custodias is wonderful. All their meats are excellent and their bacon has to be the best bacon I have ever had.
TorontoFoodBwoy / April 21, 2014 at 09:00 pm
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Roast holds it down. Sorry Macelleria Atlas
wanda / April 21, 2014 at 09:05 pm
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Love Cote de Boeuf. They have amazing meats and do special orders or everything from game meats to custom charcuterie trays. Fantastic.
Tim / April 21, 2014 at 09:31 pm
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Huuuuge fan of Gasparos, I miss living in that neighbourhood. But Medium Rare in Etobicoke should be on the list!!
Sean replying to a comment from Woody / April 21, 2014 at 09:38 pm
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Agreed. The Butcher Shop at Kingston Rd. and Markham Rd. is very well known in the community and the rest of the City should know about it.
The shakes replying to a comment from Parkdalian / April 21, 2014 at 09:41 pm
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I believe Cattlemen's Meats sources most of their meat from a few local farms, though I don't know exactly where those farms are. I do know they smoke their own sausages and bacon, and man are they ever good. Unlike most places on this list, they aren't trendy or hip. Just old school experts in meat who offer incredible service and quality at really good prices. And the place has been around for almost 80 years. I used to get weekly meat boxes straight from the farm and I find Cattlemen's to be of the same quality.
Tim / April 21, 2014 at 10:09 pm
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Another vote here for Butchers of Distinction. Friendly people, great meat, very reasonable prices for top quality product.
Highly recommended!
paul / April 21, 2014 at 10:13 pm
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WHITEHOUSE MEATS IN THE MARKET!
Eden / April 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm
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Marlon's is gone. Where do you rank Pusateri's?
PRBP / April 22, 2014 at 12:07 am
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Bruno's!
BLOB FORD / April 22, 2014 at 07:14 am
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I got a piece of meat for you all to shove down your throats while I ruin this city!!
4ChanApologist / April 22, 2014 at 08:16 am
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Disappointed to not see long-time Summerhill resident Olliffe on this list. Having frequented them and Cumbrae's both for a number of years, I find Olliffe regularly has the better meat.

The knowledge level of the staff is also amazing and they're always willing to prepare meats however you'd like (skin on, butterflied, etc.) or sourcing whatever weird cuts you want (like a whole pig's head) from their suppliers
TJ / April 22, 2014 at 09:13 am
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Butcher's shops are great if you need to buy cuts of meat that usually aren't available at your local grocery store. However, there are rarely sales at the 3 butcher shops that I've been to and to regularly pay $8/lb for chicken breasts, $20/lb for NY striploin steak, $9/lb for pork loin is a bit much especially when these types of meat go on sale monthly at the local grocery store(s) at less than half that price.
BONER! / April 22, 2014 at 09:51 am
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Learn to take apart your own birds and save $$$
Luke replying to a comment from Amanda / April 22, 2014 at 01:30 pm
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Couldn't agree more! BOD is the place to go
Orson / April 22, 2014 at 06:06 pm
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Thanks for the one or two nods to ethnic butchers. It's not like they've been the cornerstones of our deeply rooted communities in Toronto or anything. But yeah, hormones and grains and yupster vanities!
John Labatt / April 23, 2014 at 07:13 am
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Cumbraes!!! EXPENSIVE AND ATTITUDE RIDDEN
Tessa Dunn / April 23, 2014 at 08:21 am
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It's great finding good shops around town. Hopefully there are more blogs like these around http://www.ranker.com/list/best-retail-companies-to-work-for/molly-gander?utm_expid=16418821-2.PAaBT_MORcmI67lBYq2pgw.0
Joanne / April 24, 2014 at 03:06 pm
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ROAST is incredible. Owned by a local couple who understand the importance of providing excellent customer service and an impeccable product.
Rose / April 25, 2014 at 08:07 am
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I'm sad that Close to the Bone on Kingston Rd. isn't on here! Mary and Daryl have some of the best meat in the city, including the best homemade sausages I've ever had.
Toronto Personal Trainer / April 28, 2014 at 02:23 pm
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Excited to try a bunch of these places. Recently moved to Toronto so I have no knowledge of good spots yet.
Jason / June 6, 2014 at 06:48 pm
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I can't believe Nosso Talho was not mentioned.
Portuguese Butcher on west end, on Bloor. It's the busiest butcher shop in town. Great quality at a Great Price. Every summer I take advantage of there store made BBQ sausage deal 10 pc for $10.
RBJ replying to a comment from Yvonne / June 24, 2014 at 04:37 pm
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The pork from there is a good chance to be from factories.
Julia Yandex / July 11, 2014 at 10:54 am
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Nice work! Wish we had a butchers like yours here in Manchester UK!
Chelsea Simonds / August 20, 2014 at 09:11 am
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I am really very happy to visit this post.There are so many butcher shop in Toronto. I use to prefer few of them to buy meat. Thanks for making a wonderful informative post...
Chelsea Simonds / August 20, 2014 at 09:12 am
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I am really very happy to visit this post.There are so many butcher shop in Toronto. I use to prefer few of them to buy meat. Thanks for making a wonderful informative post...

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