The Best Gourmet Food Stores in Toronto
The best gourmet food stores in Toronto are designed to bring out the inner epicure by dazzling customers with beautiful displays of exotic fruit, hanging aged meats, choice selections of cheeses, rare birds and fishes, gourmet food stuffs from far-off places, or providing the finest of local ingredients in the best possible combinations.
Here's our list of the best gourmet food stores in Toronto.
Oh, Pusateri's. You've got to hand it to this gourmet food emporium. They set the gold standard early on, with the first in-store sushi bar and olive oil bar in Canada, and continue with their wide range of prepared foods, produce, fish and seafood, bread, meat and deli items, cheese, cakes, pastries, desserts and more. Gone are the days when you had to go to France to get canard in a can, now you can head up to Pusateri's any day of the week. The only beef? Boy, are you going to pay for it.
Started in 1970 on Bloor as a simple mom and pop corner store, the Cheese Boutique has moved and blown up into a huge enterprise that sees truffles flown in each Wednesday and led France to bestow the title of Knight of the Order of Agricultural Merit on the owner. The cheese section is truly magnificent, and the highlight of the shop, but they also have an impressive selection of oils, vinegars, preserves, hanging meats, a bakery and full grocery store, and even kitchen utensils.
Celebrity chef Mark McEwan chose Don Mills as the location for his gourmet grocery store. It's a wise spot, considering you'll need plenty of space to park to load up on all the goodies he carries - everything from Russian caviar to a curry bar. They stock meat, cheese and seafood, oils, baked goods and so much more. But it's the prepared food section, sold by weight, that stands out - understandably, considering McEwan's background.
With two locations, Summerhill Market caters to the busy elite of North Toronto, supplying a dizzying array of take-away dishes that can be presented (Mrs. Doubtfire-style) as if it was your own gourmet creation. Pastas, pot pies, quiches and coq au vin are all on the menu, and while you're thinking on dinner, you can also peruse the selection of pastries, flowers, and gourmet baskets. It's a one stop-shop for a divine dinner party.
Max's Market was an evolution process for the owners, who once owned five restaurants in the city. They bring the same attention to gourmet eating in their prepared foods as they did in restaurant kitchens, and serve them alongside a solid selection of grocery items - cold drinks, crackers, snacks and chips, pasta and sauce, baked goods and deli items. (Their guacamole is famous.)
Stasis Preserves is a quaint Roncesvalles joint specializing in prolonging the shelf-life of Ontario's best farm-fresh meat and produce by all manner of preservation. I'm talking soups, syrups, sauces, confits, jams, jellies, pickling, curing, and smoking. Beyond their own production, they also carry deli and pantry items - which just happen to pair perfectly with the Stasis line of products.
The Upper Beaches was blessed when Courage Foods opened, full of local produce, prepared take-away food and amazing baked goods. The friendly staff is sure to assist you in finding something right for dinner, be it their pulled pork sandwiches, mac and cheese, or soups - or perhaps a ginger cookie or warm brownie for a child after a long school day, Courage Foods knows how make a gourmet food shop into a community.
Teo Paul began offering Christmas terrines for take-away in nearby restaurant Union; before long, he opened an entire Paris-style butcher shop on Ossington to accommodate demand. There's duck and chicken confit, pig heads hanging in the window, heritage flours, duck eggs, truffled salts, and many types of preserves - and yee-haw, are those take-away sandwiches good.
The prices are equal to the level of preciousness at Harvest Wagon in Summerhill, as each piece of fruit is polished and protected with tissue, and the vegetables are displayed in vintage wooden boxes. The little grocery store is stocked with oils, vinegars and other pantry items, a smaller variety of prepared foods, and choice ingredients like truffles and sea asparagus.
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