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✈ Keeping Kosher in Toronto, ON

Things To Do on raveable

Contributed by: Dani Klein | Last Date of Travel: June 2009

It’s hard to believe we haven’t had a post on Toronto yet, the 2nd largest Jewish community outside of Israel. Recently, I’ve had the privilege of visiting Toronto on multiple occasions and trying much of their great food.
toronto
Kosher Info: The largest Jewish city north of the American border does not disappoint when it comes to kosher options. Throughout the Jewish neighborhoods, kosher food are plentiful.

The Jewish community is saturated along Bathurst Ave. which runs North to South into the downtown district. The majority of the restaurants are located on, or fairly close to, Bathurst Ave. So when in doubt, drive up or down Bathurst, and you will inevitably find numerous kosher options.

The Bathurst / Lawrence neighborhood hosts some classic Toronto establishments:

  • Tov Li – amazing pizza, falafel, and other pizzeria goodies. (I was actually quite impressed with this place)
  • Jewels & Java – a unique combo of jewelery store and cafe.
  • Umami Sushi – a highly recommended sushi place by the locals (I haven’t tried it so I cant confirm)
  • Dairy Treats – a great breakfast place

Further north, near Wilson Ave., you’ll be able to find:

  • Marky’s – a traditional deli that evoked mixed reactions from Torontonians
  • King David Pizza – whose pizza did not look fresh to me – so I stayed away
  • Donut Delight – not quite Dunkin Donuts

North of the city limits, the Thornhill neighborhood of Vaughan, ON houses a densely populated Jewish suburban area. At one strip mall at Clark & Hilda Aves you can find:

  • D-Lite’s – a quaint sit down dairy eatery with salads, great sushi (I recommend getting yours tempura style if you like things fried like me), and even some poutine (a traditionally French Canadian side dish consisting of French fries, melted cheese, and gravy – non meat of course). The service was not so great, but not awful considering the few waiters on hand.poutine
  • Miami Grill is a popular fleishig establishment with all the usual grilled favorites including steak and burgers.
  • Second Cup – this special branch of the coffee chain is entirely certified kosher.
  • Sobeys – a local supermarket chain all over Toronto – this particular branch has everything made in house certified kosher including a bakery, butcher, fish and appetizing sections. This is truly something you can’t even find in New York.

tempura sushi

Tourist Info:
Toronto is a cultural hub for Canada, with a mix of American and European flavors. In the summer time, Toronto is filled with tons of outdoor events. (I suspect they’re spending the freezing winter months pining for the nice days of summer to be outdoors). Each year the Jewish community holds a Jewish culture festival and an Israel fair. Head to the Harbourfront on Lake Ontario, as there are numerous outdoor vendors and nearby museums.

If you’re anywhere near downtown, you wont be able to miss the CN Tower which marks the city’s skyline. Also downtown is the Hockey Hall of Fame.

On the corner of Bathurst & Bloor you’ll find a Toronto relic, Honest Ed’s – a carnival-like, discount shopping experience. Further down Bloor you’ll find major shopping malls and shops.

Highly recommended is the Royal Ontario Museum, better known as the ROM.

ROM

Jewish Info: The Jewish community is large and visible. I make a distinction between Toronto and New York, because in Toronto the community is somewhat condensed (along Bathurst Ave.) and everywhere you go you see Jewish signs, Israeli flags, posters, etc. In NY, you could be driving through the Jewish areas of Manhattan or Long Island and sometimes not know the difference. Chabad is very active in Toronto, with a few visible houses, and a large one in Thornhill.

Nearby in Thornhill, you’ll be able to find the famous BAYT (pronounced “Bayit” like ‘house’ in Hebrew), which is a massive orthodox shul, with multiple minyanim of all types, which boasts a wedding hall and multiple kiddush clubs.

When visiting Toronto, you shouldn’t find trouble finding a warm place to stay for Shabbat.

About the author

Dani Klein

Dani Klein is the founder of YeahThatsKosher, is passionate about global travel, good kosher food / restaurants, social media & the web, technology, digital marketing, and spending time with his friends & family.

Dani has an MBA in Marketing and works in the Social Media Marketing field for a large media agency.

  • Facebook User

    Ok, I have to say something. You mention the Clark and Hilda plaza with Sobey’s… but you don’t mention My Zaidy’s Pizza? Possibly my favourite pizza place anywhere! So I gotta say it… My Zaidy’s Pizza: Good big slices, and good side orders too. Clark and Hilda.

  • I dont claim to know every place to eat in each city, but I speak to the locals and I look around.

    I guess I must’ve missed My Zaidy’s Pizza.

  • markr33

    Wow, I didn’t know that Toronto was the 2’nd largest Jewish community in Chul!!! What about South Florida and LA?

  • cyberdov

    Ah, my home town…but although it has grown a lot in the last few decades, it is not close to being #2 in Jewish population outside of Israel – Paris, Chicago, LA, and possibly Philadelphia, Boston and SF – depends on what part of the metro areas you count.
    Also minor point – it’s Bathurst Street (not Avenue).

    On the Marky’s mixed reviews, time was when the venerable Marky’s (in it’s former location, a block from the current one) was one of only two or three kosher joints in town. It was much worse then, a real greasy spoon. Now clean, bright , and comfortable, decent food, good variety and service, and about the best liver-and-onions I have had anywhere!

  • I made the necessary changes regarding Bathurst St. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Noam Hazan

    King David Pizza is famous for its absolutely excellent Pizza and Falafel!

    I go there every time I visit Toronto. The Blog said that the Pizza didnt look fresh. This can be said of all pizza restaurants when they leave their pizzas on display.

    All you need to do is tell them and they will make a new one for you there and then.

    Plus there is a new one opening up soon!
    http://kingdavid-pizza.com/location.html

  • Dan

    I personally love marky’s. If you stick to the deli sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken fingers, steak and eggs, and burgers (you know, deli-style stuff) then you’ll consistently get a good meal.

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