I could spend my days wandering around markets being enticed by all my senses. It doesn’t matter what city I find myself in; big or small, I will find a market to get lost in! But one of my all time favourite markets in Toronto is by far Kensington Market! It is full of life, different aromas and lively music. It’s constantly changing, vibrant, and just the right amount of grungy. You can be young or old, spend an hour or a day soaking it all in – shopping or eating to your heart’s desire. I used to spend my days as a younger self shopping thrift stores; buying incense, hitting the Hot Box Cafe and getting cheap fruits and veggies! I’d always grab a Jamaican patty and a coconut roll from the Golden Patty Bakery (and I still do). Now as my older self I enjoy a glass of wine, grab my favourite goodies for a dinner party (or heck just for myself) or check out any new spots popping up.
There is no doubt an endless amount of places to visit at this market and it would be impossible for me to list them all. This post is all about my top spots in Kensington Market, the ones that I can’t live without!
Beyond my favourite list there are a few places that are worth mentioning and have been around since I can remember. These are also spots that I gravitate towards and am happy to see that they are still around and I can support. Cheese Magic has great cheese (obviously) and the guys are so lovely but so is Global Cheese. I could never really choose one over the other so I rotate my shopping days. If you’re looking for the best butcher in town (and I mean the best) there is only one place to go and that’s Sanagan’s Meat Locker. You can get all of your groceries at Kensington Market, fresh and right off the truck. There have been days where I found myself stashing my groceries under the table while I sipped on a cocktail and danced with friends. Or I’ve watched the sun dip to see the night life take over with the music spilling out of Poetry Jazz Cafe! There is no market around like Kensington, it’s a must to explore!
Okay let’s get to my top spots in Kensington Market!
1. Golden Patty Bakery
I’m not sure how long Golden Patty has been around, but it’s been there since I’ve been going to the market for some odd 20 years, so you know it’s good! It’s normally the first or second spot I hit and I have to hold my nose (like a child) as I walk by the fish market to get to the bakery. And every time I get a Jamaican Patty to snack on while I walk around the market. I will always buy some coconut rolls too. I love their coconut rolls and have yet to come across another one half as good! They aren’t too sweet and are just the perfect treat to enjoy with a coffee. Some other goodies that I grab at the Jamaican Bakery is CoCo Bread and Toe To Cake. These are my favourite treats if you’re looking for something new to try.
2. Kensington Fruit Market
When it comes to local fresh fruits and veggies at great prices the Kensington Fruit Market has never let me down! This is my top spot in Kensington Market spot to find any groceries I may need. I normally end up veering off my list and purchasing mangoes or something else that are on for a discounted price. At the beginning of the spring and summer you can also buy fresh potted herbs for cooking and outdoor flowers. I’ve also been coming here for over 20 years. This family owned business (since 1978) are veterans at the market.
3. Fika Cafe
If you know then you know! Fika is an adorable Swedish-inspired cafe on Kensington Ave. Although the cafe looks a little different with Covid protocals it’s still a place that I like to go and enjoy a cup of coffee! The interior has a Scandinavian decor; which feels modern yet cozy and artful. Fika has a great assortment of teas (which I love having the options), with nice pastries and of course coffee. The back patio’s ambience is rustic; like you’re hanging out at a friend’s house while the front patio is the perfect spot to watch the thrift shoppers pass by.
A fun fact, Fika is a Swedish verb meaning “to go out for coffee”.
4. The Organic Press
You’ve probably walked past The Organic Press many times not realizing how cool this spot is! Well now you know, hands down this is one of my favourite shops in the market. This my friends is where you can buy all the plants your heart desires and really cool unique plants at that! They have a great vibe, are super, super kind and serve up amazing juices and smoothies. I’ve yet to try any of their food but they feature vegan soups, etc. if that’s your jam.
5. Grey Gardens
Well, unlike the rest of my list, Grey Gardens is a new spot for me but it has to be mentioned as a nice spot to enjoy a glass of wine! This wine bar is a visual beauty to sit and sip on some fun wines. Everything about their design screams attention to details and is an absolute pleasure to all of your senses. What may start as a pit stop for one glass of vino (cocktail or cider), will undoubtably end up with a snack or even meal. And if they still have the potato ravioli on the menu when you are reading this, do yourself a favour and order it! My gawd it’s like gourmet perogies on steroids!
I hope you enjoy my top spots in Kensington Market and the next time you need a day to wander around, hit the city why not get lost in this exciting market? Let me know where your favourite spots are in the comments!
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