Eating in Toronto: Best Things to Eat at St. Lawrence Market
Visiting Toronto for the weekend? St. Lawrence Market should be on your list of things to do in Toronto for good reasons! This blog shows you the best things to eat at St. Lawrence Market.
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Toronto is a great city to visit because of its multicultural background as well as its amazing food. The first time I went to Toronto everyone recommended that I visit the famous St. Lawrence Market and I was told to go hungry. Not knowing anything about the market, I decided to check it out early Saturday morning and oh boy, I was not disappointed.
For those of you who have never heard of this market, St. Lawrence market was named the world’s best food market by National Geographic in 2012. Now having been to the Borough market (among many others) in London and Chelsea market in New York, I have to say it indeed is one of the best food markets I have ever visited because of the variety of cuisines it offers as well as fresh produce and much much more.
Where is St. Lawrence Market?
The St. Lawrence Market is located in downtown Toronto, about a 20 minute walk from the CN Tower. The market is right across from the famous Flatiron Building and on the weekend the area is very lively and crowded.
As you get closer you will see a big brick house with a Canadian flag in the front. Excited, I went inside the market and was immediately greeted by a big hall of food vendors and a couple of souvenir shops.
What To Eat at St. Lawrence Market
St. Lawrence market is a quite large building with two stories of stalls offering Canadian and international cuisine.
The main level has mostly Canadian specialties, including bagels, Canadian Bacon, mustard, etc.
There were a couple of things I knew I wanted to eat at St. Lawrence Market, and these were the Montreal style bagel and the Peameal Bacon on a Bun.
I’ve always had a thing for bagels and New York definitely spoiled me. I was interested to see how this place compared to the Montreal style bagel I had in Montreal so I looked for St. Urbain Bagel first thing. I found it on the ground floor to the left of St. Lawrence market in the back and there was already a long wait for it.
St. Urbain Bagel
St. Urbain Bagel offered a few different types of bagel and a few note worthy ones are the onion & garlic, Spinach & Feta, Prezel, and different sorts of sweet bagels. I wasn’t sure if the bagels were wood-fire baked, so that could be one difference compare to the Montreal bagels.
I ended up ordering a garlic & onion bagel with chives cream cheese and the bagel was soft and chewy. The dough was sweeter than the bagels in Montreal and New York.
Having satisfied my bagel craving, I started walking around the market to check out different vendors while looking for the Peameal Bacon sandwich from Carousel Bakery.
After walking around the market, I finally found Carousel Bakery on the other side and again, there was a queue for the sandwich.
I got the Peameal Bacon on a bun sandwich for CAD 6.45 (plus tax). They had already prepared it so I didn’t need to wait for them to make it. They also sell other types of sandwiches but the most famous one is the Peameal Bacon sandwich.
It is a very simple sandwich that consists of just Canadian bacon and two buns. I didn’t add anything extra to it but someone next to me added an egg. They also have chicken sandwiches at the bakery. The buns were soft and a little sweet and the bacon (more like ham) were really juicy and tasty although I find it a little salty after eating half of the sandwich.
Pasta & Pizza
Another popular joint not too far from Carousel Bakery is Pizza & Pasta with a super long line. This shop offers different types of pizza and pasta so if you want to satisfy your Italian food craving this is the place to try.
Portuguese Egg Tarts
Before visiting Montreal back in May, I didn’t realize the east coast of Canada had a lot of Portuguese influence. I was surprised to find Portuguese egg tarts and food in both Montreal and Toronto but no complaints there, I’ve always been a fan of egg tarts.
Near the entrance of the market you will see a small booth called Churrasco St. Lawrence. They sell a number of Portuguese style items and the most popular one is the egg tart. Note that this shop is cash only.
The Mustard Shop
I forgot the exact name of this shop but as you walk around the ground level of St. Lawrence market you will come across a cool mustard stall. They sell over 20 kinds of mustard and you can try all of them for free. I was really tempted to buy some but it would be hard to bring back to New York so I didn’t (otherwise I would’ve).
Other things to check out on the ground floor include Canadian bacon, fresh produce, tapas, seafood stall and the cheese shop.
What to Eat at the Lower Level of St. Lawrence Market
I hope you are not already full after walking around the ground level as downstairs in St. Lawrence Market there are so much more to check out. The downstairs level is truly a blend of international flavors from South America to Europe to Asia.
Everyday Gourmet Coffee Roasters
One of the most popular stall in the lower level of St. Lawrence market is this coffee vendor. There is always a long line here but they go by pretty quickly.
I stopped by for a cup of Chai Pumpkin Spied Latte. It was made from real Chai tea bag and pumpkin spice. But most people there got latte which looked and smelled amazing.
Crepe it Up
Another popular place to eat in St. Lawrence Market is Crepe it Up. They offer both savory and sweet crepes and when I was there the second time I visited Toronto there was a lot of people.
There are so many other food vendors on the lower level and they sell things such as arepa, European delights, Chinese food, smoothies. What stood out to me was also a really big bakery as well as a caviar shop and a rice shop with all sorts of rice! There is also an area for seating downstairs so you don’t have to worry about having to stand while eating.
St. Lawrence Market vs. Borough Market & Chelsea Market
I’m a big fan of Borough Market in London and Chelsea market in New York so I couldn’t help but make a few comparisons between those two internationally famous food market with St. Lawrence Market.
- St. Lawrence market is indoors similar to Chelsea market whereas Borough Market is outdoors but covered (sort of).
- The food options are different among all 3 markets. Chelsea market is known for the tacos, ramen, fresh seafood (boiled lobster, oysters, etc) and it has a couple of restaurants/wine bars but not as much for raw meat/vegetable/cheese. Borough Market has more international options for cooked food, such as German, Indian, Thai, American, and a huge variety of fruit juice. St. Lawrence Market has more Toronto specialty food, cheese, raw meat and seafood as well as international food (but not as European as Borough Market).
- St. Lawrence feels bigger than Chelsea market whereas Borough market is the biggest in my opinion because there are some coffee shops and restaurants right outside of Borough market.
- St. Lawrence is closed Sunday and Monday; Borough market is only closed on Sunday but St. Lawrence market opens earlier and closes later. Chelsea market is open everyday at 7am – 9pm (except Sunday hours). I guess this also reflects the fact that everything in New York is open till much later.
Would I recommend St. Lawrence Market? Definitely! It’s one of the best places to eat in Toronto and I highly recommend you go to St. Lawrence Market hungry! [no_toc]
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