Where to eat, drink and shop in Dufferin Grove
1 year ago
1 year ago
Toronto's Dufferin Grove neighbourhood lies west of the downtown core and is surrounded by Little Italy, Trinity-Bellwoods, Little Portugal, Brockton Village and Bloordale Village. Demarcating the neighbourhood's boundaries are Bloor Street to the north, Ossington Ave to the east, Dundas Street to the south and Dufferin Street to the west. Centred around Dufferin Grove Park, the neighbourhood has continued to develop since its inception in 1792 by the Denison Family, who settled in the area after emigrating from England.
Today, Dufferin Grove tends to get overlooked by its more well-known neighbours, such as Trinity-Bellwoods and Little Italy, but the 14-acre neighbourhood is unique in its own right. After receiving a notable mention from Time Out in 2018 for being on the world's coolest neighbourhood list (landing at #39 at the time), it's apparent how many standout restaurants, bars, bakeries and shops reside within the area. Whether you're driven to the area for its clout on a first trip to Toronto or are a longtime resident who has yet to discover what Dufferin Grove has to offer (besides Dufferin Mall), check out our list of where to eat, drink, grab coffee and shop in the neighbourhood.
As a Toronto veteran pastry chef, Jill Barber’s landmark patisserie opened in the height of the pandemic in late 2020. After stints at Blackbird Baking Co. and Paradise on Bloor, Barber welcomed the opportunity to continue her career in a solo venture. The shop, located right on College Street near Ossington Avenue, is inviting and bright. Peering through its wall-to-wall glass window storefront, you’ll be able to see all the workings of a high-drive French patisserie.
Stepping foot through the door, you’ll be swept off the ground with the glorious aromas of butter and fresh espresso. Serving up some of the city’s most renowned baked goods, both sweet and savoury, this College Street shop is a must-try for any pastry lover.
The College Street location of this Portuguese churrasqueira or “grill house” is hard to miss, with its bright neon orange signage and stone facade. A long-standing business in the neighbourhood, Bairrada Churrasqueria, has been open since 1989 under the helm of Denis Pires and is now overseen by his son Carlos Pires. Making up a significant demographic of the Dufferin Grove neighbourhood, Portuguese people primarily immigrated to Canada following WWII. Initially, the community lay claim to the Kensington Market and Alexandra Park area but slowly started moving west on Dundas West and College Street.
With several Portuguese restaurants scattered throughout the city, particularly located in Toronto's Little Portugal, Bairrada Churrasqueria has remained a popular choice for trying succulent Portuguese chicken and other grilled meats, fish and seafood. This location especially draws crowds in the summer, with a sprawling back patio lined with picnic benches; it is the ideal place to enjoy a pitcher of sangria just as the Portuguese do.
This beloved Italian mainstay has served the Dufferin Grove area for over a decade, slinging classic, no-frills Italian dishes in its charming, cozy space on Dundas West. Helmed by Chef Kyle Rindinella, you’ll find a delectable selection of fresh pasta, antipasti, vegetables and Italian mains on the menu, alongside an extensive wine and cocktail program to pair.
Warm your soul in this rustic, recently renovated interior with their signature Cacio e Pepe and a classic Italian charcuterie board. It's the perfect place to enjoy a tasty, elegant meal that will satisfy all your indulgent Italian food needs. Enoteca is an absolute must-eat when visiting the neighbourhood.
A recent addition to the community, Oroshi Fish Co. is regarded as Toronto’s best new sushi spot. Here, you’ll find a traditional assortment of sushi boxes and specially crafted omakase sets using fish prepared to the highest standards.
Tucked away on College Street, Oroshi’s entrance is located in an alleyway off the main street, completely hidden from pedestrians roaming the area––the only signage that would draw one to the store is a simple blue and white character that reads “fish” in Japanese, floating atop the many signs that fill this strip of College Street. The interior is cozy, a fridge of fish hanging by its tails line the left-side wall and a small marketplace of flagship products sit on shelves adjacent. The bulk of the store is an open kitchen, where you’ll find a slew of sushi chefs hammering away at incoming orders, crafting sushi boxes with precision.
A newcomer to the neighbourhood, opening only a year ago at the height of the pandemic, Milou didn't let the relentless wave of lockdowns stop it in its quick ascent to immense popularity. Owners Adrian Montesdeoca and Mikey Kim created the space with the intent to create a neighbourhood hangout, reminiscent of the quintessential Parisian bistro, where creatives and industry folk can gather over a cappuccino, glass of wine or long lunch.
On the menu, find classics like French onion soup, croque monsieur and steak frites, alongside more inventive takes such as a coq au vin sandwich and a stroganoff sandwich on Blackbird pullman loaf. Milou is the kind of restaurant that is seamless to be a regular at. Grab a coffee or breakfast sandwich on your morning walk or bring an out-of-town visitor to dinner, Milou proves just how cool Dufferin Grove is.
Located at the corner of Dundas West and Gladstone Ave, this cozy wine bar has been pouring the city since 2012 and, in the process, carved out a space for dedicated wine bars to really flourish and educate people on wine -- beyond what was widely available for consumer purchase. Straddling the borders of Little Portugal and Dufferin Grove, this neighbourhood watering hole has always emphasized wine first and food second -- like any true wine bar would. You'll find an assortment of charcuterie, olives, cheeses, bread and fermented veg, alongside a selection of larger rotating plates like Torched Atlantic Mackerel, Beef Tartare and Pork Terrine. The wine program features a list of over 350+ different bottles and a diverse selection by the glass. The wines featured are low-intervention, with the ethos that the grape's true character should shine through. Owned by Giuseppe Anile, Midfield is a must-visit for wine aficionados looking to try something new or novice drinkers eager to expand their palates in an unpretentious environment.
Situated on Bloor, demarcating the divide between Dufferin Grove and Bloordale Village, Burdock Brewery has been transcending and pushing boundaries regarding conventional brewing since its inception in 2015. Owners and friends Matt Park and Jason Stein have created a truly unique space in the city, one that dubs itself as a multitude of things (microbrewery, bottle shop, restaurant and musical hall). Consistently experimenting, you'll find everything from your traditional lagers, sparkling water, piquette, beer-wine hybrids and sours. Whether you're enjoying your Good Grapes (a favourite beer-wine hybrid) with a Burdock burger on their patio or making a quick pit-stop on the way home into their bottle shop, Burdock always has a new libation to try.