Looking for the best places to eat on one of Toronto’s most dynamic streets? Our guide to Ossington restaurants showcases the best bites found on the strip — be it at a French bistro, local brewery or ice cream sandwich shop.
Transitioning from a gritty past to a happening dining destination, Ossington Avenue is one of Toronto’s most noteworthy streets. Most of the focus rests on the strip reaching from Queen Street up to Dundas, which is dominated by a clutch of innovative Ossington restaurants. It’s here that everything from Malaysian to Greek cuisine is on offer to Torontonians in possession of ever more knowledgeable palates.
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History of Ossington Avenue
Ossington Avenue grabs its name from an English village. From the late 1800s onwards, Ossington south of what’s currently known as Dundas was, in fact, called Dundas. Around 1910 it became Ossington and has had many rebirths over the years. It used to be one of the city’s main stockyard areas, later transitioning into a mixed residential and industrial zone thanks to the addition of a streetcar stop in 1861. Many an automotive shop peppered the streetscape. It’s also played a big role in certain immigrant communities, including Ukrainian, Italian, Portuguese and Vietnamese.
Despite the many changes to the strip, one constant is the mental health institution at the base of the street. Originally know as the Provincial Lunatic Asylum when it was built back in 1850, its moniker has shape-shifted with the changing of the times. Now it’s known as CAMH, or the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
By the mid-2000s, the neighbourhood had become a pretty ho-hum one, with less-than-savoury businesses dotting the landscape (think karaoke bars that are more brothel and less singing). But as restaurateurs sought out affordable rent, the atmosphere changed. The glut of late night locales that set up camp resulted in plenty of street-side debauchery — so much so that in 2009, a moratorium was put in place. Since then things have cooled just the right amount, transitioning into hipster catnip and one of Toronto’s glossiest nabes.
In March of 1966, Muhammed Ali trained at a gym above an auto body shop at 109 Ossington Ave. in advance of his fight with George Chuvalo at the Maple Leaf Gardens. Ali won. A heritage plaque now marks the spot.
A less celebrated and far more notorious resident of Ossington was James Earl Ray. After murdering Dr. Martin Luther King Junior in 1968, he hoofed it up to Canada to hide from the FBI in the area’s rooming houses. Eventually he was caught in at London Heathrow Airport with a fake Canadian passport.
Where is Ossington Avenue?
Once considered by Torontonians to be rather far in the outfield, Ossington Avenue has since become a proper destination that’s worth devoting at least an afternoon to. In addition to its stellar food scene, the strip is home to shops like the quirky Victoire, which highlights Canadian labels, and I Miss You Vintage, a designer resale boutique with exquisite threads. The Lower Ossington Theatre draws wannabe thespians through its doors with its top tier musical productions.
Ossington can be accessed easily by TTC or vehicle. Those taking the 501 Queen streetcar will exit at the Ossington stop; anyone arriving from the Bloor–Danforth subway route will get off at Ossington station and take the 63 Ossington bus south. Drivers can find parking at the Green P on Ossington Avenue just slightly north of Queen Street; another lot is located at 1117 Dundas St. W., just east of Ossington. Additionally, there’s a Bike Share station at 455 Ossington Ave. or plenty of street posts for cyclists arriving on their own bicyclettes.
Best Ossington Restaurants
Expanding from Portuguese bakeries and Vietnamese restaurants to more diverse offerings, Ossington restaurants now count a Malaysian bistro, ice cream parlour and brewery amongst its ilk.
124 Ossington Ave., no phone
Bellwoods Brewery is one of the top Ossington restaurants and simultaneously one of Toronto’s craft beer success stories. The brewpub came about when owners Mike Clark and Luke Pestl decided to give it a go on their own after working together at a local brewery. The duo nabbed a former gallery space on Ossington that had great bones, the potential for a large patio and a dreamboat of a location.
Come spring of 2012, Bellwoods Brewery was ready to open, with subsequent leases allowing them to grab more space the following year. Now, the pub and brewhouse sit at one address, with the retail shop and kitchen perched next door. Undoubtedly the shop allows customers to grab bottles for sipping from at the namesake park nearby.
Chef Jay Browne has been holding down the kitchen fort since the brewery rang in its second year (though he jokes that the fries have been paying the bills since day one). His menu puts the onus on seasonality — sourcing from local Canadian suppliers — and affordability. Dishes like the light, bright and tangy pickles or the house-made sausage are ideal for beer-in-hand snacking.
- Assorted pickles and ferments
- Fries: dusted with fines herbs and served with garlic mayo
- Mushroom Tagliatelle: Featuring house-made pasta with mushroom ragu, raw yolk and sheep’s cheese
- Smoked Toulouse Sausage: Rotating in-house sausage, offering different seasonal accompaniments
- Warm Squash Salad: Highlighting season’s best produce with butternut squash, whipped goat cheese, dandelion, walnuts, brown butter, maple and charred scallions
141 Ossington Ave, 416-588-3376
Favorites Toronto opened in July, 2019 on Ossington Avenue by the restauranteurs behind Paris Paris, Khao San Road and Superpoint.
The entrance to Favorites is hidden. You can access the Ossington restaurant through the Sam James Coffee entrance. Once inside, guests are greeted by an open kitchen featuring grills fuelled by binchotan charcoal. The sweet smelling smoke perfumes the dining room, which features hanging plants, flecked tile, peach lighting, bead curtains, white walls and a tiny portrait of the King of Thailand.
Unique to Favorites Toronto is its central ice bucket bar, which sits in front of the open kitchen and offers bar stool seating for up to five guests. On busy nights you’ll find servers clutching for dripping wine bottles as friends slice into spicy sausages.
Chef de cuisine Haan Palcu Chang has spent years studying the flavours of Thai cuisine. Having worked in some of the best restaurants in North America and Europe, including Vancouver’s award-winning Maenam, Chef Haan joined the Favorites Toronto team to bring its quirky Thai inspired menu to life.
Chef Haan describes the Ossington restaurant’s most popular menu items, “our scallop curry really showcases our kitchen’s ability as curry paste is pounded in house and cooked in cracked coconut milk. Also the lamb chops, which are done on the charcoal grill with a tamarind dipping sauce. Our popular summer salad featured Ontario corn with salted duck egg yolk, tomatoes and peanuts.”
- Coconut Braised Mushroom with Herbs & Toasted Rice
- Betel Leaf “One Bite Wrap” with Shrimp & Tamarind
- Crispy Tofu & 3 Flavoured Sauce
- Red Curry Duck Sausage
- Fried Ontario Trout with Apple, Peanut & Toasted Coconut
221 Ossington Ave., 416-532-8000
Trying to recall a time before Torontonians were besotted with Neapolitan pizza is a foolish game. Pretty much all of the obsessiveness surrounding the pies can be traced back to Pizzeria Libretto, one of the Ossington restaurants with the most longevity. Restaurateur Max Rimaldi opened the mothership back in 2008, which has since seen a number of siblings open — and a couple close — across town. Chef Rocco Agostino plays executive chef and partner. In the early days, queues were forever snaking out the door, with reservations forbidden. Later delivery and resos were deemed doable, helping to sate the cravings Torontonians felt for the pizza.
The menu is classic Italian fare, skipping from antipasto to assaggini to pasta and yes, the pizza. To start, sharables include the ricotta gnohcci fritti and the arancini with smoked scarmorza and stracciatella. Pasta might be a swirl of linguine in simple tomato sauce.
But the focus is the pizza. Adhering to the Napoli styles dictates — the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana — the pizza is built using double 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano. Blistered pies with thin-yet-chewy crusts emerge from the 850F oven after 90 seconds, spanning 12” in diameter.
Options include a Margherita with fresh whole burrata, or the Melanzane with eggplant and whipped ricotta. A duck confit pie with bosc pear and mozza is one of the bianca options, as in another with house-made sausage and caramelized onion and chili oil. Vegans, GMO avoiders and those with celiac disease can all dine here with ease. And, there’s a noteworthy tiramisu for dessert.
- Doppio Margherita: with San Marzano tomato, double fior di latte, and basil
- Diavola: spicy salami, chili, onion, kalamata olives, basil and mozzarella Prosciutto Di Parma and Arugula with basil, mozzarella and grana padano
- Fungi Di Bosco: cremini, oyster and king mushrooms, roasted garlic, thyme, rosemary, mozzarella, gorgonzola and pecorino
- Nduja Sausage: garlic, oregano, basil, mozzarella and stracciatella
- Pepperoni: basil and mozzarella
Andy Wilkin and Jessie Holmes are the founders of Toronto-based Pilot Coffee Roasters.
The premium coffee roaster opened a location on Ossington Avenue in Toronto’s west end in September, 2018.
Trevor Walsh, Marketing Manager at Pilot Coffee Roasters shared, “We first arrived on Ossington, one of Toronto’s most eclectic neighbourhoods, in 2011 under the name Crafted. It was our second location at the time, but as our cafe experience evolved, we found an opportunity to reintroduce ourselves as Pilot Coffee Roasters. Our goal with the space is to encourage community engagement and offer a comprehensive speciality coffee experience.”
Skip inside the Ossington coffee shop and you’ll find seating for 32 guests. All Pilot Coffee Roasters locations are inspired by Scandinavian interior design. At the Ossington location you’ll find a soft white interior, oak cabinetry, tile bar and metal detailing.
“Our favourite feature has to be the long and curvy slow bar that includes the Modbar espresso and pourover systems. It leaves the countertops clear and make it easy for customers to watch as their drinks are prepared,” said Walsh.
While java junkies can nerd out on their favourite bean at Pilot Coffee Roasters you’ll also find fresh baked goods such as popular sea salt chocolate chip cookies, earl grey oatmeal sconces and vegan energy balls.
So what makes this Ossington cafe unique in Toronto? “The Pilot Coffee Roaster program is built on a Direct Trade sourcing philosophy. That means we work closely with our coffee producing partners, visit their farms regularly, and ensure the premium prices we pay go straight into their hands. All the coffees we roast are available at our cafes. At a more local level, we offer a selection of craft beers and ciders from Collective Arts, and wines from The Living Vine at our Ossington location. And at all locations we offer specialty drinks from the likes of Greenhouse Juice, Ontarieau, Sapsucker and Pluck Teas,” explained Walsh.
229 Ossington Ave, 416-538-1324
Chill Thai Bar first opened its doors in the spring of 2023 at the corner of Dundas and Ossignton.
Located on the hip Ossington Strip, the restaurant is proudly owned by a passionate group of Thais who have extensive experience in the restaurant industry spanning over 10 years.
The owners were inspired to open Chill Thai Bar in Toronto’s west end, “having worked in various roles within the culinary world, we developed a deep appreciation for Thai cuisine and a desire to share its authentic flavours. The convergence of our ideas, concept, and timing aligned perfectly, allowing us to bring our passionate vision to life and establish CHILL as a unique dining destination,” said Thanyaporn Tinthanasan.
Chill Thai Bar obviously offers a laid back vibe. “We commissioned a talented artist to create hand-painted artwork that depicts the vibrant and picturesque Thai landscape. These artworks serve as focal points and bring a unique cultural touch to our space, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the rich artistic heritage of Thailand while dining with us,” added Tinthanasan.
Chill Thai Bar’s Chef V developed a diverse culinary background, attaining a culinary education in Australia and experience working in Thai, Maldivian, and Australian kitchens.
Chef V’s food philosophy is a Thai-inspired tapas-style menu, incorporating elements from both traditional Thai and French cuisine. Chef V also embraces molecular gastronomy techniques to enhance the presentation of his dishes while ensuring that authentic Thai flavours remain at the forefront.
At the bar you’ll find a craft cocktail selection that includes signature drinks like Thai Tea Martini, blending the flavours of Thai Milk Tea and gin, and the Basil Sour, featuring the aromatic essence of fresh Thai basil.
The Toronto Thai restaurants standout creations are spicy Kua Kling with Betel Leaf Tempura and Khao Soi with Lamb Chops.
93a Ossington Ave., 647-348-1900
Once upon a time, Toronto wasn’t privy to the charms of the ice cream sandwich. Then Bang Bang swung open its doors as one of the latest Ossington restaurants in 2014, foodies caught wind and queues begun snaking down the street at the first whiff of warm weather (and during cooler temps too, if we’re honest). Flip through a handful of years, and the lines haven’t abated.
Bang Bang Ice Cream is the work of baker Rosanne Pezzelli, who first made her name in town with her Bakerbots Baking. “My first bakery was serving up some of Toronto’s first and finest ice cream sammies back in 2011,” Pezzelli notes. “We outgrew that space quickly and happened to come up upon an empty storefront at 93a Ossington. The neighbourhood had great energy; it was an eclectic mix of immigrants, students, rundown auto body shops, metalworkers, mom ‘n’ pop businesses and artists’ studios.” The fact that Pezzelli was already pals with the folks from Bellwoods Brewery and Union Restaurant helped cement her decision.
When it comes to the menu, the small batch ice cream comes in so many flavour choices, it’s a blessing the line-up’s a long one. Pezzelli, who notes she’s a “bit obsessive,” makes fresh batches daily using sustainable ingredients and has fun exploring good food and flavours. “I love our basics — simple is truly best to showcase ingredients — but do enjoy throwing a wrench into the mix to see what will happen,” she says. There are collaborations with neighbours and the team makes what they want to eat.
Options like Cinnamon Toast, Avocado and Fig and Chevre speak to food snobs and gluttons alike and are ready to be parcelled into scrumptious cookies like RoCocoa (deep, dark and delicious) or date and raisin-spiked Oatmeal. Safe types can use the already-approved flavour combos as guidance, though DIY sammies are encouraged. Keep in mind that there’s no inside seating to be had, so these ice creams are made for walking.
- Everything cookie and Burnt Toffee ice cream
- RoCocoa cookie and Fresh Mint ice cream
- Stay Classy and Vanilla Bean ice cream
- Big Bang Waffle
- Profiteroles with ice cream
- Very special Cinnibun with ice cream
90 Ossington Ave., no phone
Oddseoul is the type of place that one could pass by many times and not be the least clued-in to its presence. No hanging sign is to be found out front; instead, look atop the mailbox. But squeeze inside and the darkened room instantly conjures up cool. Inside, the vibe is industrial and patrons sit along the front bar or (mostly) at high top tables in the back.
The work of brothers Leemo and Leeto Han, Oddseoul was one of the ringleaders of the Ossington restaurants scene, jumping aboard the restaurant strip back in 2012. Word got around town that their modernized Korean food was easy to scarf against a backdrop of soju-spiked drinks and hip-hop beats. The Loosey sandwich — a Korean take on the Big Mac — helped cement the Oddseoul name onto the lips of foodies. While other sibling restaurants — Pinky’s Ca Phe, Seoul Shakers, Hanmoto — have opened shop in other regions of Toronto, this Ossington restaurant is the original.
- Loosey sandwich with short-rib patty with kimchi, American cheese and pickles on toasted challah bread
- Bulgogi cheesesteak sandwich with grainy mustard
- Squash poutine with kimchi, mayo, cheese curds, pickled radish, black sesame seeds and green onions
- Tempura chicken with devilled eggs
- Spicy pork neck sizzling plate
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227 Ossington Ave., 416-551-6263
If there’s one of the Ossington restaurants that’s garnered plenty of ink since opening, it’s La Banane. Chef Brandon Olsen had already made a name for himself in Toronto’s food scene thanks to his way with fried chicken and chocolate. He was was keen to open his take on a French restaurant with partner Sarah Keenlyside who deals in all things visual. As luck would have it, the duo managed to nab an Ossington space and work some magic.
“There really is no better street in Toronto to put a restaurant,” chef Olsen says. “Ossington is home to a surprising number of truly great restaurants and people throughout Toronto and beyond regard Ossington as a foodie destination.” Guests step through a cheery yellow door and into a breathtaking bistro space, with rich leather banquettes sat against a backdrop of all shades of greens and gilded touches throughout. And there is art.
How would one describe the La Banane menu? “French classic-inspired dishes with a few surprising twists,” Olsen says. Think seared foie, a proper omelette and a tenderloin steak au poivre, with sightings of chef’s famed fried chicken and dazzling chocolate desserts for good measure. There is also a great focus on seafood, with a series of eye-catching towers always being a draw for patrons (even the mini-est platter offers plenty of bang for your buck).
- Eurobass en croute with yuzu beurre blanc and zucchini
- Seafood tower with oysters, half-lobster, cocktail shrimp, marinated mussels, raw marinated scallops for the Mini Plateau
- Tuna with brown butter, shallots and caper sauce
- Crab back gratin with bomba rice and comté
- Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg — Lined with coffee, ancho chili and dried apricots and filled with dark chocolate truffles and shattered chunks of aerated white and milk chocolate
80 Ossington Ave., 416-519-5996
At Mamakas Taverna, owner Thanos Tripi spins out classic Greek fare in a thoroughly modern space. Newish to the strip, this is one of the Ossington restaurants that has been a sought-after dining location since day one — perhaps in part due to the dearth of Aegean eateries in this neck of Toronto.
“I wanted to open up what I saw was my version of a Greek restaurant should be,” Tripi notes. “I wanted a restaurant that my peers would go to and I like the juxtaposition of traditional Greek taverna on a very popular restaurant street.”
Inside, the elongated room paints a modern picture of Greece, with pops of sea-washed green and ocean blue accenting the bright whites. Tripi looked to his grandmother’s recipes when building the Mamakas menu. Unsurprisingly, these dishes are made to share; the more dinner guests, the more sampling to be done.
“We pay a lot of attention to what we’re using, as Greek food is super simple,” Trini says. “We source the best.” Much of the ingredients are flown in from Greece: cheeses, fish, olive oil, olives… The meat is all sourced locally and is high quality. Plates range from the familiar (spanakopita! cheese saganaki! melitzanosalata!) to less charted territory (lamb tartare and tea-brined chicken). The focus on Greek product extends to the beverage menu; wine and beer options are exclusively Greek, while Roots spirits are used in the house cocktails. Authenticity is key.
- Paidákia — Ontario grilled lamb chops with bulgar and tzaziki
- Horiátiki Salad — Traditional Greek salad with tomato, feta, red onion, cucumber cheese, cucumber with an olive tapenade (“No lettuce!” Thanos says.)
- Oktapódi — Octopus served with P.D.O. (protected designation origin) fava and caper berries and leaves, all from Santorini
- Whole Fish — Grilled whole bone in to make it juice and then debone it in the kitchen caper leaves and capers from Santorini, olive oil and lemon
88 Ossington Ave, 416-901-7899
Bar Koukla is an Aegean-inspired meze and wine bar on Ossington Avenue in the space that was formerly OMAW. It’s the younger, more rebellious sibling to Mamakas Taverna next door, one of our favourite Greek restaurants in Toronto.
Bar Koukla originally opened as a space for the Mamakas restaurant team to send guests waiting to be seated for dinner as the lines were always lengthy due to its consistent popularity.
Bar Koukla is open a little later and the music’s a little louder. The interior is less formal, featuring more casual seating options and Spanish tapas bar style high tables that friends can gather around while standing with a cocktail and sharing a few bites. The central bar pours from an extensive selection of natural and organic Greek wines.
You can visit Mamakas Taverna’s sister restaurant in the evening to share a few Greek-inspired plates and late night drinks but our favourite menu is Bar Koukla Brunch.
On weekends from 11 am to 3 pm, Bar Koukla serves an exquisite Aegean brunch. The most Instagram-able dishes (and our personal favourites) are the Baklava Pancakes topped with blueberries and Spana Florentine, essentially eggs benedict swapping out ham and english muffin for a spinach and feta stuffed spanakopita.
94 Ossington Ave., 416-901-7667
Way back in 2013, Soos Toronto tiptoed its way onto the strip of Ossington restaurants. Malaysian cuisine isn’t found half as easily as, say, Thai food in the city and Soos is a premiere destination for the fare. Inside, the space is lively, with design touches including checkerboard flooring, batik puppets and wooden shutters, pulling inspiration from the country’s vibrant past.
Chef-owner Tricia Soo runs the show, having also lent her name to the eatery. “When we were initially looking for a space,” Soo says, “we hoped to open a restaurant concept that would fit in and blend with the neighbourhood, to preserve and add texture to what makes it unique.”
Chef uses a modern lens to interpret Malay cuisine for Torontonians, offering ready-to-share street food-style eats. Over the years, Malaysia has been occupied by a clutch of countries, and those cultural influences are reflected in the cuisine. Flavours from China, Indonesia, Portugal and more can be found threaded through the cuisine. As of late, the Ossington restaurant has placed a greater focus on vegetarian and vegan fare.
“We have increased our focus on plant-based options, which have been a hit with our diners!” Soo says. “Our favourite plant-based dishes are the Murtabak and the Shroom Braise.” In additionally, the team has opened a plant-based pop-up concept called Fat Choi on Mondays and Tuesdays. “We are so happy to have had the privilege to call this neighbourhood home!” Soo says.
- Kapitan Tacos — Lemongrass and kaffir lime chicken, coconut flour shell, fried shallot, tzatziki (veg option available)
- Char Kway Teow — One of the most popular Malaysian street noodles, charred rice fettuccine, tiger prawn, chive, beansprout, egg, sambal chili (veg or vegan options available)
- Prosperity Tossed Slaw — Over 20-ingredient salad, usually enjoyed for Chinese New Year in Malaysia and Singapore, tossed in a yuzu plum dressing (vegan)
- Laksa — Kuala Lumpur-style laksa with poached chicken, shrimp, tofu puffs, mee, vermicelli, coconut curry broth, beansprouts, and Asian herbs
- Murtabak — Malay-Indian (Mamak) style stuffed roti with curry chicken, potato, egg, served with garlic sauce and curry dip (veg or vegan options available)
207 Ossington Ave., 416-534-8520
Foxley is one of the eateries that truly paved the way for the current vibrant map of Ossington restaurants. Back in 2006, resto veteran Tom Thai — known for intro’ing the sushi program at Canoe — was keen to open his own space. In those days, the Ossington strip contained a smattering of bars, auto shops, Vietnamese restaurants and karaoke joints. Thai saw the street as a unique opportunity to create a community alongside the other businesses.
Now, over a decade in, Foxley is a linchpin of the nabe, spinning out Pan-Asian fare and known most famously for its ceviche. Thai sums up his culinary philosophy simply: “Good value, big flavours.” In addition to playing both chef and owner, Thai designed the restaurant interior, which boasts a neighbourhood bistro atmosphere.
The beverage program sees chef Thai and his staff delivering an extensive and rotating wine list in addition to local craft beers and ciders. They pour one featured cocktail — a gin, Aperol and grapefruit spritz.
- Arctic char ceviche topped with granny smith apple
- Pan-fried lamb and duck prosciutto dumplings with ponzu sauce
- Baked eggplant with yuzu miso
- Spicy crispy shrimps with jalapeño and garlic
- Braised pork side ribs with a caramelized shallot glaze
225 Ossington Ave., 416-533-7258
Of all the Ossington restaurants, Salt Wine Bar is the one that uses wine as its raison d’être. Part of the coterie of wine bars that have hopped onto the Toronto scene, this bustling space is one of the oldest, around since 2010. After losing rent money by the month following a restaurant and bar moratorium on the strip, owner Albino Silva optioned to open with a catering license. Fast-forward almost a decade, a closure and a re-opening, and things have turned out well.
Inside, Salt Wine Bar is fit with communal tables and ambient lighting, lending it a cozy atmosphere. Patrons gobble Iberian tapas down, with the menu aiming to be local and seasonal whenever possible. The goal is to transport diners to the Iberian peninsula. Think: Bites like jamón ibérico aged 36 months, foie gras and chicken liver pate, and grilled sardines on toasted sourdough. Heftier options might include grilled octopus studded with chorizo ibérico or risotto negra with grilled calamari swimming in squid ink lobster broth.
With regard to the wine, their unique list is exclusively Iberian. Counting around 200 wines on the list, there is a special focus on Vinho Verde — a very misunderstood region in Canada — Port wines and Madeira wines. Their inventory totals about 2500 bottles.
- Yellow fin tuna crudo with avocado, tomatillo, jalapeno, cucumber, and aguachile
- Steak tartare with quail egg yolk, caper, gherkin, white truffle aioli, and toasted sourdough
- Grilled octopus with chorizo ibérico, sweet peppers, chickpea puree, lemon, and jalapeno
- Wagyu beef burger sliders with chimichurri aioli, sherry onions, and idiazabal cheese
- Truffle gnocchi with butternut squash, wild mushrooms, parsley, porcini cream, and parmesan
48 Ossington Ave, 416-532-7243
Dear Grain is a sourdough bakery and cafe located on Ossington Avenue, which first opened its doors in November, 2021.
The company was founded by Adri Greenspan, Dear Grain’s head bread baker. The concept was born in the back kitchen of Detour Cafe in Dundas. Greenspan started selling bread there and quickly grew a cult following. At the start of 2021 Dear Grain moved to Hamilton and opened up a production facility to help facilitate its growth.
Coming from smaller cities in Ontario, Dear Grain was motivated to open a Toronto location in a neighbourhood that had a strong sense of community and love for food. Ossington was an obvious choice!
“At our Ossington shop, we really wanted to build out a sourdough pastry and sandwich menu that was on par with the amazing quality of our bread, so we brought Christina D’Angela on board as our general manager. Dear Grain is owned by New Skew, a parent company that is made up of a collection of small businesses in the food and bev space, including Detour Coffee and Dark Horse Espresso Bar,” said Greenspan.
Skip inside the sourdough emporium on Ossington and you’ll find an espresso bar, sandwich shop and retail space filled with trendy housewares and nibbles from brands like Zing!, Acid League, Parallel, Barbet, Logan Petit Lot, Mellona, Niagara Fine Foods, Abokichi, Saus, Smoke Show, The Poet Kitchen, and City Seltzer. You’ll also find a bottle shop featuring a curated selection of fine wines and spirits.
Out front you’ll find shelves teaming with freshly baked loaves that overlook a pretty sun-soaked patio.
“Our sourdough bread is a labour of love. We combine a slow fermentation process (12-36 hours) with high levels of hydration (83%+) to produce nourishing loaves that are scrumptious and ultra-digestible. We also pride ourselves on our use of organic and heirloom grains to uphold great quality and taste. The two most important benefits of a high hydration bread are longer shelf life and higher digestibility. A basic sourdough usually falls within 60-70% hydration. At Dear Grain, we’ve spent many hours perfecting our process and recipe to achieve a loaf that is 83%+ hydration. This results in a bread that is super digestible and has a shelf life that is 3-5 days longer than most bread,” explained Greenspan.
If it’s your first visit to Dear Grain on Ossington we suggest purchasing one of their signature loaves to take home: Classic Country, Multigrain Porridge, Super Seeded or Silhouette. If you’re dropping in be sure to ask the staff if there are any special “sourdough drops” or special cheese loaves worth slicing into.
184 Ossington Ave., 416-519-6996
Superpoint is the best Ossington restaurant to enjoy a grown-up pizza party. It’s far more than just your average takeout pizzeria.
Superpoint is the brainchild of Jesse Fader and Jonny Poon, who you may already be familiar with via Bar Fancy.
Step inside Superpoint and you’ll find a petite dining room that serves up natural and biodynamic wines, creative cocktails, and fresh craft beer which pair perfectly with an Italian American comfort food craving.
- Nodini: warm garlic knots, rosemary, parmesan
- Caesar Salad: parmesan, hickory sticks
- Arancini: rice ball, mozzarella, nduja gravy
- Pepperoni Pizza
- Butternut Squash Ravioli
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136 Ossington Ave., 416-532-6474
Reposado is a popular tequila and live music bar on Ossington Avenue. The chic and dimly lit Mezcal watering hole offers premium tequilas, Mexican tapas, live music and one of Toronto’s best hidden patios.
Skip through the front door and you’ll find exposed brick walls, a long narrow bar and the perfect pitch of subdued romantic lighting. There are a smattering of stools to hop up at the bar and four top tables near the front of the room.
There are over 130 tequilas behind the bar, so it’s an excellent opportunity to familiarize yourself with Mexico’s finest mezcal while enjoying a few snacks.
- Picante Crab Cakes
- Mini Empanada Flight
- Tequila Cured Salmon with Crostini and Spicy Pickle
- Chorizo with Feta Cheese Tapenade
- Spicy Pickled Vegetables and Bread Sticks
125 Ossington Ave, 416-531-1601
For many years Ossington Avenue was packed full of Vietnamese restaurants and karaoke bars. Today, Golden Turtle is the best known of the remaining Vietnamese restaurant on Ossington.
The restaurant’s owner is originally from Saigon and offers a bible-sized Vietnamese menu. Skip inside and you’ll find a hole-in-the-wall interior, which usually gets packed on weekends with pho fans. Wag your finger down the menu and you’ll also find a selection of Thai and Singaporean dishes.
- Phở Tái: rare beef rice noodle soup
- Cơm sườn nướng, bì: grilled pork and shredded pork skin with steamed rice
- Chả giò: deep fried vegetarian and pork spring rolls
- Bánh xèo rau sống: Vietnamese crepe with shrimp and pork served with fresh lettuce
- Gà xào xã ớt: spicy satay chicken with lemon grass
70 Ossington Ave, 647-348-8009
Té Restaurant is located in the former Baby Huey space on Ossington Avenue.
Owners Grace Cho (Korean) and Tina Lai (Taiwanese) serve up the traditional flavours they eat at home while putting a creative spin on popular North American comfort foods.
Named after the Spanish word for tea, Té offers Asian fusion share plates in the style of tapas while both the cocktail and dessert menu pay homage to their tea theme, offering two bubble tea cocktails and desserts infused with loose leaf.
- Unadulterated Ssam: red lettuce leaf wrap, pickled winter radish, garlic, sweet red chili paste, grilled pork belly
- Pizza Tteokbokki: steamed rice balls, garlic, onion, bell pepper, sweet chili tomato, mozzarella
- Toasted Kimchi Ravioli: panko crusted ravioli, kimchi ricotta, honeyed wasabi pesto
- Dark-Spiced Taiwanese Fried Chicken
- Bulgogi Mac & Cheese: garlic parmesan panko crust and sweet soy-marinated bee
93 Ossington Ave, 416-531-3800
Boehmer was the first restaurant by Chef Paul Boehmer (formerly Ultra Supper Club and Spoke Club).
Of all the Ossington restaurants, Boehmer is perhaps known for having the most impressively designed space. Two huge salvaged-wood chandeliers hang over the dining room and appear like tree roots dangling in the sky.
During the warmer months of the year diners can be found sipping on rose and slicing through foie gras on the restaurants Ossington perched patio.
If the dining room is too busy for a table, be sure to ask if there are any spots available at Boehmer’s craft cocktail bar.
- Pan Seared Quebec Foie Gras: toasted brioche, maple glazed apples, blackcurrant puree
- Duck Confit Salad: molasses-tabasco marinade, escarole, pecan sage vinaigrette
- Egg Pappardelle Pasta: Nova Scotia lobster, Atlantic pink shrimp, garlic, chives, lobster bisque sauce
- Roasted Chicken: chorizo, parleyed new potatoes, asparagus, smoked paprika oil
- Ratatouille: roasted zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, warmed gazpacho, cumin, onion rings
72 Ossington Ave, 416-850-0093
Union Restaurant opened on Ossington Avenue in 2009 and was immediately met with critical acclaim.
Chef Teo Paul, a Toronto native, spent years in Europe but found much of his menu inspiration in small town Ontario.
The Ossington restaurants philosophy, “simple done right,” is showcased in the pretty plates that parade outside of the kitchen.
An excellent option for date night, Union offers a dimly lit interior featuring glowing chandeliers, exposed brick walls and a petite bar near the front door.
- Union Salad: organic greens, double smoked bacon, potato rosti, chevre
- Elk Sliders: challah, mirin galangal glaze, pickles
- Scallop Ceviche: organic, cilantro, poblano
- Steak Frites: marinated bavette, greens, aioli
- Polenta Gratin: rustic tomato sauce, braised greens, morbier
130 Ossington Ave, 416-532-2333
Inspired by the eclectic neighbourhoods of Paris, Côte de Boeuf is Toronto’s local bistro bar à vin and traditional style butcher shop for the Trinity-Bellwoods area in the west end.
Opened by the owners of nearby Union Restaurant, the beef is locally sourced and butchered in house, the old way, using a handsaw. The French restaurant’s chefs also make their own terrines and foie gras.
You’ll find vintage seating out front and an eye-popping front display doubles as a walk-in fridge, showcasing cured meats, fresh eggs, and seasonal Ontario produce.
The intimate Ossington restaurant space used to play home to Jaiden’s Petals, a local flower shop. Old cabinetry has been repurposed as a refrigerated display case that holds Cote de Boeuf’s well-aged beef cuts. There’s even a cow tiled right into the floor!
The Parisian steakhouse concept also offers a drool-worthy pantry featuring high quality culinary curiosities like black walnuts in honey, hot pepper sauce, olive oil, artisanal chips, pickles and preserves.
- Escargots: snails with butter, garlic, parsley
- Salade de Radicchio: pink radicchio, walnuts herb crumble, toscana cheese, maple sherry vinaigrette
- Tartine: goat cheese tartine, wild honey, salad
- Confit de Canard: duck confit, lentils, sautéed greens
- Filet de Boeuf: beef tenderloin, red wine jus, king oyster mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, bordelaise
1161 Dundas St W, 416-535-5656
Paris Paris is located at Dundas and Ossington. The chic all-day wine bar is brought to you by Jonny Poon and Jesse Fader.
The 1500-square foot space was formerly Cooper Cole Gallery. It now houses pretty plants, woodsy tones and cool knick knacks that hark to Superpoint’s unique decor.
Look up and you’ll find two skylights that bring a splash of sunshine to the front 40-seat dining room. You’ll find a beautiful wood crafted bar by local maker carpenter Graham Waliczek. Skip to the back and you’ll find a second bar and private dining space overlooking an open kitchen.
Sourdough bread is served with whipped butter, made by a local baker at Woodlot in Little Italy. Food is served from noon to 4:30 and 6 to midnight, with wine snacks like olives and panini-pressed sandwiches in between and late at night.
Chef Nick Morra (Enoteca Sociale) has curated a menu featuring French, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese flavours. Ontario oenophiles can enjoy Krysta Oben’s (Byblos) ever changing list of natural and biodynamic wines sourced from small producers.
- Chicken Liver Mousse: grilled bread, cremini mushrooms, honey
- Crab Claws: deep fried, shrimp and scallop mousse.
- Eggplant: sesame, olive oil, dill, onion, pita.
- Piri Piri Chicken: grey salt, lemon
- Poached Salmon: green goddess dressing, fingerling potatoes, olives
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