Wear your stretchy pants and bring your appetite as you graze your way through this bustling market located in downtown Toronto and home to the city’s famous peameal bacon. Here are the must-eats that feature the best of the iconic St. Lawrence Market.
Bagels at St. Urbain Bagel
The bagels have been boiled and baked in a hot wood-burning oven for more than 20 years at this beloved bagel joint.
The Montreal-style bagel at St. Urbain is soft, chewy and crispy when warmed up in the toaster and then slathered with garlic herb or chive cream cheese. If you are lucky to get one hot out of the oven, skip the toasting and devour immediately upon contact. Or try a toasted onion bagel with savoury smelling bits of dark onion, cream cheese included.
St. Urbain sells more than 700 fresh bagels daily and they are baked on-site.
Seafood at Buster’s Sea Cove
The bestseller here is the Boston Blue Fish & Chips plate (the lobster roll is popular too!). Come hungry because you will be served up three generous portions of battered golden fish on a bed of curly fries and a side of homemade coleslaw. The whole crispy plate deserves a big squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of dark malt vinegar.
The fish comes in daily from the same supplier that delivers to Mike’s Fish just across the way. Look out at lunchtime, because the locals from the nearby Financial District are lined up looking for their fish fix.
Peameal Bacon at Carousel Bakery
The world famous Peameal Bacon on a Bun is a classic Toronto sandwich with grilled Canadian back bacon. Celebrities like Emeril Lagasse, Catherine Zeta-Jones and rapper Drake are all big fans with autographed photos plastered on the wall across from the bakery.
On a typical busy Saturday, Carousel Bakery will sell more than 2,600 Peameal Bacon sandwiches in one day. That’s one sold every 15 seconds! People come from all over the world, citing newspaper articles and food magazines featuring the Peameal Sandwich.
Make sure you grab the honey mustard sauce, which is the most popular sandwich topping. Carousel Bakery is family-owned and has been a fixture of St. Lawrence Market for more than 30 years. Don’t fall for any imitations; the peameal bacon is supplied by a secret source.
Sandwiches at Uno Mustachio
The Italian Veal and Eggplant Parmigiana Sandwiches at Mustachio’s are consistently voted the best in Toronto. Thin slices of veal, eggplant and chicken are drenched in batter and then fried to golden perfection.
Everything is made-from-scratch and prepped daily. My favourite combination is chicken and eggplant on a focaccia bun topped with sautéed sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms and a wallop of tomato sauce. The hot peppers are HOT, so be ready.
The sandwiches are so massive and are great to share with an equally hungry friend. Chase it all down with a fizzy Orangina.
Portuguese Tarts at Chrurasco’s
When you’re ready for dessert, make sure you save room for the eggy Portuguese Tarts from Churrasco’s. You may see them available from other places in the market, but they do it best here. The silky yellow custard is served up in a flaky crust and the broiled top is the result of baking in a very hot oven for just a few minutes.
Churrasco’s is also known for their rotisserie chicken. Hot juicy Portuguese Chicken rolls around in the rotisserie all day, dripping hot fat and cooked to perfection. A Quarter Chicken Dinner makes the perfect meal to go if you just can’t eat any more.
The Front Street Neighbourhood
After sampling some of the must-eats of St. Lawrence Market, roll yourself on to the street and take a stroll along some of the charming shops along Front Street.
If you are lucky to be visiting on a Saturday, head north across Front Street to the North Market. Inside you will find a once-a-week Farmer’s Market and even more edible goodies. On Sundays, there is an antique market that is worth a wander through.
St. Lawrence Market
92 to 95 Front Street East. (416) 392-7219. Hours: 8:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday to Thursdays. Open late on Fridays until 7:00pm. Open 5:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays. Closed Sundays & Mondays.
About the Author
Lisa Ng is a professional blogger and the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart and stylish women. She was born and raised in Toronto but now resides in Portland, Oregon.