Part of the fun of visiting Kensington Market, aside from the deals on groceries and clothing, is discovering the market’s eclectic collection of restaurants. Below are some eateries whose food, price and location make them some of the best Kensington Market has to offer for brunch, lunch or dinner.
Located at 191 Baldwin St. (647-351-3116), Akram’s serves authentic Lebanese food at jaw-dropping prices. Nearby U of T students know that you can pick up a falafel stuffed with all the toppings and a water for under $5. Akram’s has a catering menu that includes vegan, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options such as vegan shish kabobs, zaatar pizza, squash pie, kebbi stuffed with walnut and beef and beef with pomegranate. If you’re looking for Lebanese spices and specialty foods including zaatar, sumac, labneh and pomegranate molasses, you’ll find them at Akram’s.
KOS Restaurant at 61 Bellevue Avenue (416-597-6912) is the epitome of understated cool. The restaurant’s location just west of the main strip of Kensington Market means that you have to do a bit of searching to find it, but KOS’s regular customers are in the know. The decor consists of wooden tables and benches in a breezy room. Outside is a large patio that is a popular meeting place to relax and replenish after the previous night. KOS’s menu is appealing to the tastebuds yet inexpensive with brunch items such as spinach feta omelettes, French toast and blueberry pancakes. Many dishes are served with a medley of fresh fruit. Heartier later-in-the day items include various burgers and chicken Caesar salad.
Wanda Beaver is the queen of pie-making, distributing her desserts to some of Toronto’s leading restaurants. Her wholesale and retail shop at 287 Augusta Avenue (416-236-7585) at the corner of Oxford Street is the perfect spot to sit in the breezy shade of the patio awnings and enjoy divine desserts such as Ontario Sour Cherry Pie, Black-Bottom Chocolate Pecan Pie, Strawberry Mocha Meringue Torte, Chocolate Almond Kisses, or Orange Pecan Squares. If you have the willpower to forego dessert, Wanda’s also serves some of the most mouth-watering salads in Kensington Market.
The Last Temptation
This cafe at 12 Kensington Avenue (416-599-2551) is one of the most relaxed eateries in the market. The street-facing patio is a good size based on Kensington Market standards and a great place to suck back a few cold ones, particularly because the beer and drinks are so cheap. You’ll also get away with paying less than $10 for regular menu items such as burgers, chicken and Pad Thai. The food may lack innovation, but it is consistently good. Considering the ridiculously low prices and real estate on one of Kensington Market’s coolest patios, this resto is more than worth it.