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Must-Go Non-tourist Spots in Toronto


A bird's eye view of Toronto

I've been spending a lot of time in Toronto recently. During my travels throughout Toronto, I've discovered 3 must-go to non-tourist spots.


Let me tell you all about them!

 

The Stockyards Grind


The Stockyards Grind

In November 2022, I spent a weekend exploring Toronto. On this adventure, I came across this amazing coffee shop/espresso bar called The Stockyards Grind. It is perfect if you are a coffee lover.


The barista, who I think was also the owner, was definitely very passionate about coffee making. When I tried to order a coffee, he asked me questions such as "Americano, Latte, Cappuccino? Do you like coffee with nutty notes? Notes of chocolate? A stronger coffee or softer coffee?"


The Stockyards Grind Menu

I ended up getting a black Americano with coffee beans from Panama and it...was...heavenly.


It's not just coffee though, the cafe does have a selection of baked goodies and sandwiches to choose from.


I got my coffee and went on my way as a note from the owner of the cafe states"This is a laptop free zone". Meaning the cafe is more meant as a place for short visit with friends or getting a coffee to go, than to work or study.


I was there in the winter time so their patio was closed, but the photos of the patio during the summer are just gorgeous!


It's not just me that thinks that this cafe is truly special though. This coffee shop has an impressive 5 star rating on google maps with 184 reviews. That means all 184 reviews are 5 stars!


If you're a true coffee connoisseur, it would be a shame to miss out on this place the next time you're in Toronto.



 

The Big Carrot


The Danforth area in Toronto is known as Greektown as is full of the Greek tavernas and pastry shops. If you're craving a guro or need to satisfy your sweet tooth with some bakalava, you've come to the right place!


On another overnight trip to Toronto, I stayed in the Danforth area. The following morning was spent walking up and down the Danforth strip, exploring all this beautiful part of Toronto has to offer.


While on the way to the Danforth Krispy Kreme, we stumbled across a little Sunday farmers market in front of this adorable, and surprisingly huge, sustainable and allergy/vegan friendly grocery store. The store is called The Big Carrot - Danforth Community Market.


I always love coming across these little spot because they often have so many options for me even though I'm lactose & gluten intolerant, as well as often plant based.


Woman shopping at a sustainable grocery store
Stock Photo

To the far right of the store, was the bulk sustainable section. You could refill your flour, peanut butter, and oils, as well as pick up your favourite sustainable beauty products, toiletries, and kitchenware.


To the far left was all the meats, produce, and prepacked goods. They had a complete information list on how to purchase meats sustainably and what each brand they sold offered (free range, organic, certified humane, etc.).


They also had varieties from brands I've never seen before (I didn't know Sweets From The Earth did peanut butter cookies!) and a few Ontario local brands that offered gluten free and vegan goodies.

They also sold pre-ready allergy friendly meals. Having the convenience to not make dinner and instead simply pop something in the oven or microwave on a busy night is not always an option for us allergy folk. But, this store said "I gotchu!".



In the center of the store, they had a hot bar, similar to Whole Foods, full of yummy foods, such as Pad Thai, that were nearly all gluten free and vegan! I found it really comforting that all the nums had detailed allergen information and ingredient lists right above them.


The bakery section in a grocery store
Stock Photo

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see a bakery section full of goodies I could actually eat!


They had variety! For those of us who don't have food allergies or dietary restrictions, you might not realize how much variety in your food options matter.


They didn't have just one kind of gluten free bread or only prepackaged baked goods. They had multiple different brands with multiple different options (white bread, whole grain, raisin bread, lemon loaf, banana loaf, etc). I don't remember the last time I was able to grab a single muffin from a grocery store instead of 6 prepackaged muffins that only come in blueberry or chocolate.


As if it couldn't get any better, they also price match! If you find a cheaper price for the product you're buying, they will match that price up to 4 items per transaction! Allergy friendly foods are often much more expensive than the usual product, so this is a big deal!


It felt so nice for a grocery store to be so inclusive and accommodating for a variety of dietary needs/wants.


If you're like me and have dietary restrictions and/or allergies, this place will feel like a dream come true. The next time you're in Toronto, you cannot miss out on The Big Carrot!

 

Goodman's Pub


Goodman's Pub is this awesome restaurant located right on the Toronto habour front. On the patio you can enjoy an amazing view of the water and the gorgeous summer weather, with some delicious food, while watching pirate ships go by (seriously!).


The first time I went to Goodman's Pub was when I was visiting some family in the city. We came here for dinner one evening, which I was dreading because with my allergies. It's usually nearly impossible for me to eat anything at restaurants. I can eat at some specialty places that cater to my dietary needs, but those are few and far between.



Thankfully, I found a salad I could eat. I did have to make a few modifications though such as no goat cheese, or tomatoes (I'm also a picky eater), and adding falafel for protein. That's usually how things go with my allergies. As long as something consists mainly of veggies, I can probably eat it.


Greens sald with falafel at Goodman pub

I wasn't expecting much from it because it's a salad. Most salads I've had aren't that interesting, but to my surprise, this salad was easily the best salad I've ever had.


There's something about the combination of fresh heritage greens, sweet sliced grapes, savoury falafel, candied seeds, with a spicy chive vinaigrette that is just pure perfection.


I actually crave this salad now and would 100% make a trip up to Toronto just for it!


Goodmans is truly a place you cannot miss out on!

 

Have you been to any of these places before? Do you have any must-go to places for Toronto?


Let me know in the comments below!

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