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44 Comments

The Danforth Guide: our 21 favourite spots along the east end’s main avenue

Ouzeri

The ornate decor, like the lone Ionic column in the middle of the room, might suggest Mediterranean pastiche, but the authentic Greek seafood is consistently excellent. The sidewalk patio is a great place to watch the Danforth’s human theatre.
It item:
The tender grilled calamari dinner ($15) with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh herb emulsion is a standout.

Ouzeri, 500A Danforth Ave. (at Logan Ave.), 416-778-0500, ouzeri.com.

  • d

    You missed El Pipil – -I love this store as I can always find interesting gifts whether they be something for the dining room, clothes, purses, or jewellery. And, it’s very affordable

  • Patrick Law

    Broadview Espresso is worth the trip alone.

  • Kim

    Cyclemania is also worth mentioning, and Balisi for great shoes.

  • Seven Dollar Pants

    You missed Pulp paper shop. I love going in there – I always find something.

    http://sevendollarpants.com/

  • ted

    Strange that Grassroots Environmental Products is not on the list – I feel like this store is the glue that holds together the funkiness, the consciousness and the convenience of the Danforth. Check them out at http://www.grassrootsstore.com

  • ted

    Oh, I would add Moksha Yoga Danforth to that list as well – what a great place to get a good sweat going on in a cozy and friendly atmosphere!
    http://www.mokshayogadanforth.com

  • R Lanigan

    you didn’t go very far east !
    there’s a plethora of magnificent restaurants, boutiques, art & craft stores, bakeries, butcheries etc…all the way to Woodbine Avenue and beyond…
    This should really have been called ‘The Riverdale Guide” for the two blocks it encompassed.

  • agent47

    an ok list, i guess, but how did you miss the only cafe?!

  • Mara

    It’s hard to pick just 21! I have lived here for 20 years with three kids….so we’ve been around. I would have added Lolita’s Lust, for it’s fab food and great low-keyness (!), Moss, for it’s great indoors-out merchandise, and Mezes, a traditional Greek place where my kids have known the same waiters since birth.

  • Carole Nelles

    I agree! Sweet Tooth is the best and the staff there are very friendly and helpful!

  • riverdalefan

    How is Drysdale & Co not on this list?? Best place for fun cards, gifts and accessories…could spend hours in there! http://drysdaleandco.com

    Also Envelop for simple, beautifully made clothing and El Pipil for affordable clothes and good gifty items too.

  • Douglas

    Wow, so The Danforth! It’s Called 21 Favourite Spots. Not, Heres a list of every store on the street. Stop your whining and self promotion of your own business, you didn’t make the list get over it. As for the stores you miss, perhaps if people who live on the Danforth Shopped the Danforth the store’s would still be there and we would not have endless Dollar Store, Nail Shops and empty store fronts. This street is dying a slow cruel death thanks to self importance of the people who live here. Shop were you live, support the small business and get over yourselves.

  • bob

    Um, Douglas, “comments” sections are for people to add their 2 cents, which people have done constructively and with enthusiasm, pointing out that beyond just 21 places there are even more great things in the area. You’re negativity and nastiness isn’t helping anyone.

  • mike ryan

    LOVE dash kitchen. Scones are the best in the city! and the meatloaf and the chicken are my faves. Also the only place i can find that carmelized onion compote in the city.

  • Douglas

    Well BOB, my 2 cents was my option. If you don’t like, tough the truth hurts. When I may my comments there was only 2 positive remarks about the stores they talked about. The rest was whining “why isn’t” ” I would have chose ”
    Reality is there once was tons on wonderful stores on this street, that was until they all started shopping at the box stores. ” we have to say money for our kids”. Now there is empty store front, bums everywhere, crime is up, and the people are self important. And you proved my point BOB, you made no comments on the street stores listed, you just attacked mine!

  • aliya

    How far East is this Neighbourhood? You missed Walima Cafe- the first Moroccan Restaurant to be on the Danforth (just west of Coxwell). Nice atmosphere with lanterns and carpets. It’s a small resto but cozy and serving tasty tagines and couscous. There are more than just 21 stores on Danforth, I guess if they listed everyone it wouldn’t be a favourite list. Maybe making separate shopping fave list and a dining fave list would help.

  • Mary Eva

    This was a pretty bleah list. Nothing exciting. Also, having one per page is annoying. Click, re-adjust screen, look at entry, re-adjust screen, click….

  • M-A-P

    Love the Globe Bistro.

    However, it’s utterly odd that whoever wrote this piece equates professional women with women who are 30 and older (Negash & Dessa). There are plenty of professional women younger than 30, and there are plenty of women 30 and up who are not professionals, and/or unprofessional.

  • pattin

    OMG! I used to go there a lot when I was a SWAPPER! such nice memories :)!!

  • Willie Woo

    My wife and I live east of Toronto in Newcastle and whenever we are in the city, we finish off our day with a sumptuous meal at Mezes. We were recommended to Mezes by friends 12 years ago. We have now developed a personal relationship with the staff and the food has remained consistently delicious. A recipe for satisfied customers! OPA!

  • ava

    i think in regards to the fact that everyone has different needs and wants the 21 favourites of ONE magazine at a certain point in time should just be something to inform you about cool places..i’ve found word of mouth travels faster in this neck of the woods anyways so this should give people more of a perspective, if anything, on who they deem worthy of their business
    and i for one am glad tabula rasa made the list! fashionista’s everywhere: this shop is for you!

  • J

    My favorite Danforth haunts are Drysdale & Co. and Mocha Mocha. I got to MM every Friday for eggs! Also, I know there’s one in every neighborhood, but the Danforth Book City is fantastic!

  • Ty

    If you want to head a little further East to Woodbine and Danforth, Relish is a great little restaurant. Delish!!!

  • Priyanka

    Where is Grassroots, Bookcity and Ten Thousand Villages?!

  • Andres

    I would have added Seven Numbers , they always continue to amaze me .uhmn sexy duck

  • John

    I have lived in the Danforth/Riverdale area since 97. I can’t say it is better or worse than it used to be. All I know is that it is a geat place to shop, dine, and drink. No neighborhood is perfect, but I feel very fortunate to live here. There really is something for almost everyone.

  • Steve

    I don’t agree that Sweet Tooth belongs here. They don’t bake anything themselves – it’s all ordered in. There are better bakeries in the area that bake their own goods.

    For the people moaning about the list not including anything further east, let’s face it. There isn’t much to offer. Sure there are some great places like The Only, Danforth Pizza House and Relish, but for every good place you will find ten horrible places that you would not step foot in.

    Think of that Taco King joint at Donlands. They opened up, served disgusting food and closed in a couple weeks. That’s the Danforth east of Jones.

    Plenty of young people are moving in the area so hopefully some decent bars, restaurants and shops will follow. When Tim Horton’s or does not have a shop for blocks, that says something (although Esso is bringing one in the coming weeks).

  • Dave

    Wow TL – you made it all the way to Carlaw. Another article about all the places the white people like to go. How about you get out of the BMW next time and walk a little further down the Danforth to find some more restaurants.

  • Bob

    How Messini is not on this list shows the writer doesn’t venture past Jackman that often. Great gyro which comes close to what you’d have in Greece. You can take a picture of the line up at 2:30am and decide where people favorite spot is.

  • cf

    You missed one of the most unique spots on the street- a small business person opening up a shop that reflects the passion of the owner. Fermentations, a Danforth fixture for 17 years has been a mecca for people that love great beer and wine, and want to have a hand in making it their own. The shop has constantly punched above its weight, producing wines and beer that consistently outscore commercial products costing three times more. Danforth needs more stores like this- high quality, owner operated, and unique.

  • Yogi Bear

    This list is simply an example of the writer being snooty, thinking that quality equals to anything that is an imitation-Yorkville lifestyle. The fact that this list barely pasts Chester and that most stores on this list seems like a yuppie’s wetdream rather than a reflection of true gems give this no credibility whatsoever. There are some great little mom and pop type shops that aren’t the most glamourous but great little spots and are worthwhile to check out. They won’t charge you an arm and a leg for pretentiousness either.

  • n/a

    Funny how there was no mention of the mediterrainian club Cutty’s Hideaway. Hmmm, I wonder why.

  • Nicole

    I think the list is good. As a Danforth dweller and shopper, I think all of the 21 places you listed are great. My only question is, how come only 21? ;) I agree with many other posts that there are other terrific places on the Danforth I can’t imagine mornings without the Detroit Diner. Evenings without The Auld Spot Pub and organic supplies from Grassroots. Thanks for putting the Danforth in the limelight~

  • melvin

    Mm, it’s an okay list but 2 of the places are on Broadview, not the Danforth.

  • ozi

    last couple years danforth really changed .i hope people still wants to come here,shop and dine.i noticed so many empty stores on the danforth.i believe bussiness not as good as before..

  • Michele Wilson

    Parade Boutique at 261 Danforth is an excellent addition to this list.

    The staff are knowledgeable and very helpful. The fashions are WOW, supporting North American Designers as well as their own line (which I love).

    Great accessories to top it all off!

    http://www.paradeboutique.com

  • Don Rivers

    I’m glad the the Auld Spot didn’t make your list. Bad service, and the food went downhill years ago.

    Not sure why iQ Living made the list — it’s overpriced goods are a rip off. Much better deals for similar items can be found at Cayne’s in Thornhill. Well worth the drive from the Danforth.

    On the other hand, Mezes and Messini are always great choices.

  • Jack

    Sweet Tooth?? That place closed by March 2011 and their baked goods were sub par with terrible service! Not a surprise it shut down.

  • Angelos

    I do not believe you have not mentioned the Messini restaurant with the best gyro meat in town.

  • Bambang

    The TTC really needs to learn how to opreate shuttle buses. Making buses pull into the station bus platforms as planned, just wastes a ton of time. Keep the buses on Danforth-Bloor. Further they should have point to point shuttles that pick up people at say Main, and go non stop to Bloor-Yonge. They do not need a bus every minute stopping at every station, while most people are going straight to Bloor-Yonge.

  • Alexa

    Last couple of years (2010-2011) were looking a little bleak for businesses, especially east of Pape but I noticed new thing popping up as of late.

    I agree with those who mention that there are a lot of fun things east of Chester. I would add Ziliotto to the list (and no, I am not the business owner, just a customer); it’s a fun boutique with locally designed/made garments that won’t break the bank. I discovered it on Queen West and am so glad it’s now close to my house!

  • Joseph

    I find it interesting that from the clothing shops featured, the one not featured is Bebe Children’s Clothing on Pape Ave just north of the Danforth. While the other places feature sweatshop-made wear, this little store makes dresses and little suits for kids in house. They’ve been around for over 35 years. Big miss!

  • Stella

    I’m sorry, but I don’t find Broadview Espresso to be that much of a ‘must see’ on a list that definitely should have included Moksha Yoga and Grassroots. It’s a decent coffee shop, but average at best. No internet, not overly friendly staff and nothing that stands out on the menu.

  • Martin Keogh

    This list definitely needs to be updated. There have been many changes and new additions to this stretch of the city since this list was last submitted. Arguably, other than Roncesvalles, no other strip has seen as much change in the last two years as The Danforth. Lots of things to add / change.

 

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