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The Dundas West Guide: our 21 favourite places between Ossington and Lansdowne

The strip of Dundas West between Ossington and Lansdowne has not been immune to the wild gentrification going on directly south of it. New restaurants, stores and bars have been cropping up for the past couple of years (Red Canoe, a swank Canadiana shop, opened two weeks ago), but there is a hesitation in the ’hood to turn Little Portugal and Brockton Village into the next Ossington. Incoming business owners make a point of blending in with the long-standing family-owned bakeries, soccer bars and pho stops. Even in new establishments, the decor has a thrift shop feel, and the prices cater to locals rather than destination diners. From east to west, here are our 21 favourite Dundas West spots for cheap eats, good music and authentic Portuguese cuisine.

  • ChrisToronto

    Are you kidding? You want me to click 23 times to view this feature? How about putting the user experience ahead of your pageview count? F*&!

  • Kimberley

    Portuguese grandmothers are not called Nonnas. The correct term is Vavo. Why would you substitute the Portuguese word for Grandmother for the Italian word for grandmother? Why not just “Grandmother”?

  • Kristina

    I agree with ChrisToronto. Your user experience is garbage!

  • John Linas

    No Eno Teca Sociale??? The best thing that popped up recently in this hood!

  • Ethusiast

    Great selections!!! NACO should have been #1. ;)

  • GordonFordon

    Speak for yourselves. This works amazingly on iPad!!

  • Nic Boshart

    Yeah, 23 page slideshow is ridiculous. iPad or no.

  • jaydee

    I agree. I ain’t clicking 23 x

  • The_Flash

    I have to scroll down every time a new page loads…fix that shit

  • Joe

    These pages take way to long to load. I’m out at #3.

  • Lillian

    I have to agree regarding the unwieldiness of this. I got to #4 and then gave up.

  • moleski

    Well, I made it to #10. Ten tedious, slow-loading pages.

    To whomever did the research and wrote the content — nice work.

    But don’t you find it soul-sucking to work for a corporation that is so greedy that your work only gets one-third read? I mean, I know these site are all about selling advertising, but this one is downright piggy.

  • SevenDollarPants

    I LOVE Novera – they have the best custard tarts! Thanks for this guide, Dundas West is my favourite part of the city.

  • TorontoIsHome

    Good to see Camp 4 (best bar on the stip) and The Atlantic (Nathan has been great since Coca) get the mentions.

    Ps – Are you seriously complaing about clicking a button 23 times? If it’s the worst thing to happen to you today feel lucky about your life. haha.

  • Melissa

    Enoteca Sociale is a major anchor on this small strip. I agree with John, best thing that popped up on this strip and easily a contender for best new restaurant in Toronto this year.

  • downtownagain

    Great feature on this great neighbourhood – but you guys missed two excellent shops on this strip – Independent Designers Outlet, offering independent Canadian designer overstock for a steal, opened up a year ago & Beadle is a great place to shop for accessories-jewellery, bags and all that good stuff!

  • Alexandra

    This is my hood!

    I friggen LOVE Gayley’s! My boyfriend and I go there whenever I have a morning off, and I’ve been there with my mom a few times. It’s not just for hangovers but those mornings are also included lol

    OMG Baked Goodness has the most amazing carrot cake with the most amazing cream cheese icing! Also, nutella croissants, maple syrup tarts, and homemade popsicles!


  • neutralmilk

    Ummm, you’re calling the Saturday afternoon jazz at the Communist’s Daughter bluegrass??? No mandolins and fiddles in Red Rhythm miss. In your first piece, you blow your authority – you guys still have fact checkers?

  • Stephan

    Red Canoe is mentioned yet Beadle has been on this strip for years selling Canadian Handmade products like jewellery, handbags, pottery and t-shirts.


    How about using some tasteful language instead of garbage.
    Seems like the junk food one eats just comes back out, in the form of garbage.
    And then there’s the junk TV to add to this diet.
    And lo, and behold, the junkies go out into the world, and think the way they speak and the way they act is normal. How degrading is that!
    Comments on peoples’ efforts to present a lot of helpful information that reads like it came out of a landfill is really pointless and serves only to spread the smell of it over the entire landscape.
    Live up guys. Not down. Don’t be a flathead. Show some quality intelligence in your comments. You have alternatives to what you read or see? Suggest it, then. Don’t be an embarrassment on your city and your country.


    How many of these cool dining and eatery establishments cater to healthy eating? Aye? I mean, really heathy eating!

  • Bob

    I totally agree that 23 separate downloads is a ridiculous format for this article – just put it on one page, please!

  • Cherie

    I am proud of my hood being in such a great feature. I would also like to thank those who mentioned my little shop Beadle. I have had my shop open here for 4 years now and have had the pleasure to watch all these places open up around me. I also live here and I am thrilled to call Dundas West my home. Beadle didn’t make it in this feature but it’s so great to see all my favourite places that did. This is so good for our little area that is struggling to thrive. Thank you Toronto Life and to all my loyal customers and neighbours.

  • Becca Lemire

    You forgot PORTS!!!!!!!!!!!! PORTSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!! the best karaoke spot evah

  • melissa

    I usually never comment but agree with everyone who found 23 click and waits not very friendly…I was really intereasted in this feature but only had the time/patience to go to 9…so sad…

  • chris c

    Add my name to the list of people complaining about your 23 page set up. I suspect you want to sell more ads on all these pages, but you won’t sell as many when you’re pissing everyone off. Get real.

  • Martin

    I love these Guides! Kudos to those involved who do the research, visit the area, take the photos and put together a nice little piece to help promote certain areas. The one for Mt. Pleasant was excellent. But I am in agreement with so many others on this post and others – the whole slideshow concept – iPad or no iPad – is a pain and offers a terrible user experience. Slow loading, constant need to scroll up and down – there has to be a much, much . . . much better way for Toronto Life to provide such wonderful pieces of information without exhausting the patience of the user.

  • Brent

    Ridiculous. Put all of this on ONE PAGE PLEASE. There’s no way I’m clicking through all this.

  • 23clickslater

    Agreed about the clicking. I’ve commented about this in many articles before.
    I’d be happy if they would show at least a handful on each page, if the individual page ads are really what Toronto Life is all about.

  • John Linas

    ok already with the complains about the clicking, functionality etc… Let’s see more feedback about the strip!! -positive ones!

  • art1

    How could you miss

    p|m Gallery

    you smellers!

  • kirsten

    This post has a lot to offer. Unfortunately viewing the information in this user unfriendly manner was not an enjoyable experience.

  • jaxsprat

    I’d love to get some user feedback on my magazine if that’s possible. We’re more than happy to listen to the user so do leave comments either on the blog or on facebook, whichever your prefer.

  • Ross

    What about Lansdowne and Bloor – Bloordale!?! Can we have the best of Bloordale soon?

    Great work!

  • Ted

    You folks are all way too impatient!

  • heidi

    no black dice cafe? sad.

  • gatekeeper

    It is a good list and I agree that this is yet another one of Toronto Life’s many poor design flaws. On the other hand Pacha Lounge, a hidden pearl under Sleep Country Canada, has been missed. Check it out

  • Diana

    There is live beyong… what about the junction? Drop in play, classes, coffe shops, etc…

  • Andre

    What about Black Dice Cafe?

    and Unlovable?

  • BW

    Really difficult to click your mouse, isn’t it? Get over it.

  • Kareem

    Clicking 23 times is not a problem, but 23 full page loads is ridiculous (play Toronto Life is a slow website). There are dozens of free JavaScript based slideshows available that don’t require page reloads anyone with basic HTML knowledge can use. If you’re not going to use one don’t make slideshows.

  • Garry

    Review is great and much warranted in the new hot area of Toronto. Also agree that your interface at 23 clicks is s**t.

  • Nauman Dar

    Love these places.
    Thanks for the excellent photography.
    I dont mind clicking 23 times.

  • Heather

    I agree with all the complaints about navigation. Couldn’t go further than the 5th suggestion because it was so annoying. I hate it when magazines try to make you read an article over several pages.