One of my favourite things about living in Toronto is the ability to explore and immerse yourself in all the different neighbourhoods the city has to offer. Each of them offers something unique when it comes to shopping and recently my friends at Yellow Pages, who promote year round local shopping through their campaign Shop the Neighourhood, asked me to compile my Top Ten favourite places in Liberty Village. Being that I call this neighbourhood home, it should come as no surprise that half-way through compiling my list, I realized that all ten destinations were for food lovers. Come & see where you can find me when I personally #ShopTheHood!
Let’s face it. When it comes to being a food lover in Toronto, there are lots of options to choose from. Liberty Village is just a quick commute on the 504 & 514 streetcar west of the city core. When you arrived, the neighbourhood itself greets you with a sense of community and vibrancy. Each of the following locations has something unique to offer and can help to create the perfect experience for those of you who live or are visiting the area. Let’s jump right into it!
1. Louie Craft Coffee: 1187 King St W, Toronto, ON M6K 3C5 – www.louiecoffee.com
I couldn’t possibly start a food lovers list without my favourite local coffee shop. Offering a small and cozy space right off of King St., Louie Craft Coffee is the perfect place to start your morning before commuting to work or for that afternoon pick-me-up. “Two sisters from different worlds came together to create LOUIE Craft Coffee. It was a perfect coalition of clan + commerce: one could pull a shot, the other pitch an idea.”
There is something to be said about the day in age when you could visit your local butcher & bakery to get fresh and local ingredients. As someone who loves to cook, I was elated to discover that Bespoke Butchers sources its meat (aside from the products they make themselves) from local farms. Being on the #EatLocal bandwagon, this was SO important for me. The staff are friendly and the selection of items is a must for those of you who are looking to get away from those “big box” stores and return to something a little more personal.
It should come as no surprise to those of you who know me that the first of several restaurants I recommend in Liberty Village is traditionally Latino. This Mexican restaurant stole my heart from the moment I first walked in. During the warmer months, sitting out front on a warm summer’s evening left me full of love and laughter. The traditional cuisine shines and the menu is one of my favourites in Toronto.
Is there anything better than cake? I mean. Let’s be honest. This coyly named bakery is located in the Liberty Market Building – a pedestrian’s paradise for those of you on the hunt from anything from a spa massage to a night on the town. Did I also mention they sell beautifully ornate cakes and can customize one for you for just about any occassion? Again, a return to a shop local mentality shines through and it’s a great spot to satisfy that sweet tooth!
Now listen, I am by no means a health nut, but there is something to be said for choosing the healthier option at times and finding some balance. Live Organize Food Bar, also referred to as Live, is a one stop shop for those of you looking for such health items as a fresh cooked vegan meal all the way to healthy snacks and spices. If you’re in the mood for something satisfying, make sure to try one of their signature smoothies!
I don’t know what it is about Italian cuisine, but I’ve never really been the biggest fan. So when I find an Italian restaurant that I enjoy, you can be sure you’ll find me there often enough. Relatively new to Liberty Village, this quaint restaurant boasts some of the best Italian food outside of Little Italy and for good reason. The building and decor are just as inspiring and I encourage everyone I talk to about Liberty Village to try it out and see what I mean.
This is one of those institutions of Liberty Village that I would be a fool to not include in a top ten food lover’s list. Made famous by their inventive and delicious breakfast / brunch menu, SCHOOL is one of those places that chances are everyone in Toronto has been to at least once. And for good reason! The servers are amazing (and beautiful), the dishes are some of the most Instagram-able I’ve ever seen, and the atmosphere (a play on an old schoolhouse) is warm and inviting. Don’t be shocked if you encounter a line when you arrive, but trust me when I say it is worth the wait!
Located in the hub of Liberty Village, this restaurant is my go-to meeting destination. Firstly it should be noted that it is HUGE inside and a great spot to bring larger groups of friends and family. The all day breakfast offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options to satisfy guests of all ages and it has some of my favourite salads in the city on the menu.
So you’re hitting that afternoon lull and need a pick me up. One of my favourite buildings in all of Liberty Village (with a full sized mural on the exterior) is a perfect stop for you during the work day or for a first date. Not overly large, it has some sweet treats and an impressive menu of both hot and cold beverages to keep you going while you explore the neighbourhood and check off all ten of my hotspots. I challenge you to NOT love it here when you walk in.
This is my hidden gem of the list, because to most people it quite literally is hidden. Nestled in between the red bricks buildings that once housed some of Toronto’s largest factories (now coverted into some of the most beautiful loft spaces for businesses of all kidns), Caffino is actually a popular wedding reception space and late night hotspot. With an ecceltic menu and romantic atmosphere, it will quickly show you the energy and love that Liberty Village has for good food and a great time. “Where we take pride in serving you Italian food at its finest. We strive to bring you world famous dishes with Parmigiano, Prosciutto, Risotto, Fettuccine and our very own famous Pasta CaFfinO. Come get enamoured with CaFfinO for its ambience and savour the flavours of Italy.”
My personal Top Ten list is one that will keep you satisfied while you explore the best food & #ShopTheHood with me in Liberty Village. If you’re in the mood for another amazing list of #ShopTheHood centered around fashion and shopping on #WestQueenWest, make sure to click here to read my good friend Gracie Carroll’s list today!
Don’t forget to join in on the social media conversation around travel & travel must haves while planning your vacation by following @YellowPages_CA on Instagram, @Yellow_Pages on Twitter and by ‘Liking’ their Facebook Page. Make sure to tag us when you check out my Top Ten Foodie list in Liberty Village – and if you have any suggestions of your own, make sure to use #ShopTheHood. We can’t wait to see your photos!
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Photos: Yello Pages, Daniel Reyes & Julio Reyes
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